Introducing a New Podcast Series: Mindset Minisodes
I’ve been hosting the Phoenix Helix Podcast for over 8 years, and there are now over 200 episodes in the archives! These long-form interviews you know and love will continue every 4 weeks. In between, I’m adding something new. I’ll be recording Mindset Minisodes, inspired by my book: Healing Mindset – A Guide to the Mind-Body Connection for People With Autoimmune Disease.
Stress is a powerful trigger of inflammation and autoimmune activity, and most of us have experienced stress-induced autoimmune flares. That’s the power of the mind-body connection working against us. However, we can also make the mind-body connection work for us! Simple techniques can help us relieve stress and send an anti-inflammatory cascade through our bodies instead. That’s my goal with these episodes. In each one, I’ll teach a simple technique you can start using right away.
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Does Autoimmune Disease Make Gratitude Impossible?
- Gratitude is an emotion that’s hard to feel when we’re suffering. I understand this very well. Rheumatoid arthritis hit my life like a wrecking ball in 2012, and I was living with a level of pain so high that it disabled me. Pain became my whole world, and I couldn’t see beyond it.
- It may seem counterintuitive, but that’s when I started a gratitude practice that continues to this day. I desperately needed to see that there was still beauty in the world, and train my mind to look for it. Here’s what I discovered: even in the depths of my despair, there was still beauty in my life, and it gave me hope to see it. It’s on our toughest days that we need gratitude the most. It can shine a light into our darkness like a lifeline.
- There is research showing that my expeience isn’t unique. Gratitude increases feelings of happiness and reduces the risk for depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. People who experience gratitude also recover more quickly from illness, are better able to manage stress, and enjoy greater health overall.
A Simple Gratitude Practice: 3 Good Things
- Each night before bed, try to remember three positive things you experienced that day. They don’t need to be big things. Small things have power. In fact, our life is made up of a series of small moments.
- Many people keep a journal and write their list down. It can be nice to watch that journal fill up, and you can also re-read it on difficult days.
- Try to be as specific as possible and come up with a different list every night. When we’re too general (for example, saying I’m grateful for food, shelter, and family) the brain has trouble feeling gratitude. But if we think of a meal we had today that was delicious and think of the recipe blogger or cookbook author who created it, it’s easier to tap into gratitude. When it comes to shelter, think about something in your home that brings you joy: a favorite room, piece of furniture, color, or work of art. With relationships, think of a specific person and a specific moment. Maybe it’s your child’s laughter. Maybe your partner did something kind for you. Maybe a friend sent you a silly meme that made you laugh out loud. These are moments worth remembering and savoring.
- If you think this sounds too superficial to make a difference, I promise you it’s not. These small memories can spark joy that has long been dormant, and help us develop a habit of looking for the good things in our lives.
My Book: Healing Mindset
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