People are Not Cars and Nurses are Not Mechanics

Scripps Glenda & SharonI just returned from the Scripps Holistic Nursing Conference in San Diego and had a great time. Sharon Murnane (pictured) and I spoke to a couple hundred practicing nurses, mostly from California, and was uplifted and energized. Two themes emerged over the two-day event. First, many nurses talked about how they were disappointed in the lack of real caring that takes place in our current health care system. One nurse said she got in trouble if she spent too much time with her patients. Another nurse said the whole system she worked with was driven by money and not the best interest of patients. Many nurses yearned to get back to the heart of nursing by using interventions such as presencing, listening, massage, non-judgment  and having time to support family members. Many of them agreed with my saying, “People are not cars and nurses are not mechanics.” Nurses are healers. It is time to change the health care system to allow nurses to embrace the healing tradition started by Florence Nightingale.

The second theme was certification. Many nurses wanted to know how to be certified as a holistic nurse. If you are a nurse and would like to be a  board certified, visit the website of the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation. I also strongly recommend you join the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA). The AHNA is 32 years old and has lots of resources to help you prepare for certification.

Positive Thinking or Positive Questioning?

Question MarkAbout a month ago I read The Secret Code of Success by Noah St. John. He talks about saying affirmations in the form of a question. So I started asking myself questions like, “Why am  I so healthy?” and “Why am I so thin?” It felt good. Then a few days ago  I re-read The Central Question by Demerest and Schoof. Now whenever I need to make a decision I ask myself what I should do for the greatest net value. For example, when I want to eat junk food or overeat, I ask myself , “what can I do right now to create the highest net value?”  I also strike a “power pose” (see my Positive Posing blog) when asking myself the question. And very interestingly, I am not eating as much. I’ve done this for a few days and not only do I feel better about myself in general, but my appetite has decreased. Awesome! The more I read about and learn about positive thinking, the more tools I can put into use that will work for me. Using positive questions instead of positive affirmations, along with the Power Poses have really worked for me.I am happier and healthier. Why am I so blessed? (Get it? That was a positive question).

Holistic Care-giving

wash clothLast week at the University of Utah and SHIM integrative healing conference, Dale Hull, MD spoke about his healing journey recovering from a spinal cord injury, which he titled, “Pleased but not Satisfied … My Adventure with Paralysis.” He said  patients have to subordinate themselves to other human beings, and it means a lot to them when those others love or at least like them. He said he could tell the difference when a care-giver liked him or not simply by the way the care-give washed his face. I think it would be hard enough not being able to wash your own face, but then add to it someone who doesn’t even want to wash it for you in a kind and loving way – that would be the opposite of a healing moment. This made me think about nursing and other care-givers.  Recipients of our care are sensitive and vulnerable. We cannot treat them with anything other than love and respect. When I am in a position of dependence and a recipient of health care, I want a holistic care-giver who likes me just because I am a fellow traveler. We can travel our healing journeys together.

Positive Posing

A few days ago I watched a fascinating video on by Amy Cuddy about how our body language shapes who we are. She says that standing in a “power pose” makes us feel confident and others perceive us as authentic, even when we aren’t feeling confident or authentic. Well I was really impressed with this and decided to try it out. There are two very easy power poses to do. One is the “Wonder Woman” pose – hands on hips and straight posture. The other one is the victory pose – arms overhead and hands outstretched. Like Rocky Balboa. I showed the power poses to my 17-year-old grandson and asked him to pose for 2 minutes before going to school. Then I asked him to notice throughout the day any time that he was using a closed body position. When that happened he would then open up his posture. I asked him to notice if anything changed for him that day. Well, when he got home he said that more people than usual said hi to him and talked to him. He found this very interesting because he didn’t talk more than usual himself. He just focused on using confident body language. Hard to believe? Watch the video!

I talk a lot about positive thinking. Now I think I will add some Positive Posing!

Integrative Health Conference

minbodyspiritWow! I just returned from the University of Utah and SHIM Integrative Health Conference and such a great time meeting new people, connecting with friends and colleagues, and learning a lot. So I have a lot to blog about! If you are interested in my presentation, you can click on “Power Point Slides” on my website. Frankly there isn’t much information on my slides, but you are welcome to ask me any questions you might have about how we can use our minds to optimize healing. This positive thinking stuff really works!

If you want to be on the mailing list for next year’s integrative health conference, send me your email address and I will add you to the list. Send your contact info to

During my presentation I summarized a research study mentioned in Marco Iacoboni’s book Mirroring People. In the study, one group of students was asked to think about a college professor and write down attributes related to intelligence. Another group was asked to think about soccer hooligans and write down those attributes related to lack of intelligence (I really hate to use the word “stupid”). Then a general knowledge test was given to both groups, and the group who thought of college professors outperformed the group who thought about soccer hooligans. This study illustrates how the mind can change the brain. It also demonstrates how powerful our “mirror neurons” are in our brains, and also the power of positive thinking. Now I am wondering if I think of a fit, healthy person, will I become fitter and healthier?  Maybe I can come up with an experiment where I think of a particular attribute for 30 days, or think of a particular person with that attribute for 30 days and see what happens.


Stick to Love

Love1Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “I have decided to stick to love… Hate is too great a burden to bear.” When I read this “Quotable Quote” in Reader’s Digest this morning, it touched me deeply. Negative feelings and thoughts such as hate truly are a burden. Negative thoughts create negative emotions, resulting in negative health outcomes. So truly, hate is a heavy burden to bear. On the other hand, love is a great healer, and manages our stress by helping us to release negative thoughts, preventing the flight or flight response, and improving our health. So I am going to take a closer look at the negative thoughts and emotions I hold onto. I will focus on positive thinking, add love as one of my stress management tools, and stick to love.

Positive Thinking and Chronic Disease

I am happy, I am healthy, I am beautiful!I had Fibromyalgia for 5 years, beginning at age 40. It wasn’t fun. It was painful and depressing. I was fortunate when a wise, kind friend told me to take a personal development training course. I guess she could see that I needed some personal development. I enrolled in Impact Training in Salt Lake City. That’s where I learned about positive thinking and positive affirmations. I decided to try my new skill for 30 days. So several times every day, I looked in the mirror and said, “I am happy, I am healthy, I am beautiful.” Well, I was certainly not any of those things, but I kept at it. After a few days I got a little bored so I added some feeling to it, and made some funny faces to entertain myself as I spoke into the mirror. I learned later that adding positive emotions to affirmations gives them an extra punch. As the days turned into weeks, a transformation took place. At the end of my 30-day affirmation project I looked into the mirror and saw looking back at me a woman who was happy, healthy and beautiful. About a month later I was symptom-free. Now, most people say you cannot recover from Fibromyalgia, but I did. And I feel great.