National Fibromyalgia Association Coping Seminar – Martha Beck
This post is a continuation of my post on the National Fibromyalgia Association Coping Seminar in Seattle. Here I will further discuss what Martha Beck spoke about at the seminar.
Beck shared that when she was diagnosed with another chronic condition she received a pamphlet that stated, “To keep yourself from committing suicide, remember your religious beliefs.” The room erupted with laughter and Beck went onto to explain that she threw the pamphlet out and realized she needed to find a better avenue. She believes in taking “small, turtle steps” to feeling and living better.
It would be impossible to be around her and not notice how full of life she is – laughing, joking and smiling. This is evident in all that she has accomplished during the 30 years she has been living with fibromyalgia – earning a Ph.D., being a life coach, author and columnist for O, The Oprah Magazine! She claimed that she used to be very busy gaining approval socially and she thinks many people with fibromyalgia are. Beck said she noticed that the more she would try to please others socially, the more she got sick. She believes, “Knowing yourself is power.” She teamed up with the NFA and Eli Lilly and Company on the website www.knowfibro.com – where you can find lots of information, tips and tools to help you manage fibromyalgia.
Beck suggested using mental brain exercises, meditation and trauma release exercises to achieve greater health. She had us shut our eyes, focus on the area of our body that was in the most pain and give it a pain rating from 1-10. Then she had us continue focusing on that area but think the mantra, “may you be well, may you be happy, may you be free from suffering” over and over. She suggested we also think the words, “relax” and “rest” and then re-rate our pain. Most everyone in the room said their pain level in that area went down. Mine decreased by one – a turtle step!
After the speaking portion of the seminar I had a chance to speak with Beck and I asked her if she had any other fibromyalgia tips she hadn’t gotten a chance to mention. She answered, “If you’re not sleeping, take medicine!” She believes getting sleep is so important that we need to do all that we can to get it. Two of my other favorite quotes from listening to her talk to individuals are, “Half-ass workouts are great!” and “Never do all that you can.”
Stay tuned for my one-on-one interview with Lynne Matallana!