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Chronic Illness Q&A with Dr. B.

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

The purpose of this blog and the entire website is to provide evidence-based information on how to live a vibrant, meaningful life while living with chronic health challenges or other life challenges.

I post to this blog three times per week. Monday posts are evidence-based published articles on mindfulness research and mindfulness-based practices, especially as they relate to health. Wednesday posts are videos of my presentations or interviews. Friday posts consist of Q&A related to living a meaningful, values-based life, regardless of the nature of your particular life challenges.

Here is this week’s question:

THIS WEEK’S QUESTION:  Many people have told me that they don’t have the time or interest to adopt all the various evidence-based practices recommended in my book and classes. They want to know which one or two practices I would recommend as the most essential.

ANSWER:   The single practice that is clearly the most foundational to all the other practices is mindfulness—both a formal mindfulness meditation practice as well as the informal application of mindfulness to every daily activity.

Application of mindfulness to daily activities is not grueling drudgery. In fact, one way to be more mindful during pleasant activities is to consciously savor what you find pleasant. This is not the same as grasping what is pleasant and suppressing what is not. Rather, it is the intentional savoring of what you find pleasant.

Unpleasant activities can be enhanced by tuning in to the sensations of breathing while engaged in the activity. That method is also effective for dealing with unpleasant thoughts, emotions, and sensations. Unpleasant activities can also be enhanced by thinking of how that activity or chore is in harmony with one of your personal life values.

It is much easier to practice self-acceptance, authenticity, openheartedness, and curiosity when you are fully aware (mindful) of your immediate, moment-to-moment inner subjective experience. You can only start from where we are and not knowing where you are is likely to result in ending up somewhere other than where you want to be.

This website is offered as a free public service, supplying information that has been found helpful to certain people living with chronic health challenges or issues related to wellbeing. No treatment is offered on this website. The advice is general, and may or may not apply to your individual situation, and is not a substitute for psychotherapy or medical treatment.

What questions do you have about living a life of mastery or about the relationship between the mind and health or wellbeing?

Just scroll down and type your question in the comment box below. Your specific question may not appear in this column. The reason for that is I wait until I get a certain number of related questions, then I pick one that covers them all and I answer that one. People in my classes and presentations asked most of the questions appearing in this column.

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