Bad Memories From Your Childhood? Stay in the Moment, And You'll Be Fine

It probably shouldn't come as a surprise but people who were abused as children find they're happier if they stay in the present moment, rather than reliving their past or looking off into the future.

It's called mindfulness and it works for everyone.

According to newswise.com, adults who were abused or neglected as children are known to have poorer health, but adults who tend to focus on and accept their reactions to the present moment—or are mindful—report having better health, regardless of their childhood adversity.

Mindfulness is all the rage today.  It's what you learn in yoga.  It's what courses are trying to teach doctors to do, or maybe, I should say be.  It's all about living in the moment, right now.  Because it's the only time you have.

I remember when I was first diagnosed with cancer thinking far, far ahead to the treatments I'd have to have.  First, surgery.  Then, radiation.  Then, surgery again.  But I had to get through each one before going on to the next.  It made no sense to worry about radiation when I was in the surgery phase.  (You tend to do it anyway).

But one of the biggest things I learned was that I could handle it if I just stayed in the present moment.  Even when I was being wheeled to the operating room for major surgery, I remember taking deep breaths and just being in the moment, watching the lights as the stretcher went down the hallway, shivering in the coldness of the operating room, the awkwardness of having to climb from the stretcher to the operating table, and then, the best part, the kiss my surgeon placed on my forehead, and the short prayer she said, right before I went to sleep.

Of course, it's pretty hard to do. But if you can, you will be amazed at the peace it will bring to your life.

Survey respondents were asked if they experienced any of eight types of childhood adversity, such as being abused or having a parent with alcoholism or drug addiction. In addition, respondents were asked questions about their current health, as well their mindfulness, meaning their tendency in daily life to pay attention to what is happening in the moment and to be aware of and accepting of their thoughts and feelings, newswise.com reports.
Nearly one-fourth of those surveyed reported three or more types of adverse childhood experiences, and almost 30 percent reported having three or more stress-related health conditions like depression, headache, or back pain, noted the researchers. However, the risk of having multiple health conditions was nearly 50 percent lower among those with the highest level of mindfulness compared to those with the lowest. This was true even for those who had multiple types of childhood adversity, the website notes.
I, too, have experienced abuse and neglect in childhood so this was really helpful for me.  I was lucky enough to take a course right before my big surgery that helped me practice being mindful, and thinking about the outcome I wanted from my surgery.  Little blood loss.  No infection.  Small amount of pain.  I saw those things in my mind and just relaxed, or went into a meditative state. And it worked.  I was discharged from the hospital 24 hours after a seven-hour surgery.
 The study found tha, regardless of the amount of childhood adversity, those who were more mindful also reported significantly better health behaviors, like getting enough sleep, and better functioning, such as having fewer days per month when they felt poorly—either mentally or physically, said the researchers.
“Our results suggest that mindfulness may provide some resilience against the poor adult health outcomes that often result from childhood trauma,” the website quotes lead author Robert Whitaker, professor of public health and pediatrics at Temple University. “Mindfulness training may help adults, including those with a history of childhood trauma, to improve their own well-being and be more effective with children.”

 

 

 


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