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* Many problems resolved, my face glows

Feedback from an African American client Christine (not her real name) who attended four of my classes over 5 weeks. She reported multiple problems when she came in. She absorbed the techniques and practiced them with all her heart. On my advice, she read most of my articles on Relationships (1). She came out of most problems in a surprisingly short time of 5 weeks. Details –

“I was really stressed out on my job at a medical office, due to my boss. I had to always to prove myself and be constantly on the go. I could never stop to even think where I was and what I was working on.I learned in the classes how take breaths and relax more effectively in my daily life. The breathing techniques I have been using are the ‘Tip mode’ and the ‘Segment mode’ (2), in the morning and night. I also do a lot of breathing  during the day (3).
Due to these practices, my body balance has changed and my mind has become so relaxed that nothing and no one stresses me. I am so calm even when dealing with others at work. My skin complexion has changed. I now have a bright glow in my face.

I thank ‘C S’ (Suryanarayana Chennapragada) for helping me achieve total peace of mind.”

I had a personal interview with her to inquire about the several problems that she had but did not mention in her above feedback. She let me know their status as described below.

Stressful interactions with boss

Before: Her boss was very intimidating and being mean in his daily interactions with her as well as other employees. She used to take his words seriously to her heart and tried to respond to them in all earnestness. As nothing she said or did made any difference to his behavior she was getting angry and frustrated. She used to clench her jaws and grind her teeth.
Now: After practicing the breathing at bedtime and during her interactions with her boss, she stopped taking his mean style seriously. She listens to him and tells herself that he is the one who has the problem, not she. His verbally abusive behavior  has nothing to do with her.

Jaw tension and Grinding of teeth

Now: Reduced by 95%

Migraine pains

Before: Almost every day, lasting for 2 hours.
Now: Once in a while.

Shoulders puffed up

Before: Whenever she heard his mean words, which was every day.
Now: None, in spite of his behavior  being same.

Hears everything in sleep

Before: In her sleep she used to hear all sounds around her. She used to wake up twice in the night.
Now: She sleeps undisturbed,till the alarm goes off. She does not hear any sounds. Recently her husband commented with a surprise that she was able to fall asleep even when the the TV was on. 

Hours of sleep

Before: She used to sleep at 10 and wake up at 3 am and was not able to get sleep for at least 30 minutes, due to her racing mind.
Now: She sleeps undisturbed all through the night, till the alarm goes off at 6 am.

How she felt on waking up 

Before: Felt exhausted
Now: Feels great.

Back pain and Neck pain

Now: She has them only slightly. To avoid neck pain she stopped holding the phone between her cheek and shoulder. Her chronic stress was straining her muscles in her jaws, neck, shoulders and back.

(1) My articles on ‘Relationships’
(2) How can I focus on breathing?
(3) Daytime practice
(4) Releasing tension in the jaws

Related pages
Face looks bright and healthy – Success stories

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* Improved on weight, blood pressure, moods, and neck & back pains

Feedback from a client, a patient of my daughter Padma Sripda MD (6), who has done 12 classes over the last one year and eight months. She gained weight (from almost underweight to a healthier BMI), lowered her persistently high BP  and gradually lowering her anti-anxiety medication per her doctor’s advice and made more improvements.

Breathing: I practice the breathing exercises while driving, walking and at work. I mostly do the ‘Counting mode’ but when driving I do the ‘Tip mode’. (4)

Hypertension: Last week I had a really great blood pressure reading 126/86. This is one of the lowest I have had. (3)

Diet changes: I have been having breakfast every morning and a better lunch and dinner. I am working to cut out sugar. Instead of soda I have been drinking juices and water. I gained 25 lbs from these changes. I added a multi-vitamin, vitamin D, Vitamin C in the powder form and the milled flax seed which I put in smoothies or a salad every day.  That was a lot of work to change my eating habits but well worth it.(1)

Sleep: I have been waking up fresher in the mornings but still getting great sleep.

Moods: I find that my moods are more even. I don’t have as much anger or depression. I feel things are easier to deal with (5).

Anxiety medication: I have been cutting down on the anxiety medication very slowly but I think I have made great progress. I used to take 2 a day. I am now down to 1.25 to 1.5. I think I feel better now cutting back on this medication.

Chronic neck and back pains: My neck pain has greatly improved from the stretching as well as my back. I can’t remember the last time I needed pain medication for these problems. (2)

I am going to continue to practice all the above items. I would like to start hiking and maybe working out a little in the gyms at the hotels I stay at.

(1) She was very lean for her height with a BMI of 21 (normal range is 19 to 24), her cheeks were shrunk and her face was looking sick . She was working out of  town and on her feet for hours. She was not eating any breakfast and hated to have any. It required lot of persuasion over many classes, for her to change her long established habit.  She neither had any good lunch. She was feeling fatigued and low in moods by afternoon. After the diet changes, her weight has improved and she is feeling much better overall.
(2) She had chronic neck and back pains and taking pain medications and sometimes even shots for acute neck pain.  Her back pain dramatically improved after practicing the “Focusing on breathing’ modes (4) and the waking up routine.
(3) She had persistently high BP (Hypertension) for at least 6 years. During the visits to her doctor, the systolic ranged from 136 to 219 and the diastolic ranged from 94 to 129.
(4) Different modes of ‘Focusing on breathing’
(5) For many months from the time she attended the classes, she was bitterly complaining about her employer’s treatment of her – not paying fair wages, not appreciating her high quality work etc. In last six months she did not say one thing on this issue.
(6) Padma Sripada

Related pages
Her previous feedback
Relief from Hypertension – Success stories
High Blood pressure and Heart disease – Books I like

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* I rebuilt my broken spirit

This is a testimonial from Eva (not her real name) who attended 8 of my classes over 5 months (6). It illustrates many lessons in getting out of the grip of a verbal or emotional abuser, not a physical abuser.

  • It is a dramatic model on how a person can break the spell of the abuser  and lead a stress free life. Daily contact with that person may be unavoidable. The abuser may be abusing verbally or emotionally.  The abuser may be a boss, spouse, parent, friend or any other.
  • It proves the saying  “You can’t change others. You can only change your response to their behavior.” and the related one “When I change myself, the World changes.”
  • It proves the spiritual saying “When the student is ready the teacher appears”
  • And surprise! The abuser may turn around!

See more of my comments at the end.

The report
“I suppose it was the end of May 2011 because the 10 foot high snow banks at the end of the parking lot had finally melted. I think it was a Monday or a Tuesday. Back then, I didn’t really focus on real- time. I simply prayed to get through each day. Each and every new morning presented itself with tremendous anxiety, demanding self-preparedness to battle with my verbally and emotionally abusive boss. I had been dealing with his relentlessly abusive behavior over the last two years. I was daily confronted with humiliation, degrading, argumentative, embarrassing control tactics, accusations, and lies. Me responding with anxiety, fear, tears, withdrawal, disgust and frustration. I was losing sleep, and it felt like I was constantly spinning.

I was treated by my physician for severe panic attacks and sleeplessness. My dermatologist was treating me for the red blotches, itching and welts on my face. Rock bottom came when a coworker made an unkind comment to me, back on that Monday or Tuesday. It broke my spirit to the core. I went out of the office, to the end of the long unused hallway, sat on the floor with my arms wrapped around my knees. I soaked from my tears. What was happening to me? How do I stop this monster of a boss from making me feel like this?

I figured I had two choices – fight or flight. I pulled myself together and went back to the office. I prayed to the angels to please give me some kind of a sign.

A few days before, I planned to attend the seminar by C S (Suryanarayana Chennapragada) on ‘Focusing on breathing’  at the local library, but I couldn’t make it. On coming to know about my interest from my coworker, CS offered the classes at his office. I saw CS that day.

He patiently let me unload everything that was making my life miserable. He taught me the different breathing methods to control stress and help with relaxation (5). He made me practice the techniques briefly sitting in his office.

I experienced a sense of calmness almost immediately. I could feel my tense shoulders drop. In his weekly classes he shared with me his own life experiences and some healing thoughts (1). I began to understand things in a whole different way. I knew I was 100 feet under water but after a few sessions with CS, I knew I had crawled up by 10 feet, inch by inch.

I had a long way to go but I knew I was on the right path. I practiced the techniques every day and several times a day when things got bad. I could thus create my own calmness to some degree. I created sanity in my work space by including things I love and a few ‘props’ from C S, to insulate me from further emotional trauma (2).

After several months and many visits later. I can honestly say that I am ‘riding the waves’ instead of drowning underneath them (3). I have learned so much from the relaxation techniques and guidance from C S,  that now I recognize the bad behavior before it comes to me. I learned how to respond to it in appropriate ways, to throw “IT” (the ‘bug’, meaning the abusive behavior) back and put the fire out before it burns me (4).

I had a revelation not too long ago inspired by the experiences C S shared with me. It became clear to me, that I was causing my own frustration because I was expecting my boss to change into someone he could never be. I realized that I could only change myself. I had to only keep my mind clear without confusion and my heart clean without any negative intention or attitude. I am now stronger, more confident and more aware of my own being. I am a better person now. When confronted with difficulties and bad behavior at work, I know I am going to get even better. I have eliminated all expectations about him! I feel can do this! I keep a small sign on my desk with a chant that CS introduced to me. It reminds me frequently that my boss’s abusive behavior is not because something is wrong with me. The sign has the letters “koerauoyavE”. It does not make sense to any other person. I am the only one who knows that reading it backwards, it gives me the healing message “Eva you are OK” (I am OK, it is my boss who is suffering from the ‘blame bug’).”

The report ends happily here!

Some unexpected developments
My boss realized that I was not cowering anymore when he behaved intimidatingly. On the other hand, he saw me replying to his accusations calmly, boldly and factually, looking into his eyes, all the time. He then changed his behavior dramatically. He started behaving like an immature child and making jokes, trying to make up with me! Unbelievable!” “A few days back, at the end of the day, I asked him “Doc! are we closing the office?”. He replied “You tell me.” I said “You are the boss. You are the one to decide.” He said “No. You are the boss!”. Imagine this one coming from the micromanaging and intimidating boss who used to say in all petty matters of the office “I am the boss. You have to follow whatever I say.” What a transformation!”

***

My comments

Eva is an unique personality, unlike any others with whom I worked so far. In her past career she always had kind and caring bosses. This abusive boss was a great shock to her.

She instantly grasped the concepts and techniques I shared with her, internalized them and used them right away, to manage the situation on hand. She benefited remarkably from the stories and articles that I shared with her in the classes.

After a few weeks of practicing the breathing and the new thought processes, she discarded her previous practice of wearing the green smock to the office, like a medial staff. She wore the normal office dress like a receptionist, with pride. This small step boosted her morale, one notch.

(1) She quickly absorbed the messages of these stories/articles and ideas and practiced them in real life.

  • “He insulted me” on how we can refuse to receive the insult being thrown at us or internalize it.
  • “The walker who laughed at A, B and C” on how we think we have some problem, instead of the abusive person.
  • “The blamer is hit with the blame bug” due to which he can’t help displaying the symptoms of blaming disease.
  • “My brother Ramu dies at the age of 10” describing how my unrealistic expectation was the cause for my suffering.
  • “We do not see the first parts of people’s lives” making  judgments of other people, based on their current behavior, without knowing the experiences they were subjected to till that point of time.
  • “To speak or not, to act or not” illustrating that as long I have a clear mind without confusion and a clean heart without negative emotions, I can speak and act appropriately without being afraid of any one, including GOD.
  • Unrealistic expectations sap our motivation and abort our attempts at making small forward moving changes in our routine. The president of an African country was asked by a journalist to describe the achievements of his government. He said ”My dear friend, I am not in the happy position of seeing what heights I have reached. I only see from what depths I am coming up!”. The personal change process is such that we may not experience any waves of happiness even after many many years of practice. The few daring people that attempt this process have to sustain their efforts and draw deep inspiration from the tiny reductions in their daily suffering.

(2) I helped Eva in creating reassuring and calming props, right in front of her, while sitting in her chair, in spite of any objections by her boss. This was also to break the spell of controlling and being controlled, under which both her boss and she lived, for more than two years. She also had to demonstrate her right to arrange her undisputed physical zone as she liked, without being challenged by her boss.

  • I described the story “He insulted me” using my pen for practical demonstration and at the end, gave her the same pen to take with her and place it right in front of her on the desk. This pen would remind her of the message of this story during the abusive interactions of the day, thus protecting her from distress.
  • I used a piece of crumpled paper to represent the bug in the story “The blamer is hit with the blame bug” and asked her to keep it on her desk, to remind her that her boss could not help behaving abusively because he was having the blame bug in his head.
  • I made a card in the shape of an inverted V (like a name sign used in meetings) and wrote “koerauoyawE” on it with a colored sketch pen. This was the message “Eva you are ok” written backwards as one word, so that only she could decipher the hidden message. Whenever her boss made a statement putting her down, she looked at this card lying on her desk, reminding her she was OK and it was her boss who had the bug (problem). Looking at this message helped her shake off the negative messages about her that her boss was trying to inject into her mind. Her coworkers saw the card and asked what was the meaning of that word. She quietly smiled in reply.
  • I asked her if she had any plants or flowers on her desk or around her, to look at and care for, as her own. She said her boss did not like any such things. I said this is a very good chance to assert her right by bringing some flowers from her garden or buy a small plant in a pot and keep it on her desk. She followed these suggestions.
  • She heard western classical music being played in our office when she came to the classes. She remarked that it was very calming whereas the music channel in her office radio blared hard drum sounds and disturbed her as well as the patients sitting in the waiting room. I asked her to change the station to classical music. She was not sure he would allow it but she made the change anyway without his noticing it, to her great relief. Listening to this soothing music all the time also contributed to reducing her stress.

(3) A spiritual teacher said that the meditative techniques like ‘Focusing on breathing’ do not eliminate the problems which are a part of life. But they help us manage them without getting distressed. He said  “You can’t avoid the big waves coming at you. But you can use the meditative techniques as a surf board and ride over the waves”.

(4) Her boss was throwing the blame (bug) at her and she now learned how to throw it back at him, instead of getting infected by that bug. She protected herself from being infected by the blaming disease that her boss was suffering from.

(5) Six different modes of ‘Focusing on breathing’

(6) Seminars and classes 

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