This might or might not be for you, but I'll just pass it along anyhow

I had a couple of heart attacks more than twenty years ago. Part of the after care was a program of sessions or classes, including exercise, healthy living lectures, relaxation and mindfulness stuff, provided weekly for a while by the NHS.

I think this could be very relevant as a post stroke program. After looking through this book I thought it was worth sharing a little of what I found there.

‘Mindfulness Skills Workbook for Clinicians and Clients’
by Debra Burdick

Something I came across you might like to examine:


Tool 2-10: What is Neuroplasticity and Why Do We Care?

BACKGROUND: Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change itself. MRI studies, SPECT scan studies, and EEG studies confirm the ability of mindfulness practice to change brain structure as well as brain functioning. Studies show improvements in self-regulation, mood, well-being, self-esteem, concentration, sleep, health, addictions, memory and so much more. Therefore, mindfulness practice is an excellent way to trigger positive neuroplastic changes in the brain.

SKILL BUILDING: Explain that the brain’s ability to change itself is called neuroplasticity.
Use the two exercises (Paths in the Grass and Paper Folding) in Handout 2-10 (below) to illustrate how neuronal pathways are “worn” into the brain. Discuss how this may be helpful, such as when we learn something new, or harmful if the brain gets stuck in a negative pattern such as anxiety or depression. Use the handout to explore how doing something a different way starts to change the pathway, which can be very helpful when shifting out of negative mood states or anxious tendencies.

REFLECTION: Help clients explore how the process of neuroplasticity may be helping them or keeping them stuck by asking: What positive or negative things do you do repeatedly that may have worn a “pathway” in your brain? Do you notice yourself responding automatically to things without stopping to think and choosing a response? Are there any pathways you would like to reinforce or eliminate? Does fear or anxiety play a role in your life? In what ways do you feel stuck?


Handout 2-10-1

What is Neuroplasticity and Why Do We Care?

Close your eyes and picture a lawn of green grass.
Now imagine that someone walks across the grass diagonally from one corner of the lawn to the opposite corner.
Notice how the grass changes. Perhaps the grass is a bit matted down where they walked.
Now imagine lots of people walking across the grass following the same path.
After a while, notice that some of the grass is dying where so many footsteps have fallen.
Imagine that this process continues until there is a path worn in the lawn where there is no longer any grass—just a dirt path worn smooth from all the foot traffic.
This is like the process of neuroplasticity in the brain. According to Hebb’s axiom, neurons that fire together wire together (Hebb, 2009), and dendrites increase in size and efficiency when something is repeated over and over.
So, like the path worn in the grass, the neuronal pathway gets stronger and stronger with repetition. Mindfulness practice is an effective way to create more healthy “pathways” in the brain.
Now imagine the lawn with the path across it. Notice what happens to it over time when no one walks on it anymore. The grass slowly starts to grow where the path was until at some point there is no longer a path at all.
Mindfulness practice can help rewire the brain so it no longer automatically responds with anxiety, or anger, or fear, or feeling stressed. Mindfulness helps to decrease the negative pathways in the brain.

Handout 2-10-2

Paper Folding Exercise

  • Ask clients to fold a piece of paper, then fold it again, and then again.
  • Have them unfold it and fold it again where it was already folded.
  • Ask them if refolding is faster and easier than folding in the first place.
  • Relate this to moving information along a well-travelled path of neurons.
  • Discuss whether it is easier for your brain to think something new or the same thought.
  • Ask them if it is easier to learn something new or do something you have done before.



Did you get through all that?

Sit calmly and comfortably now and recover.

:writing_hand: :smile: :+1:


Thanks for sharing @Bobbi i will be back later to read it again as not sure I took it all in. Fatigue has come calling :confounded::confounded:

Have a great Sunday both of you. X


As an aside to your useful post, I recently downloaded an audio book called “Mindful Compassion”, I thought I’d give it a go. So, I start listening, the chap begins with a soft and calming voice, describing all the people who had contributed to the book, and then he goes on to thank the many people who made the book possible, and then proceeds with a lengthy list of all the people who thought the book was a good idea … by this stage I was beginning to cuss at the author, “Get on with it”, I grunted loudly … then he went on to thank family and friends who were privy to him writing the book, and then he started on some random people who may have found the book useful. I found myself getting very worked up until, finally, he started on the first chapter. For about twenty minutes he managed to speak about the subject matter without actually expressing what it entails. By this point I was outright swearing at the audio book, and in a huff of annoyance returned it to the audio library and switched to Stephen Fry’s book on ties. Ah, much better …

Perhaps this was a test? Perhaps I had failed to be mindfully compassionate …



Your description of what is available is bob on. There is much written on the subject.

I also think reading about it is no substitute for actual practice, which I do believe can be useful, helpful even.

Of course someone making a living out of it is not going to reveal the great secret. That would be handing over your money maker.

So what is one to do?


Bobby–I really enjoyed your post. It was very informative and positive. Thank you!



Thanks for taking the time to comment. It is always good to hear that what I have written has amused, informed, or created a positive reaction. That is reward enough for my efforts. I try to get across what is in my heart and to share an honest reaction to my experience of the world.

Things swing up and then down, hovering somewhere in between at times. It isn’t all black, but neither is it fluffy pink cushions forever.

Sometimes it is helpful to see the ups and down of another. It makes experience not seem so lonely. For it is easy to feel lonely in a crowd of folk who you know. That is why I think it is important to use this forum, a welcoming spot, as a place to share.

I’d like to feel that, between us, we can help one another in our situation, to escape the solitude, the fear, the feeling of insignificance, of being trapped, of despair. These moods prey on us at low ebb and it is then that another and what they have to say can provide much needed support and escape.

Once I get going on all this it is time to stop. So I’ll just say thank you and . . .

keep on keepin’ on
:writing_hand: :smile: :+1:

1 Like

Why stop? What you’ve just written is both profound and uplifting. I loved your original post, but this is so much more, and will resonate with so many folk! Don’t ever stop :slightly_smiling_face:



Thank you. Coming on this forum and taking part, in whatever way you are able, can be good for both reader and writer.

It is too easy to try and shut away what has happened. I am of the opinion that, with care, exposing a wound to daylight and air is an excellent way to promote healing.

Energy can be in limited supply at times, but sharing with a group can help prevent a descent into the depths. This group we have become a part of is huge, somewhere in the millions, in this country alone. There is energy and power in numbers, we must be able to sustain one another.

It isn’t poor ineffective little me, it is proud re-enabled and thriving us. We can overcome our difficulties together. It might mean a change of direction, but I am sure there are possibilities.

By being brave we could well discover there is a tomorrow and more.

As well as courage, because we are members of a group, we need to be considerate. We do not stand alone. The wishes and aims of others won’t always tally with our own. Making allowances and being able to compromise will be important in order to keep things moving.

Oh, yes. Mustn’t forget. I do think there is a place for humour in this world.

Even for us lot.