Tag Archives: chronicpain

Catastrophizing: Why is it ALWAYS so bad?

Last week on @LoveinActionTV on the Periscope app my sister and I talked about PTSD.  Closely linked to PTSD is catastrophizing.  These two are similar to the chicken and egg theory.  Many catastrophizers experience PTSD and many people with PTSD are catastrophizers.  So what is catastrophizing anyway?

Catastrophizing is thinking something is much worse than it actually is.  Guilty as charged.  We all do it but some people get stuck in a catastrophic wheel unable to pull the breaks, stop, and get off, which tailspins catching a multitude of other problems along the way such as:

  • Poor interpersonal relationships
  • Missed opportunities and underachievement
  • Hopelessness
  • Irrational thought patterns
  • Constant pity parties and disappointment
  • Chronic or uncontrollable pain
  • Anxiety, depression, negative mood
  • Illness
  • Suicidal ideation

I see this situation all the time in my practice as a physical therapist.  When treating acute or chronic pain, the person’s outlook on their ability to improve, heal, and move on speaks more to their prognosis than the actual diagnosis.  Those who constantly think about the situation, depend on others to give them answers, and allow one injury to segue to multiple tend to have poor outcomes no matter how simple the medical and PT diagnosis may be.

These problems can be classified into three major categories, which identifies those exhibiting catastrophizing behaviors about a situation or the future:

  • Magnification: Having fear that a situation will worsen
  • Rumination: Unable to stop thinking about the situation
  • Helplessness: The feeling that you have no power to change or improve the situation

Simple techniques get out of catastrophizing:

  • You become aware that you’re doing it!
  • Fake it. Visualize the best possible outcome and begin to act, talk, and be the reflection of greatness.
  • Take charge. Be an advocate for yourself, empower yourself as your ultimate healer.
  • Draw a line between catastrophe and something very unfortunate that you can deal with.
  • Meditate, breathe, and pray. This will increase your ability to cope with negative situations.

References

Boyls A.  What is Catastrophizing?-Cognitive Distortions  www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-practice/201301/what-is-catastrophizing-cognitive-distortions

Grohol JM.  What is Catastrophizing?  https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-catastrophizing/

Quartana PJ, Claudia MC, Edwards, RR.  Pain catastrophizing:  a critical review.  Expert Rev Neurother.  2009 May; 9(5): 745-758. Doi:10.1586/ERN.09.34

**Catch Teaching & Talking with the Twins every Friday night on the Periscope app @LoveinActionTV!**

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5 Things Everyone Can Do NOW To Be Happy and Healthy

5 Things EVERYONE…despite disease, disability, and pain…can safely do NOW to create a happier, healthier life.  No need to wait until after Christmas or the New Year.  Let’s make some positive changes!

  • Eat healthy
  • Bike or swim
  • Yoga and breath practice
  • Meditate and pray
  • Create and help others

Eat healthy:  Many of you will skip this explanation because you’ve heard in a thousand times.  I hate to beat a dead horse but seriously…eat the produce aisle.

Bike or swim:  I don’t care what physical deficits or injury you may have.  One of these two will work.  In severe cases (those with para or quadriplegia or wheelchair bound) assistance may be required and the pool may be the only option.  The benefits of elevating the heartrate are phenomenal for hormonal balance, happiness, heart and lung health, and a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

Yoga and breath practice:  If yoga is too difficult, begin with breath practice.  If you are conscious and breathing, you can perform breath practice.  Research beginners breath practice, slow steady breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, or breath awareness practices.  Breath practice is a standalone practice or a great addition to a yoga practice.

Meditate and pray:  Again, if you are conscious and breathing, you can meditate and pray.  Incorporate this into your daily life.  A little bit of research on the internet or iTunes will get you plenty of free resources to use.

Create and help othersThis is the most important of the five. We must perform work to complete our human task.  It’s essential to health and wellness.  Holding a formal job is not necessary.  Each week commit a minimum of 1-2 days focusing on giving back.  Giving back creates an environment of enablement as oppose to the tangled forest of a disablement, disease, and dysfunction.  Your work can be in the form of a blogging, letter writing, and any kind of art creations to give away or sell, volunteering anywhere, or making phone calls to relatives that need social interaction.

Your schedule may look something like this:

Monday:  Bike or swim 10-20 minutes.  Eat Healthy

Tuesday:  Create for others (your work), meditate.  Eat Healthy

Wednesday:  Bike or swim 10-20 minutes

Thursday:  Meditate or breath practice.  Eat Healthy

Friday:  Yoga, create for others.  Eat Healthy

Saturday:  Have fun

Sunday:  Have fun

Mindful Genetic Control

genes-blog-pic

Bruce Lipton is a stem cell biologist and author of The Biology of Belief.  Through his research and publications, he explains the power our thoughts have to control our genetic expression.  This means we are not a victim to our genetic inheritance, we actually have the ability to control it through our perception.  I heard an interview with Bruce on the radio and was immediately intrigued because I’ve never heard the science, and specifically the cell biology behind the energy and power in our thoughts.  As a practitioner in the medical field with a strong interest in metaphysics, it was relieving to hear a scientifically sound explanation supporting the power of belief! I wanted to share some his key points taken from his blog.  All of Bruce Lipton’s blogs can be found at https://www.brucelipton.com/blog.

Our assumption that DNA controls cellular function has been proven untrue.  The truth, he proposes, is that DNA function and expression is reactive and controlled by the cellular environment.  He relates this to an experiment he did with stem cells.  He cloned a single stem cell and ended with many cells genetically the same.  He divided the cells into three petri dishes with three varying mediums or environments.  The cells became either muscle, fat, or bone based on the environment, not based on their genetics because, as he said, the cells were genetically identical.

Whaatt??!!

The cell’s perception of the environment opens protein-gated channels in the membrane that then cause our DNA to turn genes on or off.  So really it’s all about perception.  Perception is influenced by the level of stress.  Our genetic expression is written and rewritten based on perception causing a biological reaction to the environment.  Keep in mind that a perception is not always true.  Biological reactions come in two forms:  growth and protection.  If the environment is perceived as nutritional, growth genes are activated, if it is perceived as harmful, protection genes are activated.    When growth is activated, our immune system is fully functional, and we are ready to heal and grow; however, when protection is activated energy conservation is kicked in by supressing the immune system and shunting blood away from vital organs into the extremities, this is “fight or flight.”  The cellular goal of fight or flight is to utilize the least amount of energy to reflexively keep the body alive…no time for healing, no time for cognizant thought or memory…just survive.  Survival does not allude to any type of replenishment, pleasure, or enjoyment.  With blood being shunted away from our vital organs and the immune system supressed, it is clear how this creates an opportunistic breeding ground for disease and cancer.

Davidji, meditation guru and Hay House author, reminds us that the breath initiates the fight or flight response.  Rapid breathing sets off this autonomic response but slow steady breathing has the power to reverse it.  How easy!  A couple of slow deep breaths amidst a stressful situation will help to keep our blood chemistry primed for growth, health, and love.

Bruce Lipton also speaks to the power of quantum physics where the focus is on the unmanifest, or in other words, energy.  Energy is the only true primal essence.  Energy is the building block of the manifest.  Quantumbiology is a new science attempting to harness the energetic power held in our consciousness.  Thoughts (energy) control blood chemistry, which affects DNA expression.  Love produces a blood chemistry conducive to growth and fear a chemistry conducive to death.