Living Mindfully
Surrey, British Columbia 

Linda Uyeda MD, CCFP
 
Dr. Uyeda is a family physician practicing medicine in the Lower Mainland of BC.  She has a special interest in mental health, mindfulness, parenting and the neuroscience behind it all. 

"As life got busier and busier, I started having problems with my jaw...  after seeing dentists, specialists, massage therapists... my road led to mindfulness. I could not believe the most effective and lasting results came from mindfulness-based techniques."
My Own Umwelt
 
From the time I was in my mid-teens I knew I wanted to be a doctor - to help people who were ill, injured and suffering. After fullfilling my dream of becoming a family doctor the universe conspired to drive me in a slightly different direction. 
 
Having children suddenly threw me into a new domain. Here were tiny human beings who depended on my husband and me for everything. We knew we needed to be on the same page with our parenting  - and this is where my new adventure began. As every young mother knows there are people, with good intent, offering words of wisdom and advice on how to parent. I was at odds with some of this advice. My instincts as a mother were telling me one thing, and the culture in the world around me was telling me another. I decided to put on my scientific hat and figure out if there was an evidence-based way to raise successful, happy, and resilient children.
 
While this was happening, life was getting busier and busier. I was balancing life as a mother, wife, daughter, friend and doctor. I started having problems with my jaw - at first clicking, progressing to stiffness and then pain. After seeing dentists, specialists, massage therapists, and acupuncturists, my road led to mindfulness. I could not believe that after all I had been through the most effective and lasting results came from mindfulness-based techniques that were free, had no negative side effects, and could be done anywhere at any time.  Really??!!
 
As my children quickly grew I started to steer my medical education towards parenting conferences and brain development research. It was during this time I started to learn about the benefits of mindfulness in parenting. The worlds of parenting, attachment, and mindfulness began to intersect and the information I was learning floored me.  I am sure I sat in some conferences with my jaw on the floor as I learned about the latest findings in human stress, mental illness, epigenetics, and psychoneuroimmunology.
 
I always knew a mind-body connection existed, and indeed, during medical school and residency our professors drilled the concept of a "bio-psycho-social" model into us, but the relationship between each was never explained. What was really exciting was that advances in neuroscience were beginning to show us how the mind and the body worked together to influence one another.
 
Over the next decade the more I learned and shared the more I realized people around me were also fascinated by the mind-body connection. I was finding new ways to reach out to patients and they were listening. They were motivated and I saw, in many of them, a deep level of commitment and willingness to now participate in their own roads to recovery.  Could I find a way to reach a wider audience with this amazing information?
 
In medicine, physicians are required to make clinical decisions based on good evidence. I started to see that there was a new way to approach illness and suffering. Tales from neuroscience can help us deal with our life stresses through mindful ways of being. My journey started as a personal one, but seeing, hearing and experiencing the lessons I collected along the way, made me realize that perhaps I could help spread these messages beyond academia and place good information in the hands of anyone who would like to engage in a more present, connected and whole way of being in this wonderful world.