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Oh what a feeling!


Happy St. Paddy's Day! The day when we can all feel the luck of the Irish coursing through our veins.

I often talk about that feeling. The feeling of feeling. It's a bit of a lost art. We have been programmed to excel, to achieve, to always be in perpetual motion. Rarely do we get the time....or remember to...stop and feel.

Even more rarely do we actually name the emotion we are feeling and dissect where it is coming from. For example:

Right now I am feeling anxious.

Where do I feel this in my body? I feel it in the right side of my chest into my shoulder.

Where is this stemming from? I am fearful that on payday, my spouse will go on a bender and we won't have enough money to pay the bills.


In this example, I am anticipating and fearful of something that hasn't happened yet and may not happen at all. In the meantime, as we get closer to payday, my stress level will continue to rise. By payday, I will be so anxious I probably won't be able to function. Think of the toll this has on you, your body and your mind. Now imagine doing this daily for the next 25 years.

Trauma is the emotional response to an event. For the family of people with addiction the trauma is usually chronic - repeated over an extended period of time. A constant attack on your body and mind. To survive, we often dissassociate from our bodies which could look like anything from a simple daydream to complex PTSD or borderline personality disorder. Many parents and spouses of people with addiction suffer from PTSD.

It's difficult to recognize the signs of dissociation as they appear in your thoughts, feelings, impulses, actions, and body responses because each part is driven by a specific animal defense survival responses: flight, fight, freeze, cry for help, collapse, shutdown and please & appease. These responses are always a survival strategy and let's be thankful that our minds protected us this far.

But our unresolved trauma is not healthy in the long term. It takes a serious toll on our mental and physical health. It can kill us.

Healing after trauma is very different than healing a physical injury. True trauma healing requires a connection of the mind, body and the spirit . This is referred to as somatic experiencing. When using a somatic approach to healing, we focus on the underlying physical sensations. From there, the mind-body exercises may include breath work, meditation, visualization, massage, grounding, dance, and/or sensation awareness work. These physical mind-body exercises, along with talk-therapy allow our body to release the stress, tension and trauma that are being held in the body.

The somatic approach operates off the idea that what happens to you in your life is stored not only in your mind but also in your body. By focusing on both the physical sensations in your body and the discussion of your problems, it is a comprehensive approach to therapy.

Somatic techniques include:

  • Developing more awareness of your body and its sensations

  • Calling upon emotional resources

  • Grounding

  • Encouraging detailed descriptions

  • Movement, including acting out of physical feelings

  • Learning tools to calm oneself

  • Alternating focus between something stressful and something not stressful to help release tension

  • Replaying past situations with new physical tools

  • Emotional release

  • Strengthening boundaries

Somatic techniques have been shown to be an effective form of therapy for numerous mental health and physical issues. Mental health issues that somatic therapy is used for include:

  • PTSD

  • Anxiety

  • Addiction

  • Grief

  • Depression

  • Stress

Physically, somatic therapy may assist with:

  • Chronic pain

  • Digestive disorders

  • Sexual dysfunction

Because of its focus on grounding and mindfulness. somatic techniques can be an effective option for anyone looking to get more in touch with themselves and their experiences in life.

At ConNEXTion.me, we introduce a somatic approach to healing. Our program does not replace the work of a mental health professional but is complementary with the mental health assistance you require.

Try to make everyday special! Find joy. Find peace. Find time to connect with your emotions and adopt some somatic techniques to process them. Go ahead....sing and dance while you listen to What a Feeling!


Much sisu,

Lorraine

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