Happiness Resilience Mindfulness through Gratitude Acceptance Intention Non-Judgement
Welcome to “Healing From Within” and Sheryl Glick your host and author of the newest book in a trilogy A New Life Awaits: Spirit Guided Insights to Support Global Awakening which shares stories and messages to show us our challenges are not economic political or societal but a disconnect from our true being or soul wisdom and is so glad to have our regular listeners always with us to hear from amazing authors and changemakers, visionaries and leaders from around the world share their courageous and interesting stories discovering more about themselves and the human condition and am delighted to welcome Dr. Greg Hammer Author of Gain Without Pain The Happiness Handbook for Health Care Professionals for we all know you can’t do your best unless you are at your best, and that is the goal for all of us.
As listeners of Healing From Within are well aware I am a Reiki Master Teacher energy practitioner/medium as well as a long-time Hospice volunteer who has spent the last 25 years searching for a clearer truth of our human and spiritual connections or “the duality of life” to help find ways to enhance all areas of our emotional, physical and spiritual life to improve health, find happiness and positivity, no matter what challenges we face. It becomes clear and easier to cope with any situation when we truly know that life is unlimited in opportunities for continuous soul expansion and our thoughts and actions generate much of what we experience. So in that sense we must learn to pay attention to what we think and do and improve many circumstances both personally and collectively.
In today’s episode of “Healing From Within,” Dr. Greg Hammer a pediatrics intensive care physician, anesthesiologist and professor at Stanford University Medical Center, will share his search for truth and the mysteries and realities of life healing and love. He will also discuss utilizing a non-duality and mindfulness based approach including the “Gain Method” he has devised to improve health and well-being. Dr. Hammer discusses ways to look at these challenging times rejuvenate and restore health as we try to help ourselves and others.
When Dr. Hammer is asked to think back to his childhood and remember a person place or event that might have signaled to him or others the life path and interests he might pursue as an adult he responds that nothing remarkable comes to mind about his childhood but at seventeen he began to question life and wanted to know the truth of “Who are we? ““Why do we have a physical life?” and “What are we supposed to do during our lifetime?” Already a born healer he wished to give as much to the world and help people and so he became a doctor helping others to develop a respect for and love of life and our uniqueness as spiritual beings having a physical life.
Dr. Greg Hammer wrote this book to explore what deeper thoughts and realizations readers of “Gain Without Pain” could become aware of which could lead them beyond suffering loss and illness. This book is filled with fascinating interviews with leading experts on relevant topics such as sleep, forgiveness, and nutrition. The elements of the book are artfully woven together by our physician guide, Dr. Greg Hammer. Dr. Hammer provides insights into how to transform personal and professional challenges into strength and wisdom. This helpful toolbox will provide important practical steps for any health care professional to find a more healthful way to live and work.
This book also and importantly presents a transformative path to happiness, resilience, and thriving that takes as little as three minutes a day, which is especially necessary for people in the health field to maintain their own well-being, health and happiness while dealing with serious illness and families in distress. There is nothing revolutionary in this book. Most of you already know the facts that follow. But there is a chasm between knowing and doing. It’s not your fault. To implement all of the mainstream medical advice about stress reduction, sleep, exercise, and diet is daunting. It appears to be far too time-consuming for an overloaded doctor, nurse, or any other busy health care professional.
Greg Hammer is a doctor, father, professor, and entrepreneur and people reading this book, like Dr. Hammer, are likely bright, well-educated, and well-trained medical professionals. Yet in spite of the plethora of expertise and experience, most health care professionals have not bridged the gap between science and practice. Most doctors have not translated their understanding of the mind and body into a peaceful, present mind, and a vibrant, healthy body. Burnout is on the rise, and that is a problem we cannot afford to ignore. This book can be your solution. It is an antidote to burnout. It took Dr. Hammer many years to distill the essence of the process that he is going to share with you. It is a rapid and easy path towards happiness, including a transformative three-minute daily practice.
In talking about Covid-19, an unexpected and tragic worldwide plague affecting the health economic well-being and creating an inability to do what humans must do for their emotional well-being be close to one another and socialize, disturbed because of social distancing and lockdowns imposed by governments, stresses/demands causing burnout in healthcare professionals has increased tenfold. Adding to these specific timely challenges Dr. Hammer points out another aspect of pain for many people and says in a conversation, “ I think that most of us feel inadequate in some ways much of the time. We try to make ourselves whole by reaching for relationships, substances, objects. This never brings more than very temporary relief. So, we strive for more—hence a cycle of needing and acquiring that never fulfills us. Much of this feeling of inadequacy probably stems from our early childhood experiences. This is not to lay blame on our parents—they had their own sense of longing and inadequacy, largely from their parenting. The cycle goes on and on. But we can stop the cycle. The greatest barrier to happiness is failure to believe that we deserve happiness. We do deserve happiness—it is our true divine soul nature and birthright. Sadly, this has been veiled by experience. The good news is that we can unveil our true nature and be happier if we turn our attention—and our intention—to doing so.“
Sheryl says the key to resolving much doubt and distress is simply to” know” we were born with everything within our soul memory and guidance system that we need to complete our soul mission in this time and place and by simply remembering that truth, we can stop thinking about what we don’t have, and focus on what we do have to accomplish our soul mission which need not be monumental but could be as simple as learning the GAIN method of reflection for finding peace and well being. We must realize our wondrous potential to create with our thoughts the best for ourselves and others while conquering the fears and limitations of the outside world. By simply changing our mindset and actions we create a path to well-being, peace, harmony, and happiness. Everything is indeed a state of mind and a good attitude is greater than any painful or challenging circumstance that presents itself.
Happiness has taken a plunge during this time of tremendous worldwide change. Happiness was recorded at 69% before Covid, and 49% after Covid. Perhaps it’s because in this fast moving technological society we have lost sight of our inner intuitive guidance or soul awareness and our ability to conquer even a horrendous disease like Covid. We are often not aware of our inner wisdom. All that we ever want is within each of us. There is nothing, “no thing” for which to search. All we need to do is sink into the awareness with which we are all born. Becoming more aware is a process. In fact, life is a process—there is no destination. Let’s take it one step at a time. Baby steps can transform your life when repeated as a daily practice. Sometimes we can take the slow and steady way to reach a new understanding of the world, and other times it feels like we’re on a bullet train. I have had both experiences.
Sheryl says it is quite possible that this deadly plague happened because we had moved too far away from our spiritual source and needed to slow down and return to simple values once again having more meaningful interactions with people, not just computers, cell phones and technological games.
Dr. Hammer tells us that his son Max helped him find the truth. As a boy, Max was full of personality, full of life. He was joyful and present. But as he grew up, he became increasingly troubled and distracted. He would ruminate over his past and resist its realities. He was fearful and anxious about what the future might bring. He was no longer fully present. How did he go from being a happy child, living in each present moment, to being a self-conscious, anxious adolescent and young adult? Was social media to blame? My divorce? Hormones? Other factors?
Dr. Hammer writes “Max moved from Palo Alto, California, to Portland, Oregon, in his mid-20s. California was full of unwanted memories. Portland held the promise of a brighter future. Unfortunately, it did not pan out that way for Max. He continued to be unsettled, living life on the edge, reckless. He was descending into a dark place. Concerned, I visited him. I convinced him to fly down to Stanford to allow me to assist him in getting help. Then he stopped answering my calls and texts. Days passed. I was home on a Monday morning, catching up on some work when the phone rang. It was the hospital operator calling to tell me that the Stanford police wanted to talk to me. A few minutes later, the doorbell rang. I let in two campus police officers. They asked me, “Are you the father of Max Hammer?” “Yes, I am.” They came in and introduced themselves, and we sat down at the dining table. One of them said to me, “I am very sorry to tell you that he passed away yesterday.” Silence. Those words made no sense. Yet they did. After they left, I sat in my chair for what seemed to be a long time before calling his mother. No answer. I left a message asking her to call me. I sat there for an hour, numb, the only one in the family to know of this terrible new reality. Max was dead. I would never welcome him back home, never attend his wedding, never laugh with him again. A myriad of hopes and dreams for the future came crashing down like a house of cards. My son had died. Grief overcame me. Later, it became clear that he died of sleeplessness. His obsession with the past and the future was unbearable. He simply could not sleep.”
We must understand how emotional exhaustion is tied to burnout and a tendency to self-defeating emotional stresses. Dr. Hammer writes, “Medical professionals are in a unique position to help others, and most of us relish this opportunity. Nevertheless, more than half of the physicians in the United States are experiencing professional burnout. It may well be that other health care professionals are experiencing the same crisis. The costs of burnout are staggering. Clinicians who feel burned out make more medical errors. They often reduce their work hours, resulting in reduced access to medical care for patients. Physicians with burnout are more likely to change jobs—this disrupts the continuity of care. Replacing physicians is very expensive for institutions, costing up to $1,000,000 per physician at Stanford. Physicians experiencing burnout are more likely to leave medicine altogether. Turnover is disruptive not only to patients but also to staff, and the loss of respected doctors may diminish the prestige of institutions.”
Physicians at the “front line” are the most afflicted, e.g., internal medicine, family practice, emergency medicine, but most specialties across the board show similar trends. Sadly, rates of physician suicide are rising among physicians who are experiencing burnout. Burnout among doctors, attorneys and law enforcement remains higher than in other professions. As physicians, we are in a category all by ourselves, with nearly half of us suffering from varying degrees of work-related stress. Doctors absolutely must become more resilient. Burnout is stealing our minds, bodies, relationships, and threatens to take our very lives. This book describes the antidote to burnout. It provides a simple path to personal resilience that can be implemented by anyone, anywhere, in just a few minutes a day. Increased resilience could save your practice, your patients, your marriage—or even your life. In our rapidly changing world, personal resilience is not a “nice to have,” but an essential skill.
Sheryl says in her new book A New Life Awaits Spirit Guided Insights to Support Global Awakening as well as taking responsibility for our own well being and state of happiness vs. suffering she has found resilience to be indispensable to a well balanced lifestyle.
Sheryl wrote, “Therefore, it seems in one way or another, we are being given messages to elevate our hearts. As we tap into our intuition supported by meditation practices, we can strengthen personal resolve or resilience. Resilience is a great force, in my estimation, for spiritual growth. Recently Sheryl found an article in Time Magazine, the June 1, 2015 edition, in the section “Frontier of Medicine” and read “Bounce Back,” written by Dr. Dennis Charney Dean, Icahn School of Medicine, who wrote, “For resilience there’s not one prescription that works. Find what works for you.” As a psychiatrist, Dr. Charney knows there are many benefits to moving beyond your comfort zone for the development of resilience, which he says is a set of necessary skills. Compelling new research about resilience also is now focusing on “the state of mindfulness” that we are hearing so much about, as today’s culture is consumed with seeking a greater awareness of Self, energy, and a means to improve health and longevity. Mindfulness can be considered to be a state of conditioning or training in order to stay focused in the moment on the activity or event being engaged in rather than allowing the mind to wander and think about other distracting influences.”
Besides encouraging resilience and a happier state of mind for their physicians, it is also important for facilities or the institution (or department, division, etc.) to bear responsibility for creating a culture of wellness and for increasing the efficiency of physicians’ practices. It must develop and continue to invest in programs serving to improve the health and welfare of the doctors who support them. Examples include providing classes in mindfulness and physical fitness, doctors’ lounges where food and coffee may be served and where collegiality may be fostered, and physician retreats that include family members. The “mother ship” is also responsible for finding ways to improve the efficiency of practice, including providing ample IT training and support for EMR systems, sufficient access to computers and printers, and the right number of clinic rooms and personnel. It is demoralizing for physicians to be forced to interrupt their contact with a patient to race around the clinic, retrieving a printed treatment plan for the patient simply because there are no printers in the treatment rooms. Some solutions are apparent and straightforward. Failing to take remedial action sends a strong negative message to doctors. While the institution or department must provide resources that define a culture of wellness and the infrastructure to maximize practice efficiency, we are responsible for the third component of wellness: our own resilience.
Some concrete solutions to mitigate anxiety are one of the most important elements in correcting many of the problems our physicians deal with. The first course of events involves a clear view of who we are and what we are happy and grateful for. This is the first solution to mitigating any unhappiness or anxiety.
Dr. Hammer wrote, “I knew from my meditation practice that happiness was found only in the present. But I was unable to be present. I was unable to be happy. I was not myself. I am a doer, a pragmatist, a nurturer — a healer of the sickest of the sick children and their families. But I became a somber, directionless sufferer stuck in the past and worried about the future. How could I become myself again? How could I become present? I intended to get back to my true nature. I had an epiphany. I began to consider myself fortunate to have had 29 years with my beautiful boy, with this engaged, powerful, stubborn, big-footprint guy. Never a dull moment! I felt so much love for my son. My heart warmed with gratitude. I felt grateful for the wonderful daughter who was very much still full of life and personality, so brilliant, hilarious, and loving. Thankful for my health and prosperity, for the opportunity to work at a place as wonderful as Packard Children’s Hospital. Grateful for my family and so many wonderful colleagues and friends. Instead of trying to push my feelings aside, I began to sit with the pain. It started to become clear to me that to suffer less, I needed to let go of any resistance to the painful reality in which I was mired. I realized that suffering is pain multiplied by resistance, and that was another epiphany.”
“I continued to sit with the pain. Not only the pain of losing my son, but the pain and suffering of generations of enslaved brothers and sisters, of the ravaging of the earth’s ecology, of the families separated at our southern border. Pain and suffering are as much a part of life as joy and happiness.
It became clear that in order to be present and happy, I needed to accept the pain—that acceptance meant letting go of the resistance that amplifies suffering. Acceptance meant to let the pain come closer, to embrace it, to let it in. To befriend reality requires acceptance. We can use the power of our intention to face our pain and even to embrace it. We can rewire our brains to be more present and, therefore, happier. Intention matters. I understood with crystal clarity that the world is neither good nor bad—it simply IS exactly as it IS. I did not create it, nor did I cause the pain in the world, and I could not cure it. I saw that I needed to let go of any judgments of the world and its inhabitants. Nonjudgment was key.
Max led me to the truth. The house of happiness rests firmly on four pillars, four choices, four mindsets. I saw the simplicity of Gratitude, Acceptance, Intention, and Nonjudgment—GAIN. It was a natural acronym. Only four letters.
“GAIN” refers to Gratitude, Acceptance, Intention, Non Judgment. What a concept—What a concept—GAIN Without Pain.
Dr. Hammer began incorporating these four pillars of gratitude, acceptance, intention and non judgment into his life. As a result, he built a solid foundation of well-being. He began teaching GAIN as a 3-minute meditation to his trainees, and they were astonished by the rapid results. Everyone serious about improving their life can get up 3 minutes earlier, sit comfortably, and do a 3-minute GAIN meditation before heading off to work.
A Mindfulness practice mitigates anxiety. A Mindfulness practice finds ways to understand happiness and Dr. Hammer writes, “What is happiness? Although every person on the planet wants happiness, its definition is elusive. Happiness has been described as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being.” Peace, contentment, joy, wellbeing—these are often used as synonyms of happiness. It may have a variety of definitions, but we know it when we see (or feel) it. A growing body of research tells us that happiness improves physical health, including our cardiovascular and immune systems. This is a bidirectional process—fitness, in all of its manifestations, makes us happier; and happiness makes us more able to achieve and maintain functional fitness.
Two types of happiness may be described: well-being that arises from a sense of devotion or service to others (eudaimonic happiness); this is associated with long-lasting well-being and other benefits, including better immune health. The other version is hedonic happiness, which comes from making love, having a great meal, receiving a salary bonus, or acquisition of material goods. Hedonic happiness is not enduring.
Happiness leads to living a longer, healthier life. It is associated with longer telomeres, the tiny caps. By connecting with other people, by devoting ourselves to serving others, by meditating, by being present, we can “grow” our telomeres and longevity. Functional imaging of the brain when people focus on happy thoughts or meditation shows activation of neurons in the prefrontal cortex, where happiness “lives.” By learning to be more optimistic, we can lower the likelihood that we will develop cardiovascular disease and stroke. We can reap these benefits just by smiling and pretending to be happy! In other words, we can change the way we think, rewire our own brains, and become healthier and happier.
Since happiness is what we seek and we know it will make us better, what are the essential underpinnings of happiness? “The discovery that peace, happiness, and love are ever present within our own Being, and completely available at every moment of experience, under all conditions, is the most important discovery that anyone can make,” wrote Rupert Spira, a teacher of nonduality (Advaita). He teaches that being present means being happy. So, how can we learn to be more present? Human beings have been wired to think incessantly about the past and future, so being more present will require a substantial amount of unlearning or rewiring of the brain.
Sheryl often says to her students that there is no past present future. Life is happening in a continuous flow of experience and our energy can be in perhaps the past and well as the future and even a part of our spirit can be looking down and learning from this present moment. Learning that nothing is “good or bad” is just experience for the soul which is necessary to raise the soul vibration to generate greater love and compassion into the world in the present moment, and even beyond this life or in eternal life is essential for personal growth and happiness. As a medium, Sheryl is able to retrieve information from many stages of a person’s life and perhaps even while our soul experiences this physical life, a part of our soul energy resides in the afterlife and watches our progress achieved from our physical past, present, and future life experiences. As a medium Sheryl knows that “Consciousness’ survives physical death and we are very much more than our physical being.
Dr. Hammer wrote, “Mindfulness training is a well-established and straightforward way to increase our ability to be present. When you notice that you are becoming distracted, that your mind is time-traveling in an unproductive manner, bring your attention back to right here, right now. Easy-to-learn techniques include focusing on the breath, slowing it down, fully experiencing the passage of air as you inhale and exhale. When you walk, pay attention to the feeling as your feet connect with the ground. When you eat, savor your food as a sensuous pleasure. Close your eyes and appreciate the flavors, textures, warmth, sweetness, or saltiness. Understand the miracle of food being grown, nurtured, harvested, transported, prepared, and delivered to your table. When you shower, close your eyes, and delight in the sensation of the warm water cascading down your skin, the miracle of indoor plumbing. Life is pretty amazing when we slow down, become present, and fully sense these wonders.”
Older individuals seem to chuckle so much because perhaps life experience has helped them appreciate the present, not worry so much about the past and know the future will be okay. Maybe they have a sense of metaphysical values and don’t fear dying. Or perhaps they have conditioned themselves to be happy conquering the negativity quotient we all have within us.
Dr. Hammer writes, “The good news is that we can rewire our brains and teach ourselves to think more rationally—and more positively. More than 40 years ago, a study was conducted in a group of junior college students enrolled in a psychology class to determine whether personal happiness could be increased if the participants modified their behaviors and attitudes to approximate more closely the characteristics of happier people. The students that completed a self-study program, designed to increase personal happiness and life satisfaction, increased their happiness to levels significantly higher than those in the control group, in which students performed incremental regular class assignments. What was it about the program that helped the students become happier? The students developed sensitivity to their own happiness—this increased awareness was beneficial in and of itself. The participants came to value happiness more and realize its importance in their lives.”
As a pediatric intensive care physician Dr. Hammer might think one of the biggest issues parents in the U S are experiencing now could be social media, political inferences to racism, mainstream media being aggressive with opinions and cancelling culture being judgmental, being cruel to many types of people as well as bullying. Parents should want to set an example to their children in how to be kind, nonjudgmental, accepting, and to serve their families and society in more loving ways, Hatred has become an emotion and force destroying the health, happiness, and resilience of many of our young people.
Sheryl says she feels bullying has been a serious problem always, but in these times we are dealing with radical political indoctrination in our schools and social media systems Cancel Culture or the destruction of our history and civilized way of life now beset by violence, anger and induced racism by political factions trying to destroy constitutional freedoms and these problems should be the concern of every parent. We cannot improve anything through anger, negativity and pure hatred for that as we should know leads to dysfunction, disease and lower levels of well-being. History cannot be destroyed. We cannot wipe away what has happened. We can only be in the present as this show has shown, and that is what we wish to teach children.
Dr. Hammer might like readers to take away with them after reading Gain Without Pain, that remembering self-compassion is an essential ingredient to happiness, in all aspects of our lives. We have more than ample opportunity to beat ourselves up, to wallow in our failures. But the bottom line is listed here:
- Notice what you are feeling and thinking, i.e. become more self-aware.
- Rewire your brain to be more present, i.e., mindful Happiness
- Reconnect your brain to dwell on happier thoughts (try Three Good Things at bedtime!).
- Focus on gaining time more than money.
- Buy experiences more than “things.”
- Spend time with friends and family
We thank Dr. Greg Hammer, author of Gain Without Pain: The Happiness Handbook for HealthCare Professionals, for sharing a wonderful look at his GAIN Method for a way to reconnect to the real values of our lives, moving past any assumed pain or failures to allow, accept and surrender to challenges so we may move in the present moment to create new perceptions and hopes improving life professionally and collectively.
In summarizing today’s episode of Healing From Within Dr. Greg Hammer has provided many ways to incorporate a spiritual methodology to everyday life in order to help not only healthcare professionals but all people to understand that life with it’s many challenges must still be appreciated for the gift that it is and beyond suffering and loss, acceptance and finding grace and gratitude soothe the heart, mind and soul.
Greg when asked what made him happy today after expressing that his relationship with his father made him a people pleaser and always feeling a little inadequate as he could never really be perfect, shares what makes him feel happy today and wrote, “I gradually realized that the key to success in my personal and professional life was to be present. I was always searching for something—for the “truth.” I began to be aware that there is literally nothing for which to search. It is right here, right now. This was an epiphany. We do not have to please anyone or find anything. Peace and happiness are already “built-in.” Living with this awareness has made me a much more calm, genuine, loving person. That seems to please others, though this is no longer a goal.”
Greg and Sheryl would have you remember that each life has the right experiences needed to empower that soul to rise above their present vibration to vibrate at levels of greater love and compassion. Knowing that nothing is either good or bad but necessary experience brings about positive change and action. We cannot control what happens to us but we can control our reactions and always try to find reasons to return us to our natural state of being, which is our birthright, “To Be Happy.”
Sheryl Glick host of Healing From Within and author of her newest book in a trilogy, A New Life Awaits invites you to her website www.sherylglick.com to read about and listen to leaders visionaries changemakers share the magic and secrets of our soul and phyiscal lives in order to begin to merge the two for greater efficacy and happiness. Shows may also be heard on www.dreamvisions7radio.com and www.webtalkradio.com.