“The many different categories of happiness and suffering can be divided broadly into physical pleasure and suffering; and mental pleasure and suffering. The latter, the experiences of the mind, are more important than those of the body”, The Dalai Lama
The book by Dr.Rick Hansen exemplifies all that I have written about in the past year or two regarding how to change one’s brain to bring about happiness while living with the challenge of fibromyalgia. His book (Buddha’s Brain) exemplifies how one can change the brain and bring about a sense of peace, something all of us with fibromyalgia are struggling with on a daily basis. With peace comes a calm happiness.
The ‘excitotoxicity’ of our nervous systems is subject to so many conditions, among them being anxiety which is plaguing me right now. With anxiety there is the ugly twin sibling of depression. To accompany these twins are a multitude of physical manifestations and for those of us with fibromyalgia the list is too numerous to cite, but chief among them being pain, fatigue, itching, and irritable bowel . Like most of us with fibromyalgia I struggle between the two emotions of sympathy and empathy and when I am too empathetic I become anxious. Also, like others who take too much responsibility in life I am at my limit . My current responsibility for an aging mother (after years of dealing with an emotionally abusive father who recently died) has led me to stresses that sometimes seem unsurmountable, which then increases the activity of my amygdala. Without a strategy for reducing this brain activity, such as meditation and light exercise I could not continue with this caregiving process. Equally as important as meditation and light exercise (movement) is diet. These are the big 3 when it comes to working with fibromyalgia and trying to achieve some degree of happiness, which I equate with being peaceful.
Yet, when I read about mindfulness meditation (that is, being continuously mindful of the various emotions that one is subject to, allowing them to surface, then gently pushing them aside) I am led to believe that one develops more of an empathetic nature. How can it be that the very emotion that I want less of will bring more of it if I am mindful? Perhaps this means that I will become more empathetic of myself? Will that then bring me more happiness? It is true as the Dalai Lama has suggested that happiness is a state of mind and for that I am grateful for at least knowing how to work with an overstimulated nervous system (a.k.a. fibromyalgia). However, it takes discipline which I often lack and then have a difficult time forgiving myself for if I neglect to care for myself. Life keeps getting in the way! But life is not good if I eat sugar and not enough vegetables during the day or if I do not meditate or take walks or practice Qigong.
Today is another day! I will practice what I preach.I recently saw a video on utube about “Minding Your Mitochondria” by Dr. Terry Wahls who cured her own Multiple Sclerosis by changing her diet completely. She also mentions fibromyalgia as being among the conditions that need a diet change. To that end I have bought a juicer and intend to get even more leafy greens in my daily diet, along with my regular noon hour salad. No one, no physician, no therapist of any sort, no drugs can help me with fibromyalgia and my attempt to gain happiness. I am responsible for my own destiny.