The number of hits coming to my blog surprises me given my lack of attention to writing content here lately. I am thankful for those who faithfully trudge over to see if this blog is still alive.
While researching mindfulness in connection to chronic pain, I was made aware that in my pursuit for research and making earnest connections between mindfulness and chronic pelvic pain patients and how this is influenced by various degrees of physician communication (confused?), I have neglected those who struck the initial surge of creativity for me to embark on this crazy marathon. And for that, I apologize.
I wish to write more soon about being mindful to help one cope with chronic pain. I am still gathering data and sifting through a spectacular book on the subject, “The Mindful Brain” by Daniel Siegel. I was brought down this path through some research regarding using mindfulness as a leadership style. In one of the articles I read – Michael Chaskalson’s “Mindful Leadership: Training the Mind to Lead” – it talked about how the brain imaging of leaders could predict those who were effective and ineffective. This evidence was based on which side of the prefrontal cortex “lit up” with activity. Wondering how I could apply this theory to physican/patient communication in chronically ill women with endometriosis, I e-mailed Mr. Chaskalson. His response follows:
I’m pretty sure that learning to “approach” (Left
Prefrontal Cortex Activation) as opposed to “avoid” (Right Prefrontal Cortex
Activation) pain and other chronic conditions will be of great value to
patients and help them better to handle their pain.
Now, I’m sure some of you are jumping to the conclusion that this is some new-age-Yoga-meditation business, but you are wrong. Being mindful is an overall approach that can be applied to anything in life, including the way physicians interact with chronic pain patients and how patient interact with their pain. Yes, meditation may be involved, but there are various forms of “meditation”. I know that when I stopped running from my pain and began dealing with it head-on, I gained a new awareness for what it was trying to do to me. It was trying to control me. By being mindful of the pain – but at the time I didn’t know this is what I was doing, I was acknowledging a problem existed (not something in my head) and became more apt at conveying this to my physicians. To improve safety and quality, mindfulness must be a two-way street.
I’m still early on in Siegel’s book and pulling articles to form a brief presentation of this soon. I am hopeful my research is going in the right direction and can shed light on new ways physicians and patients can communicate about silent illnesses.
Those surveys and requests for surveys are very welcomed and appreciated. Now… on to more “book work”.