A brief but comprehensive overview of the connection between health of the mind and body.

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Healing the Pain of Heartache

A PHYSICIAN EXPLORES BROKEN HEART SYNDROME

A physician blends traditional medicine with a more holistic approach in order to address both the physical and psychological aspects of emotional pain.

With a mix of personal experience, anecdotes from the examination room and empirical research, this book focuses on the interdependent relationship between physical and mental health, calling on both doctors and patients to understand how to comprehensively treat serious health problems. In exploring the relationship between heartache as an emotional concept and actual problems with cardiac function, Hinds (A Life Larger Than Pain, 2003) draws on both his work as a physician specializing in pain management and the personal experience of dealing with his daughter’s death. He demonstrates how neurotransmitters associated with grief limit the heart’s ability to function properly, in some cases leading to severe reactions. The book doesn’t disparage traditional Western medicine, and the use of surgical procedures and medications are encouraged to treat the symptoms of heartache, but both doctors and patients are asked to approach the problem from a broader perspective. Doctors, the author writes, should ask patients if they are suffering from heartache and incorporate that information into their treatment plans. Patients should not expect to be completely cured of the condition, but they should acknowledge the source of the pain and work to heal and respond appropriately. The author, a Quaker, also addresses the role spirituality can play in the healing process, though his advice for addressing the emotional components of pain goes beyond a strictly religious perspective. The book touches on some methods for controlling physical responses and healing emotional pain, including meditation, prayer, biofeedback and yoga, but since it does not go into particular detail, readers should consult other sources for more specific advice. Thankfully, with frequent citations of both scholarly research and popular books throughout this relatively short text, the author provides readers with evidence supporting his approach to heartache and plenty of resources for further reading.

A brief but comprehensive overview of the connection between health of the mind and body.

Pub Date: May 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-1475195668

Page Count: 126

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.

THE ART OF SOLITUDE

A teacher and scholar of Buddhism offers a formally varied account of the available rewards of solitude.

“As Mother Ayahuasca takes me in her arms, I realize that last night I vomited up my attachment to Buddhism. In passing out, I died. In coming to, I was, so to speak, reborn. I no longer have to fight these battles, I repeat to myself. I am no longer a combatant in the dharma wars. It feels as if the course of my life has shifted onto another vector, like a train shunted off its familiar track onto a new trajectory.” Readers of Batchelor’s previous books (Secular Buddhism: Imagining the Dharma in an Uncertain World, 2017, etc.) will recognize in this passage the culmination of his decadeslong shift away from the religious commitments of Buddhism toward an ecumenical and homegrown philosophy of life. Writing in a variety of modes—memoir, history, collage, essay, biography, and meditation instruction—the author doesn’t argue for his approach to solitude as much as offer it for contemplation. Essentially, Batchelor implies that if you read what Buddha said here and what Montaigne said there, and if you consider something the author has noticed, and if you reflect on your own experience, you have the possibility to improve the quality of your life. For introspective readers, it’s easy to hear in this approach a direct response to Pascal’s claim that “all of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Batchelor wants to relieve us of this inability by offering his example of how to do just that. “Solitude is an art. Mental training is needed to refine and stabilize it,” he writes. “When you practice solitude, you dedicate yourself to the care of the soul.” Whatever a soul is, the author goes a long way toward soothing it.

A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-25093-0

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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