Tips For Dealing With Life Crisis When Overwhelmed
In this show Prof. George will share with you his own personal journey of surviving multiple sclerosis and how the power of mindfulness has helped him and others.
Getting a life threatening diagnosis can be devastating.
Your entire world gets turned upside down, and you feel isolated and powerless.
There is a point when you are in denial and refuse to acknowledge what’s happening. Or you get angry. You get angry at everyone and even yourself.
How you react can have an impact on how things turn out later on.
But what a lot of people don’t know, a state of non reaction can be beneficial to dealing with your crisis.
In today’s show, Prof. George shares with you his research on lifestyle factors and reducing risk on neurological conditions, of which he has first-hand experience.
Prof. George and I go deep into:
- Facing a Major Life Crisis
- Tools for Navigating Disruptions and Overwhelm
- The Benefits of Meditation
- Opportunities during the Coronavirus Crisis
- Getting Started with Meditation
- Amplifying your Practice
On top of that, we engage in a fabulous conversation on how being an observer and avoiding judgment is crucial at this time when the world is facing a massive crisis brought upon by Coronavirus. For everyone out there, you won’t want to miss this.
You always have a choice no matter what the world brings. There are opportunities that even a crisis brings. The key is to become more present and reconnect.
You may have gotten used to how life has been and how things work. But life is cyclical. There are always ups and downs.
So let go and accept that there is victory in accepting and opening yourself up to change.
Listen To The Podcast Now.
About Our Guest
He has served since 2017 as the Chief Editor for Neuroepidemiology in the journal Frontiers in Neurology, and he was Founding Editor – and is currently the Editor Emeritus – for Emergency Medicine Australasia.
Prof. George also has the distinction of being the first Professor of Emergency Medicine in Australasia. Between 1987 and 2018, he published more than 150 peer-reviewed papers, seven book forewords and eight books, and received more than 20 research grants. He is author of the life changing book, Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis, which recounts his research on the disease and how he applied what he discovered to his own life.
Living With and Surviving Multiple Sclerosis
Facing A Major Life Crisis
- Prof. George talks about his mother who died from multiple sclerosis and shares about finding out he had the disease also.
- The scientific literature on treating multiple sclerosis was limited at that time and included few immune modifying medications.
- Professor Jelinek formulated a comprehensive lifestyle plan for himself he had adhered to until now.
- When facing a massive life adjustment, being in denial and refusing to face the reality of it is common.
- A mentor helped Prof. George to face the challenges of the life threatening diagnosis he received.
- It’s important when facing a really big challenge to give it space, be vulnerable, and allow things to come up rather than try to control the whole thing.
Tools For Navigating Disruptions and Overwhelm
- Life is cyclical. There are highs and lows, and you have to learn to accept that.
- When you look back in your life, you’ll realize that the difficult times are when you experienced tremendous growth.
- The notion that people are stable and unchanging needs to be challenged.
- You need to understand that after this crisis your life won’t go back to the way it was.
- Meditation is a big part of Prof. George’s toolkit for dealing with moments of overwhelm.
- Research such as the work on mindfulness-based stress reduction by Prof. Jon Kabat-Zinn has already proven the benefits of regular meditation.
- Meditation takes a lot of practice to get good at watching without judging. It develops a compassionate acceptance of the good and the bad.
- The skill of being able to navigate the ups and downs of life accrue results over decades.
- Prof. George shares his foray into transcendental meditation when he was young and before he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
The Benefits of Meditation
- Meditation brought a gradual change in Prof. George’s attitude towards life and provided him with insight into things.
- The choice on how to respond and react is a byproduct of meditation.
- Meditation allows you to become more of an observer rather than reacting.
- Those dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic are feeling isolated and powerless, and it makes them feel that they don’t have a choice.
The Opportunities During The Coronavirus Crisis
- This crisis has given you the time to do something you really enjoy doing and go deep into it.
- There’s a need to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
- Pain, anxiety, and friction only come up when you perpetuate thoughts of restrictions and not having a choice.
Getting Started With Meditation
- To avoid nervousness and embarrassment, it’s better to start by joining a group.
- Having an experienced meditation teacher is good. But there are a number of meditation apps providing guided meditations.
- Meditation and exercise have both been proven to grow new cells in the hippocampus while the amygdala shrinks in size.
- Regular meditators have been able to mitigate the consequences of aging. Meditation can possibly be the antidote to dementia.
- Meditation allows you to become more resilient and grow and thrive during difficult times.
- Coming into the space and practicing are good ways to start with meditation.
- Muse meditation headband and the USC app are tools that also provide biofeedback for those who are more analytical and need data.
- But at some point, you wouldn’t need the tools and can continue the practice on your own.
- This time is a like a forced opportunity to reconnect with ourselves and our micro community.
- During this crisis, time has slowed down for people. Little things now assume some importance.
- It all comes down to having an attitude of thinking that there’s an opportunity here and you might as well make the most of it.
- There is victory to opening yourself up to opportunities.
Amplifying Your Practice
- Prof. George lives an unstructured life and has learned to let go into the rhythm of life.
- He swims when he wants to and runs when he wants to.
- Some may need the space or triggers to transition into and build up their skill and behaviour.
- Practice is one thing. Being able to apply being non reactive and compassionate into your day-to-day life is the next step.
- Having a partner that supports you is important.
- It’s easy to do your practice and eat healthy when you’re in a retreat, everyone is doing it, and your food is prepared. Continuing that when you’re back home and exposed to people who might undermine your choices is harder.
- After this crisis, you might start to question the things that you used to do.
- There is a great impetus for us to thrive and grow as a society now.
- It’s better to be less tuned in to social media where it’s easy for people to spread confusion and misinformation. Focus on and reconnect with real things instead.
Recommended Resources From The Show
- Catalogue of Prof George’s work listed at the University Of Melbourne https://findanexpert.unimelb.edu.au/profile/155521-george-jelinek
- OvercomingMS.org : https://overcomingms.org/about-us
Books and Other Resources
- Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis by Prof. George Jelinek https://overcomingms.org/resources
- The Centre of Contemplative Mind Society: http://www.contemplativemind.org/practices/tree
5 Podcasts To Help with How To Deal With Life Crisis and Change
- Podcast Ep 013: How To Take Care Of Yourself At Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic with The Merrymaker Sisters
- Podcast Ep 011: Your Body’s Wear and Tear and Memory Loss: The Biggest Things We Get Wrong with Prof. Zoltan Sarnyai
- Podcast Ep 009: How Stress Damages Your Memory Health And What To Do About It with Thomas G. Guilliams Ph.D
- Podcast Ep 008: How Your Gut Health Affects Your Brain and Memory Health with Scott C Anderson
- Podcast Ep 005: Food, Mood, Microbiome and Your Memory with Dr Amy Loughman
So what was your BIGGEST takeaway from this episode? Time management tips, mindset? Love to hear what worked for you.
All the best
Disclaimer: Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.