I counsel individuals who are facing chronic and catastrophic medical conditions and their families and caregivers. I recently worked with a wonderful, vibrant young woman who was stricken with a virus that affect her heart, and necessitated the installation of a pacemaker. By the way, she has had some adventures with her pacemaker, but is still a energetic and vibrant, and moving forward with her life, with some adjustments and accommodations here and there, but nonetheless at full speed.
You might be interested in a stress reduction technique that I introduced her to, and have used personally as well. It is called HeartMath, and you can find out more about it on the Website of the Institute of HeartMath, www.heartmath.org. They have books available that are inexpensive and easy to read. Their tagline is "Connecting hearts and minds."
I can't do this technique in a few words, but the idea behind heartmath is to calm yourself in the moment of stress by directly placing your hand over your heart while you use breathing and visualization techniques. Basically, you are applying love and compassion directly to your heart, and encouraging your heart, in return, to experience a sense of peace and calm, which radiates throughout your body. There is solid research behind this technique.
As you know, it is really important for anyone to manage their stress levels. For individuals with heart conditions, stress management is even more important.
I am always using new stress management techniques with my clients, and am therefore always looking for opportunities to learn new techniques, and share what I know about stress as well. I am also very interested in mindfulness and compassion, and how developing these qualities can benefit anyone facing health issues.
So I would be really happy to hear from you — questions, comments, techniques.
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