Dr. Lisa Nezneski and I talk about her book "7 Mindful Questions." She boils her message down to(A-B-C, pause and breath C-B-A). Awareness, Because, Care, pause and breath, Choose, Better, Alternative
Topics Discussed...w / Time Stamps
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David Sandstrom 0:00
Here's a sample of what you'll hear on this episode of natural health matters. Lisa, you've got a really useful mnemonic on remembering how this process works. And it's I love it. It's so simple. ABC, pause and breathe CBA.
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 0:16
So the a is awareness. So awareness of what what's going on the B is because why are you doing this? Is there a reason behind it that because C's care? Do you care about it? So those were those first three questions, ABC, pause and breathe, allowing that space to come in. And then CBA. Choose choose what's essential to you what matters and then B is better. You know, where have you made mistakes in your life? Where can you improve? And so B is better. And then A is alternatives, so choose a better alternative.
David Sandstrom 0:57
Welcome to the Natural Health Matters podcast where it's all about maximizing your health potential in spirit, mind and body so that you can pursue the abundant life more effectively. I'm your host, David Sandstrom, naturopathic doctor and biblical health coach. And this is episode number 58.
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 1:20
If you've been listening to the podcast on a regular basis, you know that we're going through a series on the spiritual component to health. Well, we're going to take a break from that this week. Last week was a pretty heavy episode on spiritual warfare. And this week, I've got a guest on her name is Dr. Lisa, and is Nezneski. She's a licensed pharmacist, and hospital administrator and she's an author and she's written a book called seven mindful questions. Everyone's heard of working out to improve our health. Well, sometimes we need to do some working in we're going to be talking about our mental emotional gaming this episode, because what goes on in our minds affects us physically, because our brains respond to our thought lives. And it's our brains that run our bodies. So it's important to consider what's going on in our minds. In this conversation I had with Dr. Lisa, we talked about her book, and we talk about how our mental emotional component will affect us physically.
David Sandstrom 2:15
Today, we have in the show, Dr. Lisa is neski. Dr. Lisa has nearly 40 years of experience in the healthcare field as a clinical pharmacist, hospital administrator in more recently as a healthcare consultant. She's the author of the book seven mindful questions, which is what we're going to be talking about today. She's the owner of healthy, mindful self in integrative medicine company that blends medication with natural supplements. She believes that and I have to be careful when I say this, she believes that meditation and medication, both have a role in everyday Health. Dr. Lisa, welcome to natural health matters.
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 2:52
Thank you so much, David, it's my pleasure to be invited to be on your show.
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 2:57
Well, thank you for being here. I appreciate you giving us the time. So you have a very interesting story. And one of the things I've found over the years is most of the time, not all the time, but most of the time. It takes a health crisis for someone to seriously make some changes into the way they approach health. And your story is no different. So I know that you had a crisis that led you into the mindfulness approach that you use today. Can you tell us about that?
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 3:22
Sure. Absolutely. I was working as a hospital administrator and I had 275 employees. I had five departments that reported up through me and I had this sensation of a crushing pain in my chest. And I sort of fluffed it off for a couple of hours. And then around two in the morning. I'm like yeah, this is serious. So I went to the emergency room, and they hooked me up to all the monitors they're watching. And as my heartbeat as the chest pain because begins to intensify, I'm watching my heart rate drop. So it goes from I'm normally in the 50s, which is a low heart rate, low normal heart rate anyway, it went down 40,38,36,30 to 30,28
David Sandstrom 4:15
Oh my goodness.
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 4:16
And I take a deep breath once it hit 28 and I say, I don't want to miss my life. I'm gonna miss my life. And so after that, you know, it really was all stress. The heart is fine, it's healthy. It was that I needed to make some serious changes I had been ignoring my body for a very long time. You know, when you you you're working in a profession, where your intellect gets you where you need to go. You know, your mind is really what you're focusing on and your body can wait your spirit can wait but no. Now eventually your body screams out and says this is enough. So I began to question everything in my life. And that's that's really how I started to pay attention to these these questions I was asking myself, I think, I think in questions, a lot of people don't but I think in question, so I'm asking myself continuously. So you know, when you're going through the throes of, you know, some either major health crisis or divorce or some kind of event in your life, where you are just living moment to moment, I started to find myself saying, What am I doing right now? And why am I Why am I even doing this? And do I care about this, and those are the first three questions of the seven mindful questions, and I find myself to this day still doing the same process. And then I would take a pause and breathe. And by taking that pause, you allow space, and space for better ideas to come in. And it's really that, be still a no. And so when you're still in, and you're just allowing yourself to just sit there and breathe, then that's when you start to see really what you should be focusing on. You know, what, what is really important in your life.
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 6:23
That's really excellent. And I think the there's a Bible verse that you're referring to, or maybe it's just a coincidence, but this, I think it's in the book of Psalms as Be still and know that I am God. Exactly. And one of the things that attracted me to your message was that your method of meditation involves mindfulness and involves purpose and a meaning behind it. And a lot of practitioners that that do meditation is based on transcendental meditation, which basically says, to empty your mind and think about nothing. And if what I get out of the Bible is we're always instructed to meditate on the Word of God, if we're instructed to if we're, you know, encouraged to meditate. So, be still and know that I am God. So we, human beings are a spirit, we have a mind, and we live in a body, we can't separate the three parts to a human being. And your method seems to blend all that and brings purpose and meaning into your meditation. So if it's alright with you, let's get into some of the some of the steps and how that works.
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 7:22
Sure, absolutely. So you know it, mindfulness is being aware of what's happening in the present moment without judgment. It's really that simple. And, you know, many practitioners of mindfulness work very hard to meditate, go into silence of for a long period of time, and for me, working full time, having a, you know, a practice as well. Professional Practice is what I'm referring to, I have to squeeze it in when I could, and I still had to perform at a high level. And so using this technique of being aware of what's happening in the present moment, by asking myself questions, was really the door that helped me open into more productivity, and better relationships. And think of all the benefits that you get from mindfulness is that you know, less stress, but it's less stress off the cushion, you know. So this is truly a method that you can use throughout your day, to be a productive member of society to focus on what's really important to you. I have what I call six domains of my personal core foundation. So it's my relationships, my health, spiritual health, financial, health, and well being work life and home life. So not in that order, you know?
David Sandstrom 8:52
Yes, of course, those are great priorities. And of course, for different people, the order may be different in have, even among individuals, the order could change depending on what's going on in your life. So that's an individual thing. The larger point is that we all need to take time once in a while and reflect on our priorities and arrange our lives accordingly.
David Sandstrom 9:13
Lisa, you've got a really useful mnemonic on remembering how this process works. And it's I love it. It's so simple, ABC, pause and breathe CBA. So there's seven steps to the process. Can you explain for the natural nation what those seven steps are?
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 9:31
So the a is awareness. So awareness of what what's going on the B is because why are you doing this? Is there a reason behind it that because C is care? Do you care about it? So those were those first three questions, ABC, pause and breathe, allowing that space to come in. And then CBA choose choose what's essential to you what matters in your life. This is Emotional questions. This is where you really dig down deep and like, yeah, I can't I can't handle this anymore. That's the choose. And then B is better. You know, where have you make mistakes in your life? Where can you improve? And so B is better. And then A is alternatives. So choose a better alternative. So aware, I'm aware, because I care, pause and breathe, choose a better alternative. Those are the seven.
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 10:29
Excellent. So could you for the natural nation, the listeners of this show? Can you kind of walk us through a session that you would do? I mean, I'm assuming that if you're feeling stressed, and you're starting to feel, maybe it's the neck tension, or whatever it is coming up to remind you, hey, I need to do a little pause here. Can you walk us through what that looks like in your life?
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 10:50
Sure. Gosh, I use this so often in in so many different ways. I think one of the easiest ways that I can talk about this is when you know, I've got a certain amount of work that I need to get done in a day, you know, I work from home as a consultant. And as I look at my daily schedule, I can find myself getting to the point where it's like, well, all of these need done, what I'll do is I'll start Well, what is it that I'm doing right now? Well, I'm planning my day, I'm trying to figure out what what I need to do and why Why are you doing this? Because I am responsible for these particular activities. I'm going to choose, why do I care about this, my professional reputation is at stake. So I want to make sure I do the best that I possibly can for both myself and my customers. So I'm going to take this little pause and breathe. And I'm leaving some space to really allow something better to come into my awareness. Oh, right, I've got a four o'clock meeting I've got to prepare for. So as I begin to choose what's essential, these other things can get done later. But this four o'clock meeting that I have is is really the most important thing in the day. So I'm going to choose that better. Well, the last time I spoke with these folks, I'm I made an assumption. So I've got to make sure that I don't make that same assumption and adjust exactly how I'm going to present the material to them, and ask them for their input. And finally, the alternative, there is nothing more important than then making sure this customer is happy at this time. So I'm going to map out exactly what choices they have in the situation so that when I present the information, they have some agency. So that's sort of a quick scenario as to how I would use that off the cushion in my work life. In my personal life, I would do something similar, I'd spend a lot more time on the Choose what is essential because I am really working hard to pay attention to how I feel about certain things, know if they're in alignment with my core foundation,
David Sandstrom 13:15
Right? And your core foundation. It starts with relationships and health. And what are the other core values that you hold dear
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 13:24
Sure, relationships and health, my work life, my home life, my physical health, as I mentioned, and my spiritual health. And you know, I build time, every single day to touch in with God with when I wake up in the morning, thanks for opening my eyes, gratitude when I go to sleep, and then several checkpoints throughout the day. And you know, when I'm working with customers after I finished those calls, we all work remotely lately. And so once I shut down the session, then I will express gratitude for how that particular session went. So that's.
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 14:05
That's really good. You know, this is this is a faith based show. And I believe that the answers to these questions should be centered around our connectedness with God, it starts with our love relationship with God. And of course, our love relationship with one another, the other people in our lives. And then of course, lastly, the love relationship we have with ourselves and self care is a big part of this and I'm looking at your questions here. I haven't written out, you know, what can I do better? Or what's the alternative? I'm thinking about self care, in the past week or past month, have I done anything to nurture my heart if I'd done anything to take care of my physical well being have I taken some time just to be alone or just to enjoy nature or take in a sunset or something along those lines where people don't normally get caught up in the business of life. They don't normally make time for those things, but they are super important when it comes to Building health in a natural and holistic fashion, and coming into alignment with the way God made us. I think it's super important. And you know, I think it's very easy for us to get caught up in the business of life and just forget to do these things, your your method here, ABC, pause and breathe CBA is a quick, easy way to draw you back into what's important. And when you do that, I'm thinking you're you you experience it, and other people that do this more productivity and more effectiveness in the things you choose to do. Is that, right?
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 15:36
That's exactly right. You know, you can't give from an empty pitcher. So when your pitcher is empty, so using the seven mindful questions, to pay attention to what's happening in that present moment, you can start to appreciate what's around you in a much different way. You know, when when I was raising my kids, my eldest son would say, Mama, Mama, Mom, five times mom beef, and I wouldn't hear him until the last time I was so in my head, and I feel terrible about that to this day. But it's kind of a joke between us to now. But when you are there, for the people that you are interacting with, it becomes a much different interaction. You know, it's not the, the reading the paper, or whatever's going on saying in the background, you are right there interacting, and it really is much more meaningful, and you aren't going to miss your life. When you're in that present moment.
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 16:35
It changes the whole dynamic, just reminded of a story when you said that is my oldest daughter. She's a senior in college now. But when she was about five, she was trying to share a story with me. And I was on the computer. And I was looking at the screen looking at her and kind of back and forth. And she said, she grabbed my pant leg and she said dead eyes on me. eyes on me, dad. I love that. And I was like, wow, the wisdom that comes out of the mouth of babes. And she reminded me and I remember I remember this day vividly, that when you're present with somebody, be present, give them your full attention. That's a skill that needs to be developed. I mean, we're all a little bit add, right? We all have these other things that we want to work on. And you know, we're going to give them enough of our time. No, you should give them all of that moment. And when you do, it changes the whole dynamic of the relationships. And by the way, I know I'm repeating this, but relationships are a big part of holistic health.
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 17:33
Exactly, exactly. So yeah, I think you know, using the seven mindful questions to build your ability to be in that present moment, I use a term in the book called augenblick and augenblick is a fleeting moment. That's significant. And there isn't really an English word, the Translate, it's a German word. And it really represents that point in time that inflection point where nothing's ever the same after it can be a really positive moment, like watching the sunset and the changing colors in the sky. And you're watching it, and you're right there and you're in it. Or it could be that moment when you're lying on the gurney in the emergency room like, yeah, this is this is something serious has to change. Because this cannot go on, I could miss my entire life. I could check out today and not have not feel like I lead the life that I was intended to.
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 18:36
Yeah, well, you know, we only get to live in the moment, right? We don't live in the past and we don't live in the future. We God only gives us a moment at a time. And cherishing those moments is really important, again, a skill that needs to be developed and practiced if you're going to do it well.
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 18:54
Exactly. Exactly. So. So mindfulness to me, is that learning to be in that present moment, just letting go of the judgment around it could be serious, or it could be quite light hearted, but just allowing it to be.
David Sandstrom 19:10
Yeah, and enjoying the moments, right? Yeah, I know, there's a lot of overlap. But I think it's worth spending some time talking about the difference between mindfulness and meditation. Can you explain for the natural nation what the differences
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 19:30
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David Sandstrom 21:13
I think it's worth spending some time talking about the difference between mindfulness and meditation. Can you explain for the natural nation, what the differences is?
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 21:24
Well, there they build on one another. Mindfulness, as I mentioned previously, is being in the present moment, without judgment, where meditation, there are different types of meditation, you mentioned transcendental, which there are meditations that are based on a mantra, there are healing type of meditations where you meditate on the power of God, there are meditations that take you way out into space, like you dissociate from your body. Mindfulness, meditation keeps you in your body. So you pay attention to your breath. Or you pay attention to sensations in your body. Or you can pay attention to ambient sounds in the environment. As a pilot, I'm sure that you've been in a busy airport waiting for for a flight, one of my favorite ways to meditate in an airport is with the ambient sounds, just paying attention to what's happening, because there's a lot of buisiness and a lot of sounds, but it really plenty of activity at an airport. Yes, exactly. Exactly. So So that's, that's really the difference with mindfulness. meditation can be of many different styles and types. But mindfulness I find brings you back into your body so that you can really appreciate what's what's going on around you.
David Sandstrom 22:47
So you are listening to your breath, and maybe even your heartbeat, and you're in tune to your body. But you don't stop there. You go through and you use this process to guide your thinking and your your time that you're spending there in a purposeful way.
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 23:04
Yes. And really, the purpose of mindfulness meditation is just to experience whatever happens in that moment. It's, you know, if you're going in expecting that you're going to be blissful or less stress, you're probably not going to experience either. So if you go with no expectations, I actually have a pneumonic for that to abox. Except what is happening in the moment be is beginner's mind. In other words, every time you go to meditate, if it's it, you expect a new experience, then you're going to be fine. beginner's mind is that each time you do it, it'll be like the first time. That's what that means. observe what's happening is the o. x is no expectations Abo x. So each time you come to a mindfulness session, if you just come fresh, and say, I'm going to have an experience, whatever happens happens. And there are plenty of times that I'll sit down and my mind is just racing, and it's like, this is not productive. And I'll just get up and go do whatever it is that I needed to get out of my head and done, and then come back when I'm in a little bit more of a calm state, which is okay, too.
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 24:16
Yeah, you know, there's a phrase that you've used a couple times that I want to revisit, and that is you want to experience your emotions without judgment. And I think that's a really huge thing, because our emotions are the language of the heart. And the Bible says that, above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. our emotions are not our hearts, they're the language of the hearts, so we should be paying attention to them. And I completely agree that we should experience that emotion even if it's not a pleasant one, so that we can deepen our experience and learn what we can from that emotion, process it and that might take a night's sleep, but process the emotions and then let them go. We don't want to get emotionally constipated, right? We don't want to hold on to these things forever and ever, it can be harmful to our health. So can you speak to this processing of emotions a little bit?
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 25:08
Sure, I want to underscore something that you said about allowing the emotion to be, you know, if we don't recognize our emotion, they actually get trapped in our body somewhere. At some point,
David Sandstrom 25:23
I like to say feelings buried alive, never die.
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 25:26
That's a good way to put it. You know, it's just like me lying on on that Gurney in the emergency room, they they came out like this is not right, your life is way out of balance. Lisa, you need to really pay attention. You know, you don't have to get to that point to start to pay attention to your emotions. But you know, the language of the heart is a good way to put this because as an emotion arises in a meditation, think of it as a guide. It's trying to tell you something, if you step back, and don't attach to it, don't get involved in it just allow it to be, then you can really get the wisdom from what it is. And that takes practice, you know, as an emotion you can we kind of all do get caught up in whatever that feeling might be. But if you take that breath, and pause and just look at it, like if this were happening to someone else with this feeling, how would I respond? Yeah, so you can sort of de personalize it that way. Yeah. And realize maybe what the wisdom is, that's one of the ways that I handle it.
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 26:31
I like that, I believe that God has given us as human beings, the unique ability to step outside of ourselves, and do some self examination. An animal can't do that. But we as human beings can step outside ourselves and say, wait a minute, alright, we have this event. But now I have a chance to pause and analyze. And before I react, I'm gonna make it more my reaction more purposeful. So I think that's a uniquely human quality that God gives us that we kind of take for granted.
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 27:04
You're absolutely right. You're absolutely right. Yeah. There's a quote that's attributed to Viktor Frankl who was the psychologist that made it through the Holocaust. Nazi Holocaust. Yeah, he said, between stimulus and response, there is a space. And in that space, better things can arise. So I'm not sure that he actually said that because I've traced it way back to someone else. But he is Stephen Covey attributes that quote to Viktor Frankl
David Sandstrom 27:40
in Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, right? I hope as Viktor Frankl because I quoted him as well as Stephen Covey, in my book, the Christians guide to holistic health.
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 27:49
I think we all quote quoted as Viktor Frankl but I believe it's actually he said something else. But nevertheless, there's wisdom in that no matter whom said that. It is something to really pay attention to that space. But I've mentioned that space a couple of times. And I think really the anchor of the seven mindful questions is the pause and breathe, where you allow the opening, to accept what's happening, and to reframe, and perhaps choose something better.
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 28:18
Yeah. Yeah. Excellent. That's really good stuff. We we're not victims, right? We're not just along for the ride in life where we're supposed to be in charge. That's right. Oh, well, actually, I take that back. God's in charge. But if we're following Him, we have the ability to affect the direction of our lives, which I think it's a good place to be. I wanted to mention this before we wrap up. And that is, in my book, I talk about what I call biblical CBT. CBT is cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a really good way for counselors use in their practices to help people identify and correct unhealthy thinking patterns. And I call it the ABCDE method. The reason why I want to share this is it's very similar to your method. And A stands for activating event, something that presses our buttons, something that sends us off, then B stands for the beliefs or self talk attached to that event. C stands for the consequences of believing and thinking that way. And then D stands for disputing the self talk, do I really need to think and feel that way? And then E stands for enjoying the energy shift to changing that self talk in your responses. So it's a similar, not identical, but it's a similar approach to the mindfulness you're talking about.
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 29:38
That's exactly right. You know, there, there are many paths to the truth, but the truth is always the same. Yes. I think that your method is very synergistic with mind that it's the the point I think we are both trying to make is that you, as a person, have to make the choice to shift and be different. Make the change, and it's uncomfortable to get out of your old habits. And as you're going through that process, you start to see where you contributed to all of your problems. And it can be very self critical. But the point with mindfulness is to not have that judgment, you know, to like recognize it, but do something about it. You know that, that, okay, yeah, I screwed up here. But I'm going to move on, I'm going to not do that. I'm not going to make that mistake again. And it is really hard, you can find yourself in the middle of making that mistake with a full awareness that it's happening again. But it's not as bad as it was the first time. So
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 30:41
Thanks for sharing that. I think that's a really important point. And I'd like to add just a little bit to that. We don't live in the past, we live in the present, right? That's right. But we want to reflect on the past, in order that we might improve, and do things better than next time, we're presented with similar circumstances. And when we do that, I think it's important to not reach the point of condemnation, exactly right, we can be critical of ourselves, we can say, you know, I could have done better next time, I'm going to do this or that ABC. And at the same time, keep our self worth intact. As long as we do that, that's a really good healthy process. If we've reached the point of condemnation, now we're shaming ourselves, and we spend too much time in shoulda, woulda coulda, that's not productive. That's not health promoting. So as we go through this process of mindful meditation, or self reflection, whatever you want to call it, it's important to remind ourselves that we are imperfect human beings, and we're going to mess up once in a while. But we can improve, we can do better. I want anybody listening to be able to go through this process. So I'm going to make sure I put the ABCDE method for identifying and correcting unhealthy thinking patterns available as a download on the show notes page. And Dr. Lisa, can you make your method available for the listeners as well?
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 32:01
Yes, I will have a series of meditations for your listeners as well. So they can practice a basic mindfulness meditation, there are actually seven recorded meditations in seven mindful questions. So for purchasers of the book, they can get all seven of those as a download. But I'm giving a sample of that to your listeners. And some really basic five minute meditations that I use, as I'm preparing for work. There's a five minute meeting meditation, there's one that I use when I'm driving to a customer meeting, or there's one that just and again, they're all five minutes, that is an eyes open meditation that you don't have to really stop what it is that you're doing. You can just even while you're driving or listening to something else that may not be, you know, productive for you.
David Sandstrom 32:59
That's great. So how can people get ahold of you? And how can they avail themselves to those downloads?
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 33:05
My website is www.LisaNezneski.com. That's L I S A N E Z N E S K I .com .
David Sandstrom 33:20
Just like it sounds, Nezneski.
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 33:22
Exactly like it sounds. My book is available on Amazon. And all of the meditation courses and other sources of information are also on my website. If someone's interested in a consultation to integrate their medications with natural supplements, that information is also available on my website.
David Sandstrom 33:43
Yeah, integrating medications with supplements is a really important topic and coming from a licensed pharmacist like yourself, I'm sure you have a lot to share there. Maybe we can invite you back on the show one day and talk about that, that would make a great episode.
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 33:57
It would we should do that.
David Sandstrom 33:59
Aright Dr. Lisa, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with the natural nation.
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 34:03
Thank you so much for inviting me. I loved our conversation every minute of it.
Dr. Lisa Nezneski 34:07
Me too. Okay, I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Dr. Lisa and his neski. And I do encourage you to go to her website and avail yourself to those downloads, and also go to my website DavidSandstrom.com on the show notes page. This is episode number 58. You can find my download for the ABCDE method as well. And as I said at the beginning of this episode, everyone's heard about working out, but sometimes we need to do some working in because that mental emotional game, that inner dialogue, that inner self talk that we all have is an important component to our health and well being. And it's worth spending some time on more go to DavidSandstrom.com. in the show notes for each episode, you'll find links to all the resources that were mentioned, as well as a full transcript with timestamps that you can download for free. In addition, I always include a content upgrade with each show. Which is a free download that is designed to help you go deeper with that subject. Once again, thank you for listening, and I'll talk with you next week. Be blessed.