Stop the Sick­ness

Made­line Ebe­lini says stress less, Do Not Dis­turb, a mind­ful path­way

Cape Coral Living - - Publisher's Letter - BY CATHY CH­EST­NUT

Made­line Ebe­lini by any mea­sure was a suc­cess, prac­tic­ing law in Fort My­ers for 20 years. Yet stress owned her mind and body, with re­ver­ber­at­ing side ef­fects. “I was hav­ing in­som­nia, chronic pain, anx­i­ety at­tacks,” Ebe­lini re­calls. “I came down with shin­gles and was di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer. My mind ru­mi­nated con­stantly, re­hash­ing the same is­sues over and over, with no res­o­lu­tion. “I was mak­ing my­self sick, but I didn’t know what to do about it.” Fate in­ter­vened with a yoga class that ended with quiet med­i­ta­tion, set­ting her on a new­found path­way. In 2011, Ebe­lini opened her serene, Asian-de­signed In­te­gra­tive Mind­ful­ness stu­dio in Bonita Springs, teach­ing oth­ers how to prac­tice mind­ful­ness, med­i­ta­tion and yoga. She earned a mas­ter’s de­gree in transper­sonal psy­chol­ogy, with a fo­cus on mind­ful­ness-based stress re­duc­tion. She also be­came a reg­is­tered yoga in­struc­tor. To­day her prac­tice in­cludes a mas­sage ther­a­pist and three yoga/move­ment teach­ers. “That was a def­i­nite turn­ing point for me,” she says of yoga. “I couldn’t re­mem­ber how long it had been since my mind was peace­ful and quiet like that.” Af­ter reg­u­larly prac­tic­ing med­i­ta­tion, “my qual­ity of life and health be­gan to im­prove,” she says, her hus­band, at­tor­ney Mark Ebe­lini, and their son, Jor­dan, notic­ing a marked dif­fer­ence. “I was med­i­tat­ing ev­ery day and would hang a ‘Do Not Dis­turb’ sign on the door. My son would ask, ‘What’s mom do­ing in there?’ and Mark would tell him, ‘I don’t know but let her do it,’” Ebe­lini says, chuck­ling. Ebe­lini, 54, shares her story with Cape Co­ral Liv­ing Magazine. CCL In­te­gra­tive Mind­ful­ness has grown in the past six years. ME Peo­ple are re­al­iz­ing they can—and must—take charge of their own well-be­ing. Sci­en­tific re­search and dis­cov­er­ies have taken us much far­ther than we’ve ever been in un­der­stand­ing how the brain and ner­vous sys­tem are de­signed to change, based on what we prac­tice and do reg­u­larly.

CCL What’s be­hind the main­stream­ing of mind­ful­ness prac­tice? ME First is the science. I’ve read that science has learned more about the brain in the last 15 years than in all of hu­man his­tory. Mag­netic res­o­nance imag­ing [MRI] stud­ies that looked at the brains of peo­ple who un­der­went mind­ful­ness train­ing re­vealed an in­creased den­sity in the hip­pocam­pus— im­por­tant for learn­ing and mem­ory—and in struc­tures as­so­ci­ated with self­aware­ness, com­pas­sion and in­tro­spec­tion. Imag­ing also showed a de­creased den­sity in the amyg­dala, known to trig­ger stress and anx­i­ety. Med­i­ta­tion is as­so­ci­ated with changes in the part of the brain as­so­ci­ated with self-reg­u­la­tion, re­sist­ing dis­trac­tions, and learn­ing from ex­pe­ri­ences. The brain is an or­gan de­signed to change through­out our lives, based on what we do with it. We can proac­tively change the brain and in­crease our well-be­ing and qual­ity of life. An­other fac­tor is that, to­day, peo­ple can learn these prac­tices in a sec­u­lar ed­u­ca­tional set­ting. You don’t have to go to a monastery in Ti­bet or an ashram in In­dia to learn how to med­i­tate or prac­tice yoga.

The brain is an or­gan de­signed to change through­out our lives, based on what we do with it.

CCL Is there a typ­i­cal client? ME The ma­jor­ity of our par­tic­i­pants are 45 or older. We all have

stress, loss and dif­fi­culty in our lives. It’s part of be­ing hu­man. There are many rea­sons peo­ple seek out stressre­duc­tion prac­tices: anx­i­ety, in­som­nia, grief, car­ing for a spouse or loved one with de­men­tia, di­vorce, a med­i­cal di­ag­no­sis, newly re­tired.

CCL The big­gest stres­sors? ME The things that trig­ger stress can be ex­ter­nal or in­ter­nal—fre­quently a com­bi­na­tion of both. We have lit­tle or no con­trol over what hap­pens ex­ter­nally. How we re­late or re­act to a stres­sor is a sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor in whether we es­ca­late or de-es­ca­late our stress. Typ­i­cally, it feels like we have no choice. Our re­ac­tions are so au­to­matic and ha­bit­ual—learned through a life­time of rep­e­ti­tion—that it seems like we run on au­to­matic pi­lot. Re­ac­tive pat­terns typ­i­cally ex­ac­er­bate stress. Mind­ful­ness train­ing teaches us how to be­come present and aware in the midst of this bun­dle of sen­sa­tions, thoughts, emo­tions and im­pulses—to no­tice what’s hap­pen­ing, what we’re think­ing, what emo­tions are present and what im­pul­sive be­hav­ior is aris­ing. It’s this ca­pac­ity to pause and no­tice what’s hap­pen­ing that cre­ates breath­ing room be­tween the stres­sor and our re­ac­tion. This is the space in which we can have a choice about what we do next. This is how we un­wind the stress­re­ac­tiv­ity cy­cle.

Re­ac­tive pat­terns typ­i­cally ex­ac­er­bate stress.

Cathy Ch­est­nut is a free­lance writer and fre­quent con­trib­u­tor to TOTI Me­dia.

Made­line Ebe­lini is the founder of In­te­gra­tive Mind­ful­ness in Bonita Springs.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.