I went to a luncheon/talk today that focused on meditation as a powerful healing tool. The speaker talked about the way meditation can actually force real changes in your brain and body. The concept of neuroplasticity (literally, the idea that brains are more malleable than we had imagined) is growing. For more on this, check out this NPR story.
I have to admit, I don’t do meditation (though maybe I’ll try now…). I find it difficult to sit still and really turn my brain off. I do however do yoga, which I feel like I get a lot of calmness, flexibility and strength out of.
The speaker today shared some “tools” for engaging in a more positive, calm brain state, or, as she put it, a para-sympathetic brain state. I’ll share my two favorite tools:
The first is simple. When you’re worried about the future, as in, Oh my god, what does RA mean for my life? Will I be disabled?, tell yourself, “This is going to be better than you could ever imagine.” Worried about giving a speech? This is going to be better than you could ever imagine. Concerned about an upcoming doctor’s appointment? This is going to be better than you could ever imagine. I think you get the point…
The second tool came from an audience member. He was an older man, and he said that throughout his life, he’d always prided himself on his ability to solve problems. He said he’d recently gone to a counselor with a problem that he was having a lot of trouble solving. He told us that the counselor changed his entire perspective and fixed the problem with some very simple advice: “Approach this not as a problem, but as an adventure.” With that, the man said he could stop worrying about something that couldn’t be “fixed,” and could start focusing on living again.
I think this advice is great. My new mantra: RA is not a problem, it’s an adventure. An adventure that is going to be better than I could ever imagine.