Category Archives: Meditation and MIndfulness

The Alexandria Papers Newsletter #65

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Mindfulness


Meditation Could Be as Effective for Anxiety as Medication, Study Says | Psychology Today

Anxiety is the most common mental health challenge in the U.S., with 34% of the population affected by an anxiety disorder during their lifetime. A new scientific study is the first to directly compare meditation/mindfulness to medication for the treatment of anxiety.

Migraine


Maximize Headache Relief From Home With Drug-free, Natural Treatments | Migraine Again

Although medication is an important part of any migraine or headache rescue kit, there are a number of things you can do to relieve headache pain at home. When it comes to self-care, there is no shortage of natural remedies and at-home antidotes. Here’s our guide to the top home remedies to treat…

Trauma & Sexual Abuse


How to Heal from Childhood Trauma: 3 Steps to Start Coping | Better Up

Physical or sexual abuse This kind of trauma can cause not only physical damage to the child but also psychological damage that can last for years after it happened. Physical abuse includes any kind of physical violence against a child. It’s sometimes masked as a “discipline measure” by many adults.

RAINN Online Hotline

Your privacy and safety are crucial. Please make sure you are in a safe place and that you are using a secure device and Internet connection. Please note that while we have taken numerous measures to keep your communications safe while using our site, no Internet transmission is 100% secure.

Mental Health


The Science of Wanting: How We Unhook from Dopamine | Mindful

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that helps motivate us to fulfill our basic needs, but in our modern age of plenty, it can also lead to overindulgence and addiction. So how can we find balance and contentment in an age of instant gratification? Anna Lembke’s gateway drug was Twilight,…

Books


Happy Public Domain Day! Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse Is Copyright Free | Hyperallergic

January 1 is the annual Public Domain Day, meaning a large collection of historically significant literature, films, artwork, and photojournalism is now totally accessible for public use. The Public Domain Review has created a special advent calendar countdown spotlighting their top picks in…

Baking & Cooking


17 Best Food Blogs to Sate your Hunger in 2023 | Influencer Marketing Hub

How did we ever manage to cook before the arrival of the internet? I suppose we had to rely on cookbooks, cooking tv shows, and knowledge handed down from our grandmothers. Of course, the more daring would experiment in the kitchen, remembering the successes, and mercifully forgetting any culinary…

My Books


My Childhood on Planet of the Apes (Memoir)

The most important rule in our world was that no one had to be human two days in a row. It was only fair.

Books by Alexandria Constantinova Szeman

 

 

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The Alexandria Papers Newsletter #63

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The Alexandria Papers Newsletter #63 | Dr. Alexandria Szeman 8 January 2023

My little Saschie. She doesn’t want me to take down the Christmas lights.

 


Mindfulness

A Journaling Practice to Help You Let Go of Limiting Habits | Mindful

Instead of judging yourself for what you want or what you’re feeling, explore these writing prompts to help you turn toward your experience with greater understanding and self-compassion. Encountering the people, places, and things that activate us out in the real world can feel like too much…


Migraine

Relief from Chronic Migraine: Medications and Other Treatments

Chronic migraine is defined as a migraine headache that occurs 15 or more days a month, for at least three months. Episodes often last four hours or more. Finding relief from chronic migraine symptoms can be difficult. Explore multiple treatment options here.


Trauma and Sexual Abuse

New longitudinal research highlights how grave the effects of childhood trauma can be for anxiety and depression | Psychology Post

Childhood trauma is well-known to have adverse effects on mental health into adulthood, but the nuances of these outcomes are not well understood. A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders explores how childhood trauma impacts specific aspects of depression and anxiety over time. …

RAINN Online Hotline

Do you need help dealing with sexual assault, rape, or incest? Call @RAINN ‘s Hotline 800.656.HOPE (4673) to talk to a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. Don’t feel comfortable talking? Use chat/text instead.


Mental Health

How to Use Journaling to Cope With PTSD | VeryWellMind

Some psychotherapists are now recommending journaling, also called expressive writing, to help people cope with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If you have PTSD, here’s how journaling can help, as well as how to do it. Journaling is one method of helping people cope…

Minimalism and Hygge: How to Make Your Home Cosy Without Adding Clutter | BalanceThroughSimplicity

Here are some ideas on minimalism and Hygge and how to embrace both whilst enjoying a simpler lifestyle. I’m sharing some tips on how to make your home cosy without adding clutter so you can enjoy feeling warm and safe at home and still stay clutter-free! Autumn is my favourite season.


Books

The best of 2022: the new books I’ve loved this year | TolstoyTherapy

This website started out as a celebration of my love for classic literature. Tolstoy is even in the name! But that said, over the last decade, Tolstoy Therapy has evolved around…


Cooking and Baking

16 Bread Baking Tips Your Grandma Forgot To Tell You | Joybilee Farm

Use these bread baking tips from Grandma and learn how to bake better bread with the perfect rise, chewy, golden crusts, and pillowy soft crumb. 


My Books

Portrait of the Poet as a Woman

Your second wife calls to say that the children get ill after you bring them home Sunday night it must be something they eat what do I feed them something dreadful? She calls collect when she’s away. If I ask who’s calling she says, This is his wife.

Books by Alexandria Constantinova Szeman

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Filed under #CSA, Books, Cats, chronic pain, Chronic Pain Treatment, hemiplegic migraines, Meditation and MIndfulness, Mental Health, migraine, migraine self-care, Migraine Treatment, Migraine with Aura, Migraine Without Aura, migraines, Newsletters, PTSD, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Violence, The Alexandria Papers Newsletter, Trauma

The Alexandria Papers Newsletter #61

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The Alexandria Papers Newsletter #61 | Dr. Alexandria Szeman 11 December 2022

 

No newsletters for the remainder of December, for the holidays and the new year. I’ll see you in January 2023. Meanwhile, here’s a picture of my youngest cat (11.5 years old) on the blanket I’m making for them, and she’s wishing you a happy end of the year.

 

Mindfulness

If you suffer from chronic conditions such as anxiety, depression, or posttraumatic stress disorder, meditation may worsen your symptoms. Traditional meditation, such as sitting silently and relaxing your mind, is very challenging when your inner world is in chaos. Consider nontraditional forms of…

When we feel mentally and physically well, we’re better able to care for ourselves and others We can try using these 5 tips to practice self-care during the holidays Try 10 meditations for holiday self-care When there’s a lot going on in our lives, we tend to deprioritize taking time to care for…

Migraine

According to a new survey, no, most of us would not feel comfortable talking about our migraine and mental health with our doctor. A whopping 77% of people with migraine and depression or anxiety say they hesitate to talk about their mental health with their medical provider, according to the…

As a physical therapist, there’s one thing I am sure about when it comes to the human body – it is meant to move. Our anatomy and physiology are fine-tuned to navigate and interact with the world.

Trauma and Sexual Abuse

Year-round, we encourage providers to adopt a trauma-informed lens-to use knowledge of trauma and its impact to make decisions about all aspects of their relationships with clients and how they run their program. During the holiday season, the need for a trauma-informed approach is critical.

Interest in psychological manipulation has never been so high, according to online dictionary searches. “Gaslighting” beat out other words such as “oligarch,” “cancel culture,” and “Omicron.” The US dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster announced on Monday that their 2022 word of the year is…

Mental Health

Journaling does more than just help you record your memories or find self-expression. It’s good for your health.

You don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving to practice gratitude – you can do little (and big) things all year round to express your generous spirit. It’s easy to get caught in the stress of the day-to-day and forget all the things that are actually going your way.

Books

“The main thing you’ve got to overcome is getting discouraged… writing pros is the hardest thing in the world” – Ernest Hemingway (July 21, 1899-July 2, 1961) Arnold Samuelson refused to hand over the $5 fee to get his diploma in journalism at the University of Minnesota.

“I need your John Hancock.” “He’s the prodigal son of our family.” “That job was like working in the seventh layer of hell.” “He has a Willy Loman-esque resignation about him.” “We’re navigating between Scylla and Charybdis here.” Anybody with the literacy of an eighth-grader could read those…

Cooking and Baking

Here they are, the holiday classics! These are the top-rated main dish and side dish recipes you need for a perfect traditional Christmas dinner. They cover the savory side of Christmas dinner, from prime rib, baked ham, and roast turkey to scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole, and cranberry…

Christmas lunch and dinner would be nothing without the comforting classics we love to eat year after year. These 49 recipes are the ones we hold dear at this time of year, whether they be classic through and through or with a slightly modern…

My Books

 

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The Alexandria Papers Newsletter #59

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The Alexandria Papers Newsletter #59 | Dr. Alexandria Szeman | 20 November 2022

Oh, my, I’m so anxious for Thanksgiving — read: for all the yummy food — that I said there would be no newsletter this weekend. But it’s a week early. It’s “No newsletter next week” because it’s Thanksgiving in the US, and my kitties and I will be celebrating the holiday weekend by eating turkey and all the usual side dishes, including pumpkin pie with lots of whipped cream. So much whipped cream!


Mindfulness

5 Steps to Wind Down and Fall Asleep – Mindful
A bedtime meditation to stop tossing and turning, and get some quality shut-eye. As someone who works every day with patients struggling with insomnia, the most common thing I hear is once the head hits the pillow, the brain doesn’t stop.

 


Migraine

Dangerous Gifts for People with Chronic Illnesses (and Gift Ideas to Swap Them With)
I’m a big fan of samples, which makes Christmas gifts or other exchanges a pleasure. I love trying out new textures, sniffing new scents, and figuring out if the latest product on the block is a fad or of true value. Yet, samples might be dangerous gifts for some.

 


Trauma and Sexual Abuse

Nadine Burke Harris: How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime
Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain.

 


Mental Health

10 Ways Minimalism is More Than a Home Decor Trend – The Simplicity Habit
Inside: There are many ways that minimalism is more than a home decor trend. Read on for ten ways it can improve your home, life, and the planet. A guest post by Cora Gold The word “minimalist” is used to describe everything from watch and clothing designs to art and home decor.

 


Books

10 of the best novels set in nature to escape into the wild – Tolstoy Therapy
A quick note that some of my posts contain Amazon affiliate links. When you buy through these links, I may earn a commission. “There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot.” Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac Over on Live Wildly, I recently shared my selection of the most…

 


Cooking and Baking

Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States, and Thanksgiving 2022 occurs on Thursday, November 24. In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and

 


My Books

Books by Alexandria Constantinova Szeman
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Filed under #CSA, Baking, Books, Chronic Illness, chronic pain, Cooking, Food, Health and Wellness, hemiplegic migraines, Insomnia, Meditation and MIndfulness, Mental Health, migraine, migraine self-care, Migraine Treatment, Migraine with Aura, Migraine Without Aura, migraines, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Violence, The Alexandria Papers Newsletter, Trauma

More Gifts for People with Migraine or Other Chronic Pain

It might seem challenging to buy gifts for someone with migraine, neuropathic facial pain, or other chronic pain, but if you forget the word “cure” in your quest for the perfect gift and think of comforting the person instead, it will be much easier for you to get something that they’ll appreciate. Remember that “chronic” pain means “constant” pain: if it could be eliminated, most of us would have done anything necessary to rid ourselves of the debilitating, sometimes disabling, pain. Gifts for People with Migraine and Chronic Pain explains some of the products that I’ve come to rely on to reduce pain. Here are more of my favorite products that your family, friends, and colleagues with chronic pain might appreciate.

Ginger Root Tea

Migraine attacks and other chronic pain are sometimes accompanied by nausea. While prescription anti-emetics might help prevent vomiting, they don’t do anything to quell nausea. Ginger, whether crystallized, cut fresh from the root, or made into tea, is the best natural remedy I’ve ever found to quell nausea, whether it’s from migraine, medications, motion-sickness, flu, or holiday overindulgence. It has none of the side-effects of pharmaceutical anti-emetics (prescription or OTC) and can be added to liquids so you ensure that you remain hydrated. Ginger is also an anti-inflammatory, and I’ve found that when I drink ginger tea regularly, the neuropathic facial pain is reduced. Therefore, instead of saving the tea for hemiplegic migraine attacks, I have some regularly throughout the day (for Warnings about ginger consumption, see my Natural Nausea Relief).

The best ginger I’ve ever gotten for homemade tea is Tea Spot’s Organic Ginger Root. I realize that tossing a couple of pieces of crystallized ginger into a cup of boiling water will give a faint ginger taste, but Tea Spot’s Organic Ginger Root makes a wonderful tea that I can have without sugar. It provides all the stomach-calming and nausea-quelling properties of the crystallized ginger without any of the sugar. Also, since Tea Spot’s ginger root is dried and chopped, I don’t have to store it in the refrigerator or freezer as I do with fresh or crystallized ginger, which makes it very convenient.

You can get Tea Spot’s Organic Ginger Root for tea in several sizes: $4 sample (2 servings), $13.50 (¼ lb), $46.50 (1 lb). The Tea Spot has a large variety of black, green, and herbal teas, all of excellent quality and flavor (but then, I’ve been a tea-drinker all my life, preferring it to coffee). They also have tea samplers, tumblers, mugs, teapots, and more. Tea Spot gift cards ($25, $50, $100, $200) are available if you are unsure about which teas your recipients might prefer.

Books

I’ve always been a huge lover of books so even when I have a migraine attack, I need to read. Books have always been an integral part of my self-care routine even before I understood the meaning of taking care of myself. Sometimes, migraine or other pain is so debilitating that the person cannot read. Other times, as when migraine becomes chronic (more than 15 days per month for at least 3 months) or intractable (never-ending), the pain, though quite severe, allows some reading. Some people with migraine have told me they cannot read e-books during a migraine but can manage traditional paper books. At times, I can read on my tablet, but I need to put it on Night (Dark) mode. When I have a hemiplegic migraine and cannot read or even lift my head from the pillow, I listen to audiobooks, which was a lifesaver in April 2018 when this intractable migraine began. There are several ways to provide books as gifts to recipients: paper books, e-books, and audiobooks.

Paper Books

So many books, so little time. I get most of my books from Amazon these days, if only because living up here on Big Rock Candy Mountain with the nearest bookstore about 2 hours away doesn’t allow much wandering the aisles and spending the day as if you were in a library (no libraries around here either). Also, as someone with intractable migraine for over 19 months and with neuropathic facial pain (formerly, atypical trigeminal neuralgia), I am mostly house-bound. I love being able to browse any category of books I wish without leaving home.

If you know the categories, authors, or specific titles your recipients might like, it’ll make your job easier when looking for books they might enjoy. If you don’t have specifics on authors or titles, you can always get them Amazon gift certificates: available as a physical card in a decorative box or tin ($50-$2,000, several designs), a card in a decorated mini-envelope ($10-$2,000, 3-5 designs), a card in greeting card with a separate envelope for mailing ($10 to $2,000, several designs), or as an e-gift card ($25-$2,000).

eBooks

10 years ago, if you’d asked me about e-books, I never would have imagined that they could have existed, let alone that I would like them. When we moved up here on the mountain in 2009, however, all my boxes of books had to stay in the barn: the house was simply too small to hold them all, and it took me years to save enough money to have some bookshelves built in my office. In the meantime, when I was desperate for something to read, I began to look at the classics, which were inaccessibly stored in the barn, in electronic book form. At that time, most of the classics were free in e-book form. Now virtually all books are available in both paper and e-book formats, and though I love paper books most, I love the convenience of e-books.

Your recipient can use an Amazon gift card for either paper or e-books, but you can also buy someone a subscription to Kindle Unlimited ($9.99/month) and they can read any book enrolled in the KU program. If you really want someone to gush with gratitude, you could buy them a Kindle ($69-249) — Amazon’s tablet — but that’s not necessary for them to enjoy e-books or to be in Kindle Unlimited. Kindle Reading Apps are free for any device: iOS, Android, Mac, PC. (It’s what I’ve used since about 2010, on my iPad, Mac, and iPhone).

Any Amazon gift cards can be used for e-books: card in a decorative box or tin ($50-$2,000), card in a decorated mini-envelope ($10-$2,000), card in greeting card with a separate envelope for mailing ($10 to $2,000), or e-gift card ($25-$2,000).

Audiobooks

Just as I never would have guessed that I would love e-books, I really never would have known that I would love audiobooks. And I never even listened to an audiobook before June of 2018, by which time I’d had an intractable migraine since April of that year and was bored witless. I couldn’t read — neither paper nor electronic books — so I tried the Audible 30-day free trial. I got a couple of my favorite classic books, each read by one of my favorite actors. While I lay on the couch (tired of lying in bed), I listened to the audiobooks. Before the end of the first couple chapters of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, I was hooked. Now I have a huge audiobook library, mostly classics, but some bestsellers and memoirs, too.

You can purchase gift cards for audiobooks directly from Audible (1, 3, 6, or 12 months for $15, $45, $90, or $150, respectively) or Audible via Amazon (same months and prices as at Audible). (Please note that Amazon gift cards are not eligible for use at Audible, and vice versa.)

Guided Meditation Apps to Reduce Pain

Surf City Apps and Relax Melodies

I’ve written several articles on the many free self-hypnosis meditation apps that successfully reduce migraine and chronic pain, and the links in this paragraph will take to those more detailed articles. I use Surf City Apps’ Migraine and Headache Relief, Chronic Pain Relief, and Sleep Well: Insomnia Relief (since both migraine and other types of chronic pain can cause painsomnia: pain-induced insomnia). I also use Relax Melodies, a guided meditation app which has a “background” feature which allows you to play its sounds “behind” other apps and which I use for the relief of both pain and insomnia.

Both Surf City Apps and Relax Melodies are available for iOS and Android devices. All these apps can be used for free, for an unlimited time. Download Sleep Well Insomnia Relief from Surf City Apps, from the App store for all iOS devices, from Amazon for Kindles, and from GooglePlay for Android devices. You can check out all Surf City’s free apps on its website. Their apps have been downloaded over 5 million times and average 4+ stars out of 5 for Sleep Well Insomnia Relief. Ipnos’ Relax Melodies app, available in 10 languages, has a 4.5 out of 5* rating (with 700,000 reviews).

Migraine & Headache Relief is free from Surf City Apps for iOS or Android devices, from Amazon for Kindle, from the App Store for iOS devices, or from GooglePlay for Android devices.

Chronic Pain Relief is free from Surf City Apps for iOS or Android devices, from Amazon for Kindle, from the App Store for iOS devices, and from GooglePlay for Android devices.

Sleep Well Insomnia Relief is free from Surf City Apps, from the App store for all iOS devices, from Amazon for Kindles, and from GooglePlay for Android devices.

Relax Melodies is free from Ipnos after selecting your type of smartphone, from Amazon for Kindle, from the App Store for iOS devices, and from Google Play for Android devices.

The Difference Between the Free and Premium Versions

Although all of these apps are available free, they’re worth purchasing the premium version. The difference between the free and the paid versions of these apps is the ability to change background noises and to Loop the meditation so that it repeats as often as the listener wishes (Surf City Apps) and to include additional guided meditations to reduce the stress and anxiety (Relax Melodies) that are often common in people with migraine and other chronic pain. The premium versions of Surf City Apps’ self-hypnosis guided meditations are $1.99-$4.99 depending on the meditation. Relax Melodies premium version is $4.99 for one month access to all its features or $27.99 for lifetime access.

If you know of a specific app that someone uses to reduce pain, anxiety, or insomnia, you could always purchase gift cards so they can buy the premium versions of these apps. For people with an iPad or an iPhone, you could get them an Apple App Store or iTunes gift card via Amazon (physical gift card in $25, $50, $100, $200 amounts; e-gift card for $25, $50, $100, $200). You can purchase a Google Play gift card via Amazon (physical gift card $50; e-gift card for $25, $50, $100, $200) for anyone with Android phones or tablets.

Additionally, all of these guided meditation apps to reduce pain and insomnia are also available via Amazon for its Kindles: any Amazon gift cards can be used for the premium version of these apps: card in a decorative box or tin ($50-$2,000), card in a decorated mini-envelope ($10-$2,000), card in greeting card with a separate envelope for mailing ($10 to $2,000), or e-gift card ($25-$2,000).

Health Journeys App, CDs, MP3s

Health Journeys, founded by holistic medicine advocate Belleruth Naparstek, sponsors a large library of guided meditations, with many of them devoted to pain relief and healing. I regularly use Naparstek’s Meditation to Ease Pain and Meditation to Help Relieve Headaches, the latter of which features a guided meditation for relief of headache pain as well as a meditation designed to help prevent future head pain. I list several of Health Journeys other pain relief apps in my Gifts article.

These audio guided meditations are available in MP3 or CD format ($11.98 or $17.98, respectively) and are also available to stream from Health Journeys app for Android and iOS, which features a 7-day free trial. Health Journeys also has other items for pain relief and healing, including guided meditations by Dr. Andrew Weil, one of the leaders in holistic medicine (CDs only), essential oils, books, pillows, lotions, etc. They also have gift cards ($15-$100) so that recipients can choose their own gifts. Health Journey’s catalogue is available online or by mail.

Remember to think “comfort” instead of “cure” when considering gifts for people with chronic pain and it’ll be easier for you to please people. Don’t have anyone to buy gifts for you? Then take care of yourself by getting at least one of these gifts, or those in my Gifts for People with Migraine or Other Chronic Pain (portable aromatherapy roll-ons and balms; all cotton heating/cold pads; and more details and meditations from Health Journeys, which  I’ve used almost 30 years, back when cassettes were the way to have portable audio). Whether you buy these gifts for others or for yourself, they’ll help reduce pain and comfort anyone suffering from migraine attacks or other chronic pain.


Related Posts on Migraine & Chronic Pain

For more of my articles on migraine or chronic pain,
see my Migraine & Chronic Pain page.

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Filed under Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia, Audiobooks, Books, Caregivers, chronic pain, Chronic Pain Treatment, E-books, healing, Health and Wellness, hemiplegic migraines, Meditation and MIndfulness, migraine, migraine self-care, Migraine Treatment, Migraine with Aura, Migraine Without Aura, migraines, Neuropathic Facial Pain, PTSD, Self-Hypnosis Apps, Self-Hypnosis Meditation Apps, trigeminal neuralgia, trigeminal neuropathy