Category Archives for "Self Improvement"

May 23

How Qigong Can Energize You In 5 Minutes

By Celeste DeCamps | Interviews , Self Improvement

Interview about Qigong

Rhonda Enea is an enthusiastic life practitioner.  She is a Qigong teacher, healer, life coach and aspiring YouTube channel host.  Her specialty is the art of meditation and explores a variety of methods with her students and clients.  She is the owner of Beach Plum Wellness, a network based bio-tech company dedicated to the progressive science of Redox Signaling.
Although her passions are many, her three sons and their partners are the radiant center of her heart, oh, and her pets Li-Li and Priya 😉

Oct 16

How To Be A B.R.A.T. (Breathe, Relax and Talk)

By Celeste DeCamps | Self Improvement , Uncategorized

Public speaking is terrifying for most people. Just the thought of it can make our hands sweat, our heart beat fast and throwing up doesn’t seem like a bad idea. Getting up and presenting to an audience is more than just relaying information; it’s doing our best to get our ideas across. Being able to communicate effectively is important to our business success as well as personal success, whether it’s a presentation we have to do at work, a networking event or a wedding toast. One of the first things that we take for granted when stepping onto a stage is our breathing. So far I haven’t seen anyone pass out on stage because they forgot to breathe; what I have seen is speakers holding their breath and swallowing their words. The throat is tight, the mouth is dry and the sound is not coming across clear and crisp.

That’s when you should remember to be a B.R.A.T. Breathe-Relax-And-Talk.

I have three steps for you to take to calm your nerves, project your voice and breathe through your speech.

Step 1: When we are nervous we tend to take short breaths, which keeps our heart rate up. To reduce anxiety before going onstage, learn to breathe deeply.

Please place one hand on your chest and another on your stomach. I want you to take a deep breath that expands your stomach, not your chest. Inhale through your nose, breathe in for four counts. Hold your breath for four counts and release the air through your mouth for four counts.

This type of deep breathing is great when we are feeling anxious, nervous or ready to punch someone in the face. It will help lower our blood pressure and keep us calm and focused. Before taking the stage, stand up tall, pull shoulders back and take a deep breath. This gives the mind and body a chance to feel confident.

Step 2: Learning how to project our voice without yelling at the audience. It’s important to be heard throughout the room when a microphone is not available. Please stand up. Place one hand on your chest and your other hand in front of your mouth. Take a deep breath and say “Hello. How Are You?” Place your hand on your stomach. Take a deep breath in that expands your stomach. Now place your hand near your mouth and say “Hello. How Are You?”.

The force of air the second time should’ve been stronger than the first. Expanding your stomach with air is how you can use your diaphragm to project your voice. This will make your voice stronger and clearer. This will also give your voice more resonance. Your voice will sound fuller when you breathe from your diaphragm as opposed to breathing from your chest.

When giving a presentation, it’s a good idea to warm up vocal chords and face muscles. Move the jaw around and stretch the mouth. Do a large yawn. Gently move your neck from side to side. Lift your shoulders and release any tension that may be there. Slowly say the vowels A,E,I,O,U and exaggerate each letter. Do some tongue twisters: Red Leather, Yellow Leather, She Sells Seashells by the Seashore, Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers, Fuzzy Wuzzy Was a Bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy Had No Hair, Fuzzy Wuzzy Wasn’t Fuzzy Was He? Here’s a link for more tongue twisters.

Keep your vocal chords from getting dry by staying hydrated, drink water.

Step 3: When you are practicing your speech, practice breathing through your speech. My suggestion for understanding what that means is to put marks on your speech where you should be pausing to take a breath. This will slow down your speech making you aware of pronouncing all of your words. We have all heard people speak and found many of the words inaudible. We know through experience what the person is trying to say, but we are left with the feeling that the speaker isn’t very polished. Breathing through your speech helps you to enunciate, which makes your voice ring clear.

Remember to be a B.R.A.T. Breathe, Relax and Talk. Practice breathing techniques, relax your neck and shoulders and talk at an even pace. All of this will help you become a more effective communicator.

 

Sep 14

Do You Take Your Own Advice?

By Celeste DeCamps | General , Self Improvement , Uncategorized

Advice is so easy to give, but harder to actually follow. Take the overweight, smoking, alcoholic doctor who admonishes us for not living a healthy lifestyle. There are so many things we should and want to be doing for ourselves. We know to stay away from sugar, processed and packaged foods. We know we should exercise, meditate, stay in touch with family and friends and be mindful through all of it. Honestly, writing out this list makes me feel guilty and a little stressed.

It’s noon and the most I’ve accomplished was to eat a healthy breakfast and talk myself out of having a chocolate chip cookie.  I spoke to a friend yesterday who told me she can’t let herself sit and relax for too long because she feels it’s a slippery slope to never being productive ever again. It makes sense to constantly feel that we are never doing enough; enough for ourselves, our family, our friends, and our business.

I research everything I can to understand how our mind and body work together. I feel like a fraud if I give suggestions or advice to people that I’m not following myself. I try to follow my own recommendations because I know in the long run, I do feel better. I’m more mindful, more optimistic and more content. I also know that when I get off track and not do everything I need to do for myself that it doesn’t help to beat myself up over it. It’s also something I’ve been able to tell other people: it’s okay to not be perfect.

Life gets in the way of our best laid out plans. It doesn’t mean we have to abandon the path we are working on, it just means we may have to take a different route. Our best stories come from our experiences with the challenges that we faced. Our own sense of inspiration comes from recognizing just how far we have come.

I can appreciate hearing other people’s stories of how they found success through their persistence. I understand that they want to share their knowledge and give advice to others. I think we all want to encourage and support each other. I just don’t believe that we can give anyone a shortcut to their own accomplishment. We all have to undertake our own journey. We learn from our failures. We all have to go through trial and error to find what works for us.

I do have a strong sense of resentment when I hear someone say: “If I can do it, so can you.” Everyone has their own set of circumstances and experiences. What works for one person will not work for another. I think a better statement would be “let me encourage and support you through your journey to success.”

The one piece of advice I have is to ask for help when you need it. It’s amazing how people seem to come out of the woodwork when you accept the fact that you can’t do it all by yourself. We do need each other. We need to be able to bounce ideas off of people; the wall we are staring at, simply will not offer feedback. Taking your thoughts out of your head, putting it down on paper and sharing it with others is how we begin to take action.

When we help others, we end up helping ourselves. We start to recognize that we want more from our lives and we start to find the time to make it happen. Some days will be more productive than others. We will have setbacks and it will be frustrating. If we can embrace the pitfalls and recognize them as part of the learning process, we will stay motivated to keep going.

The reality is the process is never-ending. We will always strive to be better. I will take my own advice to take care of myself and not push and pull on my life today. We’ll see about tomorrow.

Nov 24

What is the Antidote to Fear? The Word “Yes!”

By Celeste DeCamps | Self Improvement

I am taking Improvisation classes to become a better speaker on stage. I want to be able to respond quickly and intelligently to my audience. The fundamental tools that I am learning should be taught in grade school and reinforced in junior high and high school. The skills in Improv are developed with a basic understanding of two words “Yes”, “And.” The deal is that whatever your scene partner is saying and doing you will respond to agreement and add on your suggestions as well. In return, your partner will do the same. The dialogue would become an unending argument if the players refuse to agree with each other. I think this kind of collaboration would be useful in dealing with classmates as well as colleagues. There is something very liberating about trying out thoughts and ideas and not being judged. Some things work and some don’t and we all move on with a better understanding of the process as well as a better understanding of each other. We all come from different backgrounds and perceptions but what makes everything work is the lack of conflict. Each person has agreed to agree. It’s amazing how fun and creative the conversations become when there is no argument or criticism.

Our whole lives are improvised. We did not come into this world with a script. We have to rely on making the best choices in hopes of desired results and many times failing in the process, but that’s how we learn. We are constantly working with the notion of saying “Yes.” Saying “Yes” gives you the power to try something new. It gives you permission to step outside of your routine in hopes of finding opportunities you wouldn’t have if  you said “No.”  In my opinion saying “No” is the same as giving into fear. Fear of not being perfect, fear of failure, fear of negative judgement by our peers. My big fear is not failing but of not trying. I always think, “What’s the worst that can happen?” The answer is, “I might fail and learn something.” I’m fine with that.

I learned to say “Yes” when I was in college. I was so shy and  full of trepidation of saying and doing the wrong thing that it paralyzed me. The turning point for me was deciding that I wanted to have a life that was full of great experiences no matter what. I signed up to be a DeeJay for the college radio station. I was so scared that I didn’t think I would have the guts to open the mic and introduce the next song. It was 3:00 in the morning and I figured no one’s listening anyway and I punched the button and was off and running. I have no idea what I said but for the next three hours I conquered my fear. In no time at all I was doing three rock shows a week in prime time and hosted Sunday Afternoon Jazz. It was a huge accomplishment for me. It also gave me the strength and determination to set bigger goals for myself. When an opportunity presented itself and it was out of my comfort zone, I would say “Yes” and see where it took me. Each experience taught me something new. Every time I tried a new venture, I would attract knowledgeable people who would guide me. I remain open to new ideas and suggestions. I have no problem asking and taking advice. I enjoy constructive criticism.

When I look back and think of the adventures I’ve had, the best ones involved taking a leap of faith.

Zipline

Tackling the Zip-line at Banning Mills, Georgia

Think back to when you were deciding on your career path. Did you instinctively know what you wanted to do or did you leave yourself open to all possibilities? How were your interests and hobbies formed? Was it a parent’s influence, something your friends were doing or was it simply an idea played out on TV? Whatever the reason, something inside you connected with the possibility and a course of action took place. It’s hard to keep working on something and not seeing success, yet it is part of the journey. Success will come but you will always want it to be better. Practicing and perfecting never ends. The important part is that you said “Yes.” You didn’t allow fear to control your actions. You allowed yourself to risk failure in order to succeed. That is what life is all about.

Take the advice of an Improv class and decide to be open to new ideas. Learn to say “Yes.” Confront the anxiety, the nervousness, the dread and all the other negative thoughts your mind is screaming at you. Take control and be positive that you are on the right path and will see the desired results. After all, what’s the worst that can happen?

 

 

 

 

Aug 22

I Need More Fun In My Life

By Celeste DeCamps | Self Improvement

White Water Rafting GA

White Water Rafting GA

 

I’m not stressed. Everything is fine. I have nothing to complain about. Yes, my job is a little demanding, whose isn’t? Yes, my family makes constant requests from me, but that’s how families are. Yes, I don’t get enough sleep but it’s hard to go to bed early when I’m still finishing up with the dinner dishes, answering emails and helping with homework. Okay, maybe I’m a little stressed out.

Sounds familiar? Why do we hate to admit that our lives are not our own? We are either caring for a family, working or both. We don’t want to let anyone down, so we end up with more responsibilities than we can handle. We always think that as soon as this project is over or as soon as school lets out, then we will be able to do something fun. When we finally decide to take a vacation, that’s when we get sick. It’s as if our minds and our bodies know that we need a break and to make sure we get some rest, we come down with a cold. Is there a way off this merry-go-round or do we just try to make the best of it?

I think it’s time to get out of this vicious cycle and demand more fun in our lives. I know, easier said than done. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Everyone has a different set of circumstances and challenges that make it difficult to set a course that will work for everybody. I do have some suggestions that might help find a way to sneak some “you” time in without neglecting your significant others.

1. Plan your day the night before or if you are an overachiever plan your week out on Sunday. Scheduling priorities that pertain to you such as going to the gym, dance class, poetry readings or other interests is important. This way if someone needs you to be somewhere or do something for them, you can look at your calendar and see if it can be done without you missing your event.

2. Learn to set boundaries. People can only take advantage of you if you let them. Of course, it never hurts to ask, but then that person should understand that the answer from you can be no.

3. Stop being Superwoman. You do not need to be at everyone’s beck and call and take on more than you can handle. Learn to delegate at work and at home. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Teach your children how to do the laundry. Get your children to help prepare dinner and the clean up afterward. Just remember to have patience. Once these expectations become the norm, it will become easier when you don’t have to do everything yourself.

4. Meditate Meditate Meditate– Even if it’s for a few minutes. Breathing slowly and focusing on the light and energy within you, is enough to center and relax you.

5. Do not miss an opportunity for fun. If a friend is inviting you out to a party or movie-GO! Do not stay home because you don’t feel you look your best or housework should be done. Our lives are made up of memories and experiences. They should be filled with moments with loved ones and exciting adventures.

6. Get plenty of sleep. Our bodies and minds are recharged with a good night’s rest. Turn the television off and power down the computer. If you are having trouble getting your brain to relax, pick up a book. You could also use this time to write down everything good that happened that day. Focusing on the positive puts you in a more peaceful state.

7. Make the time to eat healthy. When your body has the proper fuel, you have more energy to take on the challenges you face everyday.  Also remember to exercise. Not only does it help to relieve stress, but it keeps your body and mind strong.

8. Have a sense of self importance. Many people unconsciously feel that they need to constantly prove their self-worth. The fear is if they turn down an extra project or refuse to take on more tasks that somehow they will be seen as undependable. Do not set yourself up for failure by taking on more responsibility than you already have. If you spread yourself too thin, you will not be putting out quality work but, instead, will be needlessly stressing yourself out.

9.  Friendships are important. Everyone needs someone to confide in. It has to be a two way street. You can’t be the one who always listens and is never heard. When you have that perfect person in your life, cultivate that friendship by emails, phone calls and definitely nights out. Don’t let weeks and months go by without getting together.

10. Don’t spend energy revisiting past regrets. It’s easy to do especially if you are not feeling great about yourself. Instead, see the accomplishments that brought you where you are today. Each new challenge gives us the opportunity to learn just how smart and resilient we really are.

I hope at least a couple of these suggestions will work for you. There is no planning for the unexpected twists and turns our lives take.

If life was smooth and easy, it would be boring and we wouldn’t have any interesting or inspiring stories to tell. 

May 30

Question the Beliefs You Have About Yourself

By Celeste DeCamps | Self Improvement

Do you look at other women and compare yourself to them? Does a beautiful woman ruin your day? Can you appreciate her beauty or have you decided her life must be better than yours?  Does an unattractive woman make you feel better about yourself?

Have you noticed that if you are fixated on a particular flaw, say for instance your hair, you will observe every head of hair that comes your way? You will sit in judgment and decide to either feel envious or superior to that person’s hair. How much wasted energy do you put into this?

Believe it or not, comparison is normal. It serves a purpose. It motivates us to do better, want more out of life, and make the most of our gifts. Jealousy though, is counterproductive. It’s negative energy that can drain you and keep you from evolving. We all want to be loved, to be seen as beautiful, and to be successful. Is this only reserved for a chosen few or can anyone attain these attributes?

I believe it’s possible for everyone to have it all. It starts with a certain mind set. Ask yourself the following questions:

Do you love yourself? Can you look in the mirror and say out loud, “I love you”? Can you tell yourself, “you are gorgeous” and believe it? Can you tell yourself, “you are smart, funny, creative and full of compassion” without a disclaimer? Can you say anything positive about yourself without a negative thought entering your mind? If your answer is no to any of the above let me change it now.

Start by being aware of how much damage you do to your self-worth by not celebrating yourself every day. Most people, including myself, have been made to feel at some point in our lives that we were not good enough. It took me a long time to learn that the people who took pleasure from insulting me or others were the ones with low self-esteem. They thought that by using backhanded put downs, they would keep others from seeing their fears and limitations.  I realized that the one person whose opinion really mattered  was my own. If I didn’t love myself, how can I expect anyone to love me? If I didn’t trust that I have something to offer in this world then why should I expect success? I had to learn to support and encourage myself instead of waiting for others to do it for me. Once I began to believe in myself  I attracted positive people to me. I treat people the way I want to be treated.  I try to be an optimistic, confident and enthusiastic person to be around. The more I practiced about staying positive the easier it became. I’m not perfect at it by any means. I still catch myself criticizing my imperfections, but I have gotten better at shifting my negative thoughts quickly into positive ones. I remind myself that my friends and family love me for who I am and how I make them feel. The only one harshly judging me right now is me, and I really don’t have to do that.

My friend, Carolyn, called me one day and she was not in a good head space. She was in a negative conversation with herself and needed to share it with me. I finally stopped her and said I could not let her continue to bad mouth my good friend Carolyn this way. I reminded her of all her amazing qualities and why she was important to me. She had to laugh. She said she would stop insulting herself and apologized for all the mean things she said.

Everyone wants to feel special, important, loved. I know I used to feel I had to look a certain way, make a certain amount of money, etc. before any of that could be possible. I didn’t realize that all I had to do was decide that I was special, and that I was important to the people who loved me. As soon as I dropped these crazy expectations of myself, the more I understood how important my self-dialogue became.

Do you know complimenting someone will make you feel as good as the person you are complimenting?

I have told complete strangers on the subway that I liked the dress or scarf or shoes that they were wearing. I have always received a big smile and it would make me feel great. A friend of mine once told me that she was standing by an elevator when an elderly gentleman approached. She turned and smiled at him. He looked at her and said she was the only person today who acknowledged his presence. He thanked her for that smile. My mother smiled at everyone. Some people would smile back but many would turn away and not even acknowledge her. How strange it is that even the act of smiling, to some, can be taken the wrong way. I like to smile whether people smile back or not. I feel good. I like to think that the person who didn’t smile back will at least know someone noticed them and maybe it lifted their spirits a little that day. We all need to be recognized. It feels loving and we all need that. 

My hope is that everyone will have a positive belief system about themselves. I think it would make for a more compassionate society. 

Now when I look at other people I see the beauty we all have inside. I also noticed that when I feel good about myself, I have complete strangers on the subway tell me that they like my dress, or my scarf or my shoes. I thank them with a big smile. 

 

 

Apr 02

Where Did I Leave That Glass Slipper?

By Celeste DeCamps | Self Improvement

I am fascinated with makeovers. I think it stems from reading Cinderella and watching the Disney movie so many times. I loved watching her transform from a dirty scullery maid into a lovely princess. Obviously, I’m not the only one. Talk shows and even news programs are getting into transforming women from dull to fabulous. It now extends to men who also are wanting a change for the better. It’s amazing what a new haircut, clothes, and makeup can do for us average Joes. We hear the same story from the person who is getting remade. “I spend my money and my time on my children, and on my job.” These people are not trying to be martyrs. For them, it’s a simple reality that the luxury of a hair salon and buying new clothes is not in the budget. What I find so wonderful about this process, is the real emotion that is felt when a person sees him/herself for the first time. Most don’t even recognize themselves. It’s hard for them to believe that they really are beautiful. It also helps that making them feel and look good is a priority. Many of us rarely experience that kind of attention. The change in their attitude before the makeover and after is also fun to watch. When the fashion victims are first introduced, they can barely look at the camera or the people around them. When they return so we can see their new look, their whole body language has changed. Their posture is stronger, their heads are held up, they smile, and you can see their newfound confidence. That’s the part I love. It also makes me wonder why most of us don’t go to more effort to present our best selves.

I don’t believe we have to dress up to go to the grocery store. I do believe people should look nice for a Broadway show on a Saturday night. I was surprised to see most of the audience wearing sweat pants and T-shirts. My friends tell me that people don’t dress up anymore. If that’s the case, then why as a culture are we obsessed with fashion? Is it only the rich and famous who should look their best? I know at one time our society took pride in its appearance. I know men aren’t going to wear a suit and tie to the ball game these days and women aren’t going to wear gloves and a hat to go to the market.

baseball-crowd                   images

I understand wanting to be comfortable but somehow dressing down has become the norm. What I don’t get is needing to be so comfortable that you show up to the airport wearing pajamas.  I believe what we wear out is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. I know that looking my best makes me feel good about myself. I like putting on makeup and fixing my hair. I do my own version of the transformer at home. I enjoy picking out an outfit that I will wear shoes with and not sneakers. I like the confidence I have in myself when I go out to meet friends at a restaurant or seeing a show with my husband. I think special occasions warrant the extra effort. I try to make most days a special occasion. My mother liked to tell me that I should wear all the cute outfits I can because at some point I won’t be able to. The image of having to wear a housecoat in my old age gave me nightmares. The fact is, beautiful, older celebrities have proven that you can dress up at any age. It’s more than just feeling pretty, it’s a sense of self-worth. I may not have a fairy godmother or a team of professional stylists, but I do plan on looking and feeling like a princess to the very end. 

Feb 26

Why Your Past is Still Present

By Celeste DeCamps | Self Improvement

Do you remember playing “Connect the Dots” when you were younger? You would get a picture that was all dots with numbers. As soon as you connected the dots by drawing a line to the corresponding number then an image would appear. Suddenly, the picture made sense. That’s what it feels like when you can connect your past memories to present day anxieties or phobias. It’s finally understanding why certain situations can cause you to overreact emotionally. It explains our fear of abandonment,  not being worthy of love, constantly seeking approval from others, and a host of negative feelings. Connecting the dots is what it feels like when you do EMDR Therapy.

EMDR was discovered and developed by Dr.Francine Shapiro Ph.D.

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.  Repeated studies show that by using EMDR people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal.  EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma.  Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.

In her book, “Getting Past Your Past,” Dr. Shapiro explains how unprocessed memories can cause unresolved issues in our present day life. She has worked with patients battling post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and those with unexplained phobias that keep them from leading happy and successful lives. Using a series of eye movements or taps on the knee, the therapist guides the patients to visualize the negative belief they are holding onto about themselves. The patients just takes notice of what pictures come up for them. Eventually, images appear, and little by little, they start to move to the front of the mind’s eye. Thoughts and memories begin to make sense. In one experiment, Dr. Shapiro asks the reader to remember a time in school that left a bad memory. Immediately, I remembered an incident when I was in the 3rd grade. The night before school, one of my dogs got hold of my textbook. By the time I realized it, he had chewed up half of the cover. I brought the book to class and showed my teacher, Mrs. Tobias. She took the book and began screaming at me. We were standing in the middle of the room and the whole class watched in disbelief. I still remember the humiliation. I also remember how crazy I thought she was, and how she should not have been a teacher. It was an event that made me realize how much I disliked the misuse of power by authority figures.

Personal stories that are recounted in “Getting Past Your Past,” show how strong the power of the mind is in keeping the past ever present. Each of these patients experiences are varied and the one common denominator is how understanding old memories affect our present perception. Once these unprocessed memories are brought up, and looked at, they can be processed accordingly. For example, a memory that happened at 5 years old, can now be looked at through adult eyes. Each patients’ story results in a clearer understanding of their present situation. The critical beliefs that they held about themselves melt away. A better understanding of the memory changes their attitude for the better. You may not have suffered a traumatic event, but if you are dealing with unexplained anxiety, fear or anger, it might help to try this type of therapy. Dr. Shapiro’s book gives a detailed guide on how to proceed to unlock your memories. She also suggests that if you feel you need the help of someone trained in EMDR, to check the last chapter for references. There are now thousands of clinicians worldwide that are available. The American Psychiatric Association and the US Department of Defense have recognized EMDR as an effective treatment for trauma.

The wonderful part about this kind of healing of the mind is that no medication is used. Past events in our lives are better understood and how they play a role in our perceptions today. We all have different experiences in our life, but how we react to them may very well be controlled by our younger, more vulnerable selves. The idea that our memories fade as we get older, is simply not true to our subconscious minds. I think we can all learn by revisiting the past and putting it into a more gentle perspective. In my case, not only do I feel I understand myself better, but I also feel a heightened sense of empathy for others.

 

Jan 27

Is Back Pain, Or Other Pain Symptoms Controlling Your Life?

By Celeste DeCamps | Self Improvement

We all experience aches and pains from exercising, dancing all night or playing sports, especially after turning 50. That’s natural. What’s not easily explained is the sudden onset of pain in our backs, knees, hips, shoulders or migraines. We decide it’s because we overdid an activity or slept in a funny position. Our minds convince us that we did something to cause this discomfort. What happens when we can’t seem to find relief? For some, seeking medical attention is obvious. They want to know what the extent of structural damage has been done. What kind of medication will they need to take, or worse, is surgery involved? For others, they will seek the help of a more holistic approach: Acupuncture or a good chiropractor.

What would think if I told you that you may not need any of the above? What would you think if I told you to check your emotions first? Maybe your family life plus pressures from work are making you feel powerless. Do you feel the need to be perfect? Are you taking care of everyone before you ever consider making yourself a priority? Does the idea of being resentful for all that you have to do, make you feel guilty, even angry? Did you have to overcome a tough childhood? Are you in a bad relationship? What is going on in your life that is keeping you from being happy? Believe it or not, our brain tries to help us with these overpowering emotions. Our unconscious mind holds our memories, but it doesn’t relate to time. Events in our past, stay with us as if it just happened. If we have unresolved anger our bodies hold onto it. Repression helps us to function so we can get on with our lives.  If we don’t come to terms about past or present trauma, our brain makes the decision to keep us from thinking about it.

Dr. John E. Sarno has written a few books explaining how the connection between our minds and our bodies work together to keep us from feeling overwhelmed. He calls this condition TMS: Tension Myositis Syndrome  He explains that the aches we feel are very real. When we are repressing anger, our mind decides that a distraction is needed. The brain causes a mild oxygen deprivation to certain muscles and the result is pain. When we seek a cure, such as medication or an adjustment, the ache may subside for a little while. If the anger is still there, the pain will move to another body part. What started in the back, is now in the shoulder. Dr. Sarno calls this The Symptom Imperative. It means the mind will move the pain around to keep you distracted. Many people have found relief just by reading Dr. Sarno’s books or attending his lectures. They identify with the different personality traits that are presented and find a way to confront their repressed emotions. It sounds too good to be true, yet it has helped thousands of people, including me, to be free of pain.  For some patients, professional therapy may be the answer.

Many patients insist, that after being x-rayed, their doctor’s have told them that they have structural damage. For example a herniated disk, a torn rotator cuff, or cracks in their back. Dr. Sarno explains, that is all normal wear and tear on the body. Many people will have the same results on an X-ray or MRI and live pain-free. Dr. Sarno always gives a complete physical to rule out infection or disease.

“Many years ago I concluded that the structural abnormality was not the true cause of symptoms in most cases, because I found no correlation between the location of the pain and muscle weakness if such existed, and the structural aberration. It is remarkable that practitioners can undertake a serious treatment like surgery in light of such blatant clinical inconsistencies. One of the dirty little secrets of the medical community is that clinical medicine is clearly not always as scientific as many would like to think. Of the thousands of patients with disc pathology that we have seen over the last thirty-two years, not one has ever developed “permanent nerve damage” after refusing surgery and following treatment for TMS.” -Dr. John E. Sarno-The Divided Mind

The program 20/20 did a report on Dr. Sarno. Please watch the video below:

To find out more please read these books by Dr. John E. Sarno:

Mind Over Back Pain: A Radically New Approach to the Diagnosis and Treatment of Back Pain

The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain

Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection