Mindfulness and Stroke Recovery

Many people are talking about mindfulness these days, and through careful investigation researchers are showing the potential for mindfulness to help a whole series of health and wellness challenges.  Could mindfulness be applied to stroke recovery?  Yes, it could, and practicing mindfulness as we work with stroke recovery can be very helpful.

What is mindfulness and how would it be helpful?  Continue reading

Persistence, Not Pressure

Persistence is very important in stroke recovery.   To support our recoveries, we have to be motivated, really want to recover and work hard consistently over the long term.   Our brains and bodies must know that recovery matters to us and that we will continue to pay attention to helping ourselves.  Setting goals, making schedules, making commitments to ourselves and keeping them – all of this makes a big difference.

Persistence is not the same thing as pressure, however.  Continue reading

Coming Home

house in heart

In a talk she gave called on lovingkindness Tara Brach, a wonderful teacher in Washington, DC, quoted a bumper sticker she had seen.   She said, “If I lived in my heart, I’d be home right now.”  I like this bumper sticker very much.

I keep thinking about this quote, asking myself,  “Where am I at home?”  Continue reading

Hope and Expectations

morning mountains in mist

Many times when I give a talk to clinicians I am asked the heartfelt question, “What do I tell patients and family members?  I don’t want to give them ‘false hope.’” These clinicians care about us.  They don’t want to add to our suffering. They want to encourage us and often they truly don’t know what to say.

Is there such a thing as “false hope?”  I don’t think so.   Continue reading

Paying Attention

Paying Attention

We often practice paying as little attention to something we are doing as we can get away with: You know how it goes: It’s morning. My mind is on my day. I am taking a shower but I am thinking about what I’m going to have for breakfast, what I will wear, and what the day holds in the way of work for me. I am not thinking about taking a shower. I don’t pay attention to the shampoo when I pick it up and the shampoo drops on the floor. I pick it up. Then I get mad because I dropped it and think about how mad I am and then, still not paying attention to the shampoo, I drop it again. I am practicing not paying attention.

All of us know that state of not really paying attention. We read our emails, talk on the phone, listen for the knock on the door, and dream about lunch all at the same time. Nothing is getting our full attention. Continue reading