Natural Healing Omaha Blog

How to Choose an Herbal Remedy That Works

How to Choose an Herbal Remedy That Works

Jan sat down across from me with a familiar look on her face. Hope. Resignation. Confusion. Overwhelm.

And next to her, in one of those reusable grocery store bags, was a jumble of every health food store supplement she’d bought in the past 6 months, some still unopened.

This was how Jan understood her health problem up until now – as a collection of deficiencies that she could supplement her way out of. It’s a pretty common misunderstanding, and it’s not her fault.

We fall prey to this thinking because we’ve been trained to think of health care as a one-for-one proposition.

If anti-depressants are for depression, and statins are for high cholesterol, then there’s probably a vitamin, mineral, anti-oxidant, enzyme or protein for every disease, symptom or syndrome.

The thing is, that’s sort of a piecemeal approach that never really gets to the bottom of things. When heartburn, bloating, headaches, pain, insomnia, rashes are viewed as unrelated and disconnected problems, each with their own separate solution, we miss the big picture.

When you take a this-for-that approach to health care, you never see the patterns that emerge from looking at the bird’s eye view, like the tendency of your problem to be spasmodic, or worse in cold weather, or have a damp quality, or that stress makes it flare up. These patterns provide subtle clues to the remedy or healing method for you.

Instead of asking what pill goes with what symptom, ask what’s the nature of your misery?

  • Is the problem worse or better with heat?
  • Does it stay in one place or move around?
  • Is there pain, and is it sharp and stabbing or dull and achey?
  • Does the problem get worse when you feel tight and tense?
  • Are there other symptoms that mimic the sensation, frequency or severity of the issue?

Your problem has unique qualities that distinguish it from everyone else’s. So it makes sense that the remedy you take to feel better matches YOUR variety of trouble.

Let’s look at digestion, for instance. When symptoms like heartburn, gas, abdominal pain, bloating, belching, diarrhea, constipation, cramping or hemorrhoids get to be a regular thing, it’s time to look for patterns and apply some general rules:

Cold makes things loose, clear or white, mucusy and slow. If your digestion or stool has these qualities, you need a remedy that warms things up. Herbs like fennel seed, cardamom pod, cinnamon bark, thyme leaf, sage leaf, oregano leaf, horseradish, ginger root, rosemary leaf, garlic bulb and black pepper introduce warm, stimulating, toning properties, lessening the constant need for over-the-counter anti-diarrhea products and even relieving a constantly runny nose.

Heat makes things activate. That’s mostly a good thing, until there’s too much heat. That looks like burning or heat sensations, hot burps, irritation, bleeding, redness and swelling (anywhere in or on your body). Look for herbs that cool and calm the heat– lavender flower, mint leaf, basil leaf, dandelion root, plantain leaf, elder flower, marshmallow root.

Most of these herbs for heat coat and soothe irritated tissue, especially in the digestive tract, reduce swelling, and allow heat to clear. This can eliminate or reduce the need for anti-inflammatory medicines or antacids, which deplete essential stomach acid and worsen digestive irritation over time.

When energy gets stuck, there’s usually cramping, pain, gas, bloating or constipation. Choose herbs that relax tissues and allow the ‘Qi’ to flow. Anti-spasmodics like cramp bark, skullcap, wood betony, hops, and oat seed blend well with the hot or cold herbs mentioned earlier, depending on which category you fall into.

When both your mood and your stomach are fussy and irritable, choose herbs that soothe, heal and calm your over-sensitive nervous system: catnip, chamomile flower, lavender flower, oat seed, meadowsweet, peppermint, anise seed, blue vervain and lemon balm.

Plants know how to repair themselves and grow in cold, hot, soggy, dry, crowded or stressful conditions. They reach around obstacles for light, water and nutrients. In you, they gently nudge your built-in healing capacity.

Remember Jan? Jan was off to a good start buying and trying supplements one at a time. Her intention was to find a natural way to solve an imbalance before it became a disease with a name.

Like Jan, you might be looking for an answer to solve the supplement puzzle and avoid expensive medical visits, tests and medications. Looking for patterns in your symptoms helps you decide where to start.

Next time you reach for a supplement bottle at your local health food store, ask yourself ,“Is there a plant with this name that grows in nature?” If it doesn’t grow in nature, it’s not an herb. If it’s not an herb, it doesn’t carry the healing energy of a plant that’s survived and thrived against all odds. Start over and look for an herb that matches your symptom pattern.

Multivitamins, CoQ10, fish oils and iron supplements might be useful replacements for simple deficiencies, but they won’t stimulate your body to heal itself the way herbs do.

If you’ve been struggling with a chronic problem that’s not responding to ordinary dietary supplements, turn to the plants. Herbal Medicine, and especially Traditional Chinese Medicine, have safe, natural and effective answers for many of today’s common ailments.

Tell me how you applied an herb to a health problem. Did it help?  What was the result?

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Food Fear Isn’t Making Us Any Healthier

Food Fear Isn’t Making Us Any Healthier

8 seconds. That’s how long I scrolled on Facebook to find a blog/link/post about the latest unhealthy food. Then, when I Googled the phrase ‘bad food’, I got 2.1 billion search results. Billion!

Food-fear is nothing new.

In the 70’s, we were warned that fat was bad for our arteries, so Mom switched us to margarine instead of butter. Remember how that margarine thing worked out?

Then, my dad’s doctor warned him against too much salt, so out the door that went. And forget about eggs. No way. Big killer.

In the 80’s, we counted calories, to drop the weight from the processed foods that replaced the evil fats we cut out in the 70’s.

In the 90’s, convenience was king, and we threw out all the rules and enjoyed our fast food lunches crammed into our 10-hour workdays. Life was all about success and big houses and keeping up with the Joneses.

Honestly, I don’t remember all the food fads over the past 40 years (and excuse me if I mixed up my decades), but some pretty lousy advice has been handed down under the guise of ‘research’ from food manufacturers, healthcare providers, and mass media.

I feel so guilty eating practically everything these days. Every food on the shelves, in the CSA box, or from the garden, has been so demonized.

Even something as purely healthy as an egg gets analyzed, researched, and questioned, until someone comes up with a ludicrous list of qualifications a simple egg should meet to enter our mouths:

  • Free-range
  • Omega-3 enhanced (what in the world did those poor chickens have to go through to qualify?)
  • Gluten-free (seriously?)
  • Farm-raised – is ANY farm strict enough to meet this standard?
  • Local (that’s always nice, I guess)
  • Fresh (doesn’t that go without saying?)

Once upon a time, eggs came in 4 sizes and by-the-dozen only.

Remember when the only bread choice we considered was homemade or store-bought? Now we worry about gluten, whole-grain, trans fats vs polyunsaturated ones, and food coloring. Since when does bread need to be colored?

For just one meal, I want to eat without running through the pedigree of my meal. I know I should be buying my food from local, organic farmers with free-range animal products and environmentally sustainable practices. I fully support these practices, but this takes an enormous amount of time. And a good plan.

And I’m working on it, little by little. I started by shopping the organic section of my grocery stores, reading food and farming blogs, and I’m finally going to join a CSA this Spring and see what THAT’S all about.

But for now, I’d like to pour a bowl of oatmeal without worrying about whether it’s organic or gluten-free, and top it with walnuts without wondering if they’re covered in pesticides, and mix it up with some organic milk that might not be from a farm nearby, and top it off with dried cranberries that probably have some sugar added because I couldn’t find the unsweetened ones I’m supposed to buy.

It would be a little slice of heaven to enjoy a warm spoonful of breakfast and not for a split second wonder if the grain is genetically modified.

I love to eat, but we’ve taken all the fun out of eating in our culture. Food is a minefield of potential cancer-causing, inflammation-inducing terror. No wonder everyone is so confused and stressed about what to feed their families.

Today, for just one meal, eat without guilt, or fear, or disappointment. Before you start your new eating habits – low fat, high fat, low sugar, no sugar, vegetarian, paleo, vegan, grass-fed – enjoy that juicy steak and baked potato smothered in gravy with a side of delicious, and sugary, gluten-laden pie for dessert with a smile on your face.

Life is stressful enough. Enjoy your food, even if it’s not the most healthy thing you’ve had this week. Then tomorrow, pick just one thing to do differently. Eat a little less, skip dessert, add a vegetable to your plate without worrying about who grew it. You’ll get there. It’s a process. One step at a time.

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How Long Have You Carried Your Grudge?

How Long Have You Carried Your Grudge?

Could forgiveness heal a relationship that’s important to you? My guest blogger, Life Coach Nancy Dennis, shares personal insight on how she learned the lesson of forgiveness.

I remember when I was first presented with the concept of forgiveness being a conscious choice. It had nothing to do with how I felt, wrongs being righted, or justice. Now this was news to me, because I had been wronged, deeply wronged, and anyone would agree with me. But here was an opportunity to see something differently. Not looking at what had happened, but looking at how I was going to choose to ‘be’ in the light of it.

What I learned was that forgiveness was not about saying what had happened was now OK or forgotten. It simply meant two things:

1. I would choose to no longer allow myself to roast the other person on the spit – to turn over and over again the wrongs done, and turn up the heat of my anger and resentment.
2. I would choose to no longer play the victim card — not in my mind, my conversation or my actions. The facts were facts, without right or wrong, and I was no longer reopening the wound and poking at it.

Up until that time, I believed that you had to feel ready to forgive, to in some way say “this is now OK”.

But forgiveness had nothing to do with feelings, or never remembering, or saying it no longer mattered. It had everything to do with moving on.

I was encouraged to begin this process when I was ready to commit to those two things – no more roasting on the spit, and no more victim.

Now here’s the interesting part…I found myself resisting this guidance. I convinced myself I just needed to get my head around it, needed more time, wanted to feel better about the concept – you get the drift. And then I proceeded to wrap this up in a nice tidy bundle and put it on the shelf way back in the recesses of my mind – in my “someday I’ll do this…” box.

It wasn’t until about 6 months later that forgiveness came up again. I was asked to look at how much time I had spent reviewing and rehashing the wrong done to me. And then to look at how long in physical time, the event had taken.

Lastly, how much longer was I going to surround myself with this toxic essence, when I could just decide to set it down, let it go, and be present and thankful for the here and now?

I realized it was time to forgive. To just lay it down, no more roasting on the spit, no more victim, no more looking back. Just let it go. I made the conscious decision to forgive, and I made the promise to myself that if I ever again brought up the thoughts or feelings, as soon as I recognized what I was doing, I would remember that I was no longer allowing myself to think like that – I had let this go. Love and peace and blessings to all.

If you’re reading this, and you find there is something or someone you need to forgive – if it’s niggling your heart – then I encourage you to make the choice to forgive. I guarantee you it is not serving you well.

From my own personal experience, forgiveness has been one of the best things I have done in my life.

You can reach Nancy for more life wisdom at coachnancy.dennis@gmail.com or http://www.coachnancydennis.com. Nancy is a guest instructor at Natural Healing Omaha workshops, including Women’s Health Series 2014 – 6 Steps to Whole Health, which includes her class “Healthy Relationships for Life”.

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A Strong Nervous System Helps You Withstand Extremes

A Strong Nervous System Helps You Withstand Extremes

On my morning walk today, the street was littered with little and big branches from a wild snow tornado thing that blew through the city the day before. Every few steps I was kicking away or stepping around fallen pieces of the trees, garbage can lids and stray yard stuff that was swept up and dropped off in the vortex of air.

Then it hit me. The trees were just fine. As far as I know, very little damage was done to the city’s bare, brown maple, ash, apple and every other species of Midwest tree. Those winds were up to 60 miles per hour, and still, the trees looked like they always do this time of year. Stark. Tall. Braced for winter but undamaged by it.

If trees are made to withstand freak ‘snow tornados’ and windy squalls, the weight of a heavy snow, and wide temperature variations (sometimes up to 60 degrees in one day around here), then aren’t we?

Yes. And no.

Yes, you have the capability to bend without breaking against the forces of cold and flu viruses, bacterial infections, mild stresses and life’s unexpected events.

But you aren’t built to withstand the chronic levels of 21st century stress, with attention-draining electronic devices, ever-greater demands on time and an environmental load of ‘approved’ chemicals that kills off several species a day*!

At least not without some serious damage.

Trees and plants handle the stress of a strong wind gust by bending their flexible extremities. They might shake loose a weakened branch or a few leaves, but 50 or 100 feet of roots anchor them solidly for survival.

It’s also in your nature to have a strong foundation, so, when stress happens, you bounce back. When a loved one dies, when you lose your job, your marriage or a beloved pet, you grieve and feel the hurt and loss, but after a while you’re on your feet again, wounded but alive.

There’s no denying that some people get an unfair load of stress dumped on them, and who wouldn’t crumble a little under that weight? That’s when you call in extra support, sort of how you’d brace a tree with rope and a stake until it can stand on its own again. You get more rest, nourishing foods, ask family and friends for help.

This is where herbs really shine. They take the load off by calming down the nervous system, helping you sleep more soundly and lifting the fog of fatigue, even in the midst of the hell swirling around you.

Herbs called ‘nervines’ help dial back your anxious energy and feed the nervous system. Passionflower, for instance, puts you to sleep when your head is spinning with repetitive thoughts. Motherwort regulates a heartbeat that’s racing from nervousness, and Lavender soothes the mind and calms an upset stomach.

Wood betony loosens tension in the neck and shoulders, where we hold so much of our stress. These are just a few of the many herbs that lend their gentle nature to our over-stimulated lives.

Like a tree under the constant stress of poor soil, drought or injury, stress leads to disease. If you’re planted where you can’t thrive, your foundation weakens and you’re vulnerable to disease.

Practice a little self-care right now. Make yourself a cup of tea, take a deep breath and let it out slowly, close your eyes and rest your mind for 3 minutes. You just gave your mind a mini spa treatment!

Can you learn to bend and relax when life throws a snow tornado in your path? You can start by bringing some gentle natural healing into your day with calming herbs.

*https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/biodiversity/elements_of_biodiversity/extinction_crisis/

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Adaptogens – Your Winter Wonder Immune Herb

Adaptogens – Your Winter Wonder Immune Herb

Below is an article I wrote that was recently published in our local Complete Transformation Magazine. You’ll find more of my herbal and natural tips in quarterly issues of this free publication found in area grocery stores.

complete transformation magazine features woman herbalist Mo Horner

One of the biggest factors threatening your immune health this time of year is fatigue.

Do you ever have that dream where you’re running as fast as you can but you’re getting nowhere? Your legs are dragging like cement and every step is a ridiculous effort. When you wake up, you’re exhausted and frustrated. THAT dream.

When you get rundown, and ordinary tasks begin to seem disproportionately hard, like in THAT dream, you could benefit from a group of herbs called adaptogens. Adaptogens provide immune support by gently, steadily enhancing your feeling of well-being and energy.

Russian scientists discovered that adaptogenic herbs boosted the performance of Olympic athletes and astronauts, who were subjected to constant, extreme levels of pressure to excel under stressful conditions. Does that sound like your life sometimes? American lives mimic an athlete’s extraordinary level of work and worry, with long office hours, financial pressures and poor eating habits.

Months or years of high-stress living is a major drain on your kidney/adrenal organ system. And that’s exactly where adaptogens have a magic that no other substance can match.

By helping you ‘adapt’ to your very own, personal life stressors, like your mother-in-law’s voice or the boss’s deadline demands, your nervous system can shift into neutral, allowing you to keep your cool more easily.

With these herbs, your body begins to recognize the difference between ordinary and extraordinary stress, and avoids firing up adrenaline when it isn’t needed. In effect, adaptogens act as a supreme regulator of your fight-or-flight response.

Adaptogenic herbs allow your body to stand down and get out of security guard mode, into bystander mode, without losing the ability to respond quickly and effectively to REAL, life-threatening situations, like when a deer suddenly appears out of nowhere on a dark highway.

Not all adaptogens are created equal. Some are better for high-energy, Type A personalities that deal with stress by getting busier, while others are more effective for people who turn to food, sleep and reclusiveness when life gets overwhelming.

Adaptogenic herbs like ashwaganda, eleuthero, rhodiola and ginseng (in medicinal doses), are deeply nourishing to over-stimulated nervous systems. Taken in appropriate doses with the guidance of a trained and experienced Herbalist, these healing plants can buffer the effect of stress on your immune system and protect you from colds and flu all year long.

Have you had the flu or a nasty cold yet this season? How did you treat the symptoms – rest, supplements, herbs, antibiotics? Share your experience with Natural Healing Omaha readers in the comments below.

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What You Call Yourself Isn’t Just a Name

What You Call Yourself Isn’t Just a Name

For those of you contemplating change in 2014, here’s a little food for thought from my guest blogger, Flame Schoeder. She reminds us that what we call ourselves becomes our truth. So, choosing your names carefully is naturally good medicine for the mind. 

A friend of mine once told me there is a Native American belief that if you have ‘K’ in your name, you’ll always be confused. I’ve heard stuff like that before, haven’t you? I’ve heard stuff like that about my name, my personality, my body type, and on and on, ad nauseum.

We take this stuff to the bank, don’t we? “You’re right! I WILL ALWAYS be confused.” Then, when confusing situations came up we throw our hands up and say, “See… there it is… my confusion. No way around it. It simply cannot be helped.” And plunk ourselves down, frozen in despair.

These ideas that we take to the bank are called “Structures of Knowing.” We all have them and they’re not all bad. A structure of knowing that the glowing red metal is hot keeps us safe from being burned by it. The problem comes when we solidify these structures of knowing into the truth without occasionally checking their validity. “Am I always confused?”

I’d hazard a guess that, even if you have a ‘K’ in your name, you have clarity at least once in a while. If left un-checked, though, this structure of knowing might wreak havoc on your life.

It lets you off the hook, for one thing. “I AM confused,” you say, as if in physical reality someone could reach out and pinch your confusion. You are not confused. You experience confusion sometimes (and when you’re in it, it seems like you experience it all the time). Positing that you are the very being of confusion, though, isn’t very empowering.

So your goals? Your dreams? All that stuff you want written in your obituary? It doesn’t happen. That “I’m confused” structure of knowing quickly becomes a self-limiting conversation. You were more interested in proving yourself confused than you were in achieving your goals and dreams. (Take heart. You’re not alone, that kind of self-limiting thinking happens to all of us.)

What if it we frame it differently, though? What if the wisdom in the Native American tradition was accurate but it wasn’t the final word?  After years of introspection, spiritual work and coaching, I see the bigger container that holds statements like “if you have a ‘K’ in your name you’ll always be confused.”

Instead of a ‘K’ meaning you’ll ALWAYS be confused, it may simply point to your capacity to be confused, which may be more than average. I maintain that if your capacity for confusion is great, then so is your capacity for clarity—more than average! You can only have confusion as a counterpoint to its opposite. Confusion in and of itself doesn’t exist (or at the very least it is incredibly hard to conceptualize and understand). So if you can master confusion, then you will, by default, become a master of clarity.

Having clarity, and the skills to find it, IS empowering. That’s a toolkit you can take with you anywhere and it will serve you well. When the exact same situation that sent you into despair before comes up anew, you handle it. You use these skills to get through it. At the end you experience yourself as being powerful, capable, and ultimately, confident.

The next time you hear yourself solidifying an idea into “who you are” give it the physical reality test. Is this the truth? Can someone reach out and touch my:

  • Perfectionist?

  • Procrastinator?

  • Lazy Bum?

  • Compulsive Eater?

  • Workaholic?

  • Shopaholic?

If not, look at where you have a choice over your behavior. Am I more interested in perfectionism or being a loving mom? Am I more interested in procrastinating or being a published author? Lazy bum or creator of beauty? Shopaholic or financially successful? You get the gist. These antidotes to our structures of knowing are called our ‘intentions.’ Intentions are one of the things we can always be clear about and when we’re demonstrating them, life is sweet.

With any luck, as you ask these questions, you will also see pretty clearly what the next step to take is, too. What do loving moms do? They let the dishes sit sometimes so that they can snuggle a sick kiddo. What do published authors do? They schedule time to do their writing and then they actually write. What do confused people do? They consult their trusted confidantes until the answer becomes clear.

That structure of knowing that used to keep you from your goals and dreams will become less and less powerful as you stay focused on your intention.  As you focus on your intentions, people around you will notice some sweet changes in you, and you’ll notice them in yourself. So, go ahead, question your structures of knowing; everyone in your tribe will thank you for it.

Flame Schoeder is Vice President of the Nebraska Heartland Coaches’ Association and has been coaching since 2004, focusing on personal development. Follow her on Facebook or email her at coach@coachflame.com to find out how she can help you learn to shine.

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A Naturally Healing Tea for Every Time of Day

A Naturally Healing Tea for Every Time of Day

Staying healthy through a season of cold, flus and stubborn respiratory viruses doesn’t have to mean staying isolated from people or taking a handful of supplements every day with a wish and a prayer. It can be as simple as pausing throughout the day for a cup of tea.

When your co-workers are sneezing, coughing and calling in sick, and the kids are home from school with the flu, you can stay well just by enjoying your own blends of gentle herbal tea.

Herbal teas can keep your digestion on track, even out the stresses of the day and help you get better sleep, all of which have a major impact on optimal immune health.

The rhythm of taking herbs throughout the day is a practice that smoothes out the edges of structured, over-scheduled lives, releases tension, introduces subtle flavor and gently heals you before you’ve gotten too far out of balance.

Start your morning with a fermented tea like pu erh, with it’s rich, earthy scent that clears the morning’s mental fog, stimulates metabolism and gets a sluggish gut gently moving. It’s a nudge to the digestive system to wake up, stretch out and get moving.

Late morning, when you’re well into the day’s projects, steep some holy basil (you might know this one as tulsi) or green tea to keep your thinking clear and the mind alert to new ideas. Green tea has hundreds of health benefits, one of which is the ability to gently energize without over-stimulating. Treat yourself to a high-quality tea that’s organically grown and ethically harvested.

A second cup of green tea is a mild mid-afternoon pick-me-up, especially when it shares a saucer with a snack of nuts or dried fruit, just enough to hold you to dinner and not enough to spoil it.

When you’re home and settling in after dinner, encourage good digestion with chamomile, orange peel, fennel, ginger or peppermint teas. Later, whether it’s time for a favorite hobby, catching up with a friend, or supervising homework, make a family tea to wind down the mind with linden, lemon balm or lavender.

There’s an herbal tea for any time of day, all year long. Winter is the ideal time to add warm herbs like sage, cinnamon and thyme to any blend you’re infusing. Keeping your body warm protects against the chill that makes you vulnerable to fatigue and illness.

celestial tea strainer sits right inside your favorite tea cup

 

Directions: To make a healing cup of herbal tea any time of day, scoop 1 tsp. of a single herb or your favorite blend into a tea infuser, pour hot water to cover, let it steep 4-5 minutes, then remove the herbs and slowly sip, sniff and close your eyes for a moment.

If you’d like to try your hand at blending your own teas, start by ordering ¼ lb. of a few herbs that sound appealing to you. If you click on the Mountain Rose Herbs icon to the right of this blog, you can visit the place where I order loose teas and tea supplies, and shop for a few of your own.

My favorite infuser is the Celestial Tea Strainer. It nestles snuggly inside my favorite tea mug and lifts out easily without dripping or leaving loose herbs floating – though I really don’t mind floaty herbs – watching the leaves swirl in my cup is kinda Zen….

The blend I’m sipping one or two times a day right now is a mix of red clover, oat straw, lemon balm, lavender, motherwort, hawthorn leaf and rose petal. My favorite packaged tea blends come from Good Earth, Yogi, Numi and Pukka.

What’s your favorite herbal tea blend? What time of day do you drink tea? Who taught you about the joy of drinking herbal tea? Share your comments below.

Ok, go get your tea on! And have a very Herbal Holiday!

 

Related Post: An Ounce of Prevention and a Pinch of Attention

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Are You Listening or Just Waiting Your Turn?

Are You Listening or Just Waiting Your Turn?

Are you guilty of being this kind of friend? Sadly, it’s so common that you might not notice the problem at first. You ask someone ‘How’s it going?’ and the conversation goes like this:

Friend: I’m annoyed because I feel like I’m giving my all at work, but no one recognizes the effort.

You: Yeah, I know how that feels. My boss sucks in that department.

Friend: Right. The boss just walks right by without ever asking how I’m doing or to say ‘good job’.

You: I know how you feel. Sometimes I just wanna scream. One time, I worked overtime on this big project for two weeks and nobody even said ‘thanks, good job.’

Friend: Geez, that sucks. I hate my job. I wish I could quit.

This conversation is going nowhere fast, and both of you are bound to end up resentful and bitter. Neither one of you is really hearing the other person. You’re both waiting your turn to tell your own sad tale of woe.

What if you stopped to really listen to your friend? You could change the whole direction of the conversation.

In this next scenario, you’ll see how the dynamic changes when you stop to hear the words. See if you can figure out what’s different about this:

Friend: I’m annoyed because I feel like I’m giving my all at work, but no one recognizes my efforts.

You: It sounds like you don’t feel appreciated.

Friend: Right. The boss just walks right by without ever asking how I’m doing or to say ‘good job’.

You: Hmm. I’m guessing there’s something you’re especially proud of that you’d like your boss to notice.

Friend: Actually, there is. I just finished a project in record time and the client was so happy because she saved quite a few dollars in the process.

You: So, your client took the time to say how great your work was? That’s cool.

Friend: Hey, you know, that is cool. I’m feeling pretty good about that.

You: Way to go. How about we celebrate over coffee?

What’s different about this exchange? The focus is not on you.

Instead of offering an example of how lousy your life is, too, you can turn it around. Demonstrate that you hear what was said by saying it back in a different way.

Let your friend be heard.

You’ll get your turn another time. This is her moment. Make an effort to listen. Don’t expect the favor to be returned. Give without asking for anything back.

It’s the holidays and lots of us start feeling stressed right about now. Stress is a major cause of health problems. Being heard is a simple, powerful, natural remedy for stress.

Like most natural healing, the effects are subtle but profound. Relationships start to heal. Anxiety and depression lessen. Stomach aches and headaches and body pain ease up. I’ve seen it hundreds of times.

When you use a simple tool like this to shift the course of a conversation, you raise the vibe of your relationships. Step by tiny step, resentment, helplessness and that ‘poor me’ attitude dissolve. A problem becomes a celebration.

Can you do it? Can you offer your generous, complete, undistracted, attention to someone?

It’s not necessary to completely understand and share in their feelings. It’s only necessary to listen. Try it.

What better gift can you give this season?

 

Related Post:  A Naturally Healing Tea for This Time of Year

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