Chronically Cheerful #9: Mind body magic.
The mind body connection, body acceptance, and social media boundaries.
For years, living in chronic pain had me stuck in a cycle of guilt and shame. I thought I wasn’t “doing enough” to get well or take good enough care of myself. I hyper-focused on my pain in an effort to control it — which ultimately made me worse.
Over time, I realized that as my thoughts and feelings about my chronic pain intensified, so did the pain itself. I learned the hard way that the way we think about and relate to pain can directly impact how we feel physically.
I began to use mindset techniques to shift my mindset and process difficult emotions, as well as bodywork, body-based strategies that could calm down my nervous system and return my brain to a more healthy, resilient state. I was surprised at how much physical change is possible by altering one’s mental state, and vice versa.
The results have been astounding: I would have never guessed the incredible progress that I would make by taking a mind-body approach. You can read more about my journey to use a mind-body approach to improve my chronic migraine in Healthgrades.
My own journey has made me passionate about a mind-body approach to wellness — and I believe anyone can benefit from learning more about how to change their thoughts and partner with their nervous system to unlock healing.
That’s why two weeks of my upcoming course are dedicated to the mind-body connection and mindset strategies.
Until Oct. 15, I’m offering a 20% discount off signups with the code EARLYBIRD — the course is already half full and enrollment ends Oct. 31. Don’t miss out!!
Curious to learn more? Want to share your own mind-body experience! Hit reply!
Yours in healing,
There’s been a lot of recent news about how social media can impact our health. It’s undeniable that scrolling your feed can have negative impacts. But there are ways to make social media work for you, not against you.
As someone who gets immense joy, support and solace from my daily Instagram use, I wanted to offer tips for making your digital space healthier and happier.
📲 Create a Finsta. Creating a designated “fake” Instagram account can give you the freedom to cultivate a space specifically dedicated to inspiration, education or whatever lights you up. Personally, I love logging into my Chronically Cheerful account — it’s a digital haven. I’m confident I’ll be served uplifting content, beautiful artwork and motivational messages because I continually “clean up” my feed. Having a digital following different from the people you know IRL can be great for staving off the comparisonitis that so easily creeps into social media.
👀 Control what you see. If a Finsta feels like too much work or is too big of a leap, you can take steps to control what you see on your regular account. You can hide content from certain accounts so that the person doesn’t know you’re not seeing their content. You can also turn off the “like” count to remove a lot of that performance related anxiety and fear of judgement that comes with posting.
🙅♂️ Avoid potential threats or triggers. A Hidden Words filter allows you to specify words, phrases or emojis you find offensive so you don’t have to see potentially abusive comments or DM requests. Also, a new tool called Limits allows you to hide comments and DMs from people who don’t follow you, or who recently started following you.
👋 Take a break. If you notice yourself feeling anxious, insecure or depressed when you log online, it might be time to set stronger boundaries or to take a designated break from your apps. Whether you want to simply set a limit on your social media usage through your Screen Time setting (iPhone) or actually delete your account for a period of time, taking intentional time away can help you reset and reflect. Many people return to social media after a break with more purpose and intention for how they want to mindfully use any apps.
For many people, the “COVID 15” effect is real — as are all the ads, promotions and articles explaining why someone needs to lose that weight ASAP.
The last thing you need in the midst of a deadly pandemic is to feel shame about nourishing yourself to stay alive.
So if you’ve been struggling with body image, I want to offer a more compassionate perspective from this thoughtful article on body image and fatphobia:
Anything you needed to do to survive was ‘good for your health.’
The article explains that when trauma writes itself onto our bodies, like through gray hairs or more headaches, we mostly respond by trying to fix these changes. But we don’t blame ourselves for most of these changes, except for weight gain.
When trauma underlies fatness, we see the fat body as proof that someone has not coped “well” with their trauma; that they carry unresolved issues; that they have resorted to food and a disregard for self-care because they lack other coping skills.
“If we were neutral about food and body size, then it would be like, okay, bring all the croissants and have as many as you want to comfort yourself and try to get through this really horrific time,” says Rachel Millner, PsyD, a psychologist who specializes in eating disorders in Newtown, Pennsylvania, and my guest on this Thursday’s audio newsletter. “Instead, we hold up some coping mechanisms as valuable, and vilify others, without seeing their wisdom.”
The author also notes that making a project of weight loss, right now, is unlikely to heal the collective trauma we’re all experiencing, or resolve any of our individual pandemic breaking points.
So please, be kind to yourself. You are coping through this pandemic as best as you can. Remember: weight gain is not a moral failure and weight loss is not a virtue.