Paperback Giveaway!

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In two weeks (July 26th) Childhood Disrupted will be out in paperback! To help spread the word about how the book can help individuals who are suffering find healing, our team is offering a free book giveaway! Three winners will receive a free signed copy and a second free copy for a friend!

Here’s how to enter:

1. Write a sentence about what you found most helpful about the book, or why it spoke to you, and post it as a review on Amazon.

2. Send a copy of your review in an email to our team at donnajacksonnakazawabooks@gmail.com with the subject line “Review.” That’s it.

You’ll be entered for our giveaway drawing! Be sure to enter before noon on July 20th for a chance to get two free signed copies, one to keep and one to give to a friend who might find it helpful on their own path to healing. Thanks, as always, for your support and help in spreading the word that it’s never too late to heal.

 

Early Trauma and Adult Chronic Illness — VoiceAmerica Talk Radio

Childhood DisruptedWhy do childhood traumas — like being frequently put down, losing a parent, living with a mom or dad who is depressed, or alcoholic, emotional neglect, and other early adversities — leave permanent physical “fingerprints” on our brains? In this VoiceAmerica Talk Radio interview, I share my thoughts with host Katherine Vox about the link between adverse childhood experiences and chronic adult illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune disease — and why this is especially true for women.

http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/86429/naacp-race-controversy-and-early-trauma-and-chronic-illness

How Adverse Childhood Experiences Affect Adult Illness

A screenshot of my Q. and A. -- to watch it, click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcZ_uLIB7V8
A screenshot of my Q. and A. — to watch click this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcZ_uLIB7V8

Hi All,

Here is a recent video interview, in which I share my thoughts on How Adverse Childhood Experiences Affect Adult Illness, why our new understanding of this science must change the way we do medicine, and why I wrote my book, Childhood Disrupted. Produced by Studio4.

Hope you’ll enjoy!

Donna

Childhood Disrupted – Pub Date Has Arrived!

I can’t believe it’s finally here: Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal hit stores yesterday and has been steadily climbing on Amazon (as of this afternoon, it was the #1 best-seller in Developmental Psychology and #787 overall!) and gaining traction on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and various news outlets, including Aeon Magazine and Huffington Post. Even more rewarding for me are the comments that have been pouring in from readers about how much they’re enjoying the book, and how important this topic is to them. How many times can I say that I have the best readers on the planet?!IMG_3527

Speaking of great readers, thank you to those of you who came to my reading (standing room only!) at the Ivy Bookstore in Baltimore last night; you made the event a huge success. I so enjoyed sharing the science in Childhood Disrupted with you all, and hearing your thoughts on the impact of childhood adversity on adult physical and mental health. If you couldn’t make it to the Ivy, stay tuned—I’ll be updating my “upcoming events” page soon with information about future readings and book signings in your area. I can’t wait to see you at my next event!

As promised, here are the results of yesterday’s give-away: congratulations to Debbie Manahan and Mari McCarthy, who will be receiving signed copies of Childhood Disrupted! I hope that the book will be helpful to both of you. Even though the give-away is over, it’s not too late to sign up for my newsletter to receive occasional updates about Childhood Disrupted in your inbox, as well as resources on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)—like this infographic (below) that our team created to explain the relationship between ACEs, women, and autoimmune disease. Feel free to share with your friends on social media (#ChildhoodDisrupted), so that we can start a discussion on ACEs and help those facing the aftermath of childhood adversity move toward healing and transformation.

ChildhoodDisrupted

Is depression caused by inflammation?

Increasingly doctors are looking at depression as an inflammatory reaction, rather than a standalone neurological disorder — and in some cases depression may even be exacerbated by an allergic reaction. This theory could lead to never-before-prescribed methods that can be used in conjunction with traditional antidepressants to combat inflammation. This new understanding of depression could even help us to find new “cures” for depression.

The relationship between inflammation and depression makes so much sense. Our body reacts to stressors by pumping stress hormones and inflammatory cytokines through the bloodstream. And it just so happens that people suffering from depression are loaded with high levels of inflammatory cytokines. This has led researchers to focus on fighting the inflammatory symptoms of depression, rather than the neurological ones. There may be some hope in the form of easily-accessible, over the counter methods, such as omega 3 and curcumin, that can help in conjunction with conventional depression treatment to improve symptoms (of course, never take anything without checking with your healthcare practitioner first!).

If depression is an inflammatory disease, then doing everything we can to counter the effects of stress, including longstanding stressors from any early life trauma or Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) we might have faced (don’t know what ACEs are yet? You can learn more here) can make a tremendous difference. The good news is that this means there may be more ways than we ever thought possible to achieve recovery, and better brain health. Trauma-based approaches to healing — which I’ve detailed in Childhood Disrupted —  can all help counter inflammation and thus ease symptoms.

One of the most beautiful and profound descriptions of depression I’ve ever read comes from writer Andrew Solomon’s book The Noonday Demon. Solomon (whose newest book, Far From the Tree, has just been released in paperback) shares his insight into depression in this powerful TED talk.

Come Join Me For Talks & Booksignings in July 2015 on Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal!

DSC_0090-1Hope you can come join me on Tuesday July 7th at 7:00 at Baltimore’s lovely Ivy Bookshop for a talk, chat, and booksigning!
Tuesday, July 7th, 2015
7:00 p.m.
Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal — a Discussion & Book Signing
with Donna Jackson Nakazawa
http://www.theivybookshop.com/

Or, come join me on Friday, July 17th at the Annapolis Bookstore for a talk, chat, and booksigning!
Friday, July 17, 2015
7:00 p.m.
Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal — a Discussion & Book Signing
with Donna Jackson Nakazawa

http://annapolisbookstore.com/

Hope to see you at one of these!

Continue reading Come Join Me For Talks & Booksignings in July 2015 on Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal!

My Next Book! Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal

What my desk looks like as I begin editorial revisions for my next book: Childhood Interrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology

Every once in a while, as a writer, I sort of “disappear” — taking a break from blogging and social media to fully immerse myself in finishing a new book. I’m happy to say, in 2015, you’ll be able to see what I’ve been so busy working on (and why I’ve been so quiet)!

Continue reading My Next Book! Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal

The Art of Doing Everything Twice

The Water Lillies at the National Aquatic Garden bloom once, each July.

My mom said something recently that really stuck with me. She’s 82. “It used to be that we did everything once, and now we have to do everything twice!” I kind of brushed it off as a subtle sign of aging, but then I noticed, over the next forty eight hours: the washing machine/dryer repair man left (“all done!”) but the washer still won’t progress to the rinse cycle and the dryer drum still makes a clanging sound as if a rock band is hiding in the laundry room. So we called – the repairman is returning for round two.

Continue reading The Art of Doing Everything Twice

What is the Green Solution for Toxic Thinking?

Is Someone Driving you Nuts? Fifteen insights on how to stop thinking about someone who’s driving you crazy.

Have you ever found that you just can’t stop thinking about someone and what they did or said, and how bewildered or hurt you were by their actions? When someone hurts us, our children, or someone we love, gossips behind our back, or simply acts crazy in ways that confound us, we can get stuck thinking about it for hours or days. We’re washing dishes, we’re driving, or we’re walking the dogs and we can’t stop thinking about how unkind, untrue and self-centered the things they said were. Their image, their words, keep resurfacing to mind. Five hours, five days, five weeks later, there they are – we see their face in front of us, even when we haven’t seen them in all that time.

(Just to be clear, I’m not addressing how we deal with trauma or abuse here — situations which require professional help and intervention — I’m talking about the day-to-day interactions we have with others that leave us mentally sputtering.)

How can we stop feeling embroiled in other people’s craziness? How can we stop thinking about a person or situation — or what we should have, could have, done differently — when the same thoughts keep looping back, rewinding, and playing through our mind again and again?

Or maybe, for you, it’s not about a person, it’s about what you got or didn’t get, what you need but don’t have, what just isn’t right in your life. (Usually, of course, there is a person involved whom you feel deserves blame for whatever is wrong.)

Toxic cyclical thinking. Most of us know that this kind of ruminating is both emotionally and physically harmful to us.

In fact, studies show that a ruminating mind, a wandering mind, is an unhappy and unhealthy mind. When our monkey mind is unhappily fraught with replaying altercations, resentments or losses, we marinate in a cascade of harmful inflammatory stress chemicals and hormones that are linked to almost every disease we can name. Increasingly, scientists can pinpoint how ruminating plays a role in disease including depression, cancer, heart disease, and autoimmune disease. The stress chemicals we wallow in are far worse for us than the thing that actually happened to us in the first place.

Moreover, toxic thinking just doesn’t feel good. It’s like getting caught on a spinning, centrifugal-force ride at the fair that was fun for a few minutes, and now it just makes you feel sick and you want to get off.

But you can’t.

We work so hard to remove whatever is toxic from our lives. We buy organic, we avoid unhealthy foods, we remove chemicals from our home. We eat green, we clean green. We buy organic cosmetics.

But we put very little concerted effort into trying to go green in our minds. When our thoughts are relentless and pervasive, how do we Green the Mind? What is the green solution for toxic thinking?

In researching and writing my last book, The Last Best Cure, I developed a number of insights on how to stop myself from spinning stories, ruminating, worrying, and replaying thoughts about someone or something.

These fifteen small but powerful sayings work for me – many are based on teachings from today’s leaders in mindfulness psychology and meditation. Choose the ones that resonate most with you.

1.  “Less said, More time” is my own personal motto. Saying less and letting more time pass when we’re dealing with a difficult, reactive person is almost always a smart move. It allows us to simmer down, and let it go, take the high road. Often, with time, the thing we’re annoyed about just falls away.

2. “Let’s just wait and see what happens next.” We often feel the need to respond and react to difficult people or situations right away, which is why we stew so much over what to say or do next. Buddhist psychologist Sylvia Boorstein suggests that instead we simply give ourselves permission to wait and see what happens next.

3. Move Away From the Blame Game. Picking apart past events and trying to assign blame (including blaming oneself) is rarely productive. Bad things and misunderstandings most often “happen” through a series of events, like a domino effect. No one person is usually entirely to blame for the end result. Sylvia Boorstein has a saying that helps to remind us of this truth: “First this happened, then that happened, then that happened. And that is how what happened happened.”

4. “Try not to fall into other people’s states of minds.” Another Sylvia Boorstein nugget that pretty much says it all.

5. “Deal with Your Biggest Problem First.” Buddhist meditation teacher Norman Fischer suggests that no matter what’s happened, the biggest problem we face is our own anger. Our anger creates a cloud of emotion that keeps us from responding in a cogent, productive way. In that sense, our anger really is our biggest problem. Deal with yourself – meditate, exercise, take a long walk, say less and give it more time, whatever it takes – before you deal with anyone else.

6. “When You’re Angry it Wrinkles the Mind.” This Sylvia Boorstein teaching follows along the same lines. “You can’t think clearly or be creative or thoughtful about how best to handle any situation when you’re mad. Anger wrinkles the mind. If you want to think clearly, you can’t be mad at anything.”

7. “Don’t Try to Figure Others Out.” This is another Norman Fischer teaching. Ask yourself, if others tried to figure out what you’re thinking, or what your motivations are, how right do you think they’d be? They probably wouldn’t have a clue as to what’s really going through your mind. So why try to figure out what others are thinking? Chances are extremely good that you would be wrong, which means that all that ruminating was a colossal waste of time.

8. Your Thoughts are Not Facts. Don’t treat them as if they are. In other words, Don’t believe everything you think. We experience our emotions — anxiety, tension, fear and stress — keenly in our bodies. Our emotions are physical. We often take this as a sign that our thoughts must be facts. How could we feel so bad if our feelings weren’t true? Tibetan Buddhist teacher Tsokyni Rinpoche teaches that when we’re emotionally hijacked by worry, regret, fear, anxiety, anger, to remember that the emotional and physical state we experience is “Real but not true.”

9. How Can You Grow From This? Insight Meditation teacher and psychologist Tara Brach suggests that when we are locked in anger, taking offense over something said or done, making judgments, or fuming over how we were treated, we add to our own reservoir of suffering. An event + our reaction = suffering. When we’re able to be present with our feelings, and inquire why we’re experiencing such a strong reaction and what our feelings tell us about ourselves, that’s a learning opportunity. An event + inquiry + presence = growth. Center your thoughts on growth. Green, not red.

10. “Don’t ever put anyone out of your heart, not even you.” A Tara Brach teaching that speaks for itself.

11. You’re Not a Time Magician. When we churn over past events we often search for how we might have done things differently to prevent a crazy-making altercation or regrettable outcome. But what happened yesterday is as much in the past as what happened thousands of years ago in the time of the Mayans. We can’t change what took place way back then, and we can’t change what happened a week ago.

12. Forgive for Your Sake. Buddhist psychologist Jack Kornfield teaches, “It is not necessary to be loyal to your suffering.” We are so loyal to our suffering, he says, “focusing on the trauma of ‘what happened to me.’ Yes, it happened. Yes, it was horrible. But is that what defines you?” Forgiveness is not something we do just for the other person. We forgive so that we can live free of the acute suffering that comes with holding onto the past. In other words, Kornfield teaches, “Forgive for you.”

13. Occupy a Different Mind Space. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction teacher and psychologist Trish Magyari teaches meditation accompanied by powerful imagery – and studies show that imagery helps us to stop inflamed, stressful thoughts. Here is one image that works for me everytime: “Imagine that you are at the bottom of deep blue ocean watching everything swim by. Just watch all your thoughts go by. Imagine that you are the deep, calm, blue sea.” I always relax when I hear this.

14. Send them Loving Kindness. Intuitive Medical Healer Wanda Lasseter-Lundy suggests that when you can’t stop thinking about someone who’s hurt you or who’s driving you crazy, “Imagine yourself sending them a beautiful ball of white light. Place them in that ball of light. Surround them with it, holding that white light around them, until your anger fades.” Try it, it really works.

15. Take a 90 Second Time Out. To free your mind, you first have to break your thought pattern. Neuropsychiatrist Dan Siegel, MD, says that “After 90 seconds an emotion will arise and fall like a wave on the shore.” It only takes ninety seconds to shift out of a mood state, including anger. Give yourself ninety seconds – about fifteen deep in and out breaths – to not think about that person or situation. You’ve broken that thought cycle – and the hold your thoughts had on you. Now, doesn’t that feel good?