Our brains keeps us safe

It is hard to feel, let alone find a healthy and safe way to express your feelings, if they feel painful or unsafe to even acknowledge.  Often, where this is the case, your subconscious mind will ‘protect you’ from those unsafe feelings by repressing them, so you may not even know they are there. Another way your brain may try to protect you is by distracting you from those unsafe feelings, cue chronic pain.  This is a very normal nervous system response to stress and trauma. The problem with your brain ‘protecting’ you in this way, protecting you from the […]

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Does ‘Psychosomatic’ mean it’s all in my head?

Absolutely not. Psychosomatic illness has a stigma which I’m keen to dispel. SOMATIC means IN THE BODY. So if something is psychosomatic it means it is in the mind AND in the body. Whether the symptom and / or the approach is PsychoSomatic / MindBody / BodyMind, it’s the same thing, it means the whole nervous system – which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and a complex network of nerves throughout the body – which send messages to and receive messages from the brain. If you have read my previous posts you will know when the brain

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Self Talk and Stress

Remember ‘stressors”? They are things that activate the stress / trauma response in the nervous system because the brain interprets them as a ‘threat’. What if I told vou stressor aren’t just obvious current life stressors like bills, family,  work, pace of life.  What if I told you our conditioned personality traits and beliefs can become internal stressors, the things we say to ourselves – or indeed the things we don’t say – can be interpreted by the brain as threat’. In a previous post I touched on the conflict between attachment and authenticity.  As children, we are at a

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Adverse Childhood Experiences affect the developing brain and body which impacts health across a lifetime

In the first seven years of our lives the plethora of neural connections we are born with get trimmed back as we learn how to exist in the world. Those neural pathways deemed unnecessary are trimmed and the pathways we are left with get carried through to adulthood. This is fine except if, as a child, you learned the world is unsafe, or any other number of limiting beliefs about yourself or the world. As a child, connection with your caregiver was the no.1 priority because that meant survival. If you’ve read my previous posts you will know the brain

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Long term exposure to stress changes our physiology

Let’s separate your stressors from your stress. Stressors are the things that activate the stress response (bills, family, work etc). Stress is a response to those stressors which is activated in your brain and body. The sensitivity of your stress response is unique to you and your lived experience. Stress is an evolutionarily adaptive mechanism that allows you to respond to perceived threats. Or it was evolutionarily adaptive, back when our stressors had claws and teeth and chased us for dinner. These days we are almost never chased for dinner, but still our body’s response to, say, a toxic relationship

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Chronic Pain – Address the root cause

Feeling fear, pain, anxiety and even depression is a normal, human response to somethingyour brain – on a subconscious level – decides puts you in danger. This automatic stress response is very cleverly built into your physiology to keep you safe. The problem occurs when, in our modern world, the danger isn’t like running away from a bear, escaping and returning to a place of safety, no, often now we can’t escape the bear, we might live or have lived with the bear, the bear might take the shape of a toxic relationship with a family member or work colleague,

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Psychology affects Biology

Mainstream healthcare says: “Let’s patch you up with drugs / surgery”. Somatic Therapy says: “Let’s explore your stress and emotional baggage so we can address your pain at the root cause”. Let’s revisit stress. Stress is an inevitable part of life, in moderation it is a good thing, stress motivates us and keeps life interesting. However, too much stress can prime your brain for chronic pain. This is because, the more your fight / flight response stays activated, the more sensitive your brain becomes to unpleasantness. Stressful events early in life (eg neglect, abuse, bullying) get compounded by stressors later

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The Felt Sense

I had an interesting experience this week! I spent most of last weekend inside doing a course, so I’d cleared some time on Monday because I knew I’d need to move my body and get outside. I felt like getting out for a run and I felt like taking a different route that was a bit longer than usual, so I headed out towards Upton Country Park for those that know it. There’s a path there that runs around the edge of Holes Bay which is a beautiful nature reserve full of water, mud, reeds and birds. Being a laid

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Oncology Massage

The @susanfindlaymassage Oncology Massage training course has been on my to do list for a long time so this weekend that’s what I’ve been immersed in and Wow to say I’m blown away is an understatement. Susan’s holistic approach to wellbeing will be music to the ears of anyone working with people having to navigate cancer or any chronic condition. Over the weekend we worked through Lung, Kidney, Prostate, Breast, Testicular, Brain, Oesophageal, Thyroid, Colon, Skin, Pancreatic and Leukaemia case study scenarios. We discussed myths and modifications and talked at length about the significance of nutrition, hydration, sleep and rest,

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Trauma and Safety

A lovely exercise to demonstrate why healing from trauma needs to be approached from a foundation of safety and security; rather than head on: Make a fist with your left hand, and grip it tight. Then try and prose it apart, try to break the grip, whilst still maintaining the energy of the closed fist. You can’t do it. Now, take your left hand, still gripped in a fist, and place it in your cupped right hand. Notice how your hand feels. Notice how supported you feel, and notice what your left hand wants to do, does it want to

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