Thirty-seven-year old Gemma, a mother of four under five-year olds, was struggling to balance the needs of her children with her own self-nourishment. Her chief complaint was of regular and debilitating migraine headaches, which had started when her youngest child was around six months of age.
Gemma’s migraines typically began with an aura, giving her an imminent sense of trouble ahead. When the migraines struck, each episode would leave her bed-ridden for the next 24 hours. Gemma was convinced her diet was the culprit, but she was unable to identify any consistent triggers having already removed avocado and chocolate from her diet, and she refused to give up coffee!
Instead of revisiting the dietary triggers that Gemma had already considered with her doctor, we focused on the events in her busy day that would typically precede a migraine. As a mother of four, it wasn’t too surprising that the kids would always feature, but I listened carefully to her words.
What Gemma accomplished in each day was formidable. But what really got my attention was her response to my question about what would go through her head as she tried to cope with the needs of her four young children, along with all her other responsibilities. “They’re doing my head in,” she said.
Intrigued by the words Gemma used to describe her distress and the apparent echo these words had with her physical symptoms of migraine, I asked Gemma what she made of it. It turned out to be a eureka moment for Gemma whose eyes lit up when she discovered she now had the power to stop her migraines through monitoring her own self-talk. On follow-up six years later, Gemma had not experienced a single incidence of migraine headache over the intervening period.
And she’s back to eating avocado and chocolate!
This case study provocatively illustrates the power of our self-talk. It may be worth taking a moment to reflect on the power of your own words. Using MindBody awareness, you too can honor your unique story in a way that brings meaning and power to your words.