Virtual Reiki-infused Sound Healing and Meditation Class!

This online group gathering will be conducted using Zoom’s video conferencing, which provides an option to turn off the your audio/video at any time, supporting privacy and facilitating a reduction in distractions.  For first-time attendees, signed release of liability/waiver forms will be needed.  Once these forms have been received, along with payment via PayPal, an email will be sent to you with the link and meeting ID to join the class.  We look forward to being of service to you!

Virtual Community Gathering Practice Tips

We understand that this is not the ideal way to come together to practice and how sometimes just the thought of more technology might bring shivers down our spines.  Accepting that it’s OK to feel intimidated is the first step. We are doing our best to make the connection simple and easy.  Harnessing the warrior energy within will help you to face any tech fears you might have and join us!

Once you let us know that you are interested in attending, we will send you an email that will include details around what is needed from you, including:

  • Signed Releases/Waivers of Liability forms (one time, for new students only)
  • PayPal information to facilitate payment
  • Checking your email for the Zoom link to join the class
  • A few minutes before the class, simply clicking the link within the email to be sent straight to our meeting room

To facilitate the benefits of such a virtual community practice at home, below we have provided some helpful hints:

  • Set up your mats at least 3 giant steps from your device.
  • Elevate your device 21-24″ from the floor and have it tilted forward slightly.
  • Have your props nearby.
  • Although not required, having a headset or ear buds to listen when the singing bowls are playing may enhance your listening pleasure.
  • Please know you will not need to have your audio/video camera on during the practice.  If you would prefer to reduce the number of distractions or increase the sense of privacy, we invite you to turn off your audio and video once the class starts.

Restorative Yoga Tips and Props

On the day of the class, here are some additional recommendations to create a more sacred space in advance for your practice:

  • Make sure you’ll be in a space where there won’t be any background noises, distractions or interruptions.
  • Adjusting the lighting in the room to your liking, perhaps turning off any overhead lighting and minimizing outdoor light and instead turning on a room lamp or lighting your favorite candle(s).
  • Wear warm, comfortable clothing including socks.
  • If available, bringing your favorite deck of intention cards and essential oil to your mat.
  • Placing your props (see below) to the side of your mat so they are within an easy reach during the class.

 In home prop ideas:

  • Bolster:  couch cushions or a tightly rolled comforter, towel, or blanket (can be secured with 2 ties, scarfs or belts)
  • Pillows:  couch, chair or bed pillows will do
  • Blankets:  your favorite blanket to cover yourself and either 2 additional blankets or bath or beach towels (no sheets)
  • Yoga blocks: books, either paper back or hard cover, stacked
  • Eye pillow:  hand towel, tie or scarf

Is direct neurofeedback a viable non-drug treatment option for ADHD?

As the most common neurodevelopmental disorder, Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder impacts an estimated 11% of children in school, with symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity and various cognitive dysfunctions often persisting into adolescence and adulthood.  And thanks to modern neuroimaging technology, relatively distinct brain regions within the prefrontal cortex have been identified as having altered activity, accounting for the symptoms of ADHD.  These disturbances in the networks of the brain have begun to come under further study when considering therapeutic interventions.  Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), aka direct neurofeedback, has shown promising effectiveness in both neuropsychological and neurodevelopmental disorders, especially ADHD.

Symptoms of inattention or being easily distracted is very common, as it is the mind’s natural tendency or default mode.  It is actually wired for continuous distraction and a culture that values multi-tasking reinforces this wiring.  Mindfulness, or the practice of narrowing our focus to a single-task or giving our undivided attention to the task at hand, is one way to train the mind to ‘pay attention’.  However, this is sometimes easier said than actually done.

Now add trauma to this default mode of distraction.  When the mind is overwhelmed by strong, and often uncomfortable emotions, the use of the natural, default distraction wiring of our brains can actually be of benefit as it provides relief from those emotions, albeit temporary, brief and fleeting.  In fact, using conscious distraction techniques can actually keep us be safe from harm in the moment by moving us away from more unhealthy reactions to such powerful emotions, such as self-harming thoughts and behaviors including substance use.

The go-to approach to ADHD has been medication and behavioral modification therapy, yet the lack of long-term effects for both has been disappointing to those who suffer from the symptoms of this neurodevelopmental disorder.  Such lack of long-term effects has generated renewed interest in neurofeedback in recent years as a promising method for improving neuropsychological and cognitive deficits in ADHD.  Although more research may be required to determine the length of initial treatment along with the need for ongoing intermittent treatment to assess how long the benefits last, this non-invasive brain wave modulation intervention may just be a better approach while eliminating any medication side-effects!

If you would like to read more about the current state of the research on using direct neurofeedback for ADHD, click the link below:

Is expanding our capacity for compassion – for self and other – the key ingredient in healing through psychotherapy?

Growing up in chaos challenges our equilibrium to seek control, wherever and whenever we can find it.  This is a recipe for our perfectionist part to step forward and take control, driving us mercilessly to do more and better, striving for an ideal that does not exist.  Ultimately, this is a recipe for failure, disappointment, anxiety, depression or worse.  It wasn’t until I learned that as a spiritual being having a human experience that I am limited and flawed that acceptance began to flow in.  This realization did not mean that I stopped striving to grow, do better and be a less judgmental human.  It did mean that I had to reign in my perfectionist part and redefine my goals and ideals.

When acceptance began to flow for my limitations and mistakes, along with it came relief.  I could stop setting myself up for failure and begin to release my grip on unrealistic expectations, not only for myself but of others.  It opened the door to see and accept the limitations of others as a natural and universal aspect of being human.  It also loosened the grip of the need to control, which calmed my overly developed responsible part, creating space for the capacity to simply be.

Part of my journey towards acceptance included work through psychotherapy that encouraged me to confront the chaos of my childhood and the traumatizing effects it had on all parts of me.  I learned that perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels a primary thought that if I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.  Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.  Shame says ‘I am bad’ versus the feeling of guilt, which says ‘I did something bad’.

Having a compassionate witness, my psychotherapist, guide me along the sometimes slow and painful path back to wholeness, was mission critical for my healing.  I came to learn that as children living through adverse experiences we adapt by turning against ourselves, which distorts our sense of self.  We develop self-hatred as an adaptive response to protect our parents, which plants the seed that will grow the perfectionist part and set us on the path to work to improve our ‘bad’ self.

As I write this, my intention is not to blame, pass judgment on or shame parents.  I am in a space of understanding and acceptance that humans do the best they can with what they know in the moment.  However, the child goes through an unconscious development process that suggests:  which is safer, for the child to believe that their parents are bad and they don’t love you or that they are incompetent and the world is not safe OR for the child to believe that there is something wrong with them, that they are not good enough or have something to be ashamed of?  When we can understand that the fear of the loss of the attachment to our parents creates unendurable pain, then we can understand it is safer to turn on ourselves, because it leaves room for hope.  Hope that if we work hard enough, we can change that bad part of ourselves and become lovable.  This process creates the belief that if I can be good enough, I’ll be loved and belong.

What current research is offering is an approach to undoing the damage of this natural adaptive developmental process that is effective and embraced by people who suffer from shame.  It is compassion-focused therapy.  What is being demonstrated is that compassion is an essential capacity for growth, both inside and out.  It is why I integrate a self-compassion assessment and meditation into my healing offering through talk therapy and offer a recording (here) for download for ongoing support.  Having and truly offering compassion in therapy honors the experience of universal human suffering and now research is creating the evidence needed for compassion focused therapy to be embraced by the psychotherapy community.

To read more about where the research on compassion focused therapy currently stands, click the button below:

Virtual Reiki-infused sound healing and meditation class!

This online group gathering will be conducted using Zoom’s video conferencing, which provides an option to turn off the your audio/video at any time, supporting privacy and facilitating a reduction in distractions.  For first-time attendees, signed release of liability/waiver forms will be needed.  Once these forms have been received, along with payment via PayPal, an email will be sent to you with the link and meeting ID to join the class.  We look forward to being of service to you!

Virtual Community Gathering Practice Tips

We understand that this is not the ideal way to come together to practice and how sometimes just the thought of more technology might bring shivers down our spines.  Accepting that it’s OK to feel intimidated is the first step. We are doing our best to make the connection simple and easy.  Harnessing the warrior energy within will help you to face any tech fears you might have and join us!

Once you let us know that you are interested in attending, we will send you an email that will include details around what is needed from you, including:

  • Signed Releases/Waivers of Liability forms (one time, for new students only)
  • PayPal information to facilitate payment
  • Checking your email for the Zoom link to join the class
  • A few minutes before the class, simply clicking the link within the email to be sent straight to our meeting room

To facilitate the benefits of such a virtual community practice at home, below we have provided some helpful hints:

  • Set up your mats at least 3 giant steps from your device.
  • Elevate your device 21-24″ from the floor and have it tilted forward slightly.
  • Have your props nearby.
  • Although not required, having a headset or ear buds to listen when the singing bowls are playing may enhance your listening pleasure.
  • Please know you will not need to have your audio/video camera on during the practice.  If you would prefer to reduce the number of distractions or increase the sense of privacy, we invite you to turn off your audio and video once the class starts.

Restorative Yoga Tips and Props

On the day of the class, here are some additional recommendations to create a more sacred space in advance for your practice:

  • Make sure you’ll be in a space where there won’t be any background noises, distractions or interruptions.
  • Adjusting the lighting in the room to your liking, perhaps turning off any overhead lighting and minimizing outdoor light and instead turning on a room lamp or lighting your favorite candle(s).
  • Wear warm, comfortable clothing including socks.
  • If available, bringing your favorite deck of intention cards and essential oil to your mat.
  • Placing your props (see below) to the side of your mat so they are within an easy reach during the class.

 In home prop ideas:

  • Bolster:  couch cushions or a tightly rolled comforter, towel, or blanket (can be secured with 2 ties, scarfs or belts)
  • Pillows:  couch, chair or bed pillows will do
  • Blankets:  your favorite blanket to cover yourself and either 2 additional blankets or bath or beach towels (no sheets)
  • Yoga blocks: books, either paper back or hard cover, stacked
  • Eye pillow:  hand towel, tie or scarf

Virtual Reiki-infused sound healing and meditation class!

This online group gathering will be conducted using Zoom’s video conferencing, which provides an option to turn off the your audio/video at any time, supporting privacy and facilitating a reduction in distractions.  For first-time attendees, signed release of liability/waiver forms will be needed.  Once these forms have been received, along with payment via PayPal, an email will be sent to you with the link and meeting ID to join the class.  We look forward to being of service to you!

Virtual Community Gathering Practice Tips

We understand that this is not the ideal way to come together to practice and how sometimes just the thought of more technology might bring shivers down our spines.  Accepting that it’s OK to feel intimidated is the first step. We are doing our best to make the connection simple and easy.  Harnessing the warrior energy within will help you to face any tech fears you might have and join us!

Once you let us know that you are interested in attending, we will send you an email that will include details around what is needed from you, including:

  • Signed Releases/Waivers of Liability forms (one time, for new students only)
  • PayPal information to facilitate payment
  • Checking your email for the Zoom link to join the class
  • A few minutes before the class, simply clicking the link within the email to be sent straight to our meeting room

To facilitate the benefits of such a virtual community practice at home, below we have provided some helpful hints:

  • Set up your mats at least 3 giant steps from your device.
  • Elevate your device 21-24″ from the floor and have it tilted forward slightly.
  • Have your props nearby.
  • Although not required, having a headset or ear buds to listen when the singing bowls are playing may enhance your listening pleasure.
  • Please know you will not need to have your audio/video camera on during the practice.  If you would prefer to reduce the number of distractions or increase the sense of privacy, we invite you to turn off your audio and video once the class starts.

Restorative Yoga Tips and Props

On the day of the class, here are some additional recommendations to create a more sacred space in advance for your practice:

  • Make sure you’ll be in a space where there won’t be any background noises, distractions or interruptions.
  • Adjusting the lighting in the room to your liking, perhaps turning off any overhead lighting and minimizing outdoor light and instead turning on a room lamp or lighting your favorite candle(s).
  • Wear warm, comfortable clothing including socks.
  • If available, bringing your favorite deck of intention cards and essential oil to your mat.
  • Placing your props (see below) to the side of your mat so they are within an easy reach during the class.

 In home prop ideas:

  • Bolster:  couch cushions or a tightly rolled comforter, towel, or blanket (can be secured with 2 ties, scarfs or belts)
  • Pillows:  couch, chair or bed pillows will do
  • Blankets:  your favorite blanket to cover yourself and either 2 additional blankets or bath or beach towels (no sheets)
  • Yoga blocks: books, either paper back or hard cover, stacked
  • Eye pillow:  hand towel, tie or scarf

Can yoga – and all of its contemplative practices – contribute to a healthier cognitive aging process?

My husband and I try to remember to laugh when we walk into a room and then have to stand there for a few minutes because we realize we forgot why we were heading there in the first place.  And I think a sense of humor is critical in many circumstances, so applying it to myself as I age is putting a value into action!  However, instead of accepting the gradual decline in the neural circuitry of the brain as we age, what if you were to learn that there was a simple way to preserve the connectivity in our brains that contributes to overall health?  Would you be willing to try it?

Well, with the assistance of brain imaging, research studies can see the impact of contemplative – or attentional – practices on very specific areas of the brain, which opens the door to more rigorous studies that shed light on how such practices can support a healthier cognitive aging process.  These brain imaging techniques have shown that there are changes in the functional connectivity of our neural networks as we age.  Now the idea of ‘before and after’ imaging can be applied more broadly in research, beyond the studies that focus on prescription medications.

My experience when I am able to give something my full attention is one in which the memory of the moment is so much richer and stronger, whether it is a conversation with someone or simply sitting outside in nature.  I find that I can more easily recall the details of the experience when reflecting on it, almost as though I am experiencing it again in all of its colors and textures.  So if there is something I can do to help support the health of my ability to maintain my attention, I say ‘sign me up!’

Recent data from studies looking specifically at yoga and other contemplative practices such as meditation suggest that such practices may revert, at least in some part, the effects of aging on the functional connectivity in the brain.  The intention of the research is to look at how using the body and breath as the focus of contemplation helps to preserve cognition and the neural connectivity of those brain areas that typically decline with age.  When we hold the body in one of the shapes of a yoga practice, and bring the mind’s awareness to focus on the experience of the breath in that shape, it supports the parts of the brain that support cognition and brain connectivity.  Sounds pretty good to me for simply moving the body and breathing with intention and attention!

If you are so inclined to read more about the details of a recent research study looking how yoga and other contemplative practices impact specific parts of the brain involved in maintaining a healthier cognitive aging process, click the link below:

5 Intention-setting Ideas to Move Through Depression

National Depression Education & Awareness Month!

As we move into the 8th month of learning to live with the Covid-19 virus, many of us continue to struggle with symptoms of depression emanating from the physical distancing and the many other losses we have experienced, including amongst others the loss of loved ones, loss of employment, inability to be with loved ones when they are sick or in the hospital, inability to give and receive hugs, and the changes to regular pleasurable activities that might have included going to the movies or taking an in-person yoga class with our favorite teacher.

There are many positives that are occurring during this time too, yet it can be difficult to focus on them when caught in the throws of depression.  As my husband has been known to say “Not every day can be a home run”, it’s when more days than not that we feel like we struck out that becomes concerning.

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, “Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S.” There is no one cause for depression, yet it often stems from family history, major life changes, trauma, and/or stress, biological or other environmental factors.  It impacts all people, regardless of age, race, ethnicity or gender, although prevalence rates are highest amongst adults identifying as two or more races.

Depression is typically treated with a combination of psychotherapy, medication and brain stimulation therapies.

Below I provide intention-setting ideas that might prove helpful to you or your loved ones when moving through depression:

  1. Breathe.  Try Breath of Joy each morning.  Standing with your feet a little wider than your hips, arms by your side to start.  Take a 3-part inhale, raising both arms out in front of you on the first part of the inhale, moving both arms out to the sides at heart level on the second part of the inhale, and raising both arms to the sky on the third part of the inhale (YES, like you are conducting an orchestra), and then, as you exhale open your mouth, make a loud sighing out noise, as you swing your arms down along the sides of the body, fold the body over towards the ground while bending your knees.  Repeat these steps while taking 3-5 more breaths.  Afterwards, come back to standing with your arms along your sides, drawing your awareness to your hands, becoming aware of any sensations that might be present, while allowing your breath to return to a natural rhythm.  Sense into how you can feel your energy moving!
  2. Set One Daily Goal.  Make one goal that is especially meaningful to you.  Start out small, knowing you can grow it if and when you are ready.  Perhaps it is to make your favorite cup of tea in the morning and allow yourself 15 minutes (or more) to simply sit and enjoy drinking it.  Or perhaps it is to use your mala or prayer beads to allow yourself to sit for 5-10 minutes saying your prayers first thing in the morning or the last thing before bed.  Or it might be to read your favorite book or read the book that you have been meaning to read, but haven’t gotten to.  And, the most important part is to give yourself a pat on the back when you accomplish your goad and NOT beat yourself up when you don’t.  Be kind to yourself and simply set the goal again for the next day.  Maybe the goal changes to simply be kind to myself!
  3. Be active.  Exercise not only moves our body but also moves our e-motions (energy in motion).  So, although it may be difficult or even feel impossible on some days to get up and move, moving helps!  Walking as little as 15 minutes a day can help shift our energy and release some of the weight of depression.  Gentle yoga is perhaps another option to try and, thanks to the pandemic, you don’t even need to leave the house to attend a virtual class.
  4. Reach out.  The symptoms of depression tend to encourage us to withdraw and stay isolated, thinking that we don’t want to burden others with what we are going through.  However, being with others helps us feel better and is one of the best coping strategies for moving through depression.  And we don’t always have to put on our “happy mask” either.  When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and share our experiences, often we discover we are not alone in our challenges and, through sharing, we validate not only our experiences but the experiences of others.  Humans were designed to feel good when helping others, so allow others to help by listening to us when we are not having one of those “home run” kind of days.
  5. Gratitude journaling.  Practicing gratitude has been shown to increase our sense of peace and happiness.  Again, when trying to identify what you might be grateful for, think small.  This is another practice that will begin to grow as you continue to practice it.  Some of the most mundane, routine things might begin to look and feel differently when sprinkled with gratitude.  My most favorite items to add to my journal are:  running hot water, a bed to sleep in, a roof over my head, and my furbabies who love me no matter what!  I’d love to hear back from you what some of your favorites might be!

As always, if you try any of these intention-setting ideas for holistic health, I would love to hear about the impact they might have had for you.  Please send me an email at linda@sanctuary4compassion.com to share!

Might transcranial direct current stimulation (aka direct neurofeedback) be an additional tool to reduce symptoms of depression as a result of the impact of the pandemic?

If there is one silver lining to this pandemic it is the blossoming realization and acceptance of the fact that people need people!  It is shining a light on the cultural ideal of independence and reflecting the shadow side of such an ideal.  Human beings were designed to be interdependent, using relationships within their tribes and communities to grow and thrive.  If independence was truly the healthy ideal, why aren’t more people thriving during this pandemic?

Use this time to reflect on the lessons being brought forward to us.  If we embrace the fact that we need each other – and that it makes us feel good to help each other – than perhaps we can learn to be at ease with asking for help and support when we need it, knowing it will deepen our connections with others and make others feel good about themselves.  What brings hope during these unexpected – and let’s just own it – scary times is collaboration and comradery.  Knowing we are not alone – in our experiences, thoughts, and emotions – and that if we just have the courage to reach out, we will find relief.

Action is actually an antidote to fear.  So, although the mind says withdraw, let the body lean in and reach out a hand – to call a friend, to pet an animal, to throw and catch a ball with a child and best of all to give and receive a hug with a loved one.  You might even try your hand at writing, perhaps a letter or poem, to someone you care about and are unable to see in person at this time.  Letting them know you are thinking about them and care about them might forever change their world in that immediate moment.

All of these acts of connection soothe the mind’s sense of disconnection.  As neuroscience is demonstrating, our brains are wired for connection and, when we begin to experience disconnection, symptoms like depression start to develop.  And the current pandemic conditions are only exacerbating any pre-existing sense of disconnection.  Therefore, we need more tools that support the brain’s innate ability to reorganize towards health, beyond medications that bring so many unwanted side-effects.  We need tools that reduce the fear signals in the brain so that action becomes more of an option when depressive symptoms loom.

Well, such a tool exists and a recent systematic review and meta-analysis of the research reflects that this tool is effective in the treatment of depression.  Prior to this review, the results were mixed.  However, now enough randomized clinical trials have been conducted and the cumulative data reflect that direct neurofeedback has achieved superior response and remission rates, warranting further large-scale clinical trials!

This information is vital as we continue to move through this pandemic and beyond.  The lasting effects of the physical distancing required for our immediate physical health are still unknown at this time, yet history informs us that the psychological wounds may be deep.  Acknowledging that symptoms of depression may be arising, whether within our own experience or witnessing it in others, helps to anticipate support might be needed along the healing path.  Knowing about the treatment options facilitates choice throughout the journey.

To read more about this research click on the link below:

Virtual Reiki-infused sound healing and meditation class!

This online group gathering will be conducted using Zoom’s video conferencing, which provides an option to turn off the your audio/video at any time, supporting privacy and facilitating a reduction in distractions.  For first-time attendees, signed release of liability/waiver forms will be needed.  Once these forms have been received, along with payment via PayPal, an email will be sent to you with the link and meeting ID to join the class.  We look forward to being of service to you!

 

Virtual Community Gathering Practice Tips

We understand that this is not the ideal way to come together to practice and how sometimes just the thought of more technology might bring shivers down our spines.  Accepting that it’s OK to feel intimidated is the first step. We are doing our best to make the connection simple and easy.  Harnessing the warrior energy within will help you to face any tech fears you might have and join us!

Once you let us know that you are interested in attending, we will send you an email that will include details around what is needed from you, including:

  • Signed Releases/Waivers of Liability forms (one time, for new students only)
  • PayPal information to facilitate payment
  • Checking your email for the Zoom link to join the class
  • A few minutes before the class, simply clicking the link within the email to be sent straight to our meeting room

To facilitate the benefits of such a virtual community practice at home, below we have provided some helpful hints:

  • Set up your mats at least 3 giant steps from your device.
  • Elevate your device 21-24″ from the floor and have it tilted forward slightly.
  • Have your props nearby.
  • Although not required, having a headset or ear buds to listen when the singing bowls are playing may enhance your listening pleasure.
  • Please know you will not need to have your audio/video camera on during the practice.  If you would prefer to reduce the number of distractions or increase the sense of privacy, we invite you to turn off your audio and video once the class starts.

Restorative Yoga Tips and Props

On the day of the class, here are some additional recommendations to create a more sacred space in advance for your practice:

  • Make sure you’ll be in a space where there won’t be any background noises, distractions or interruptions.
  • Adjusting the lighting in the room to your liking, perhaps turning off any overhead lighting and minimizing outdoor light and instead turning on a room lamp or lighting your favorite candle(s).
  • Wear warm, comfortable clothing including socks.
  • If available, bringing your favorite deck of intention cards and essential oil to your mat.
  • Placing your props (see below) to the side of your mat so they are within an easy reach during the class.

 In home prop ideas:

  • Bolster:  couch cushions or a tightly rolled comforter, towel, or blanket (can be secured with 2 ties, scarfs or belts)
  • Pillows:  couch, chair or bed pillows will do
  • Blankets:  your favorite blanket to cover yourself and either 2 additional blankets or bath or beach towels (no sheets)
  • Yoga blocks: books, either paper back or hard cover, stacked
  • Eye pillow:  hand towel, tie or scarf

5 Intention-setting Ideas to Destigmatize Mental Health Challenges

Psychotherapy Day – September 25th

It might appear as an act of self-promotion, yet my intention is to share research, wherever and whenever possible, so everyone might move forward making more informed decisions when it comes to their own health, mind, body and spirit!

Psychotherapy works, especially when there is a genuine connection and deep understanding of the root causes to health challenges.  And that deep understanding grows from the knowledge that it is not what is wrong with you, but what happened to you!

As I share again in this month’s Blog (see below), the research is unequivocal when showing the link between what happened to us (mental health) and the leading causes of morbidity and mortality (physical health).  So, if we truly want to have a healthier world, we need to start with a focus on the mind and, if we do, the body will follow.  This focus on the mind – and what traumatizes it – is the only way to break the transgenerational transmission of what ails the world.

Below I provide intention-settings idea to start to destigmatize mental health challenges to help shift the collective healthcare mindset from treating the long-term physical effects of trauma to prevention by inviting in more nurturing, compassion, understanding, belonging and acceptance into our lives:

  1. TALK about Mental Health.  Do you remember the last time a conflict was resolved by silence?  Neither do I!  The only way to truly bring about collaboration and community is to talk things out.  The act of talking takes courage and strength as it also requires us to listen deeply and with curiosity.  Our minds want to make sense of the world, even when experiences may not be logical – we are meaning making vibrational beings.  And often what makes the vibrations uncomfortable are the emotions of relationships.  Human beings are wired for connection to others, as the pandemic has so clearly laid bare for us to feel.  It is only when we can hold our relational emotions alongside of the rational thoughts that meaning mine opens wide for us to look into for the gold.  Sometimes this is impossible to do without the support of another, who can welcome and hold the emotions with us, making space for the light.  So it is my hope that all of us can set an intention to talk openly about our mental health, without shame, to remind us that we are not alone in our struggles.
  2. WRITE/BLOG about Mental Health.  For those that are active on social media, I encourage you to set an intention to write or blog (or even vlog) about a small piece of your story, remembering that it is what happened to you, so you may begin to shine the light on any shame that you might be carrying.  I like to compare shame as Toxic Mold that grows and thrives (and slowly kills) in the dark.  If the light can reach it, it dies.  When writing/sharing our stories, we are opening a window to let the light shine in and let the shame out.  Remember the shame is not yours and no longer needs to be carried!
  3. Volunteer for Mental Health. If you always felt a heart tug to volunteer, yet haven’t found the “just right” organization or cause, perhaps consider mental health.  As a starting point, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness or Mental Health America websites for more information.  Support is needed in all walks of life and all stages of life.
  4. Donate for Mental Health.  If you find that you don’t have the time to volunteer right now, perhaps you might consider a financial donation.  You might even look into whether or not your company might match your donation, as many organizations have such programs.  Any energy expended with intention creates ripples in the universe far beyond what the human eye can see or mind can know, so every little bit counts!
  5. Read/Share Research on Mental Health.  And last but certainly not least (and my favorite!) is read the research!  And, after reading it, share it!!  Remember the old Faberge Organics Shampoo commercial with Heather Locklear where she shared her experience with two friends . . . who shared it with two friends . . . etc., perhaps we can replicate that today by sharing something vitally important to the health of the world. It is this intention that might have the greatest impact on cutting short the public mental health crisis we have been challenged by for so many years.  The research is crystal clear – work with the mind first to prevent diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and cancer.

As always, if you try any of these intention-setting ideas for holistic health, I would love to hear about the impact they might have had for you.  Please send me an email at linda@sanctuary4compassion.com to share!