Ready or not, here goes, this is the biggest thing that you can know about how to heal yourself ....The Body can only Heal when it is Relaxed. Big bold statement - because most of us don't actually know how, or have the skills, to get our nervous systems to REST. Our form of relaxing might be zoning out in front of the TV, having some drinks, taking a bath - while those might feel 'relaxing' to you at this point - what really needs to rest is your internal self. Your PNI system which includes the emotional-nervous-immune-hormonal super-system. Our ever interconnected mindbody. So do external things, or putting external things into your body wont be able to truly nurture, satisfy, and activate your inner world to rest, because the pattern of arousal is locked in our cells.
Have you seen all the adds out there for health, healing, weight loss, transformation, etc? Do you know that NONE of those can work if your nervous system is overloaded? We can only truly heal when our body is in a resting state. If we are activated, hyper-alert, and in flight-or-flight mode the only thing we can think about is survival. We get tunnel vision when our sympathetic nervous system is activated and our vision is on surviving.... not thriving. It's a perfect mechanism, and the reason we are alive today, HOWEVER in most of us it is in a constant state of arousal, and our systems never actually rest.
The wild thing is that often times we think we are at rest, but our insides are actually on alert. Some clues to know if this is happening in your system would be thinks like digestive issues, sleep disturbance, difficulty concentrating, being defensive, or feeling anxious. Have you noticed that our bodies and our minds are not actually separate? Perhaps you were concerned about something at work and it effected your sleep? Or maybe when you've struggled with a relationship you also have struggled staying on task and focused throughout your day?
Our mindbody system is beautiful and amazing and completely interconnected. When our thoughts are stressed than our bodies are also stressed. A stressor “is a threat, real or perceived, that tends to disturb homeostasis. The factors that universally lead to stress: uncertainty, the lack of information, and the loss of control.” When using that definition you may be able to see more clearly that you in fact do have a lot of 'stressors' in your life.
Western medicine historically has disconnected this unit and doctors have become more and more specialized with a certain part or organ in the body. The result has been that we have been able to keep people less and less healthy and it seems they go from one illness/disease to another. It's important to look at the whole being and the root cause of an illness or disease. When we get to the space where it originates that is when we can truly heal someone and truly find the answer we are seeking. There might be an emotion at the root cause, perhaps a repressed emotion such as fear or anger. Overall there is more of a trend at holistic health, though there is still much left to travel on this road to diagnosing people as a functioning mindbody unit.
We can make true changes, lasting growth, or transformation when we develop the skill of activating our parasympathetic nervous system, what we would call increasing our parasympathetic tone. Think sympathetic being alert and para is the opposite so parasympathetic is resting. Resting then involves the entire system of the emotional-nervous-immune-hormonal super-system. Relieving us from the real or perceived perception of threat.
For some people their bodies have been wired this way from childhood when the environment they were in included things like parental fighting, an addicted parent, physical/emotional/verbal abuse, neglect whether physical or emotional, or a chaotic environment. This can produce dramatic changes in that PNI super system that last a lifetime and lead to serious illness and disease. It's easy to be unaware of what happened in our past, or even sometimes what's happening currently in our internal world, however the body always tells us. Whether we remember in our minds or not, the body knows. The body holds our traumas and fears. These can show up by someone not feeling their body at all or by feeling it all of the time and further down the road it leads to serious illnesses/diseases.
Healing begins when we start to notice our sensations once again, and when we can re-connect to them. An example is the sensation of hunger or of being full or maybe the sensation of an emotional response that occurs in our gut. It takes time to re-build and re-map those pathways we call interoceptive pathways. The wonderful news is that it is POSSIBLE. And with that possibility comes the ability to re-wire your brain and change the chemical makeup of your body. These can be lasting changes rooted in your body creating freedom, healing, and release. This is what Body Based Therapy is all about, this is what my passion and purpose in life is - guiding people on their journey. And let me tell you it is an amazing ride!