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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 with self-care mastery. It is for all medical patients, caregivers, and advocates who want to learn how to collaborate with physicians to optimize health. It is also for those living with a debilitating medical condition who want to learn about the power of the mind to effect physiological changes, including ideas and practices that allow the mind to be the catalyst for healing.

I post to this blog three times per week. Monday posts are relevant published articles. Wednesday posts are videos of webinars or interviews. Friday posts consist of questions about living better with chronic health challenges, and my answers to them.

Here is this week’s question:

THIS WEEK’S QUESTION:  In your book you describe many different “practices” to improve mastery and wellbeing. If I wanted to focus on just three of them, which would you consider the absolute most important ones?

ANSWER:   In the research on wellbeing, the three that top the list are the following:

The first is commonly referred to as Connectedness, which relates to having healthy relationships with other people and cultivation of existing and new relationships. This category would also include working on improving communication within our closest relationships—friends and family.

The second would be Contributing to the World by Helping Others. However, the best and most respectful way to help others is to help them identify their own personal values and to support them in behaving in ways that are in harmony with those self-identified values. In other words, don’t be like a missionary, pushing your own religious values on them—entire cultures have been destroyed by well-meaning people who believed that their particular religious values were superior to the indigenous culture’s native values.

The third would be Personal Growth. Personal growth can come from good psychotherapy or from any number of challenging endeavors that increase psychological flexibility. Personal growth is life-long and it is hard work. It consists of skill-building practices. For example, two such practices are connectedness and contributing to the world by helping others. A third skill-building practice is mindfulness meditation, which is described at length in my book.

This website is offered as a free public service, supplying information that has been found helpful to certain people living with chronic health challenges. 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 how to live better with chronic health challenges that are related to the relationship between states of mind and health?

Just scroll down and type your question in the comment box below. I will post a reply to your comment, but your specific question may not appear in this column. When I get a certain number of related questions, I pick one that covers them all and I answer that one.

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