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Living in the Moment


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#1 Jeannie McClelland

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 03:44 AM

I think this technique of stress reduction may have been mentioned before, but I wanted to bring it up again because of a couple of Newsroom articles Jude posted recently, as well as something that happened yesterday. We've also got a lot of friends here who are newly diagnosed and feeling pretty overwhelmed by it, as well as others of us who are going through a pretty stressful time for one reason or another.

The articles are "The happiness-health connection" and "Study: Pollyanna Will Outlive Everyone."

The incident yesterday was when my friend with lung cancer, the cancer nurse, and I were sitting around a table in the Cancer Center laughing like three loonies. The nurse said she loved working there, wouldn't want to work anywhere else, and it was because it was fun. I must have raised my eyebrows at her choice of words because she said her patients are the funniest bunch of people she'd ever met and everyone seemed to have such a great sense of humor. (That reminded me of us here on the Forum.)

Anyhow, "living in the moment" (also called mindfulness) has been around for a long time. The University of Massachusetts has had a program based on the technique since 1979 (that's where I first heard about it) and there are countless books, CD's, and other information about it readily available.

For me, the way I put it in practice is to shut down those thoughts that come sleeting out of nowhere to cause anxiety, fear, sadness and replace them with something "in the moment." I actually tell myself (not out loud, mind you, because it confuses the dogs) STOP, STOP, STOP! and when that inner fretful voice shuts up, I then focus on something that makes me happy. At this particular moment, it's the way the sun looks slanting across the rough plastered walls of the room I'm sitting in. It's beautiful and a calming and serene sight.

So, OK, go ahead and think I'm a crazy woman. That's OK. But try it. With a little practice I'll bet you find you like it.

Warmest hugs,
Jeannie McClelland
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#2 Penny

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 09:55 AM

Jeannie,

Thank you so much for posting this... and if you are crazy I hope that it is contagious and you infect everyone you see with a whopping huge dose of it! :D

I think that we all get blindsided from time to time with those anxious feelings and like you, I have to mentally give myself a stern talking to. (doing it quietly to myself works, but I love the looks I get when I give myself a High School Coach pep talk out loud ;) )

Pollyana is always a movie that comes to mind when I think about how one voice of cheer "the happy game" can change the thoughts of so many, and when that person needs the help themself all those that person has touched pour it back.

Warm hugs from a fellow crazy person,
Penny

#3 Kamlesh

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 11:31 AM

Jeannie,

One of the major reason, I am doing much better with Scleroderma, Depression, Diabetes, etc is regular practice of Yoga, Meditation, and walking at least 2 miles a day.
Of course, having positive attitude is key requirement.
My scleroderma is in remission and I am off all depression medications. Numbers of medications I take have gone down from over 27 to 9.
Kind regards,

Kamlesh


#4 Amanda Thorpe

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 12:40 PM

Hello Jeannie

I made my feeling about Pollyanna perfectly clear in another post but it got edited (good thing too)! :D I can't be doing with "the happy game" but can be doing with the laugh a lot game. When I was in hospital I thankfully had my own room and I am sure the other patients were thankful as well because me, hubby and sis laughed constantly despite awful side effects of the meds and dangerously inept nursing care.

I don't believe in denying that something is bad but I do believe in laughing at it regardless. :lol: I can well believe that the nurse you referred to found her patients very humorous, as you say, look at some of the posts here.

I guess laughter and banishing bad thoughs comes from the same mind set and achieves the same thing.

Take care

Amanda
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#5 Jeannie McClelland

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 01:09 PM

Wow, Kamlesh, that's just fantastic! Well done, you! I can't begin to tell you how truly inspirational that is.

Penny and Amanda: do you know, I've never seen or read Pollyanna? Honestly!

I'm not an especially chirpy sort of person, in fact #2 son once made up a fake Olympic Gold Medal and presented it to me for winning the International Open Class Fretting. The Handsome Hubby thought that was so funny, he gave me a 'Best in Show' blue ribbon for the same thing. :lol: It was so bad at one point that I had to learn some better coping techniques because I wasn't enjoying anything.

I do try to be proactive and plan ahead in case something goes sour, but once I've done what I can, I flip the off switch and announce "Elvis has left the room!"

Happy thought of the moment? Handsome Hubby has a business thing to attend tonight. Not only do I not have to go (hurrah!), I am treating myself to one of my favorite meals and a silly movie. Not, I hasten to add, Pollyanna.

Warm hugs to all of you.
Jeannie McClelland
(Retired) ISN Director of Support Services
(Retired) ISN Sclero Forums Manager
(Retired) ISN Blog Manager
(Retired) ISN Assistant News Guide
(Retired) ISN Artist
International Scleroderma Network

#6 jillatk

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 08:15 AM

Just to add my 2 cents about mindfulness:
It is not about denying feelings or thoughts, in fact it is all about attending to all thoughts and feelings. Being in the moment is just that - paying attention to how you are feeling and what your thoughts are about. Observe, Describe and Participate in every thought and feeling. Embrace it all. The one trick is to only focus on one at a time. So often we allow our anxiety to get us zipping far into the future, which is not being mindful, instead of sitting in the moment with the feeling that we have. It never includes being judgmental about the feeling - it is what it is. Once you have spent time with it, you can then decide to move on to the next feeling or to continue with the one you have. No woulda, coulda shoulda's and no if onlys. If you find your brain going to those areas simply take a little break and clear your mind of all thoughts then start again. My clients always tell me these are really hard skills to put into practice. I agree!! But of course, the more you use them, the better you get at it and the stronger the neuropathways become that allow you to be more effective at regulating your affect and cognitions.
The other really important idea is that a feeling is only a feeling. You don't have to do anything about it. You can just be with it.
Jill