Our body sensations can be so overwhelming that we can totally disassociate from our bodies as a coping strategy.
Especially when we have been through traumatic experiences. Trauma is not what happens to us, it is what happens inside of us, as a result of what happened to us.
Something comes into our worlds, it’s not safe, it’s deeply uncomfortable and we have no tools, safe people or place to express what has happened, or support to regain our sense of balance - that’s when we are hit by trauma.
So many of us have not sat and really felt what’s going on with our bodies in many, many years.
We live in our heads and forget we have hearts, guts and an entire nervous system sending us messages. More messages are being sent from our bodies to our brains, than our brains to our bodies.
So now that we know all this, let's take a brief moment to feel.
We can learn to renegotiate our bodies response gently when we are open to sitting with the feelings of discomfort or fear (knowing that THIS time, we are not trapped and that the uncomfortable sensations will pass).
The fact that we have ‘triggers’ means that we are carrying ammunition and something inside is ready to explode. Avoiding triggers, or getting angry when we feel triggered does not disarm the weapon. To move forward in our lives, we must take responsibility for our inner weaponry and must not pass the blame. Just like a knot or trigger point in the physical body, we can gently hold an emotional trigger, ease it open and watch it dissipate.
It’s OK to feel upset.
When we learn to observe and breathe through discomfort, it becomes less and less.
We become less reactive, less likely to blame others, more empowered and can drop the victim identity and become victorious.
Often our reactions in the moment of trauma are repressed and we stay locked in a frozen or paralyzed state, both physically and emotionally without us even being aware of what is going on.
This state of freezing, (or the opposite survival state of chronic hyper arousal), often occurs when we can’t fight (or flee) from that which is hurting, threatening or frightening us.
We get stuck when we can't reach out for help, because help is not there for us - or when calling for help is unsafe.
We very rarely allow our bodies or minds to go through the process we are biologically designed to complete.
We repress the grief of neglect, we repress our anger, aggression and natural survival responses when faced with physical threat.. Leaving this energy to explode in unsafe and inappropriate ways later in life.
By simply sitting and watching the sensations that come up we can gently revisit and renegotiate our old stuff with the lens of a compassionate observer.
We can safely feel these body sensations (maybe the increased heart rate and the urge to run or lash out) and allow these sensations to exist… we can actually allow our legs to move and even hit a pillow, cry, scream and let it go.
Feeling old ‘stuff’ with a new lens - a wiser and clearer lens - can be an amazing process.
If this is something that spikes your interest, we recommend seeking out a practitioner that works in body based psychotherapy or ‘somatic experiencing’.
FIND YOUR TRUTH SPOT
Close your eyes
Set an intention to sense the truth in all things and find your inner guidance
Release any expectation that you may be holding onto
Allow the present moment to unfold, as it is, not how you want it to be
Accept the moment
Inhale, feeling your lungs expand fully
Exhale any stress, tension and charged emotions
Be quiet, be still
Become aware of your body
Say (out loud, or to yourself) a statement that you KNOW to be true.
“My name is Hannah”
Or; “I love and respect nature.”
Now notice the exact sensations, or spots within your body, that ‘light up’ - and the tone or note that these sensations take.
People commonly feel warmth in the area of your heart, tingling in the solar plexus etc.
Next; Say (out loud, or to yourself) a statement that you KNOW to be untrue.
“My name is Freddy Mercury ”
Or something you know to be the opposite of something you value;
“I hate nature.”
Now notice the exact sensations, or spots within your body, that ‘light up’ - and the tone or note that these sensations take.
People commonly feel a ‘constriction’ in the area of the heart, or a full on total body sense of ‘repulsion’.
Everyone senses truth and untruth, in unique ways.
Allow your inner guidance system to communicate and practice picking up on truth/ untruth in your daily life.
How do my thoughts, beliefs and actions affect my energetic, physical, mental and emotional self?
How do they impact my family, friends, co-workers, community and the planet?
Are the consequences of my thoughts, words and actions in alignment with who I wish to be?
Personal power and responsibility rests in between a stimulus and an action (or reaction).
How good am I at pausing when a stimulus hit’s me in the guts?
Can I take a moment to contemplate…
Will I act or react?
Will my actions show those around me compassion, empathy and respect (taking into account their own triggers and life experiences?)
Will my actions create other reactions?
What are the further consequences?
Am I acting out of fear or anger - if so can I take a step back and choose not to take things personally?
Will my actions uplift or will they harm the overall energy or vibe of the space that I’m in?
Would the wisest version of myself react in this way? Or would the highest version of myself choose something different?
How to cultivate Self Awareness?
Observe yourself like an outsider looking in
This takes some practice and discipline.
Get curious about emotions and thoughts that arise in your mind, and physical sensations that come up in the body.
Make an effort to mentally review thoughts that are leading up to the words that you speak to yourself and others.
Try and avoid judging your thoughts and words as bad or good.
Simply ask yourself where they are coming from and why.
“Is this thought coming from a place of fear or kindness?”
It is okay to be fearful, we are living in a world where we are conditioned into a fear and anxiety state. Awareness is the first step towards responsibility, choice and freedom to choose something different.
Questioning your definitions
How do you define masculinity/ femininity?
What comes to mind when you hear;
Where do my definiations come from?
Mental and spiritual practice
Mindfulness & meditation
There are many different practices that you can research.
Find one that feels right to you.
This subject deserves it's very own blog post.. watch this space!
Tuning into what the body is telling you.
When I think a certain way, how does my body feel?
When I ‘catch’ a thought that doesnt feel good to me… and turn it around, can I feel better?
When I hold my body in alignment, when I sit up straight and smile, does my mood shift?
Do the words of others impact my body sensations?
When someone puts me down at work or makes an offensive remark, where do I feel it within my body?
Can I simply sit with that feeling and allow it to pass? Then explain to the person who spoke, exactly how their words made me feel within my body and what thoughts came up in my mind?
Taking part in a physical practice
Have you considered taking part in a yoga class, tai chi, dance, martial arts, hiking or other activities that allow you to move and tune in a little bit more to how your physical body feels?
A new ‘physical hobby’ can help you gain more understanding of your personal physical state, boundaries, stiffness, mobility, aches and pains.
It’s all too common for us to completely ‘detach’ from our bodies and to normalise a state of pain, poor posture or poor flexibility/ mobility.
You will be amazed at home much better you will feel within your ‘head space’, when your body receives some love.
Apart from gaining some self awareness, movement releases ‘feel good hormones’ (serotonin & endorphins). Movement helps to manage blood sugar levels (protecting against diabetes and other inflammatory conditions). It is beneficial to the immune system, skin/ circulation, heart, lungs and balances reproductive hormones.
Movement is great for bones and muscles health and your balance (future proof yourself for the later years).
Nourishing with good food and drink
We are what we eat..
Alcohol, processed food and sugar.
Not only are these products hardly fit for human consumption and damage every body system including the human brain - they also put money into unethical business practice.
Eating natural food has been marketed as ‘time consuming’ and ‘expensive’ but the reality is from that which the food giants would have us believe. How long does it take to boil an egg? How long does it take to steam some fresh vegetables? Open a jar of nuts/ seeds and throw them into a jar for work?
Exactly, no more than 10 min!
Maybe set your alarm for a measly ten min before you would normally wake up.. or prepare lunch the night before even taking some home cooked dinner leftovers in a container is becoming an ‘office competition’ in some workplaces.
Guys, show off your dinner cooking skills at lunch the next day!
Just a tiny tiny bit of planning can actually save you time, money and your health.
Chronic pain and links to unresolved emotional trauma.
Researchers have studied the mind/body interrelationship for several decades because of the importance of this link.
Experts have noticed that experiencing a traumatic event can have an impact on the development of pain. In fact, approximately 15-30% of patients with chronic pain also have PTSD.
Trauma happens "when our ability to respond to a perceived threat is in some way overwhelming."
Most researchers disagree on a precise definition of trauma, people can even be traumatised on an unconscious level by an event that they label as pretty ‘insignificant or minor’ but have nonetheless had no opportunity to process or express the impact of the event.
Most scientists do agree that a typical trauma response might include physiological and psychological symptoms such as numbing, hyperarousal, hypervigilance, nightmares, flashbacks, helplessness, chronic pain and avoidance behavior.
Awareness of stress and burnout
This is a big area of ‘self awareness’ for the workforce these days.
We need to be more aware of the signs of stress and burnout so that we can minimise the harm.
Chronic fatigue is a sign of burnout. Take note if you feel a lack energy and feel tired most days. You may feel physically and emotionally exhausted, depleted and drained. You may feel a sense of dread around what lies ahead.
Poor sleep/ sleep disorders. Burnout can manifest as troubles falling asleep or staying asleep one or two nights a week. Insomnia may become an issue and turn into a persistent, nightly ordeal; as exhausted as you are, you just cant sleep.
Problems with concentration, focus and forgetfulness. Lack of focus and mild forgetfulness are early signs. Later, the problems may get to the point where you can't get your work done and everything begins to pile up.
Physical symptoms of burnout can include; gastrointestinal pain, dizziness, fainting, chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and/or headaches (all of which should be medically assessed).
Increased occurrence of illness. Because your body is depleted and stressed, your immune system becomes weakened. This means that you are more more vulnerable to infections, colds, flu, and other immune-related medical problems.
Changes in appetite, you may not feel hungry and may skip a few meals. You may find yourself craving things you would normally not eat and feel like you don’t have control of your intake. You may even lose your appetite all together and begin to lose a significant amount of weight.
You may experience mild symptoms of anxiety, tension, worry, and edginess. Anxiety may become so serious that it interferes in your ability to work productively and may cause problems in your personal life.
Depression can indicate burnout is looming.. you may feel mildly sad, occasionally hopeless, and you may experience feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You may feel trapped, severely depressed, and think the world would be better off without you. (If your depression is to this point, you should seek professional help immediately.)
Interpersonal tension and irritability. In the latter stages, this may turn into angry outbursts and serious arguments at home and in the work environment. If anger gets to the point where it turns to thoughts or acts of violence toward family or coworkers - immediate professional assistance is needed)
What is health?
To me health is a mixture of many things.
Health is an absence of disease, complete (or near complete) social, mental and physical wellbeing. But it is so much more complex.
'Social, mental and physical wellbeing' those three 'pillars of health' will have different meaning depending on your individual outlook, past experiences and current circumstances. So I guess the definition of health is not static for any one person..
To me health is about being 'free' and being able bodied enough to move and play. Health requires good communication, integrity, strength, wisdom, meditation and a strong connection with other human beings and nature.
For me, laughter is a great medicine (highly under prescribed) and best taken with great friends, along side nourishing food and perhaps a single malt whiskey!
Health is being openminded and accepting of change.
It is forgiving yourself and others.
Health is loving yourself, your imperfections and learning to let go of insecurities.
It is loving others without fear. It is striving to build others up- rather than breaking them down (which is sadly a common behavior in our chronically ill society).
My version of 'health' is a personal definition- It is the things I 'value' and it has evolved and changed over the years.
Therefor I hypothesize that 'Health' must mean something different for every individual.
Health is multidimensional and involves tuning into your individual needs..
What do you value in life? Is it freedom, love, a meaningful job, art, music, fitness, strength, winning gold, travel, wisdom or a new car..
What do you value that you are not getting? What needs to change to allow that 'value' to manifest in your life?
Would your sense of health or wellness increase with your needs being met and a life more in line with your values?
I know mine does!