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Healing from child abuse Health Personal Development Self help techniques

How to relax and enjoy life?

When one’s body has been locked in fight or flight due to traumas that occurred earlier in one’s life, it can be nearly impossible to slow down, relax and enjoy life. Adrenaline, fear, cortisol flow through the body keeping it revved up, primed to react in a split second and to not cool down, rest or BE. It is like a race car with engine roaring, just waiting for the driver to put it in gear and let it loose.

In this hyped up state, even when you are doing nothing, you are still burning up nervous, restless energy, the body is not resting, its reserves are slowly being depleted. In time exhaustion comes, depletion of your energy reserves and then loss of joy, sadness and depression, as a result of feeling so flat, so unable to motivate yourself into action. The gas tank is empty, nowhere to go. This is part of the issue behind chronic fatigue. The body eventually is so depleted it is hard to do anything.

It is therefore important to take action before this stage to nurture and nourish your body, to help it come out of fight or flight and replenish itself. You can do this through a wide range of methods. Massage and touch, gentle touch, can help the body relax. Various body work modalities, reiki, bowen, acupuncture, etc, can help release the tension and teach the muscles it is okay to relax. You can do emotional release work to shift the tension locked in the muscles and to feel the traumas into completion. It is safe to do so.

You can retrain your mind so it no longer feels in danger all the time or needing to be on high alert. Meditation can help calm your mind, enable you to witness your thoughts, and practice not reacting to them, just letting them pass by. Psych-K, NLP, Lifeline Technique and others can reprogram the subconscious mind so that the beliefs operating in your body are supportive, life affirming ones about safety, love, peace and happiness. This needs to be done, otherwise you are telling yourself with your conscious mind “Relax, it’s okay, it’s safe, there’s plenty of time, those tasks can wait” when there is an alarm going off inside saying “No, I must do it now, I have to keep going, my life depends on it”.

The subconscious programming is much more powerful than the conscious minds. The subconscious beliefs will win all the time. Your whole life experience has programmed it, so it is strong in its beliefs and it is more powerful in its capacity than the conscious mind. The subconscious mind makes sure all our bodily functions are working – we are breathing, digesting, eliminating waste, etc. It does all of this without our awareness. It also filters what we see, there is so much data when we look at a scene, that the brain filters it based on our conditioning to only see that which is most important to us for our survival.

If our programming is about danger then that is the filter used to assess what we see. If our filter was love then we would see a whole different scene, we would notice the beauty, peace and harmony occurring in nature and between people. If our filter is danger, abuse, threat then we see any potential sources of danger, we notice the person lurking in the shadows, the look of agitation on a passer by, we see the man reading the newspaper in the park and decide to walk two steps further away just in case he is a threat. Our world is hostile, because of the thinking behind our actions is that way.

Now I know if you have suffered abuse, trauma, cruelty in life then it makes sense that you would be cautious and concerned about avoiding it in future, that is healthy. What is not healthy is when you have no choice, no ability to relax, because your body is so tense, so wired up, so angry or fearful that it has no ability to be calm, peaceful or happy. When the subconscious programming is this strong it is a threat to your health and your enjoyment of life and action needs to be taken to get relief, to be able to rest and enjoy life, to know you are safe and the world is a loving place.

This freedom from the past and its triggers is possible. You just have to do the work to reprogram the subconscious mind and clear the body of the trauma, stress and residue of past experiences.

Just as the subconscious mind operates below our awareness affecting our behaviour, so does our nervous system. When our bodies are locked full of fear, trauma and stress from earlier events, we can become locked in a hypervigilant state. We expect more abuse, pain, danager because we feel unsafe in our body. We feel as if there is a threat around the corner.

If you do the work to relax your nervous system your body calms, it comes out of fight, flight, freeze and starts to relax, to calm, to breathe deeper and to see more goodness around you.

The body is sending signals to the brain advising whether it is safe or not. When you use processes like Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) it helps the body to relax, the nervous system to calm, and then your defence mechanisms melt as you feel safer and no longer need to be defensive, ready to fight, flee or freeze to protect yourself. You no longer need to dissociate to avoid the pain, so you can be more present and grounded in your body.

TRE is one of the most effective methods I have found to empower individuals with their own healing journeys. It is a simple process that activates the body’s own tremoring mechanism that uses up the stress chemicals – cortisol, adrenaline – and enables the tension and stress to be released. Once you learn how to do it TRE can be done at home whenever you want to as a part of your self-care processes to soothe your body, calm your mind and relax your nerves. It’s a powerful process and can be learned during an individual appointment online or in person appointment.

A relaxed, peaceful state is actually our normal state, it is just in this modern, busy world, most of us are rushing around all day, doing, doing, doing. We take very little time to be still, to rest, to rejuvenate. If we do stop for a short time we will be thinking about what else needs to be done or how something already done could have been done better. Our focus is on the past or the future, rarely on the present moment.

nature-background-images-hd-background-wallpaper-41If we focus on the present moment we relax, we notice the details around us, the feel of the cool breeze and sunshine on our skin, the movement of grass and clouds, the rustling sounds of leaves moving in the trees, the gentle flight of the butterflies fluttering past. When we slow down and become still it is natural for the body to relax, for the blood flow to move away from the extremities and to go to the organs and elimination systems and purify us more fully, to ensure all our vital systems are working as they should.

When we are rushing all the time or stressed, our body is focused on the doing more than the internal processing – some of the attention is missing and therefore our bodily processes don’t function as well and dis-ease can result. Our bodies weren’t designed to be over stimulated constantly or always doing.

There was meant to be moments of stress and action, then returning to the natural, resting state for the majority of the day. We don’t have that. Most of us are functioning as if we are in danger all the time and the stress that results has a negative impact on the body. There is a lot we can do to reduce this and reverse the damage – good diet, exercise, plenty of sleep, water, vitamins – it all helps, as does the work to clear out trauma and stress from the body, reduce mental chatter through meditation and thought stopping, reprogramming the subconscious beliefs so you accept it is safe and okay to rest and that the world is a safe and loving place for you. There is much we can do if we choose to prioritise our health and we want to relax, have inner peace and joy in our life. What will you choose? It is entirely up to you. Blessed BE, Amen.

By Jodi-Anne M Smith (17 October 2016).
Further free guidance on healing techniques and self love are available on the Life Insights page of this website.
Categories
Healing from child abuse Health Relationships

The negative health impacts of loneliness

Love this TED talk about the negative impacts of loneliness on our health. So many of us feel deeply alone, isolating to protect ourselves to avoid rejection or abuse, scared to let people close and risk feeling more loss if that person leaves. This has been and continues to be one of my deepest challenges. For me it has been easier to hide in work and study than risk more loss. I have learned to love any way and to let people close and for that I am eternally grateful. Much love to all who struggle with loneliness, may you take a risk to connect and find your tribe.

Categories
Health

Addiction – animated explanation of the science showing the source of addiction

Science now shows that the cause of addiction is not the addictiveness of the drugs themselves, but the underlying reasons for taking the drugs – the emotional pain, trauma, and disconnection/loneliness that users feel. The drugs are simply an escape mechanism to avoid feeling the pain and to feel connected to something. If as a society we help people to heal the pain, to feel connected to others and enjoy life, then the use of drugs will decrease. Love and connection is the answer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao8L-0nSYzg

Categories
Healing from child abuse Health Self help techniques

How bad experiences in childhood lead to adult illlness

Yet another article with the science showing what survivors of child abuse have always known. Abuse in childhood leads to significant physical, emotional and mental difficulties in adulthood. The good news is that more and more people are recognising this and that we can’t simply “get over it”.  Abuse changes the way a child reacts to stress and constant exposure leads to changes in the child’s DNA resulting in the ‘fight or flight’ system being always turned on. The ongoing, chronic stress unfortunately leads to inflammatory and immune responses that damage health as adults.

Joan Kaufman, director of the Child and Adolescent Research and Education (CARE) programme at the Yale School of Medicine, recently analysed DNA in the saliva of happy, healthy children, and of children who had been taken from abusive or neglectful parents. The children who’d experienced chronic childhood stress showed epigenetic changes in almost 3,000 sites on their DNA, and on all 23 chromosomes – altering how appropriately they would be able to respond to and rebound from future stressors.

Likewise, Seth Pollak, professor of psychology and director of the Child Emotion Research Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, uncovered startling genetic changes in children with a history of adversity and trauma. Pollak identified damage to a gene responsible for calming the stress response. This particular gene wasn’t working properly; the kids’ bodies weren’t able to reign in their heightened stress response. ‘A crucial set of brakes are off,’ says Pollak.

It is great that science is catching up. They are also recognising that there are many ways to heal which can help survivor’s bodies relax and not be in ‘fight or flight’ all the time.

Science tells us that biology does not have to be destiny. ACEs can last a lifetime, but they don’t have to. Just as physical wounds and bruises heal, just as we can regain our muscle tone, we can recover function in underconnected areas of the brain. If anything, that’s the most important take-away from ACE research: the brain and body are never static; they are always in the process of becoming and changing.

Even if we have been set on high-reactive mode for decades or a lifetime, we can still dial it down. We can respond to life’s inevitable stressors more appropriately and shift away from an overactive inflammatory response. We can become neurobiologically resilient. We can turn bad epigenetics into good epigenetics and rescue ourselves. We have the capacity, within ourselves, to create better health. We might call this brave undertaking ‘the neurobiology of awakening’.

Today, scientists recognise a range of promising approaches to help create new neurons (known as neurogenesis), make new synaptic connections between those neurons (known as synaptogenesis), promote new patterns of thoughts and reactions, bring underconnected areas of the brain back online – and reset our stress response so that we decrease the inflammation that makes us ill.

In the article they specifically mention ‘Meditation, mindfulness, neurofeedback, cognitive therapy, EMDR (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing) therapy’ as some of the tools that can help survivor’s to calm their bodies and reprogram their minds.

I have found a wide range of techniques helpful including:

  • Energy and body work, such as crystal bed sessions or reiki, to help the body unlock and relax;
  • Psych-K or Lifeline Technique to release trauma and reprogram the subconscious mind so you can change negative beliefs about life and the world into positive ones e.g. so you are not always expecting the worst and you can start to feel safe, so you believe that you do deserve good things and that people can treat you well;
  • Mindfulness and meditation techniques to still the mind and create space to witness what is occurring instead of reacting automatically;
  • Skill development including thought stopping, boundary setting, inner child, and self love skills, so that you no longer allow yourself to be abused by others or by yourself;
  • Family Constellations to heal the trauma in the family system and reconnect with love, thereby allowing greater lifeforce and harmony within.

There is lots that can be done. While adverse childhood trauma does have a massive impact on your life, it can be healed.

Article - bad experiences in childhood lead to adult illness

Categories
Healing from child abuse Health Parenting Personal Development Uncategorized

How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime

In this short video Nadine Burke Harris explains how adverse childhood experiences impacts the health of the child and continues to do so over the lifetime of the person. She explains in scientific terms why this occurs and ways the impacts can be reduced. She believes that this is a public health issue and should be addressed as such with multidisciplinary teams available to help affected individuals to heal the trauma and reduce the impacts.

Categories
Family Constellations Healing from child abuse Health Parenting Personal Development

Epigenetics – explaining how we can inherit trauma and tendencies for anxiety and depression from earlier generations in our family.

Here is a great article explaining how our ancestor’s negative experiences affect their DNA expression, which can be inherited by future generations. For instance, if Grandma was raised in an abusive, alcoholic home or suffered some other trauma, some of that trauma and reactions to it can be passed onto future generations, predisposing them to becoming anxious or depressed.

epigenetics article

Categories
Healing from child abuse Health

Insights into addiction – it is all about the pain

These are insightful videos by Gabor Mate who explains that emotional pain and trauma underlies addiction. He also explains how trauma/addictive tendencies get past on through the generations unintentionally when addiction affected parents are not able to be present and available to their kids.

Categories
Healing from child abuse Health

Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong

I love this video by Johann Harri. In it he explains that the opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety, it is connection. We all need to feel connected to others, to belong, to be loved and accepted as we are. Without that we look for that connection in things or substances.

Categories
Healing from child abuse Health Parenting

Childhood trauma leads to brains wired for fear

This is a great article posted on ‘Side Effects Public Media’ website explaining the impact of childhood trauma on a child’s developing brain.

brains wired for fear

Article – chilldhood trauma leads to brains wired for fear

Categories
Health Parenting

What are the most beneficial actions during pregnancy?

foot inside bellyTalk to your child to be and welcome them into your heart and the world. The embryo can hear your thoughts, feel your love and speak your language while growing – the language of love, of light, and harmony. The higher your vibration the more vital the energy flowing to the baby enabling luscious growth and development.

Sing, dance and play with your child to be, tell it what you are doing and why. Introduce it to people and explain who they are and the role they will play in the child’s life once born. In doing this you are introducing your child to its tribe, to build its sense of belonging, of being loved, and of the world being a loving, welcoming place.

Do your best to keep your thoughts positive and have fun. The vibration of joy, love and gratitude are very beneficial. Know that it is okay to feel low, sad or angry at times. It won’t harm the baby’s growth and development, but do your best to bring yourself back to balance and peace when you can. As long as the balance of your time you feel good, then the baby can grow healthily in your belly.

If you are in despair, depression, fear or rage for too long it will affect the baby’s development. Even your science now shows this leads to development of more brawn and less brain, as the fetus develops so it can fight and survive in the harsh world that its parents perceive. So try not to be in that space. If you do feel or think that way then see a therapist to help you shift those negative feelings and come into balance.

The more secure and safe you can feel during the pregnancy, the more the child will feel that when born. Your beliefs and experiences during pregnancy greatly shape the developing child. If Mum is anxious, baby may become anxious in disposition. The baby feels all of the Mother’s emotions and is affected by them. So the more loving and joyful you can be the better.

hands on bellyHave fun with your child. Let them know they are loved and wanted and you will encourage them to be whoever they want to be. Don’t setup pressures or expectations that the child must fulfill. Don’t create drama about how you are going to cope financially or emotionally. Visualise it all going well. Visualise happily ever after. Of course there will be challenges, but the more positive you can be the better. At all times send love to your developing child – just think of them and visualise love going into them. Gold light is good to send to them too. This strengthens the bond and connection.

Eat well and rest when needed. Your body will do the rest of it. Nothing for you to force or make happen. Surrender and allow. Don’t stress too much or fight against what is needed. If you have to rest all day, so be it. Your body is developing a baby. It is doing one of the most important jobs there is. This is where your life force energy is focused at the moment, so accept you may not be able to do everything else you want to at the moment. Let it all go. Trust that what needs to happen will and everything else can wait or isn’t truly needed.

Love, light, rest, play, visualise, have fun, read stories, colour in, sing and dance. All of these things are beneficial as is meditation and stillness. You are teaching your baby how to live by what you do. Are you showing them life is about having fun and being happy? Or are you showing them you have to push hard and work to achieve your goals? Where is your focus – your head or your heart? All of this affects the developing fetus and the personality of your child.

A lot of programming occurs while in the womb and this can affect the person the rest of their lives. So ideally make it good by being happy yourself. Again, don’t get upset if you have a bad day or a time of fear and panic. Just breathe and balance back up and talk to your baby explaining what you are doing and how you are regulating your emotions and thoughts. This role modelling of emotional intelligence and conscious awareness introduces the child to these concepts and abilities. It is a great head start for them and building a positive self esteem. As they grow and live life you can continue to teach these skills in playful ways enabling them to succeed in life – to live consciously, with self awareness and connection to their hearts.

There is much you can do through pregnancy to help your developing child. Mostly it is all centered around being loving, taking good care of yourself and connecting to your baby. Play music you like, read kids books to your baby in your belly. When they are born that music and those stories will be soothing to them, familiar, a safe space. Make your home a nourishing, beautiful space you enjoy being in, then baby will feel loved and secure there too. Most of this Mothers do automatically. It is easy and natural. Nothing fancy needed. Just love. You will do fine. Enjoy the experience. Blessed BE. Amen.

By Jodi-Anne (22 Aug 2015).

Further free guidance on healing techniques and self love are available on the Life Insights and Healing from child abuse pages of this website.