Showing posts from September, 2016

Advice: I Can't Stop Thinking When I Meditate!

Advice: I Can't Stop Thinking When I Meditate!

by Kathleen Lisson

As a meditation teacher in San Diego, I have found that many beginning meditators become discouraged after their first few meditation experiences. They believe that they cannot meditate because they simply can't stop thinking. Many of us approach meditation with the same 'get it done' attitude that we do with other "must-do" parts of our lives, like going to the gym, cleaning the whole house or getting to work in rush hour traffic.

In a TED Talk titled 'A simple way to break a bad habit,' psychiatrist Judson Brewer explains positive and negative reinforcement. He shares how he learned not to "force" himself not to think during meditation using the reward based learning process and curiousity.

After listening to Brewer's talk, I invite you to try to meditate again, this time using curiousity instead of 'forcing' - let me know your experience in the comments below!


Safe Relaxing Massage for Men and Women with Cancer and Lymphedema in San Diego

Safe, Relaxing Massage for Men and Women  with Cancer and Lymphedema in San Diego
by Kathleen Lisson, CMT, CLT
(CAMTC #70128)

Do you already know the relaxing, pain relieving effect that massage has on your body but concerned that a cancer or lymphedema diagnosis means that you can't enjoy the benefits of massage anymore?

Are you overwhelmed with traveling to medical appointment after medical appointment and wish you could have the benefits of a massage in the comfort of your home, on your schedule? An in home massage means that you can take a relaxing bath in your own bathtub or go to sleep in your own bed, right after your massage.

Hello, my name is Kathleen Lisson. I am a Board Certified Massage Therapist with oncology massage training and a Certified Lymphatic Therapist in San Diego. I provide massage to men and women with a metastatic cancer diagnosis, a cancer diagnosis, a cancer history or a lymphedema diagnosis in the comfort of their homes in the San Diego area. To book …

Best Tip for Exercise Recovery

How to Recover from a Hard Workout
by Kathleen Lisson

Have you ever done a hard workout and felt like you just couldn't recover in time for your next run? Scientists have found that it could be because of what you are doing AFTER your workout as much as during your workout. Brad Stulberg writes in the Outside article 'Recovery Is All in Your Head' that a meta-analysis titled 'Psychosocial Factors and Sport Injuries: Meta-analyses for Prediction and Prevention' finds that "athletes are most likely to sustain physical injuries during times when psychological and/or social stress is high."

This makes sense because our bodies are recovering and rebuilding from our workouts in the hours after we shower and leave the gym or running trail. Adding stress forces our bodies to choose between dealing with stressful situations or healing and building muscle.

How can endurance athletes increase recovery after a hard workout?
I use activities like taking a nap, medita…

Nutrition Classes for Breast Cancer in San Diego

Nutrition Classes for Patients with a Breast Cancer diagnosis in San Diego, CA

by Kathleen Lisson

There are a wide variety of nutrition classes for those with a cancer diagnosis, including breast cancer, in the San Diego area. Here are a list of classes:

Cancer Nutrition Resources in San Diego
Scripps Healthy Living Classes - Those who attend will "learn what foods and exercises protect against many lifestyle-related diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease."

Sharp Chula Vista Nutrition Class for Breast Cancer Patients - Those who attend will find a class that "has been designed to address common diet- and nutrition-related questions and concerns that are unique to patients with breast cancer. The most current diet and physical activity guidelines and strategies for making positive changes in these areas will also be discussed."…

Should I still meditate if I cannot stop thinking?

How to Use Meditation for Frustration, Anxiety and Stress
by Kathleen Lisson

Have you ever said something you instantly regret when you're feeling stressed?

Have you ever read the same paragraph over and over and not 'got it' because you feel frustrated about something that happened earlier in the day?

Have you ever 'blanked out' for a test you have studied before because of anxiety?

A regular meditation practice can help with these situations, especially when seated meditation is full of thoughts. In this fun 13 minute talk, San Diego based Warriors at Ease and Mindful Schools curriculum trained meditation teacher Kathleen Lisson shares the role of the prefrontal cortex, amygdala and hippocampus in stressful situations and how meditation can help us think straight and improve test anxiety.

Stage 0 Lymphedema in San Diego

Heavy Arm after Cancer Surgery - What is Stage 0 Lymphedema?
by Kathleen Lisson, CMT, CMLDT

The National Lymphedema Network states that people with stage zero lymphedema in an arm or leg can feel sensations of heaviness or fatigue in their limb, even when there is no difference in the size of their affected arm and unaffected arm. I have also heard that in stage zero lymphedema, people will feel like their rings and shoes feel tighter than usual, even though their arm doesn't look different.

Find out more about State 0 Lymphedema from the National Lymphedema Network here:

These symptoms may be connected to lymphedema. It's a good idea to mention them to your primary physician. Manual Lymphatic Drainage massage may help to reduce the feelings of heaviness and fatigue in arms and legs with stage 0 lymphedema.

Advice for those with secondary lymphedema in San Diego
The National Lymphedema Network offe…

Five Fast Tension Tamers for Busy People

Five Fast Tension Tamers for Busy People

by Kathleen Lisson, CMT

Want to fit relaxation into your busy schedule? Here are five ways you can relax during the day, no matter how busy your schedule is.

If you have five minutes - try a body scan. Sitting or lying down, find a comfortable position and gently focus on different parts of your body in this relaxing technique. Start by feeling your toes for two breaths, then feel each different body part, switching every second inhale. Breathe and feel the feet, ankles, lower legs and knees. Continue to focus on how your body feels from the inside of your thighs, hips, lower back, abdomen, upper back, shoulders, chest, arms, hands and fingers. Finish your body scan by feeling inside your neck, jaw, face, ears and scalp, each for two breaths. Finally, focus on your entire body breathing peacefully for a few breaths. This can be done at night in bed or when you are a passenger in a car.

If you can spare two minutes, twice a day, Dr. Andrew Weil re…

Have you tried ‘everything’ and still can’t get to sleep?

Have you tried ‘everything’ and still can’t get to sleep?

by Kathleen Lisson
Does your room have blackout curtains, a humidifier and the finest bed linens on a comfortable mattress and you still can’t get to sleep at night? The answer may be in your pre-bedtime rituals.

Why Is Sleep Important?

As a San Diego meditation teacher, I know that our number one way to detoxify from the stress of the day is through a good night’s sleep. Meditation can also release stress, but sleep is key to robust health.

How do Insomniacs Try to Go To Sleep?

A Detroit-based study of sleep hygiene among insomniacs found that drinking alcohol, smoking near bedtime and taking naps during the day were common practices in those with insomnia. Read the study, ‘Sleep Hygiene Practices in a Population-Based Sample of Insomniacs,’ published in the Journal of Sleep, here:

My biggest battle is limiting contact with electronics within a half hour of my bedtime. Looking at just…

Quiz: What is Healthy?

What Does Being Healthy Mean - a Quizby Kathleen Lisson, CMT

The word healthy describes a level of complete physical, mental and social well-being in an individual.
Are you able to do all the activities you want to, like run around with the kids after work, or are you so run-down that most evenings are spent on the couch and most mornings are a struggle to get out of bed? Take a moment to relax your forehead, jaw and shoulders. How much tension are you holding in your body day after day?
Mental well-being is at risk in our overstimulated, always-on world. Can you remember people’s names? Have you experienced arriving at a destination having no idea how you got there? Have you said something you regret because you react to situations before you have a chance to take a breath and consider your response?
Social well-being is changing as our interactions become more digital. Do you give people you love half your attention because you are also concentrating on social media? Do you feel alo…

Top five meditation books for new students - a teacher's reading list

San Diego Meditation Teacher's Top Five Meditation Books

by Kathleen Lisson

The text I use to teach mindfulness to my students at IPSB in San Diego is Simple, Easy Every Day Meditation Method by Sarah McLean. I like this text because it is small, portable and gets to the point, offering a number of mindful practices as well as solid advice for many beginning meditator's concerns. This book is sometimes hard to find on Amazon, so I will mention five others that are easier to order.

Many students find meditation a very valuable wellness practice and want to read more about the scientific research behind mindfulness practices. I recommend the following books for further reading.

RECOMMENDED MEDITATION BOOKS:   The Relaxation Response, Herbert Benson, M.D.

Benson is an early pioneer in bringing meditation to the practice of medicine. Find instructions on how to elicit the Relaxation response and more resources here:

Buddha’s Brain, Rick Hanson, …

You know you're a runner that likes to eat - you'll probably enjoy reading this article about eating!

What to Eat Before a Run

by Kathleen Lisson
Get a few long distance runners chatting and soon one of them will mention his/her favorite part of the sport - the Eating. Eating before a run is one of the most enjoyable things about running - sneaking one of the kid’s bananas or spooning dollops of peanut butter systematically on everything on the menu makes us feel like a Runner with a capital R even when we’re not in neon-bright ridiculously overpriced running shoes. Runners rely on a few tried and true ingredients and switch up the menu depending on the speed and distance to be covered during the workout.
Here are a few examples:

Breakfast before a jog around the block - the Elvis. Casual days mean portable breakfasts. Enjoy a peanut butter and banana sandwich just the way the King of Rock and Roll liked it before you tune your ipod to the Elvis Presley mix and get “all shook up.”

Sunday morning jog - before I drive up to Carlsbad, CA to run 5-10 miles along the ocean, I fix a full break…

Can Meditation Help a Controlling and Judgmental Person?

Why I Meditate - A Pitta / Type A Personality Confession
by Kathleen Lisson
When I was in my thirties, I felt like I had everything under control. I had a great job in the New York State Legislature and had just married wonderful man. We decided to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro a month after my 40th birthday. During the hours spent slowly walking to the top, I first realized that I could not control everything in my life. Approaching the summit of the mountain at over 19,000 feet was truly a one step at a time process. As long as I took one step and one breath, I was able to continue. Any time I thought ahead or wondered about what time it was or tried to go faster, I became overwhelmed and short of breath and had to slow down. I spent 8 hours that day living in the present moment.

After I returned from Africa, I began to realize how much I had been structuring my life around being in control. I would yell at a driver if I was cut off instead of silently feeling scared. I would be overly critic…

Labor Day 2016 - How to Enjoy a Mindful Trip to Disneyland

Tips for Introverts: How to Practice Mindfulness at Disneyland
By Kathleen Lisson

Squeezing up against strangers to dodge a stroller, hearing the shrieks of excited and terrified children catching sight of cartoon characters, the temptation of an ice cream cone on a steamy day. Many call it ‘The Happiest Place on Earth,’ but for an introvert all the noise, heat and constant motion of a Disney park can be overwhelming! I enjoy time with my brother and his family at Disneyland, but struggle with the fast, colorful, sugar-fueled pace of the park.

STOP is a wonderful mindfulness practice that helps me enrich quality time with my family, especially during during a visit to Disneyland or another amusement park. To practice STOP, we simply follow four steps and after less than a minute we will be able to more fully focus on and enjoy the present moment.

S stands for Stop. Simply take a moment to pause our body and mind, whether we are roasting on the hot pavement in a crowd at Disneyland or st…