Many of us spend our days at a desk, hunched over a keyboard. Take a few moments and wake up your spine with some easy seated yoga stretches - like a little massage for your spine!
6/3/2021 0 Comments
What is self compassion?
Having compassion for oneself is really no different than having compassion for others. Having compassion also means that you offer understanding and kindness to others when they fail or make mistakes, rather than judging them harshly.
Self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself. Instead of just ignoring your pain with a “stiff upper lip” mentality, you stop to tell yourself “this is really difficult right now,” how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment? (Dr. Kristen Neff / www.self-compassion.org).
How do I practice self compassion?
How would you treat a friend? How do you think things might change if you responded to yourself in the same way you typically respond to a close friend when he or she is suffering?
Change your critical self talk. By acknowledging your self-critical voice and reframing its observations in a more friendly way, you will eventually form the blueprint for changing how you relate to yourself long-term.
Identify what we really want. Remember that if you really want to motivate yourself, love is more powerful than fear. Reframing your inner dialogue so that it is more encouraging and supportive helps get you there. (Dr. Kristen Neff / www.self-compassion.org).
Why is self compassion so hard for me?
We may have learned through our environment, school, family, or job that we are not worthy of self compassion. We may not have seen it modeled for us or may have been told that we are not deserving of care.
We may have also been rewarded for achieving big things or being "perfect" and thus learned that our worth is only tied in with being "good." As adults, we know that it is rare that something will actually be perfect, but we stay stuck on the hamster wheel, convinced we must attain the unattainable before we can be kind to ourselves.
Many of us also believe that if we are kind to ourselves, we are being self indulgent and will no longer carry out our responsibilities, complete tasks, or do things well. We may think we will become "lazy." In fact, by speaking negatively to ourselves, criticizing ourselves, and treating ourselves as less than, we block ourselves from truly being the best, most authentic version we can be.
We block our own agency to go after what we want, shy away from new opportunities, create anxiety in our lives by telling ourselves we aren't good enough, and generally create an increased stress load on our minds and bodies. This increased stress can actually cause us to underperform, feel distracted, not complete tasks, feel angry or irritable, and have difficulty connecting to others. It can also lead us to stay in situations that make us unhappy or unfulfilled because we subconsciously believe we don't deserve anything different.
Where do I start with self compassion if it feels so hard?
For many of us, self-compassion is a mountain that seems impossible to climb. So where do we start to begin to alleviate the stressful burden of criticizing ourself?
Neutrality is a step on the road of self compassion. Neutral asks us to simply observe what we are doing and what we are saying to ourselves or about ourselves. Rather than indifference, neutrality is a curiosity that allows us to stay present to what is happening at any moment and start to interrupt the patterns in your brain that taught you that you didn't deserve kindness or that criticism was the only way to motivate you.
Next time you notice that you're criticizing yourself, try this simple activity. Pretend that you are a scientist in a lab or a wildlife expert on safari. Narrate what is happening for you in that moment.
"There she goes again, telling herself that she's terrible at public speaking and is going to mess up this presentation and lose her job."
"Ah yes, she's yet again telling herself she's a bad Mom after looking at Instagram while her baby is eating."
"I'm observing that she is again telling herself she doesn't deserve to have pizza for dinner with her friends because she needs to look good for her wedding."
Notice how it feels to observe with neutrality. Notice how it interrupts your pattern, Over time, this process begins to rewire your brain, taking you out of the old pattern of criticism and shifting you into a curious, nonjudgmental stance. And then, our old friend, self compassion slowly begins to emerge.
NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM™) is a therapeutic model for addressing developmental, relational, and attachment trauma with a psychodynamic and body centered approach. NARM™ focuses on combining awareness of one's own body sensations with psychological and cognitive thoughts in the present moment.
The foundation of NARM™ is the belief that as children, we learned identities and survival strategies from our families and environments of origin in order to protect the attachment relationship with our parents and caregivers. NARM™ is a comprehensive clinical approach that addresses relational and attachment trauma by working with early, unconscious patterns of disconnection that deeply affect our identity, emotions, physiology, behavior and relationships.
Working simultaneously with these diverse elements creates a radical shift that has profound clinical implications for healing complex trauma. In a NARM™ session, the focus is placed on working with your nervous system and present moment thoughts in the here and now instead of focusing on stories from the past. Through NARM™ work you can expect healing through an increased capacity for connection and relationships, a sense of calm, and restored capacity for well-being.
For more info please see:
Intro to NARM
NARM Self Assessment Tool
What is embodiment? Dr. Arielle Schwarz says “Embodiment is the practice of attending to your sensations. Awareness of your body serves as a guiding compass to help you feel more in charge of the course of your life. [This] awareness provides a foundation for empathy, helps you make healthy decisions, and gives important feedback about your relationships with others. Embodiment... applies mindfulness and movement practices to awaken body awareness as a tool for healing.”
More than just bubble baths or watching tv, embodied self care means connecting with our brain and our body to tune into what we need and want. Our brains and bodies are meant to work together in harmony but many times, because of exhaustion, busyness, and a fast-paced world, we disconnect from ourselves. By practicing embodied self care, we can connect with a sense of agency over taking care of ourselves in a way that makes sense for us, making us healthier, increasing our capacity, and allow us to connect more with those around us.
In pursuit of supporting women in their personal wellness journey, we are so excited to be hosting a women's embodied self-care retreat this summer!
The topics we will explore include: accessing wellness through the power of our nervous system and brain, knowing yourself and how to best support you, understanding your roadblocks to self-care, and building a personal wellness plan. Each week we will learn, connect, and practice via zoom.
Tuesdays 7:-8:30 pm - July 13, 20, 27, August 3, 10, 17
Cost: $350 (limited sliding scale spots of $250 available)
Somatic Experiencing differs from other forms of therapy; it is not talk therapy but instead is a psychobiological and physiological approach that works with the nervous system. To understand how a mind-body therapy like SE™ works, first you must understand how the human nervous system works and what happens to the nervous system when we experience trauma.
So, what happens when humans are exposed to trauma? We have all heard of fight or flight, but there is another response that occurs, called freeze. These reactions are a result of our Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), which is split up into two parts, the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS).
What happens when the body determines it can neither fight or flee? The body freezes. Freezing, numbing, dissociating is a result of this self protection mechanism – the body slams on the emergency brake and immobilizes you, both mentally and physically. There are many biological reasons behind this – the person or animal attacking you may lose interest when you freeze or you may be less noticeable were you in the wild. Equally as importantly, the freezing allows you not to feel or to feel less intensely what is happening to you. This response is just as common as fight or flight, especially in children, who are not developmentally capable of protecting themselves in many ways.
Our nervous system is made to swing back and forth like a pendulum between a sympathetic state and a parasympathetic state. With those who have experienced trauma, your nervous system may get “stuck” on or off. Your body and mind learn that the world is a perpetually unsafe place, and so it holds on to the best way it knows to feel safe. Your nervous system may alternate between being stuck ON, which feels like anxiety and hypervigilance, constantly sensing danger, or stuck OFF, dissociated and hyperaroused, constantly unaware of your surroundings.
SE™ works with the symptomology that is held in the nervous system to resolve the trauma. Talk therapy and simply processing the event cannot fully access the adaptations the nervous system has made as a result of trauma. SE™ does not require re-telling or re-living the event but rather works to renegotiate physiological responses through tools like titration, tracking, pendulation, and resourcing.
About the Author: Trisha Wolfe, SEP, NARM, CRM Teacher
I am grateful to be able to offer this work to the Central Ohio area, which is home to many somatic practitioners.