Trauma Tips for Understanding and Healing—Part 1 of 4

Whether or not a traumatic event involves serious injury or death, trauma survivors must cope with the loss of their sense of safety and security—at least temporarily.

Learning to Live Well with Chronic Illness/Conditions

If you experience a chronic illness/condition, with time and practice, you can make the adjustments necessary to establish a “new normal.”

10 Spiritual Principles to Heal Your Life

True spiritual principles open and soften the heart, connecting us more deeply and intimately with others, with the world around us, and with our authentic selves.

Being Here Now: The Art of Precious Present-Centeredness

When we aren’t paying conscious attention to the present moment, we are effectively sleepwalking, even when we are wide-awake. When we’re focused on the past or the future, we are cut off from the possibilities inherent in this moment—unable to see it and experience it for what it is; separated from the opportunities it presents.

OxyContin for Kids? What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

We know that teenagers are at a higher risk for addiction than adults because of their immature brain development. And we know from significant demonstrated history that even if prescribed with the best of intentions, expanding the availability of opioid pain medications can have unforeseen and tragic consequences.

Personality Challenges, Perfectionism, and Self-Compassion

Having compassion for oneself means that we can honor our humanness by accepting ourselves—even during those times when we inevitably come up against our limitations and fall short of our ideals.

You Pays Your Money and You Takes Your Choices

We can make whatever choices we want or need to—as long as we are willing to accept the consequences of those choices. This equation represents the intersection of awareness, action, and accountability. And, it is applicable to virtually every area of life.

Do Parts of How You Are Bother You or Others?

Reactions driven by personality challenges are unconscious and automatic, like a reflex. You don’t think about it, it just happens... However, we can learn and develop the skills to respond to other people and situations intentionally with conscious awareness, rather than react on impulse.

Detoxing after Detox: The Perils of Post-Acute Withdrawal

Detoxification is only the first of a two phase process of withdrawal from alcohol and other drugs. A common misconception is that soon after the offending substances are out of the body, life will get noticeably better and “normal” functioning will return. If only that were true.

Addiction: A Systems Perspective

The dynamics of systems theory and neuroplasticity can provide valuable windows through which we can better understand the respective processes that contribute to addiction and recovery.

When It Comes to Pain Treatment, Less Is Often More

Pain brings more people into contact with medical professionals than any other presenting problem. According to the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, it affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease, & cancer combined. However, recent research when it comes to chronic pain, more treatment does not equate to better outcomes.

The Ultimate Coping Device

Everything we encounter in life ultimately breaks down into two categories: things that we can change or at least have some influence over, and things we cannot change or influence. Simply recognizing which grouping a particular challenge belongs to makes our lives more manageable. Mindfulness practices greatly expand & strengthen the Serenity Prayer's therapeutic value.

If You Want Happiness, Resolve to Find Meaning

Is it better to be happy than not? Do bears defecate in the woods? The question is not whether happiness is a good thing. Rather, it is two-fold: To what extent is it helpful and healthy to view happiness as an end unto itself, and how best to facilitate happiness?

The Benefits of Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude

Being grateful is a skill that can be developed. Numerous scientific studies have documented a wide range of benefits that come with gratitude. These are available to anyone who practices conscious contact with gratitude, even in the midst of adversity. such as when people have chronic illness or chronic pain, or are in recovery from addiction.

Moving Toward Emotional Balance

Trying to avoid or suppress painful emotions is similar to being mired in quicksand. The harder we struggle to get free, the deeper we sink, and the more stuck we become. It is only when we stop struggling that we can begin to free ourselves. Allowing ourselves to feel, accept, express, and coexist with difficult emotions is essential to emotional balance.

Addiction and Petroglyphs, Recovery and Basketball

The progression of active addiction is a deviation-amplifying process, much like pushing a wheelbarrow in a rut. Recovery is a deviation-counteracting process that involves consistent course corrections based on conscious awareness of one’s internal and external environment—for which basketball is an excellent analogy. How? You may ask.

If You Meet the Buddha, Say Hello

Embedded in ordinary every day experiences we can find windows to the extraordinary, gifting us with glimpses into the deep richness and beauty of life. However, access to such gateways requires an expansion of conscious awareness that awakens mind and spirit, along with an openness to heretofore unseen possibilities.

Would You Rather Be Right or Would You Rather Be Happy?

The need to be right separates those afflicted with it from others, and from all that which is beyond the cramped confines of self. Separation closes the heart. Recognizing and shifting out of the attachment to having to be right opens and softens the heart, creating the space that makes it possible to experience greater happiness, contentment, and peace of mind.

Defining Recovery

How do you define recovery? It is an increasingly used and popularized concept, but what is it really? As it relates to overcoming addiction, recovery encompasses far more than abstinence.

Need to De-Stress, Re-Connect, and Re-Energize? Take a Hike!

In the wilderness, part of us that remains dormant much of the time awakens and reanimates. When we connect with nature, we re-connect—both consciously and unconsciously—with ourselves and expand our capacity to connect with others and the world through a deeper awareness of the commonalities that link us all together.

What Constitutes a Spiritual Awakening?

Spiritual awakenings don't need to be seismic or mystical events. They come in a wide variety of colors and are available to us all. When we shift perspective and pay attention with intention we find that awakenings of the spirit are often right there, waiting for us to recognize them.

From Awareness to Action

In order to get better at anything—be it sports, reading, video gaming, cooking, auto repair, keyboarding, gardening, plumbing, meditating, or recovery from addiction and/or chronic pain—it is necessary to learn the techniques that work, and practice what works with consistency and persistence.

Who Is an Addict?

Addiction is an equal opportunity affliction. Among the lessons of Phillip Seymour Hoffman's tragic death is that no addict is immune to relapse no matter how long he or she has been abstinent, and recovery from addiction is an ongoing, life-long process.

Pain Is Inevitable; Suffering Is Optional

When we experience pain, whether the source of that pain is physical or emotional, we often make it worse through our mental and emotional responses. By changing these responses, we can change our experience of pain.

What Makes Twelve-Step Programs Therapeutic?

More people have achieved and sustained recovery from addiction in its various forms through twelve-step programs than any other approach, by far. But what makes these mutual-aid programs attractive and helpful? If you've ever wondered about the mechanisms that underlie the therapeutic efficacy of twelve-step programs, keep reading.

Meditation: Ancient Practice with 21st Century Application

Although meditation has been used to calm and focus the mind for over 2,500 years, its practice has never been more timely, or more therapeutically important.

Mind Full or Mindful?

Is your mind full or are you mindful? The answer has significant ramifications: mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

Putting the Pieces of Recovery Together

What do the processes of recovery from addiction and chronic pain and constructing ready-to-assemble furniture have in common?