Welcome to Living Well with MS. In this episode we are sharing the highlights from our ‘Mindfulness and Meditation with Overcoming MS’ webinar with Overcoming MS Facilitator Dr Phil Startin. Phil discusses ways to make mindfulness and meditation part of your daily life.

This popular webinar was recorded on 17 April 2022 as part of our Finding Hope with Overcoming MS - 10th anniversary edition webinar series. You can watch the whole webinar here or the podcast highlights on YouTube here.

Keep reading for the key episode takeaways and bio. 

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Read the episode transcript here

Selected Key Takeaways:

Starting a new meditation habit can be difficult

3:17 “When we run Overcoming MS retreats or events, often one of the first questions we ask the group is ‘which steps in Overcoming MS do you find the hardest to adopt?’ And it's always meditation. If you do struggle with meditation, and getting a practice going, you're definitely not alone. Of all the different steps within the Overcoming MS program to actually adopt about 34% of us really, really struggle with that.”

Give yourself permission to take time out to meditate

6:28 “We’re almost addicted to activity at times. Activity has become a measure of success, which just seems to be crazy. We're almost ‘not allowed’ to sit and do nothing. There's a phrase I really like, ‘we’re not human beings, we're human doings.’ We just spend all our time doing things. But perhaps the biggest reason why we don't meditate, or why we stop meditating is we just don't give ourselves permission.”

Keep yourself accountable for your meditation practice

10:34 “At the end of the day, you need to be accountable for actually getting yourself to start meditating. I recommend that you journal, and record every time you meditate: what was that meditation experience like for you? I did for a number of years. And I found it extremely helpful to be able to look back over my experiences, and to see how it worked. It's a great way of learning about the practice. Give yourself a little reward now and again, as well. If you manage, let's say, a week of meditating within no gaps, then reward yourself for a month of meditating.”

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Dr. Phil Startin’s bio:

Career and Overcoming MS:

After a DPhil in Quantum Physics, Phil left his academic roots for a more peripatetic career in management consulting, initially with Price Waterhouse. After years of travelling around the world for both work and pleasure, including a two-year assignment in Geneva, he was diagnosed with Primary Progressive MS (PPMS) in 2007.

Phil discovered Overcoming MS in 2011, and coupled with his earlier discovery of mindfulness meditation, it awakened a whole new area in his life. With training and supervision from Bangor University, he now teaches an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) course to people with MS and to the general community on a pro-bono basis. He is also a trustee for MS-UK.

Personal life:

Phil lives in Arrochar, Scotland with his American wife, Cristina, whom he met over a weekend at the Jazz Fest in New Orleans. Phil’s completely convinced that the Overcoming MS program and mindfulness have positively affected the trajectory of his condition.