Healthy Concepts
Judith Rogers, L.C.S.W.

Judith Rogers, L.C.S.W.

Judy Rogers, M.S., L.C.S.W., is the founder of the Mindfulness Center for Wellbeing in Neenah. She is a retired psychotherapist with over 25 years of experience.

At the Mindfulness Center for Wellbeing we teach how to live a happier and healthier life. Our workshops and classes combine the best mindfulness practices with New Thought principles. It is a powerful combination giving you the practices and knowledge for living a life of abundant happiness, health and wealth.

We will come to your place of employment, church or wellness center with our classes and workshops. Visit www.mindfulnesscenterforwellbeing.com for more details. You can also reach us at 920-948-5101.

Thursday, 19 November 2015 02:28

The Women’s Health Initiative

In 1993 a study was launched called the Women’s Health Initiative. The study enrolled over 160,000 women aged 50-79 into a number of randomized clinical trials, testing the health effects of hormone therapy, dietary modification, calcium and vitamin D supplementation. The study’s goal was to look at the beneficial effects of using these therapies to counteract many of the problems women see as they age. It was noticed that after menopause, many women start to have many of the problems that men see at an earlier age, such as more heart trouble and osteoporosis. The thought was that if women, once they are going through menopause are making less hormones, are given hormones, we can reverse these problems or at least stop their progression.

The study was stopped, though, when it was observed that there was actually increased risks of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke and blood clots in women using HRT. While the study also found hormone therapy reduced the risk of fractures and possibly colon cancer, many women stopped using and many doctors stopped prescribing hormone therapy.

However, there is great evidence that hormone restoration therapy can help lessen the risk of osteoporosis. One of the problems with the study is that the researchers were using hormones that are medications and not the hormones that the body produces. Part of the funding for the study came from drug companies. While this is good as it provides funding for studies that may not otherwise happen, this also meant they were providing the hormones they produce. The source of those estrogen hormones came from pregnant mares. The other hormone used was medroxyprogesterone. This is a progesterone like medication used to balance the estrogens in the body. Medroxyprogesterone has been shown to protect the uterus from excess estrogens; however, there are many other problems with using medroxyprogesterone.

If you are trying to restore hormones to natural levels, it makes sense that you would use the hormones that the body produces to do that. What that is called is bioidentical hormone restoration therapy. The term “bioidentical” is short for biologically identical. They are the exact same hormones the body produces. The term “restoration” means we want to restore those hormones to physiological levels. When these hormones are compounded at a compounding pharmacy, you can be provided with the exact amount of hormones that you need to restore those levels.

As I wrote last month there are many things you can do to limit your risk for osteoporosis, and restoring your hormones to physiological levels is a part of that.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015 21:24

Tips for more joyful holiday family gatherings

By Judith Rogers

This year you can make the holidays more meaningful and joyful by learning a simple mindfulness practice called mindful listening. We use many of the same skills as we do with mindfulness meditation. We are going to focus on listening to another person while being completely present in the moment without judgment. When our mind wanders off, we bring it back to our breath, label the distraction and go back to just listening. With practice your listening skills will grow and you will be able to give others the generosity of truly listening to them, bringing more joy and love to share this holiday season.

Common obstacles we all share:

  • We are thinking of what we are going to say back. When you realize you are not really listening and that your mind has wandered to what you are going to say, just return to your breath and listening.
  • We judge what others say through our view of the world instead of just putting the focus on listening. When you become aware of judging and analyzing what is being said instead of just listening, label it “judging” and return to your breath and listening.
  • We wish for the person to experience us in a certain way. When you notice that you are more concerned about what the person thinks about you than listening, come back to your breath, label it “lost focus” and return to listening.
  • Judging the person, creating the need to fix them. Label it in your head “judging” and bring your focus back to your breath and listening. Remember it is not our job to fix anybody.
  • Fear or hurt feelings rise up and dominate your focus. Acknowledge the hurt feelings in your heart: “judging my parenting style” and go back to your breath and listening.
  • Anger at what is being said also happens. Label it, “feeling anger,” and go back to your breath and mindful listening. Try not to judge your anger or the other person.
  • Feeling pressured by time so finishing the person’s sentences. Notice you are feeling pressured. Label it as “feeling pressured” and go back to your breath and listening without trying to control the situation.

Some final things to remember for holiday gatherings:

  • Give up the need to comment on conflicting ideas, having an opinion or the need to fix anybody.
  • Remember all people are entitled to have their own perspective of life. You are not going to change family members’ view with hurtful words.
  • Listen with your heart. Try to just listen to the person without comparing it to our own view point and without judgment.

In his book, “The Art of Communicating,” Thich Nhat Hanh says that when communication is cut off, we all suffer. When no one listens to us or understands us, we suffer. Mindful listening brings about healing. During the holiday gatherings remember to replace giving advice or passing judgment with your mindful listening practice. Truly listening to a person from your heart is the greatest gift of all.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015 14:50

How to be thankful every day

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” —Albert Einstein

You can be thankful every day and see miracles and it only takes five minutes. Neuroscientists say five minutes daily is all it takes to rewire your brain for a new habit. By practicing awareness of the positive things in your life, you shift away from the primitive brain’s natural tendency to scan for and spot the negative things. Studies conducted by the founder of the positive psychology movement, Dr. Martin Seligman, found that people who kept a gratitude journal and wrote in it every day for a week ranked higher in happiness and lower in stress levels. There are many gratitude journals and apps that you can purchase to support your new gratitude habit. Listed below are more gratitude practices you can use to find the miracles in life.

  • Break the habit of complaining. When we complain, our focus reflects a reality of having little to be happy about. Listen to all of your complaints. Every time you catch yourself complaining, change it to a gratitude statement. “It may be really cold out but I have all that I need to stay warm.” Do this as many times as it takes until you begin to notice that you are complaining less.
  • Eliminate scarcity thinking. When you come from a belief of not having enough, you are creating the experience of not having enough. Whenever you catch yourself worrying, change your focus to abundance thinking. “I always have enough with plenty to share.”
  • Let go of the belief that you will only be happy when a certain thing happens or until you or somebody else does something. “I will be happy when I lose 10 pounds.” This puts your life and happiness on hold. Replace this thinking with knowing you have the power to create your own reality through your thoughts and beliefs. Change how you think and you can change your life. “I am happily exercising and eating clean.”
  • Anytime you feel things are not as you want them to be, stop yourself and shift your focus to the things in your life you are thankful for. Remember whatever we focus on grows and multiplies. Focus on what is going well and you will attract more good things.
  • A great way to start your day is with a feeling of gratitude. Louise Hay says the first thing she does to begin her day is to thank her bed for warmth and comfort. Before you get out of bed express gratitude to all of the people, places, things and experiences in your life. After doing this for a while, you will notice that you wake up every morning in a positive mood.
  • A great way to end your day is with feelings of gratitude. Scan through your day remembering all the successes of that day. Think of at least five successes each day. It can be as little as finding a close parking spot. Falling to sleep to our successes creates more success.

With a gratitude habit and a thankful heart we expand our reality to knowing the magic all around us. Taking time to remember gratitude is a lifetime practice that sets the ambience from which you see your reality and life. By training yourself to see from a perspective of gratitude, you will find yourself living life as though everything is a miracle.


 

Wednesday, 30 September 2015 13:46

A mindfulness practice for anxiety and depression

A powerful practice that helps us deal with anxiety and depression is mindful self-compassion. Dr. Kristen Neff, researcher at the University of Texas, Austin, defines mindful self-compassion as a practice of evoking goodwill toward ourselves especially when we are suffering. It is a good practice to use when you are feeling inadequate. It replaces beating oneself up with self-criticism and recognizing that being imperfect, failing, and experiencing difficulty happens to all of us. Common humanity is a term Neff uses to acknowledge that being human means being imperfect and that all people have these sorts of painful experiences. When you have a difficult experience or at the end of a difficult day, say to yourself, “I love you, you did the best you could today and even if things didn’t turn out the way you planned, I love you anyway.”

Self-compassion is not self-pity

Neff states that self-compassion is not self-pity. Self-pity is an over identification with your problems and forgetting that we all have similar problems. Self-pity causes you to have difficulty stepping back from the situation to gain clarity, and often creates drama rather than emotional freedom. Self-pity brings more negativity and feelings of powerlessness.

Self-compassion is not self-indulgence

Neff describes how self-compassion is very different from self-indulgence. Being self-compassionate means that you want to be happy and healthy in the long term; just giving into pleasure may harm your overall well-being. Having a bad day and giving yourself permission to participate in behavior that is not healthy — like drinking too much alcohol, overeating, being a coach potato — is not self-compassion. It is self-indulgence, and it will backfire in the long run.

Self-compassion versus self-esteem

Neff states, “Although self-compassion may seem similar to self-esteem, they are different in many ways.” She points out that in modern Western culture self-esteem is often based on how different we are from others — how much we stand out or how special we are, making it not OK to be average. Working on self-esteem often creates narcissistic and self-absorbed behavior. It creates depression when we are unable to stand out as being special and sometimes ends in anger and aggression toward others as well. The need for high self-esteem can cause us to bury shortcomings rather than being aware of them and changing them. The need to be perfect is anxiety producing.

Self-compassion is not based on self-evaluation

People direct compassion to themselves because all humans deserve compassion. This means with self-compassion you don’t have to be prettier, smarter or more talented to feel good about yourself. Personal failings are less likely to cause depression and anxiety. Researchers found that in comparison to self-esteem, self-compassion is associated with greater emotional resilience, more accurate self-concepts, more caring relationship behavior as well as less narcissism and reactive anger.

Visit www.self-compassion.org to find out more about Kristen Neff’s work on self-compassion.


 

 

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