I picked this book up because it was by the same author as Anticancer: A New Way of Life , a book recommended by a friend with breast cancer. He discusses some interesting concepts so I will summarize them here. The website that accompanies the book is Instinct to Heal and has updates on resources.
1. Practice Heart Coherence – control our emotional well-being. Coherence refers to your heart rhythm. Practice this for 10 to 15 minutes at the end of the day. Also use this whenever stress is coming on or overwhelming.
- First, turn your attention inward, set aside personal concerns and worries
- Take two deep, slow breaths – this will stimulate the parasympathetic system
- Your attention must stay focused on your breath right up until you have finished exhaling and then let your breathing ause for a few seconds before the next in-breath begins of its own accord.
- Center your attention on the region of your heard 10 to 15 seconds after your breathing stabilizes.
- At this second stage imagine you are breathing through your heart
- Continue breathing slowly and deeply (but effortlessly) and visualize each inhalation and exhalation as passing through that key part of your body.
- The third stage is becomming aware of the sensation of warmth or expansiveness that is developing your chest
2. Address painful memories – he suggests using eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) because it has proven helpful in bringing up the traumatic memories and working through the emotions to achieve a healthy sense of being.
3. Manage conflict
4. Enrich relationships
- He provides two methods to become an effective emotional communicator.
- As opposed to passive agressive or agressive behavior, we should strive for nonviolent assertive communication. Instead of criticism, contempt, counterattack, and stonewalling, we should find better ways to deal with conflict. He recommends STABEN
- S for Source – only discuss it with the source of the conflict, no whining to others since it won’t solve the problem
- T for Time and Place – carefully choose the right time and place for the discussion
- A for Amicable Approach – use their name and start on a positive note so the person will be open and listen
- B for Objective Behavior – explain the behavior that motivates your grievance while confining your description to what happened (without the slightest allusion to a moral judgment)
- E for Emotion – describe how that behavior makes you feel (not anger which is directed at someone else) such as hurt or humiliated
- N for Need – you can then conclude with a description of your need that has not been recognized. “I need security at work”
- Then he talks about better listening and uses BATHE
- B for Background – ask them “what happened to you”. Only allow 2 minutes but do allow a full 2 minutes. Don’t need all the details.
- A for Affect – ask them “how does that make you feel”.
- T for Trouble – ask “what troubles you the most now”. This allows them to pull thoughts together around what hurts the most, instead of remaining fragmented and overwhelmed
- H for Handling – “and what helps you the most to handle this”. This turns their attention to their resources to help them cope and take charge.
- E for Empathy – sincerely express the feelings you experienced as you listened to the other person, give them the confidence that someone else cares.
5. Maximize Omega-3s
- Reduce unhealthy fats, increase fish content and consider supplements. Start with 1 gram EPA per day
6. Get high on exercise
- At least 20 minutes for 3 times a week.
7. Wake up to the sun
- Replace the alarm clock with a dawn simulator. Schedule the light to turn on 30 to 40 minutes before your appointed wake-up time
8. Tap into your meridians – Acupuncture
9. Seek a larger connection
- Find a way to contribute to the community.