Step 5

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Step 5Dr. Vicki Rackner Helps You Choose Health

5. Master the fine art of verbal persuasion.

Shirley, a 77-year-old breast cancer survivor, trained for 9 months to run her first marathon.  Throughout her big question was, “Will I make it to the end?”

On the day of the race, Shirley was elated to literally see the finish line.  That’s when a couple trying to pass her struck her to the ground.   She tried to get up, thinking, “I’ll crawl to the finish line.”  But her injuries were too extensive.  She was taken by medic to the ER.

She didn’t know which hurt worse: her broken wrist or her disappointment. In fact, when she thoughts about her disappointment her arm hurt more.

As Shirley waited at the airport to go home, a 16-year-old Sarah approached her.  Sarah recognized Shirley as the woman who feel near the  finish line.  Sarah wanted to give Shirley her own metal.  “After all, “ Sarah said, “You deserve it.”  Shirley finally relented.

As Shirley accepted the metal, her arm felt better.

Directing attention to the pain can turn up its intensity.  Even the thought, “Get rid of this pain!” paradoxically can make the pain worse.

Distraction with thoughts about anything else can can make it better.

You can improve your loved one’s condition by distracting them.

The brain is at its best when it experiences joy.

Find ways of bringing joy and laughter into your loved one’s life.  Be creative.  If someone adores being at the ocean, for example, download sounds of splashing waves to their laptop.  Bring a Betta fish.  Collect a container of shells or sea-polished pebbles. Consider colored pencils or watercolors and a sketch pad to paint ocean pictures.

Watch silly movies.  The field of gelantology studies why laughter is good medicine.

Delight all the senses.  The smell of freshly baked bread or lilics can transport you to another place and time.

Well-timed distraction works as well as pain medication.

Click here for Step 6.