• Tue. Jun 6th, 2023

Mindfulness, compassion encourage Simms/Mann Heart social employee Greg Flaxman


May 26, 2023

Greg Flaxman, LCSW, began practising mindfulness in 2007 as an undergraduate pupil at UC Berkeley. By the point he got here to UCLA for graduate faculty a number of years later, he was main mindfulness periods for classmates.

“I used to be studying in regards to the analysis about meditation and it was simply sort of blowing my thoughts that this was no more mainstream,” Flaxman says. “Now we now have apps and even commercials for it however again then, there was nonetheless plenty of new science popping out that was actually affirming the advantages of it.”

These scientific findings motivated him to start out meditating. And as soon as he noticed the optimistic influence mindfulness observe was having on his life, he was impressed to share it with others.

Now, amongst his different duties as a medical oncology social employee on the Simms/Mann-UCLA Heart for Integrative Oncology, Flaxman leads a mindfulness meditation group for folks with most cancers.

Mindfulness is the observe of deliberately taking note of moment-to-moment experiences as they come up, with curiosity and with out judgment. This cultivates a way of ease and stability, permitting for considerate response quite than automated response to life circumstances.

Dealing with most cancers

Mindfulness observe “permits folks to have the ability to stick with an expertise that’s already there, that’s already current for them,” Flaxman says. “So if there’s something difficult happening, maybe due to the most cancers — like ache, or emotional misery, anxiousness, disappointment — what I’ve seen is that it permits of us to have the ability to be with that in a approach that brings in some self-compassion.”

As soon as folks develop some familiarity with mindfulness observe, they’ll name upon that feeling of groundedness at will, he says. Somebody going into therapy, for instance, may tune into their breath, the feeling of listening to the sounds round them, or something that feels impartial or calming. Mindfulness meditation builds the flexibility to seek out an inner anchor, he says.

Flaxman additionally continues his private mindfulness observe as a approach of staying current along with his personal emotional panorama.

“I like pondering of it as a type of psychological hygiene,” he says.

As a social employee with the Simms/Mann Heart, Flaxman additionally sees particular person sufferers of all ages at any stage of their most cancers journey.

Receiving a most cancers prognosis brings a few vary feelings for many individuals, together with anxiousness, despair and shock, Flaxman says. On the Simms/Mann Heart, which supplies psychosocial look after folks with most cancers and their households, dealing with the psychological and emotional challenges of the prognosis is as important as another medical therapy.

“Some folks don’t even have an emotional response within the second as a result of they’re so centered on the therapy and so centered on simply taking the following step,” Flaxman says, including that he typically accompanies his sufferers to their chemotherapy appointments or physician visits to supply assist.

Want to assist

Flaxman says he knew from a younger age that he “needed to be in a serving to career.” He was near his grandparents when he was rising up and noticed the challenges they confronted as they obtained older. He was moved by the care a hospice employee supplied their household on the finish of his grandparents’ lives.

“Being on the opposite aspect of the assist that was wanted and seeing what may very well be helpful and helpful to folks — I needed to be a part of that answer,” he says. “There’s one thing that feels good about having the ability to give again on this approach. It appears like a approach of honoring their recollections.”

Flaxman was drawn to the Simms/Mann Heart due to its integrative method to treating most cancers, past the normal medical mannequin. Apart from mindfulness, its choices embrace artwork remedy, qi gong, breathwork and chaplains who present religious assist.

“It’s actually caring for the complete particular person: thoughts, physique and spirit,” he says. “To be a part of a group that has all these totally different specialties — that actually may be such a assist to folks and permit them to seek out their dwelling, in a approach. I really feel just like the Simms/Mann Heart creates a spot for folks the place they really feel a way of belonging and neighborhood.”

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