exhaling while you take a walk. Your eyes may focus on the concrete in front of you or on your feet. You may even focus on your breathing in the car, relieving the stress of traffic. “Today, Americans want facts. With today’s technology, we are now able to see images of the brain and how it changes under this restful state,” McAtee says. “We have the ability to use our minds to order our body to relax in a stressful situation. We can absolutely drop our blood pressure in a meditative state. There’s a definite mind-body connection.”
Mindfulness in the medical world That is not to say mindfulness can cure cancer or have power over modern medicine. “When someone is ill, mindfulness works as an adjunct with medical treatment,” she explains. “You’re self-checking the mind — it’s your own tool.” Upon learning the diagnosis of a serious illness, mindfulness will not come into play. And for a good reason — the brain will always buffer difficult news. This is why some people may feel numb or go into a state of shock. Some may even be angry or question the diagnosis. This is not a mindful practice. And no one would expect a person to go into a mindfulness state. Mindfulness is only useful as you begin to process the information after the shock. “In the moments of aloneness, it’s natural to question the meaning of life and ask, ‘What do I do now?’” McAtee shares. “This is where mindfulness can help you to live each day as fully as you can. The past becomes unnecessary, and anxiety about the future can be suppressed by living day-to-day.” Serious and life-threatening diagnoses can trigger depression in some individuals. If this occurs, she recommends seeking out a credentialed teacher, someone who has practiced and taught mindfulness for a long time. “If you are learning how to do mindfulness, it’s common for the brain to do what we call ‘monkey brain’ or ‘monkey mind.’ That means all our thoughts come in at once,” McAtee explains. “Sometimes a person with depression will have too many negative thoughts and they’ll stick. They need a professional to check in with to help filter those thoughts.” Even caregivers and the medical community must separate themselves from giving a hard diagnosis. Doctors, nurses, and caregivers are empathic, but they also need to take time to discharge feelings in order to provide the highest level of support to the patient. Many caregivers practice mindfulness in some form to best help patients. “The most important thing we can do as caregivers is be present for our patients without pulling on our own emotions,” she says. “I take a few moments to empty my mind before I have to deliver hard news.” Our minds are powerful. But you have to practice training the mind to live day-to-day, moment-to-moment. Learn how to enjoy what’s in front of you without worrying about tomorrow. McAtee describes mindfulness best: “Remember how to be present for yourself and how to be present for others.”
Experience the calm. Midwest Myofascial Release Center empowers you to heal at your own pace and return to a pain-free, active lifestyle through individualized treatment provided by a supportive, healing team.
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Myofascial Release Therapy Therapeutic Massage Therapeutic Yoga NeurOptimal © Neurofeedback Infrared Saunas Simple Science Juice Cleanses Reiki Nutritionist: Robyn Johnson
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