In a recent episode from my radio show, Uplift Your Life: Nourishment of the Spirit, my guest Dr. Pankaj Vij and I discuss the necessity of healing the mind in order to heal the body. The mind and body are inextricably linked, dependent upon each other’s health for overall vitality. In today’s blog, in addition to my tip of the week and my silver lining story, Marian Stephens shares how she is using the information in this episode to change her life. All my previous blogs, including the first three posts with Marian’s Story, are on my website, paulajoyce.com. Be sure to check them out and follow Marian’s progress.
Dr. Paula’s Tip of the Week
Our country is facing an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and autoimmune illness. A fast-paced lifestyle packed with exposure to news events, social media, and numerous entertainment outlets leads people to suffer from depression and anxiety which makes taking care of one’s health even more difficult. My tip this week is a simple way to alleviate anxiety.
Limit your access to the news: Too much news can create fear, sadness and depression. Minimize your exposure to things that you cannot change. Watching the news can be more upsetting than listening to it or reading it. Pay attention to your responses to the different media and get your news in the way that upsets you the least. Once you have the information, you don’t have to keep exposing yourself to the trauma of the day over and over again. Some people pride themselves on being news junkies. Even the word “junky” should be a warning that too much news is addictive and not good for you. This tip is especially important if you are in the habit of watching the news before bedtime because that will interfere with a good night’s sleep. As our guest today knows, anxiety makes sleeping more difficult, which ultimately impacts your health. Especially in current times when there is so much violence and discord, we are all experiencing increased levels of fear. It’s as if we’re all living with PTSD. We need a good night’s sleep for our bodies and minds to recover, heal and be ready to face a new day with positive energy and optimism. I think there’s a reason we have late night comedy shows. Intuitively people know it’s better to go to sleep smiling and laughing than sad and fearful. Yes, we must know what is going on in the world, but we also have to be sensible. Some things we can change and others we can’t. We have a moral obligation to work for positive change in the world, and we also have an obligation to ourselves, our loved ones and our community to not destroy our own health in the process. We all must continue to find the joy in our own lives and spread optimism and hope.
Dr. Paula’s Silver Lining Story
Positive social interaction, friendship, and relationships with family are keys to maintaining good health and vitality. Here are three stories that describe encounters between strangers that had a positive impact on everyone involved. While kindness, compassion, and a willingness to listen might seem inconsequential, they might alter someone’s outlook on their day and life.
Cheryl was driving home alone late one night when she had a flat tire. Since she was just a few blocks from her destination, she decided to walk home and deal with fixing the flat in the morning. Given the time of night, she didn’t feel safe walking alone. She solved her problem by calling the local police station. The policewoman said she would stay on the phone until Cheryl was safely home. Although Cheryl isn’t very comfortable with superficial conversation, she also didn’t like the silence. So, she decided to try talking with the policewoman while she was walking. As Cheryl relayed the story to me, she said it was one of the most pleasant conversations she could remember having with a stranger. It turned out they were both from Detroit and had a delightful time finding things in common. Cheryl took what could have been a traumatic experience with a flat tire in the middle of the night and awkward silence with a stranger on the other end of the phone into a pleasant social interaction that brightened both of their lives–so much so that days later my friend was still sharing the story and recreating that happy feeling.
My car has been broken into twice over the last three years by people obviously looking for something worth stealing. The first time they broke my window, which caused me time and money to fix. They found $2 in change that I keep in a little drawer in my car. This time they didn’t break the window. Obviously, there are now devices that can override the locks and alarm systems that are supposed to protect my car from break-ins. I didn’t even know they had been there until I got in the car and saw the contents of my glove compartment thrown all over my front seat. This time they missed the $2 in change and didn’t seem to want the small umbrella, coupons or bottle of water that were stored in there. I was relieved that I didn’t have to replace the car window, which cost me over $200 previously. It is, however, a violation of my personal space and creates a feeling of not being safe. After I put everything back, I continued to the grocery store. I felt calm and thought I was ok until I was checking out and I heard myself telling the cashier that my car had just been broken into. She simply said: “I’m sorry that happened to you.” I felt an instant shift in my body. Whatever stress was there, just disappeared. Her compassion connected us as people, not as employee and customer. The conversation expanded, and we were talking about moving to Texas and what brought us here. A crime became an opportunity for empathy and kindness, just like my friend’s flat tire created the same opportunity for human connection, proving again that it isn’t what happens to you, it’s what you do with your experience that makes all the difference.
My third story is about a woman who called because she wanted to attend my upcoming workshop. In the phone message, she said she somehow found my website. She proceeded to share that she had been abused since childhood when her mother put cocaine in her milk bottle, and she wanted people to know that they are never alone because God is always with them. She ended by asking me to call her back. When I did return her call, she was surprised, saying “I didn’t think you’d call.” We spoke for a few minutes and I gave her the information she needed to attend the workshop. After we said good-bye, but before she hung up, I heard her telling the people she lives with: “Dr. Paula Joyce called me back.” There was such excitement and joy in her voice. It demonstrated so clearly how we never know the full impact of our actions, even a seemingly small one. With all the abuse she has experienced, including homelessness, she has the passion of wanting to heal and of wanting others to know that God is always with them. Once again, your life isn’t about what happens to you. What matters is how you think about what happens and how you use it to create your life in a positive way.
Marian Stephen’s Story
Each week that I listen to the show, I am amazed and left feeling optimistic because I am gaining much insight into ways to make lasting change. It is exciting to be listening and using Dr. Paula’s teachings to improve my whole body – mind, body, and spirit – and sharing my progress because I believe she is tapped into what people need and desire. Every show is relevant to my journey, and I know if it speaks to me, it will to so many others. Dr. Paula suggested that I keep a success journal and I want to share an entry: Today I made a true connection with my in-laws. We had meaningful conversation, enjoyed each other’s company, and enjoyed the beautiful weather. Beau (2-year-old) was well-behaved and they got to experience an enjoyable outing with him.
Dr. Paula asks listeners: How can you create more positive human connections with people? I am an introvert, so this is a hard one for me! I am shy, so it makes socializing a nerve wracking experience. I am very close to my parents, sister, and husband. I am also becoming close to my husband’s parents, and that is exciting. However, I know that these connections are not enough. I know from experience friendship is fulfilling in so many ways, but I am not always the greatest friend. I have a very good friend that I have hurt recently by breaking plans and not being available, and I need to fix this. This friend sees the very best in me and holds me to a high standard, and I want to embrace this instead of running from it. I am going to be mindful of keeping plans we make and work on reestablishing the connection I have with her.
As I have said, I have progressive multiple sclerosis. I have been on over ten medications to treat this disease and they either do not work or I am allergic. It is disheartening to keep trying new things only to hit a wall. I was to begin a new medication this week (a monthly injection), and I was apprehensive about the side effect profile. Multiple Sclerosis medications are often immunosuppressants with a hefty list of potential side effects. I kept pushing that nagging feeling out of my mind because I am stubborn, and sometimes desperately want something to work. The nurse was at my house to give me the injection when my doctor called and said the medication was pulled from the market due to safety concerns. Several patients on this med died or are critically ill. I had just listened to Dr. Vij and Dr. Paula express the importance of healing the mind and spirit before the body can be healed, and now the medication is yanked off the market. The timing of this is not coincidental. I must work on healing the pain that I have experienced in the past few years, even though that is scary, and I am not sure how to accomplish it. I also ignored my inner voice that kept telling me to pay attention to my apprehension about the medication, and my intuition was right.
Dr. Vij has great advice for diet and lifestyle changes. He is very straightforward, it doesn’t feel overwhelming to think of making small changes. Like many people, I tend to be all or nothing when it comes to diet. It is good to be reminded that a nutrient-dense, plant-based diet is optimal. I can easily make that a focus in my household. I love the six things he says to focus on: feet, forks, fingers, sleep, stress, and love. Pay attention to exercise, what we eat, eliminating toxins, getting good sleep, managing stress, and the positive social connections. While it will take work to incorporate these changes, it is not an insurmountable challenge. As Dr. Vij said, “How do you eat an elephant? You eat it one bite at a time.”
For more shows on improving your health, please listen to the following:
· Increasing Bone Density with Deb McFarland
· No prescription drugs and only 1 pill a day! with Dr. Lewis Cone
· Integrative Medicine: New Approaches To Healing with Dr. Paula Fayerman
FREE CHAPTER, THE ULTIMATE CREATIVE PROBLEM-SOLVING PROCESS, FROM MY BEST-SELLING BOOK, NOTHING BUT NET
To learn more about my unique process that removes hidden blockages, helps you solve your most challenging problems, and achieve success with ease and speed, sign up for my newsletter and receive the chapter as my gift: http://paulajoyce.com/wpsite/newsletter-sign-up/