Minding the Body, Mending the Mind, by Joan Borysenko, Ph.D.

Minding the Body, Mending the Mind, by Joan Borysenko, Ph.D.

Based on Dr. Borysenko’s groundbreaking work nearly twenty years ago at the Mind/Body Clinic in Boston, Minding the Body, Mending the Mind continues to be a classic in the field, with time-tested tips on how to take control of your own physical and emotional wellbeing. The clinic’s dramatic success with thousands of patients-with conditions ranging from allergies to cancer-offers vivid proof of the effectiveness of the mind/body approach to health and its power to transform your life. Here are tips on how to elicit the mind’s powerful relaxation response to boost your immune system, cope with chronic pain, and alleviate symptoms of a host of stress-related illnesses. Updated with the recent developments in the field, the new edition is a must-have for anyone interested in taking an active role in healing himself or herself.

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Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers

Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-related Diseases and Coping, by Robert M. Sapolsky

Renowned primatologist Robert Sapolsky offers a completely revised and updated edition of his most popular work, with nearly 90,000 copies in print

Now in a third edition, Robert M. Sapolsky’s acclaimed and successful Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcersfeatures new chapters on how stress affects sleep and addiction, as well as new insights into anxiety and personality disorder and the impact of spirituality on managing stress.

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Tis the Season to be Grateful, Next Month We’re Supposed to be Jolly

Saying GraceWhat’s the difference? If you’re jolly, aren’t you grateful? According to Dr. Robert Emmons, the author of THANKS! How the New Science of Gratitude can Make you Happier, while there are many things that we can be happy about, the uniqueness of gratitude is that we realize that we have received a gift that we don’t deserve. It’s “the acknowledgement of goodness in one’s life” and secondly “recognizing that the source(s) of this goodness lie at least partially outside the self.” We can only be grateful to others, not to ourselves, so it brings a sense of humility along with the gift (4-8).

Offering grace at the family table, Bart Simpson prayed,

“Dear God, we paid for all this stuff ourselves, so thanks for nothing.”

Donald Trump stated,

“All of the women on The Apprentice have flirted with me-consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected” (148).

Gratitude is knowing, at a deep level is an appreciation that what we have received was “freely bestowed out of compassion, generosity, or love” (7). The International Encyclopedia of Ethics defines it as “the heart’s internal indicator when the tally of gifts outweighs the exchanges” (6).

Emmons’s research found that when people took the time to write in a gratitude journal, not only did they feel more appreciative about things that they normally overlooked, but they reported–exercising more, sleeping better, experiencing few physical symptoms and feeling more optimistic about their lives. They were more likely to make progress toward their personal goals and to have offered emotional support to others.

Other important healing benefits are that-

Gratitude counters our natural adaption to pleasant events.

Gratitude mitigates toxic emotions and states like envy, resentment, and regret.

Gratitude strengthens social ties.

Gratitude increases one’s sense of personal worth.

Gratitude has a direct link to cardiovascular functioning.

In his intro to the workshop that I attended at Loma Linda Medical School, Emmons described it like this-

“You feel a deep sense of peace and internal balance-you are at harmony with yourself, with others and with your larger environment. You experience increased buoyancy vitality and flow. Your senses are enlivened—every aspect of your perceptual experience seems richer, more texture. Surprisingly, you fell invigorated at time when you would usually have felt tired and drained. Things that usually would have irked you just don’t “get to you” as much. Your body feels regenerated-your mind, at last, clear. . . At least for a period of time, decisions become obvious as priorities clarify and inner conflict dissolves. Intuitive insight suddenly provides convenient solution to problems. . Your creativity flows freely. In this state of inner harmony and deep fulfillment, you experience a sense of greater connectedness—to other people, to a larger whole, perhaps to God, or to a higher aspect of yourself. (From Gratitude as a Way of Life: Insights from the Science of Well-Being, Emmons, 2005)

Heading into the challenges of the holiday season, let’s remember to give ourselves a “gratitude intervention.” Positive results were observed with subjects who only journaled once a day, but here’s the perspective of GK Chesterton-

“You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play. . . and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, and swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing, and grace before I dip the pen in ink.”

Myth-“You Have to Hit Bottom to Be Ready for Recovery”


We’ve all heard it stated, as if it were true, that a person “has to hit bottom” before they are really ready to recover from addiction? Strong evidence shows that “reaching people early, when their problems are less severe and more treatable, leads to better outcomes.  Since 1996, the American Society of Addiction Medicine has recommended starting with the least intensive treatment that is safe.” http://huff.to/1v0G79W

Starting Oct. 15 I will be offering evidence-based support for relapse prevention. There are new effective ways to gain freedom from dependence way before you hit bottom! The program will be individualized to your needs, with 4 different packages with personal one-on-one sessions and coaching calls or group intensives with ongoing support. More information will be posted in the next couple of weeks. Give me a call if you are interested in reserving a space.  720-460-0758.

Man with lowered head

Is Anyone Touching You? ( I mean physically.)

My strongest visual memory from my first class in psychology many years ago is a photo of some very sad, pathetic looking baby monkeys who were fading away, with “failure to thrive” because their “mother” was a wire mesh feeder,  instead of a warm, soft one. Researcher Harlow found that they valued being touched even more than a full stomach.Harlow cloth

We humans need touch to thrive, too. Touch is our first sense to develop, as early as the first 3 weeks in the womb. It is also the only one of our senses that is reciprocal. As a human mother cradles, nurses and strokes, her newborn her baby is affecting her, too, stimulating lactation, releasing pleasure and bonding hormones and even aiding her body to recover from the delivery by contracting the uterus.

With the number of single people increasing in America through divorce, postponement of marriage and widowhood many of us go long stretches without even a hug. We hear much about the need for sexual fulfillment nowadays, but the physical need for tactile stimulation is even more basic and primal. Fortunately, there are increasing offerings for somato-sensory experiences in most communities, at least if one has a budget to pay for a professional touch, like massage therapy and other modalities. In urban areas, one can even find groups created to provide safe environments for mutual cuddling, “Cuddle Parties.”

According to Hal and Sidra Stone, the developers of Voice Dialogue, our vulnerability is one of our first parts that we suppress, usually by the age of 5. We learn at a very young age that we get made fun of when we act “needy.”  We learn quickly to project an independent image to the world to not show how much we still would love to be held and nurtured.

Physicians rarely touch patients anymore, except to check pulse rate, certainly never for comfort or reassurance, and therapists are well-trained to restrain from physical contact with clients. With such an ingrained touch-taboo are many of us not thriving, just due to something as simple as needing a hug? Americans are spending millions on prescriptions and natural supplements. Maybe we just need more touch.

I have been rereading Where Healing Waters Meet: Touching Mind & Emotion through the Body, by Clyde W. Ford.

Touch is our first language. Touch is our one reciprocal sense. We cannot touch another without being  touched ourself.

Ford provides academic backing for the reminder on bumper stickers to “Give someone a hug today.”








Wild Animals have Gained Weight, Too!

fast-food-eating-animal-1-640x360A fascinating article by David Berreby in Aeon, takes a fresh and scary look at a lot of evidence that obesity may not simply be “the result of a lack of willpower and an inability to discipline eating habits.”

Many scientists who study the biochemistry of fat and the epidemiologists who track weight trends  “believe that personal gluttony and laziness cannot be the entire explanation for humanity’s global weight gain.”

As the American people got fatter, so did marmosets, vervet monkeys and mice. The problem may be bigger than any of us.

Berreby questions-In placing the blame for the obesity epidemic on individuals has our society continued in the same vein as Bruno Bettelheim’s blaming  autism on mothers with cold personalities and blaming natural disasters like tornadoes and earthquakes on sinfulness?

“History is not kind to authorities whose mistaken dogmas cause unnecessary suffering and pointless effort, while ignoring the real causes of trouble. And the history of the obesity era has yet to be written.”

Learn to Manage your Pain with Hypnosis

The sensation of pain varies greatly from one person to the next.  Many of the factors are not coming from the actual pain receptors, like-the  fear of death or financial ruin, previous experiences and associations with pain, lack of control, what the pain signifies, and anxiety. These all are located in the brain. While medical treatment can cure and treat the actual injury or disease, hypnosis can offer relief from these secondary emotional and psychological conditions.

Through therapeutic imagery and visualizations, combined with long-established relaxation techniques, we teach and coach clients to diminish their sensation of pain and regain a sense of control. They learn to transform or displace it, to direct their attention away from it, and gain tools to directly decrease their perception of it. Many of these techniques have been widely used for childbirth, now many are using them to reduce their fears of medical procedures and needles, restore their sleep, and depend less on pain medications.

Not only can individuals learn to use their own minds to block the pathway carrying pain messages from the site of injury to the brain, but also to change brain chemistry, releasing endorphins and serotonin.

My pain management clients use these tools for both acute pain due to injury, illness or surgery and for chronic pain.  Many times it is appropriate to experience “signal” pain, so hypnosis can create an analgesic effect, relieving anxiety and relaxing the muscles. But, it is especially valuable for chronic pain, since often pain medication is the only treatment available. Besides the risk of addiction, patients often hesitate to take it, due to grogginess and other side effects that may interfere with effectiveness and safety on the job.  In some situations, after diagnosis and treatment, a more complete anesthetic effect is appropriate.

Some additional benefits include lower patient pre-operative anxiety, fewer post-surgical complications and nausea, less need for drugs, less bleeding during surgery, and faster recovery time. Since the 1950’s thousands of people have undergone surgery with no anesthetic other than hypnosis, so it definitely can help you cope with such ailments as chronic back pain, headaches, fibromyalgia, burns, arthritis, and shingles.

Sound Healing with Crystal Bowls

Your Body, the Orchestra: A healing experience

Ancient mystery schools of Rome, Athens, Egypt, India, China and Tibet used sound as a therapeutic tool, based upon the belief that vibration is the fundamental creative force of the universe.  According to Jonathan Goldman, “the human body may be metaphorically understood as an orchestra, with each organ, bone, tissue and part having a resonant frequency.”  Come to experience an orchestra of sound within your own body. After a brief discussion of frequency, entrainment, and cymatics, you will have the opportunity to play crystal healing bowls, work with tuning forks, listen to Tibetan Bowls, and learn to tone with the sounds from your own throat.  Each participant will be able to enter into a healing space and to have bowls played on his or her body which will become filled with vibration.

Personal Sound Healing Sessions

In an one-on-one session large highly resonant crystal bowls will be placed directly on the body and resonated creating an experience that will overwhelm the senses, alter consciousness, relax the body and release trauma.

The bowls are made from quartz crystal of the same type used in watches and computers–each molecule vibrates at the same frequency creating an extraordinarily pure tone that vibrates through the body and the air.

Within moments the talkative left brain will be silent and the right brain will be activated unleashing a world of color, creativity and emotion.  An experience beyond words and thought.

Sessions are 1 ½ hours, $75


Victoria Bresee, MA, MAR has a Master’s of Religion degree from Iliff School of Theology.  For the past 24 years she has had a private practice in wellness, offering both unique and time-honored techniques for spiritual, physical and emotional healing.  She holds certificates in Brain Nutrition Counseling and Hypnotherapy.

Location: Nourished Health Wellness Center

1740 Marion Street, Denver 80218

To book your session call Victoria at 720-515-8411.



Celebrating Life after Cancer

Are you or a loved one a cancer survivor? If so, then you are getting ready to celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day, the worldwide Celebration of Life, held the first Sunday of June.

Many people have found that life after a cancer diagnosis can be meaningful and even more satisfying and enjoyable. Survivors often experience the crisis as a major turning point in life’s journey.

Research shows that survivors of serious illnesses usually demonstrate these 3 characteristics-

1. They have a sense of Purpose.

2. They are connected with People.

3. They feel that they have Power in their lives.

Do you have this “tripod of self-healing” supporting you right now?

Treatment schedules, side effects, financial issues, pain, and statistics can be very stressful and disorienting.  Your hobbies probably are the last thing on your mind. Instead of reaching out you may feel like withdrawing from friends and loved ones, and that you are at the mercy of the medical profession and your prognosis.

Scan through your life history. What has energized you the most? Is there something you have always wanted to do? Maybe you have almost forgotten.

Cancer as a Turning Point, by Lawrence LeShan, PhD, tells the stories of many individuals that started living life in new rewarding ways and actually experienced greater freedom and awareness after a diagnosis of cancer. Not only is the book inspiring, but it offers a wealth of practical, easy to do tips to create a rich and meaningful life.

He and his patients explored these questions-“What are your special and unique ways of being, relating, creating that are your own and natural ways to live? What is your special music to beat out in life, your unique song to sing? What style of life would give you zest, enthusiasm, and involvement? What has blocked your perception and/or expression in the past?-with amazing results!

I am facilitating a new group at the Nourished Health Center on  Thursday evenings, starting June 6, 6:30 pm, to create on-going supportive PEOPLE connections and to learn new tools for EMPOWERMENT. We will explore our lives to rediscover and rekindle PASSION and PURPOSE and find relief from the burnout from illness, stress and treatments. I hope you’ll join us!

Life with & beyond Cancer
Cutting edge mind/body tools, resources and support


To register go to http://www.meetup.com/Technologies-of-the-Self/ or call or email Victoria at951-268-4280, Victoria@technologiesoftheself.org, $5

If you won’t be able to join us, I highly recommend the following books-

Anatomy of an Illness: as Perceived by the Patient, by Norman Cousins

Anti-Cancer: a New Way of Life, David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD

Cancer as a Turning Point, by Lawrence LeShan, PhD

Guided Imagery for Self-Healing, Martin Rossman, MD

Individualized private sessions are also available in person or Skype.

Life beyond/with Cancer Meetup Starting

Life Beyond Cancer

Cutting edge mind/body tools, resources and support

Thursdays at 6:30, Starting June 7

Nourished Health Center, 1740 Marion St.    Denver CO   80218

Research shows that survivors of serious illnesses usually demonstrate these three elements-

1. They have a sense of Purpose.

2. They are connected with People.

3. They feel that they have Power in their lives.

Our group will create connections, while we learn new tools to empower ourselves. We will look at our lives to discover and rekindle passion and purpose and find relief from the burnout from illness, stress and treatments.

When you fully regain your sense of purpose, people, and power, you will look at your diagnosis of cancer as a turning point. It can actually be an enlivening experience with greater freedom and awareness.

We will draw upon cutting edge resources and the following books-

Anatomy of an Illness: as Perceived by the Patient, by Norman Cousins

Anti-Cancer: a New Way of Life, David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD

Cancer as a Turning Point, by Lawrence LeShan, PhD

Guided Imagery for Self-Healing, Martin Rossman, MD

For directions and to RSVP go to-