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Author: Kami

Tune in to hear Matt's story of how neuroplasticity brought hope into his healing journey from child abuse and anxiety. His authenticity and openness is sure to encourage and inspire you that healing is possible for you, too! Click here to listen now.

Neuroplasticity & Hope For Survivors: A Podcast Episode with Matt Pappas

If there’s one thing that’s been made clear on my healing journey, it’s this: there’s no one way to heal.

Why?

Because healing comes in many different forms, paths, treatment protocols and timelines. Our bodies, emotions, even our brains – they’re all individually ours.

Which is why it’s my aim with this blog and podcast to share real stories and inspiration from a variety of people. From different perspectives, walks of life, and approaches to healing.

Because whether we’re healing from something physical, emotional, neurological or even spiritual – all of us are on our own unique path to healing. And will need a healing plan that caters to our own personal situation.

Which brings me to our guest for today’s episode on The Wellness Crossing: my friend and fellow healing advocate, Matt Pappas from Surviving My Past.

He and I have been cheering each other on ever since we connected last year through the Chronic Illness Bloggers community. One of my favorite thing that has come from starting this blog has been the connections that I’ve made. Especially the ones that feel like real friendships, where you know the other person has got your back. Matt’s one of those friends.

I always leave a conversation with Matt feeling encouraged and am so happy to have him on the podcast today!

Today we’re talking about his experience with neuroplasticity and the profound ways it’s brought hope to his healing journey. He’ll be sharing what it looks like to incorporate neuroplasticity techniques into his everyday and several resources he’s found helpful.

Since I’ve been exploring the land of retraining neural pathways, what Matt had to share was really exciting. Because while his healing journey may look different then mine, we’ve both seen the powerful effects that neuroplasticity can have on healing.

So tune in to be inspired and encouraged that you, too, can find hope. And that healing is possible.

 

Books on Neuroplasticity & Healing From Trauma:

(If you click on the images below they’ll take you over to Amazon so you can check them out. These are affiliate links.)

 

        

 

Other resources mentioned in today’s episode:

Rachel Grant Coaching – http://rachelgrantcoaching.com/

Connect with Matt:

Blog | Podcast | Twitter

Did something Matt shared resonate with you? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Tune in to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Play!

Matt Pappas is unpacking how neuroplasticity has been a game changer for him in his recovery from child abuse, bringing hope and healing to what can otherwise feel like a hopeless situation. His story is sure to inspire! Click to tune in to the episode.

 

Matt Pappas is unpacking how neuroplasticity has been a game changer for him in his recovery from child abuse, bringing hope and healing to what can otherwise feel like a hopeless situation. His story is sure to inspire! Click to tune in to the episode.

Check out these other posts...

Feel like overwhelm has become your baseline? That used to be me, too. But I now have tools that help support me back to a state of calm. And I'm sharing them on the podcast today! Click to listen in :)

Reducing Overwhelm and Creating Calm: A Podcast Episode

I have a long history with overwhelm. Starting as a young child I remember my thoughts running wild with worry. As I grew, I went through life carrying a high level of responsibility and near-constant knots in my stomach.

And as often as those outside of me would recognize that I was “stressed” or “overwhelmed”, the most commonly-passed-on advice was the following:

“Don’t be stressed.”

Yeah…thanks. (But not really).

It really wasn’t until the last few years that I started pursuing what change could look like. I wondered what it could feel like to have tools that I reached for, and that actually…you know…worked?!

Flash forward to this year and I finally feel empowered with tools that have helped me engage with calm in moments where overwhelm used to be inevitable. And there’s something so wonderful about not feeling like I’m spiraling downward without a life raft!

It’s been through my recent exploration of neuroplasticity and the brain’s natural role in healing that I’ve recognized that calm doesn’t just happen. It’s created. And WE can create it.

Tune in to today’s episode of The Wellness Crossing, where I’m diving into the tools I use to support calm. These are the tools that help me bring my mind (and body) into a state I can feel both comfortable in and empowered by. And you can, too!

Related books I’ve read:

(Affiliate links below)

The Honeymoon Effect by Bruce Lipton

Have you tried any of the tools mentioned on the podcast today? If you’re looking for a resource to help you incorporate some calm-supporting practices into your daily routine, you can download my free resource: Brain Vibes!

Tune in to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Play!

 

Learn 6 tools I use to reduce feelings of overwhelm and bring my mind (and body) back to a state of calm in this episode of The Wellness Crossing Podcast. Click to listen in!In this episode, we're talking all about overwhelm and how we can bring our minds back to a state of calm. Tune in to hear about my journey through overwhelm and the tools I've learned that help me create more calm when I'm feeling stressed. Click to listen in!

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Learn more about neuroplasticity and the way it can help you reclaim your health. I'm sharing a few of the tools I've been learning to implement and how they can make an impact for you, too! Click to listen in!

The Wellness Crossing: NEW Podcast launch!

I’ve been planning and dreaming about launching a new podcast for a couple of months now. And today, I’m excited to say: it’s happening. Or rather, it’s HAPPENED!

Introducing: The Wellness Crossing Podcast.

(Cue radio announcer voice: now available on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Play!)

This podcast is designed to be a space where we can talk all things healing. A space to feel empowered and inspired to be our best advocate when it comes to wellness. As well as learn about new approaches to treatment, alternative therapies, and even the role the brain and energy plays into our health.

Each week we’ll dive into a new conversation related to wellness, healing or inspiration for rising above the challenges or hangups we may be facing. And I’ll be inviting various guests on to lend their insight and tools for how they pursue and prioritize healing.

Which brings us to today and the very first episode!

So if you’ve been following along here on the blog, you may have hear about the new treatment program I’ve been following. Now, it’s not a traditional treatment, in that it’s entirely done from home. And the responsibility lies entirely on the patient to implement.

Now, most treatments have at least some, if not a large reliance on the patience doing their part. But this treatment approach puts the full control on the one doing it because it involves retraining one’s neural pathways.

Weirded out yet? Stick with me….

The techniques center around the research of neuroplasticity, which basically means that “the brain can change itself.” Each technique and daily practice that you follow is designed to help you do just that.

And I’m living proof that it does, in fact, make a difference. Because quite literally, it’s been giving me back my life after years of living with a debilitating chronic illness.

So in this first episode of my new podcast launch, I’m sharing more about my experience with the Dynamic Neural Retraining Program (DNRS). I’m unpacking how I went from total skeptic to setting up camp in the land of Neuro Plastic City.

Healing is a journey that has been far from linear for me, but as I’ve seen huge shifts begin to unfold in my health I feel compelled to share what I’m learning. And it’s my hope that it helps support you on your own exploration of how to tap into the brain’s ability to heal.

So listen in to hear the whole story and learn how YOU can start to learn and implement neuroplasticity tools into your everyday, too!

 

Resources to check out:

(The following list includes affiliate links.)

Books by:

Norman Doidge
Joe Dispenza
Bruce Lipton

Neuroplasticity Tools:
Dynamic Neural Retraining System / DNRS
Brain Vibes – a FREE resource on my blog!

Tune in to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Play!

Have you ever tried incorporating neuroplasticity techniques into your routine?

Learn what it means to "retrain the brain" and how it's been helping me heal from chronic illness! Listen in as I share some of the tools I personally have been using to reclaim my health and how you can begin to implement them, too. Click to listen in!

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Learn how my new approach to the gratitude journal has reshaped the way I look at living the grateful life! Click to read more.

Living Gratitudes: A New Approach to the Gratitude Journal

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting this blog!

Growing up I always had a journal running. Sometimes it would sit for weeks without a single word hitting the page. Other times I’d write novels each night, processing all of the feels and every single tiny detail of my elementary school, junior high, and high school life.

You know, the important details. Like what I ate, who said what, what my wedding would look like and just how many dreams I had about how my life would unfold.

A few years ago the idea of a gratitude journal was brought up in a conversation after a friend had read the book, One Thousand Gifts. She mentioned how she had taken the idea and started her own journal, each day writing down a few things she was grateful for.

I would periodically follow suite in the years that followed. Purposing to write down a few things here and there throughout the week that brought a smile to my face. That made my heart sing. Things that were just plain pretty, funny, or enjoyable.

But last month I decided to take this idea of a gratitude journal and put a spin on it. Instead of merely writing things down each day, I would take a short Instagram story (a video of just a few seconds) and I would verbally share something I was grateful for that day.

So every day (okay, okay so I forgot one, but doubled up the next day) I would log in to my account and record my gratitude. And thus my #livinggratitudejournal was born.

It was an interesting experience because not only did I do it every day, but there were a few people who joined me! And I absolutely loved reading or hearing their entries. It inspired me to look differently at my own world, uncovering new things that I found I could find gratitude for.

So why spoken gratitude instead of writing?

Really, as I’ve been learning more about the art science of neuroplasticity techniques, I’ve seen how powerful engaging as many senses as possible can be for helping along positive change.

For example, writing down something I’m grateful for is great in and of itself. But what can it look like to take that even further? Our brains respond to patterns, emotion, neurochemicals – they’re constantly looking to us for reasons to establish truths. And they also are affected by words.

So if I want to establish a state of gratitude as an outlet for bringing my mind and body to a state of calm and healing, if even for a moment, engaging more than one of my senses in this practice of keeping a gratitude journal is like icing on the cake. AND sprinkles.

Of course, now I want cake. Chocolate on chocolate on chocolate for me in this dreamland, please.

But back to this learning business.

Where were we at? Ah, yes engaging more senses. So writing a list of things I’m thankful for essentially covers two senses.

First, it covers thought because if I’m writing it, I’m also thinking of it. At least for a brief few seconds. Second, it covers sight. Because obviously: ink on paper.

So adding in another layer, like speaking it out loud, brings even more depth to this act. And even more so when I stop and actually meditate on each gratitude.

 

Learn how to keep a LIVING gratitude journal: what it is and WHY it can make an even greater impact on your mood and mindset! Click to read more :)

A little practice exercise.

Allow me to put this idea into practice. I’ll start with this one for an example:

“I’m grateful I could walk around my neighborhood today.”

To be intentional with this I first have to have thought of the question “what am I grateful for today?” And then, naturally, I find myself searching for at least one answer.

Once I land on an answer, I can be intentional with my response. More than just stopping at the one sentence, I can pause before writing it down and think about why that particular thing came to mind. Did it bring up any good feelings? Did I see something beautiful on my walk? Or did I feel more connected to nature and less “stuck” inside?

Pulling out every little detail in my thoughts, really painting a picture of this thing I’m grateful for in my mind can help send my brain all those positive, good neurochemicals like dopamine or oxytocin.

Now, I can either scribble down a few words or I can spend a few extra seconds and write down all those good details in a journal. There’s no pressure to over-perform, this is about finding what works best for you. Do you need to write more than a few words to feel like you’ve connected to that gratitude? Or are you already feeling it after spending that short time meditating on all the deets? You do you, boo.

Finally, the speaking part. What I learned through having a commitment of doing it daily was that it challenged me to step a little outside of my comfort zone. But in a really good way. Because it shifted my focus each day for those few seconds onto something positive. Away from any negative lists or self-pity and toward cultivating a calm and appreciative state.

Living grateful

My Living Gratitude Journal was an exercise in learning to LIVE grateful. From noticing tiny buds on a walk to seeing improvements in my health. Improvements that I was challenged to focus on instead of the symptoms that were left unchanged.

And you know what? It felt dang good. It wasn’t always easy, but it always felt more hopeful to spend even a few seconds embracing a light-filled perspective.

Would you like to learn a few neuroplasticity tools to incorporate into your day that will help you support your brain as you heal? Then this free resource is for you, my friend!

This year I tried something new with the gratitude journal idea: I kept a LIVING journal! Click to find out more and learn how YOU keeping a living gratitude journal can help reshape your mindset and support your overall health.

 

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Shop the Lyme gift guide for apparel & accessories that spread hope & awareness! Click for more.

A Lyme Support & Awareness Gift Guide

Today I am beyond excited to share the creative work of some of the most fierce and lovely ladies I’ve been lucky enough to “meet” in the Lyme community. Their stories, talents, and vision all funnel toward the same positive message. And it is one of hope, courage, and compassion.

The wonder of the internet is that though I’ve never sat down and had coffee with any of these ladies, they’ve each had an impact on me. As they’ve shared their healing journeys and creative work, their strength and light have inspired and challenged me in some of the moments I needed it most. And I’m thrilled to share some love for them and their amazing talent here in this Lyme gift guide!

I’ve asked each of them to share a look at what led them to create their pieces, so enjoy hearing from the creators themselves!

Lauren Lovejoy
Lyme Warrior

Lyme Warrior Lyme Won't Sink Me V Neck and Warrior Bracelet

Lyme Warrior is a group of volunteers raising funds for Lyme research. With Lyme Disease being widely disregarded by the medical field, it is up to us to find a cure. It is one thing to fight for what’s right, but it takes amazing people to fight for what’s right while fighting Lyme.

You can find the Lyme Warrior shop here!

Melissa Cox
Lyme Don’t Kill My Vibe

Lyme Don't Kill My Vibe Unisex Tee and Flowy Yoga Tank

As an extension of my blog, Lipstick Warpaint, I created #LymeDontKillMyVibe, a hashtag primarily used on Instagram to spread positivity and awareness surrounding Lyme and associated conditions. The original design + slogan was created in 2014 almost 1 year after I was diagnosed with Lyme. At that time, there were very limited Lyme awareness apparel options that felt truly empowering.

I’m a huge hip hop fan and the slogan just came to me one day while listening to Kendrick Lamar’s “B*tch Don’t Kill My Vibe” back in 2013. It became a near-daily mantra, and one day I decided THIS needs to be a thing. I now have a second edition design which was created in December 2016 with the help of my Lyme fightin’ entrepreneur friend Elise Graham. What I love most about Lyme Don’t Kill My Vibe is it encompasses both strength and community. There are over 25,000 posts on Instagram with the hashtag alone, and it feels like such a positive step toward reclaiming what healing means.

You can purchase them (with new items being added this summer!) at Lipstickwarpaint.org/shop or find me on Etsy

Kerissa B.
Tx Stitch

Lyme Disease Sucks Pin by TX Stitch

I never really felt like I was a creative person before Lyme. There’s something about being forced to be in bed that made my hands feel idle. I started cross stitching and created an Etsy shop and slowly expanded to have exactly 1 patch and 1 pin. I wanted to create something Lyme related that was simple but really told people that it’s not a great thing to have. Thus, the pin was born.

Kacie Fleming
Katya Valera Jewelry

Katya Valera Jewelry Rising Above Lyme Bar Necklace & Frame Necklace Collection

I’d been a fan of Kami’s RAL (Rising Above Lyme) phrase and shirt line since she first released the shirts a while back. Being the spontaneous creative that I am, the idea of collaborating with her for some RAL jewelry flashed through my brain one day, and I jumped right in and contacted her with my idea. Thankfully she loved it, and thus began a good couple months of planning and work!

Originally I envisioned frame necklaces that feature text images designed by Kami, and then I developed the idea for a piece that visually represents the phrase—the bar necklace. We then added a minimalist, very lime wedge-style piece, and the collection was complete. I’m so grateful to have gotten to work with Kami on this collection and to be able to help inspire and encourage others who are on a similar journey.

Shop Katya Valera here!

Chloe O’Neill
More Than Lyme

More Than Lyme Keep on Keepin' On Tee and Canvas Tote

No matter where you are right now, know that you are enough. No matter how scared you feel, know that you are not alone. No matter how often you feel like giving up, remember that you are strong enough to have made it this far, so why not choose to keep on keepin’ on?

Why not take all the adventures you’ve gone on, mishaps you’ve had, and pain you endured, and use them to create a full and happy life for yourself? A life where no matter how hard things have been, or are going to be, you know that tomorrow will be worth it. You know that you are worth it.

You know that you are enough.

Regardless of where you’re at, what you’re doing, or how you feel, remember that you’re more than your doubts, your fears, and illness that hides beneath your skin.

Click to shop MTL! A code that people can use for 15% off is SHAREYOURSTORY. 

Kami Lingren
Rising Above Lyme

Rising Above Lyme Tee and Graceful & Fierce Tank from Living Grace Shop. Click to shop!

Hey, that’s me! 😉 Last year I had the phrase “Rising Above Lyme” on repeat in the back of my mind. Partly because I think it’s so easy to find ourselves consumed by our health challenges. And understandably so. But I didn’t want my story to be solely defined as “sick”. So I created a shirt that would remind me that my life’s purpose and worth are not defined by my circumstances. Rather, by my conscious effort to engage my life in spite of them. And I wanted the message to inspire and validate others who were fiercely healing as well!

This year I added the Graceful and Fierce design, which I feel resonates so deeply with the essence I strive for. To fiercely love, heal, advocate and show compassion, but to also be gentle with ourselves and others as we live, learn and heal. And what a beautiful thing it is to embrace both in our lives.

You can find the entire Living Grace collection hereAnd use code RISING this month for 15% off your order!

Have you been dreaming of creating something to help raise awareness and hope? I hope this Lyme gift guide inspires you to embrace that dream and make it a reality!

Lyme Creatives Gift Guide for spreading Lyme disease awareness and support! Click to shop items created BY women healing from Lyme FOR others also healing!
Lyme Awareness Wear: Gifts and Apparel for those healing from Lyme Disease. Click to check out all of these amazing creatives!

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Have you tried what seems like all-the-treatments and there seems to be a missing piece? Check out the 12-week program, Empowered Healing, and learn how to reclaim wellness! Click to read more!

Empowered Healing: Reclaiming Your Health & A GIVEAWAY

This giveaway is sponsored by Innovative Medicine and is open through May 31, 2017 at 11:59 pm PST. Scroll to the bottom and follow the directions to enter!

Over the last few years I’ve done anything but lie in wait for healing. I have made a lot of sacrifices, faced incredibly difficult treatment protocols, and put a huge daily effort into supporting my body’s healing.

My diet has shifted dramatically, and multiple times at that. I relied on an expensive supplement plan just to keep functioning. And up until 3 months ago I spent the majority of my days at home. Not out of choice, but because my unimaginable fatigue and symptoms demanded so much rest.

But in the last three months I’ve seen tremendous healing come from adding in an entirely new treatment program called DNRS. And because of that I’m truly starting to get my life back. DNRS is based on the foundation that we have the ability to heal ourselves by rewiring our brain. You can read more about that here.

Because of this new addition to my healing protocol, I’ve become absolutely fascinated by reading up on neuroplasticity. I’m always intrigued to hear about other treatment programs with similar, yet unique perspectives on healing.

So when Monica from Innovative Medicine reached out to share more about their Empowered Healing program launching on June 1, I was all ears!

Psssst…spoiler alert: they are giving away FIVE of their 12-week programs here on the blog! You can scroll down to the bottom for more info on how to enter.

What is Empowered Healing?

Empowered Healing is a 12 week program designed to put you in the driver’s seat of your health. EH is founded on the idea that we all have the ability to reclaim our natural state of health and functioning. And their program gives you the tools you’ll need to do just that: to activate your journey back to health.

What you’ll learn…

(taken from their website):

  • A holistic understanding of the underlying causes of illness and the critical (yet often overlooked) mechanisms that determine how people truly heal.
  • How to start feeling better instantly and optimize your recovery response by learning and applying the scientific evidence that the body can heal itself.
  • The 7 key fundamentals of health and how to address each of them in a personalized way that starts with your current individual-based priority.
  • The ‘Healing Blueprint’ framework: A five step process for charting your own unique course back to health, starting from right where you are.
  • How to solidify your newfound vitality, step fully into your healthiest self and sustain your new ‘set-point’ for the rest of your life.

The program consists of a 12-week guide, video lessons, interactive exercises, personal accountability calls, email coaching, research, and an online community to foster your healing journey.

I also found it super compelling that the program has been 12 years in the making…12 years! The creators of the program spent that time interviewing doctors from around the globe and learning from them. And now have used what they’ve gathered to create a comprehensive system that offers tangible steps for healing.

One of the creators, Ben Ahrens, suffered years with Lyme disease and has seen tremendous healing through implementing some of the practices presented in the program. You can listen in on his fascinating story he shared on a TED talk here.

“Could the program help me?”

As I was reading some of the info on the website, their description of who the program is for tugged at my heart. Simply put, it’s because I feel like it resonates with so many of us that have been working hard at healing:

“Whether you’re chronically ill and looking for ways to optimize your success outside the doctor’s office, wondering why various treatments don’t always lead to long-term health, or simply curious about what you can do in your personal life to compliment your medical treatment, this 12-week program will show you how to implement all of the discoveries and principles that Innovative Medicine is based on to empower yourself and reclaim health outside the medical office.”

How many of us have tried yet-another-treatment that helped someone else, but our body couldn’t tolerate it? Or it made us worse? And how many doctors have we seen that left us wondering if there was possibly a missing link? Perhaps something they hadn’t thought of that could help.

I know I, for one, could answer so many of those questions with a head nod. Or a blank look while trying to add up the number of times I’d been there.

Empowered Healing is a program designed to help you reclaim your body's natural state of health. And if you're tired of a one-size-fits all healing plan, this program may be just the thing you need! Click to read more!

So what do I think?

I have to say that I’m excited about this program! I’ve seen firsthand how powerful neuroplasticity based healing can be. And with that being just one component to Empowered Healing, I’m embracing it with open arms.

I’ve had a chance to look over their beta program and will be diving into the full program in June. And I’m impressed just from my first exposure to the program!  The science behind it, their teaching style, and holistic approach really resonates with me.

And if you’re one of the lucky winners, maybe we can swap our experiences as we go through the program together! 😉

The GIVEAWAY:

Innovative Medicine was kind enough to offer not one, but FIVE lucky readers their brand new 12-week program!

Here are the deets:

  • Giveaway winner must be 18 years or older.
  • You may earn up to EIGHT entries.
  • Submit all entries by 11:59 PM, May 31, 2017
  • Winners will be contacted by email and must respond within 24 hours to claim their prize.

To enter click this link or enter using the Rafflecopter form below!

Connect with Innovative Medicine on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Why would you like to win the Empowered Healing program?

Enter to win an Empowered Healing program from Integrative Medicine: the 12-week program that's designed to help you reclaim health and wellness through a holistic approach to healing.

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Did you know that there's healing that can be found by transforming the way we think? Here are 3 practices that are helping me release negative thoughts and reclaim health! Click to read more.

3 Practices That Help Me Release Negative Thoughts & Heal

My original version of this post was first published on ProHealth’s Inspirational Corner.

As I sat outside sipping on my cup of tea this morning, the cool air brought a smile to my face. In the quietness I brought my mind into the moment, took a deep breath and closed my eyes against the rising sun’s bright beams.

And then I did something I’ve been doing more of lately. I silently reminded myself: “I’m strong. I’m happy. And I’m healing.”

You see, I recently started a new treatment that’s brought up a lot of new emotions. Renewed hope for healing, a genuine happiness, and more quiet rest in my mind. And while the quiet and calm have been so welcome in this tired body, I’ve discovered some buried debris:

Some negative thoughts I’ve held onto about my worth, purpose, and talents.

You see, I’ve worked through a lot of the things that have surfaced in these years of health challenges. Ideas that I’m not enough. Thoughts of comparison with someone else’s talent or ability. Beliefs that what I have to share isn’t of value to anyone else. It’s really quite a messy collection of harsh words and emotional knick-knacks that I just don’t need.

So I’ve started to question, what do I believe about myself? Do I really believe that my diagnoses define me? That my thoughts, experiences, or talents have no place in this world? Are they really “not good enough” or am I just afraid of letting my talents shine?

I don’t want to live buried by a pile of doubts and insecurities so I’ve decided to intentionally shift my thoughts. And in doing so, my aim and hope is to make more room for self-kindness, acceptance, and grace. Let me share a few ways I’m tangibly putting this into practice…

Daily gratitude journal.

Over the years, the people I’ve met with health challenges are some of the most grateful, appreciative bunch I know. We see the beauty in the simple things, soak in the things and moments that matter. So I wanted to be even more purposeful in this. Writing down a list of the things I’m grateful for has created a perfect space to allow the good in my life to shine.

And this list is not just about noticing the good, but also recognizing my efforts for the day. This can look like “I’m grateful I did a great job at sticking to my treatment schedule today” or “I’m thankful I was able to commit to my appointment even though it took a lot of extra effort.” It reminds me of positive truths like: I’m strong, committed to my health, determined. And when does that ever not feel encouraging to hear?!

(I’ve also been doing a Living Gratitude Journal for the month of May in my Instagram stories. Short video clips of something I’m grateful for each day. If you’d like to follow along for inspiration – or join me – come visit my feed and click on my profile pic!)

Speaking kindness to my inner self.

I can be incredibly hard on myself. So learning how to treat myself with the same gentleness I wish to give others has been a process for me. And one way I’m challenging the tide is by silently reminding myself of my worth. Affirming what makes me, me.

The more I’ve stepped outside of my comfort zone with this one the more emotional healing I’ve experienced. Why? Because I’m actually starting to believe what I’m saying. That I’m talented. That I’m important. That I have something to offer the world. The beauty in growing in how I self-talk and care about myself is that I believe I’m becoming more equipped for encouraging and supporting others around me, too.

Meditation.

Meditation is something I’ve only recently begun exploring, but it’s such a treasured new experience! I love how calm and relaxed it can make me. So each day I make space for a bit of meditation before bedtime. And I do my best to get in another hour at some point during the day.

It’s something that has taken practice (and I still have room to grow). But I make a great effort to remain focused on healing for that hour. My body sometimes gets restless and distracted, so it’s been important for me to learn to be gentle with any thoughts that arise. Which can look like calmly reminding myself/my mind that it’s time for healing. And in giving myself permission to let go of any harsh thoughts during my meditation I’ve found that the harsh thoughts have lessened as a whole!

Finding My Center.

These three practices, while small and not-so-out-of-the-box, have played an important role in centering me on my quest for healing, fullness and purpose. Because as I’ve approached each one with intention and grace, they’ve helped quiet the thoughts that don’t serve me well. It’s helped me refine my focus on healing, be more gentle with myself, and be more accepting of where I’m at right now.

And it’s given me hope that there can be a full life in this moment – as I embrace the now, hope for tomorrow, and learn to dance in the freedom to dream.

Have you tried any of these practices or have one you’d add to your own list? What inspires you to stay mindful in healing?

If you’re looking for some guided meditations, here are a couple of my faves: Meditation Minis by Chel Hamilton and Tracks to Relax for bedtime. But there are a lot of other great guided meditation podcasts on iTunes if those don’t quite resonate with you! Or you can check out what’s available for beginners on Amazon.

(If you click on one of my affiliate links in this post, I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase – at no extra cost to you!)

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After spending years chronically ill I began researching the DNRS program as a natural alternative to healing. I've seen great results and am sharing 3 important questions I've been asked - and answering them! Want to know more? Click here to learn more about how the treatment works!

3 Things You Should Know About DNRS

This is not a sponsored post. These opinions are entirely my own and are in no way endorsed by the Dynamic Neural Retraining System.

If you read my post last week, you know that over the course of the last six weeks I’ve been adding in a brand new treatment. And it’s a program that’s, well…outside of the box.

It doesn’t come in the form of capsules. Or an injection. And it doesn’t involve a device, for that matter.

Because this treatment, interestingly enough, can’t actually be seen.

Sure, the information and instructions for DNRS (Dynamic Neural Retraining System) are delivered in the form of a DVD series and a personal workbook. So there’s something tangible you have in hand as you’re learning. But implementing the program involves working on/with your brain.

Which means it’s a lot of internal work.

The techniques presented in this program are based on research surrounding neuroplasticity. Which, in short, refers to the brain’s unique ability to change itself. Wild, right?

So today I thought I’d answer some of the questions that I’ve been asked the most since starting DNRS:

  1. What is DNRS?
  2. How would retraining the brain help current health challenges?
  3. Is it worth the $250+ investment?

These are all questions I’ve asked before starting the program so you’re not alone! Information on healing through neuroplasticity is still relatively new to me, but I’ve been seeing profound shifts begin since starting DNRS.

So how about we just tackle these one by one?

What the heck is DNRS?

As I mentioned before, the program arrives at your door with a set of DVDs and a personal workbook. You’re encouraged to complete the program (which consists of 14+ hours of material) in 4 days in order to get the most benefit, but I’ll be honest: it took me a bit longer. But I gave myself some grace and, as I’ve shared, am still seeing positive shifts in my health.

In a nutshell, the DNRS program aims to first educate you in the science behind neuroplasticity and then equip you with both the tools and techniques to help you repair your limbic system.

I wasn’t familiar with the limbic system prior to this treatment program. So in case you’re like me and your thoughts are starting to drift toward what you’ll be eating for lunch, let’s quickly cover the basics.

The limbic system consists of several parts of the brain including the hypothalamus, hippocampus, amygdala and cingulate cortex. Together, these structures make up the “feeling and reacting” functions of the brain.

Now if the limbic system is impaired due to injury or trauma (whether that’s an infection, chemical exposure, mold toxicity, emotional or physical trauma, etc) it becomes hypersensitive. And in this hypersensitive state it will overreact to even the smallest stimuli that would otherwise be passed over as harmless.

Since our limbic system works intimately with our endocrine, autonomic and immune systems, it inappropriately activates those systems which can end up in a “party” of symptoms we never invited.

The DNRS program gives you a system to implement that will help rewire the limbic system so that it’s once again functioning properly. The treatment you implement includes both daily brain exercises you work on throughout each day and one hour of devoted time of “practice”. Practice each day involves a combination of mild movement, vocal exercises, and mindfulness techniques – all to help restructure the pathways in the brain.

I obviously can’t share exactly what the practice outlines for you to do each day, but something that may be helpful to talk about is the reality that I was very limited before starting this. And even I was able to implement these practices in the beginning. Sometimes I just had to do it in an abbreviated way, such as lying down or sitting during a portion of the daily one-hour of practice.

Want to learn more about the Dynamic Neural Retraining System? After years of treatments, doctors, and way too many years spent home-bound this method is helping me HEAL! Click to read more as I'm responding to my 3 most asked questions about the program.

 

How would retraining my brain help my current health challenges?

Great question! And one I asked over and over again before purchasing the program.

One of my first thoughts upon looking further into the program was that it seemed like everyone was “drinking the Kool-Aid.” But heck, I was desperate. And if  the Kool-Aid actually worked, I couldn’t care less about the modality. I just wanted to be better!

And while I am getting better, this most definitely is not brain washing. (Or sugary Kool-Aid for anyone wondering). There was an important distinction I knew I needed to make early on in the program. As I learned more about the brain and neuroplasticity it became clear I had to treat my brain just like I was treating my body.

My magnesium has been regularly low for years now, which is why my naturopath has been supporting my body’s diet with magnesium supplements. My blood pressure has also been regularly low, so I frequently drank Himalayan salt water to help keep it from dipping too far.

So for me, it was helpful to view my efforts in neuroplasticity retraining as working with the organ of the brain.

As in: utilizing my mind to retrain my brain’s pathways. And while a huge part of this program is working with your thoughts, it’s more specifically working with the thoughts/messages your brain is inappropriately sending.

The aim is to redirect the neurons that are firing incorrectly (i.e. sending symptom and pain signals) so that over time they are no longer wired with the same old pathways. The outcome is rewiring the brain with new, healing pathways so the limbic system can be properly functioning once again. Which results in lessening symptoms!

I’ve heard all sorts of “just think positive” mantras and over these past years of health struggles they’ve felt like a big ball of blame. The message received was “you’re not positive enough, therefore it’s your fault you aren’t getting better.” And I don’t buy that one bit.

Any mindset shifts I’ve experienced (or been able to set in motion) in this program have been a direct result of experiencing tangible healing. Meaning: literally feeling a difference in my brain and body. It’s been like a fog has been slowly lifting. A fog I simply did not invite or entertain. Because believe me, I wanted all of the symptoms and discomfort GONE. 

This program isn’t about just thinking positive, but rather learning how to communicate with your brain to help it reach wholeness. And what I’m finding with each passing week is that I do feel lighter. Even happier, but genuinely so. And it coincides with the healing that’s begun in my brain and body.

How did I decide it was worth the $250+ investment?

First off, I can tell you one thing that didn’t help me decide: a guarantee I would get better. Because there wasn’t one. I knew that just like every other treatment I tried, no one could tell me this would 100% work for me.

But the following things really did help.

    1. A money-back guarantee. This was a first for me. We have shoveled out tens of thousands of dollars, much of which we fundraised, to pay for treatments over the years. Never once have we seen this. If you commit to the program for the full 6 months and don’t see significant improvement, they’ll refund you. That’s quite a statement of belief in their program!
    2. It’s really not that expensive. I probably don’t need to say more after what I just said about “tens of thousands”, right? But in case you need a further statement: $250 doesn’t begin to touch how much my supplements cost us right now each month. If getting me better means being able to go off of those, it’s well worth it.
    3. The research speaks for itself. The more I’ve studied about neuroplasticity through the program (and now after), it JUST MAKES SENSE. Variations of the techniques in this program have been proven effective in so many others. Want to be really amazed? Watch this TED talk given by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor who suffered a stroke and talks about her experience and neuroplastic healing.

The following contains affiliate links which means that if you purchase something through one of these links I may receive a commission – at no extra cost to you. As a reminder, I only promote things I have personally tried or believe are beneficial. Any commissions earned help me keep this blog running. So, thanks! 🙂

You don’t have to take my word for it. Learn more yourself!

Since starting the program I’ve had a craving for learning more about the brain, specifically neuroplasticity. So I have a running list of the books I’d like to read and recently checked out my first one from our local library by Dr. Norman Doidge, called The Brain’s Way of Healing. I’ve just started and already it’s a fascinating and helpful read! I also plan to read his first neuroplasticity book, The Brain that Changes Itself.

Since watching the TED talk video I mentioned earlier I’ve been eyeing Jill Bolte Taylor’s book, My Stroke of Insight, for a future read also. Because after watching her tell her story I just have to know more!

Finally, of course, the Dynamic Neural Retraining System’s website contains more information about both the program and understanding the science behind their approach. And it’s a great way to check it out more before deciding if it makes sense to purchase the program for yourself. Let me know if you do! I’d love to connect.

Have you read any books on Neuroplasticity? Have you done the DNRS program or something similar? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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How the DNRS Program is Helping Me Heal

If you’ve been following me here for awhile, you know that here in this blog-space I share the grit and guts of what I’ve experienced in the realm of the sick life. But if you’d like to catch up on my story to understand how powerful the news I’m about to share is feel free to check out this post. It’ll give you a look at what used to be an average day-in-the-life for me. Don’t worry, I’ll wait right here til you’re done…

Ready? Okay.

So a little over a year ago I met a doctor through a friend and my goodness has she been a godsend to me. Quite frankly, I believe she is one of two doctors that has helped keep me alive. Well, them and a nurse who quite literally gave me back my life in 2015.

Through her care I’ve seen some beginning signs of improvement as well as experiencing a much lower # of ER visits (1). But I’ve still been largely home bound. Weak. Frail. Experiencing way too many symptoms to be normal. She was feeling hopeful that by the year’s end I’d see some marked change. And I tried my best to hope with her.

But then I was sent a message from an Instagram friend that told me I needed to check out the DNRS (Dynamic Neural Retraining System) program. She said it had completely changed her life and since our stories were so similar I thought I should at least look into it.

So I clicked over to the website and began to read. My first response was honestly, an eye roll. “‘Retrain the brain’? Do they think this is all in my head? This sounds like another load of positivity B.S. So…I’m outta here.” I replied to the friend with a thanks, but this just isn’t for me. And I thought that was it.

But it KEPT. POPPING. UP.

A few weeks after I said ‘no thanks’ it popped up again. Then a couple days later a friend messaged me about it, asking if I’d heard of it. Call it what you will: a sign from the universe, or God, or my own body/brain trying to send me a message, but I just couldn’t get away from it.

So I looked at the website again. I watched tons of the testimonial videos as well as a presentation by the creator of the program, Annie Hopper. Her story, though different than my own, also held so many similarities. And she confirmed what I knew to be true: this illness is NOT all in our heads. So I softened.

I felt like her heart was compassionate toward others who had gone through what she had. And her incredible story was this: I learned to retrain my brain and I healed myself.

That’s quite a bold statement, no? So I looked at the price of the program and I talked it over with Trevin. A couple weeks later I had the DVD program in hand. It came right after I’d finished running my very first workshop with some of the readers here at Living Grace. The timing felt perfect.

Have you heard of the DNRS program based on the research of neuroplasticity? It's a fascinating program that is helping me heal from years of chronic illness. To read more of my one month update, click here!

I entered the DNRS program with a lot of skepticism.

I just feel like you should know that. It definitely wasn’t as if I bought into this deal right off the bat. But there were some aspects of the research I found online surrounding the brain’s ability to change itself (neuroplasticity) that I couldn’t ignore. And seeing how it had helped so many others similar to me gave me enough hope to give it a shot.

The program is designed to help you rewire your limbic system so that it builds more functional neural pathways. As I learned more about the brain and limbic system in this program, the cause and effect of why I continued to grow sicker or only experience small amounts of relief started to make more sense.

In the DVDs Annie explains that when the brain experiences various forms of trauma, whether that’s viral, physical, emotional or otherwise,  a maladapted stress response can be triggered. Essentially that means that our brain’s instincts to protect us get kicked into overdrive, leading our limbic system into a constant state of fight or flight mode.

And how on earth could I get better if my brain constantly thinks it’s under attack?!

This video documentary on neuroplasticity is quite fascinating if you’re interested in understanding more. (Just feel free to ignore the creepy music.) Variations of these concepts have been proven effective in the treatment of physical injuries, such as stroke patients or those who have suffered brain damage. And it’s also helped those who have suffered psychological PTSD or have OCD. 

Next week I’ll be unpacking a bit more about neuroplasticity and the design of the program, but until then you can also check out the website to watch some tutorials and read up on the science behind it. (<—that’s my affiliate link, which means I may earn a small commission if you click on it and purchase the program. As a reminder, I only share things I’ve either tried or believe in the value of. In this case: I’ve tried it and it’s helping me heal!)

My one-month improvements:

I’ve been on the program for just 4 weeks now and the changes in that short period of time have been quite amazing. Especially when Trev and I compare it to the life I’ve been living the last few years. And while I have more healing to work towards, I’m truly grateful for these beginning signs of healing.

As a pre-cursor to my improvements here’s a list of most of my diagnoses: Lyme, Bartonella, Babesia, Mold Illness, Heavy Metal Toxicity, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, MTHFR genetic mutation and POTS).

  • I’ve gone from barely being able to walk a couple blocks on a very good day to walking almost daily the last week+.
  • My fatigue levels used to be at an average of 7-9 every day (on a scale of 10 being “I can’t move”) and now my levels are averaging below 5 consistently.
  • The inflammation and joint pain I’ve consistently lived with hasn’t been this low in over 4 years.
  • My strength is slowly growing and my litmus test is being able to do the dishes almost daily. They used to sit an average or 2 days before I could get through another round.
  • Dizziness used to be one of my most debilitating symptoms. Now? It’s at an all time low also.

The healing process continues…

There continue to be new things that pop up and surprise me as I continue to commit myself to the program and work toward further healing. And in my commitment to the program, this post will be one of my last to mention diagnoses or symptoms for awhile. It’s a necessary part of retraining my brain in this critical stage of early healing.

Guys, I’m not going to sugar coat it for you: this treatment is not easy. But then again none of what I’d done for healing has been. Seeing improvements and feeling genuine hope is most certainly worth sticking with it.

With all that said, I feel so happy to share that I believe I’m in the process of healing. And while I believe in God, I’m going to keep my feelings on this experience ultra-real for you: this is not something that I’ve seen sprinkled down magically into my life. 

I’ve fought for this. For years.

I’ve committed myself to countless supportive supplements, doctor’s appointments, injections, blood draws, detox, nourishing myself, gripping onto my pebbles of hope, so-much-waiting and now I continue to reach for healing with this program. (And I continue to maintain my supplement protocol under my current doctor’s care while on the program).

So I’ll leave you with this one-month update and hope that this program may also help some of you sweet struggling ones on your own healing path. To reclaim your own health. To heal your brain’s limbic system. And begin to see yourself able to dream again… of living a healthy life, of travel, and of pursuing the things you’ve been waiting for.

Have you heard of DNRS before? Or tried it? Have questions you want me to answer in another post? Drop your thoughts below in the comments! I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

As a heads up: I’ll be largely taking a break from my Facebook page indefinitely, so if you want to stay in touch be sure to sign up for my email list. Or connect with me on Instagram!

 

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you purchase through one of these links, I may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). Thanks for supporting this blog and my health!

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If you've ever tried dining out with food allergies - or even sensitivities - then you know it can be quite the obstacle course to navigate. Check out the DineSafe app which helps you locate restaurants in your area that offer items that meet your specific needs!

Eating Out with Food Sensitivities: How the DineSafe App Can Help

This post is sponsored by DineSafe, but the opinions shared here are entirely my own. I only share products and services that I personally believe in or use personally.

Over the course of the last few years I have experimented and transitioned through a variety of diets and food restrictions. And can I just say: it’s not for the faint of heart.

Some of my shifts in diet were directed by doctors, while others my body demanded in ALL CAPS. Regardless of the reason, one things remains true: eating out when you can’t eat just any ole thing can prove quite challenging.

Now, there are the obvious ways to get around it, of course. You can ask all the questions to your waiter. Or search through Yelp and Google for reviews that specifically mention your diet or allergies. And you can even just avoid the whole dining out scene entirely.

But what would make this process a whole lot easier would be restaurant menus being more user-friendly for guests with food allergies or restrictions. Yet in my experience, there are far too few restaurants that go that extra mile.

So what if restaurants could help us diners simplify the process of finding safe food to eat? And what if we could easily find those restaurants that match up with our unique dining needs? Well, THIS is the mission of DineSafe, an app that makes the process of safe dining easier for both restaurants and guests that have food allergies.

Last year I was offered an opportunity to explore and review this app, and I found it to be such a powerful tool. Something that has stood out to me in getting to know the company is the passion the founders have for creating safe dining experiences for all.

With more than 15 million Americans affected by some form of food allergy, it seems like common sense for restaurants to get on board with accommodating more than the average Joe, amiright?

Using the App

You aren’t required to create an account in order to use this app (which is free, by the way), however they make it SUPER simple to create your own food preference profile. There’s a list of 33 allergens you can sort through, adding any and all that apply to your needs by simply tapping on each item.

Then, say on top of an allergy you have to peanuts you also follow a gluten free diet. No problem! There are 11 different diet options  (gluten free, Vegan or Paleo to name a few) that you can choose from that can be incorporated into your personal preferences, too.

Once you’ve created your profile, you’ll be able to search threw a database of restaurants in your area that fit your specific needs. You can also endorse restaurants near you that you know have safe menu items for certain restrictions and suggest restaurants you’d like to see join the movement.

A Great Tool for Restaurants.

The founders have aimed to make the process of creating an account simple for restaurants. Understanding that the time of restaurant owners is valuable and the process of identifying allergens can feel overwhelming, their team will do the bulk of the work. They’ll able to manage both large nationwide chains as well as our go-to local favorites.

They’ll help the restaurants create an interactive menu that lists their items, identifies common allergens, highlights nutritional information (like no sugar added or low sodium) and aligns dishes with any of the 11 diets offered. The team at DineSafe is also working on a new feature which will give restaurants access to analytics that will show them the biggest needs and trends in their area.

And the best part of all? It’s FREE for restaurants, too. No cost to the restaurant and it puts their menu on the map for those of us looking for safe places to eat. Win-win, right?

If you’re reading this and thinking “I NEED this app”, you can find it on both Apple and Android. Let me know if you do!

You can also follow DineSafe on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on new restaurants and features when they’re added. They’re about to launch their first nationwide restaurant chain soon so be on the lookout for that!

Do you have any tips for dining out with food allergies? I’d love to hear what’s been helpful for you!

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