Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

This question & answer column is for people living with chronic health challenges and their family caregivers, who want to learn to increase the odds of improving their health by learning to live with mastery & wellbeing.

I invite you to post your questions in the comments box below. When I get a certain number of related questions, I pick one that covers them all and I answer that one.

I post to this blog three times per week. Monday posts are relevant published articles. Wednesday posts are interviews—mostly video. 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:  Many people are fully aware that a certain behavior is not in harmony with their personal life values. The problem is that the longer they have practiced that non-valued behavior, the harder it is to change it. They found that mindfulness practice helped them develop self-awareness of the undesired behavior, but they wanted to know what more they could do to actually take on the behavior they so admired in that other person.

ANSWER:   A really fun and easy way to start learning a new, desired behavior that is more in harmony with your personal life values is to find someone who clearly behaves in the way you want to behave yourself. It could be someone you regularly watch on TV. That works well because you can continually observe that person every week on a regular basis. It could be a fictional character or someone you know in real life.

Once you get a clear image in your mind of that person acting in the desired way, the next step is to pretend to actually be that person. Adopt the walk, the talk, the body language—how that individual gesticulates. Spend an hour at some point every day pretending to be that person. Go shopping or to a café as that person. Pay close attention to how you feel while acting as that person. If you are able to really embody that individual in the way an actor embodies the character he or she is playing, you will immediately feel the way you want to feel.

However, it will require a lot of practice for it to carry over to when you are not pretending to be that person. Several very well known actors have found that this techniques does eventually carry over if they practice it. It will work for you as long as you practice the desired behavior; soon, you will be able to adopt that behavior as yourself and will no longer need to pretend to be someone else.

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. I will post a reply to your comment, but your question may not appear in this column.