Was your mind blown as much as mine while reading these chapters? Learning about the “trauma body” fascinates me while learning about mind/body approaches to healing gives me so much hope for myself and my clients.
While reading about the trauma body in chapter 4 I had many flashbacks back to my childhood and other times in my life when my body seemed to fail me….or was it? I used to see my panic attacks and fainting spells as a bodily curse but now I see them as gifts or messages from my body tell me something very important.
I fainted in the shower when I was 16 years old…. just out of the blue passed out cold. I woke up in my mom’s terrified arms. She had called 911 and as I came to I said, “please don’t let the firefighters see me naked”. My appearance and reputation was everything to me… I mean I was a sophomore in high school so it goes with the territory but regardless I carried an unhealthy amount of anxiety and stress around and it was only a matter of time until my body told me something is wrong. Shortly after this event I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease. Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder that can cause hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid. With this disease, your immune system attacks your thyroid enough so that it can become damaged and can’t make enough thyroid hormones.
I learned that thyroid disorders ran in my family so I chalked it up to being genetic however as I’ve gotten older and learned more about epigenetic and emotions I can gather that the pressure to be “perfect”and the stress of keeping up at school probably contributed to me fainting and developing Hasimotos. Click here for a more detailed dive into the mysteries of the Thyroid.
My body started to send me even more alarming messages when I started to have panic attacks at seemingly random times. My first one was during the middle of my first class in college to which I enduring by sweating it out and gripping my desk as if I were drowning above water. The second was while I was in a wedding in my old home church about to walk down the isle as a bridesmaid…. the panic attacks persisted randomly in the years to come until I had had enough and finally started to listen to my body. I began to search for anything and everything unconventional since medication only took me so far. I found meditation, journaling, experiential therapy and nonlinear movement. The Nonlinear Movement Method transformed my mind and body and allowed me to listen to them both. I found that I could reset my nervous system and that I could actually change the way may thoughts affected me. It wasn’t magic it was the mind + body approach to therapy and it changed my life and my work with others.
If you’re interested in joining my next Nonlinear Movement/Creating Your Calm program click here and use code: EARLYBIRDBOOKCLUBER for 15% off.
So yeah these 2 chapters impacted me a lot and made me so happy that Dr. Nicole LePera is bringing this message to the world.
Also if you have any psychological symptoms like IBS, stomach aches, headaches and or an autoimmune disorder like me you might benefit from taking a look at what you are putting in and on your body. “90% of the neurotransmitter serotonin, commonly referred to as “the happy hormone”(though it is also involved in sleep, memory, and learning), is made in our gut.”
Dr. LaPera continues to write that our intestinal lining can become inflamed when we consume foods that cause damage to that lining like sugars, processed foods and inflammatory fats….. This collection of microbes lays the groundwork for a condition called “gut dysbiosis”, in which the balance of your inner ecosystem favors the “bad bugs”. -Ch 4 of How To Do The Work.
When this happens in the body research shows that the inflammation in the body can cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the brain, and an inflamed brain can lead to a host of neurological, psychological, and psychiatric conditions. When we feed our body the nutrients that it needs the body learns how to use energy from alternate forms of fuel, such as fat and protein….in essence the body and brain are getting what they need and functioning in an optimal way.
I’ve lived on Levothyroxin since I was 16 years old and had 3 healthy pregnancies and 3 healthy babies however after I had each of my babies my body felt off and my thyroid levels fluctuated. I always know when my thyroid is off because I have brain fog, depression, increased anxiety and lack motivation. I recently found an easier way to nourish my body and mind that also feels like it’s feeding my soul! Sakara Life is a wellness company anchored in plants as medicine. They deliver organic, plant-rich meals and functional products to doorsteps nationwide. Their plant-based meals and products are backed by cutting-edge nutrition science and traditional healing wisdom to give your body what it needs to thrive. I was recently going through one of mental and psychological funks so I decided to try their Level II Detox cleanse and 5 days later I became a dedicated believer in their food as medicine approach to healing. In 5 days I was able to reset my gut and my mental health plus do so much good for my thyroid. I highly recommend their products if you’re looking to take a mind-body approach to therapy. Feel free to use my code: XOCHRISSYP for 20% off your first order. (Side note: Not indicated for anyone struggling with disorder eating.)
Okay I’ve talked your ear off enough here are your journal questions!
Ch. 4 Question:
- Do you see a correlation with your current maladaptive behaviors to your past or your childhood?
- Has your body ever screamed at you to listen to it like mine did when it was 16 or like Dr. LePerla’s did when she experienced a series of fainting spells?
- What unresolved trauma could be laying in the fabric of your being?
- When you experience stress how does your immune system respond?
- What is one way you will address your nervous system to get out of Fight/Flight/Freeze?
- Do you see a correlation between the food you eat and the way you feel physically and mentally?
- What did you think about the Polyvagal Theory that trauma lives in our bodies and continues to shape our world?
- How has your vagus nerve affected your “learning brain”? For example when I was in elementary school I struggled with a learning disability and also lived in constant fear that if I accidentally didn’t follow the rules I would get spanked by the principal….Yes I know that is F’d up! I went to a strict Christian school where the principal could spank kids that didn’t behave. I just put the pieces together that in those early years of learning I lived in constant fear of getting sent to the principal’s office…..NO WONDER I HAD SUCH A HARD TIME LEARNING! My vagus nerve was in constant fight, flight, or freeze and has learned to be like that for decades. I’m just now in my 30’s undoing this damage.
- What are some of your vagus nerve triggers?
- What are three ways you will exercise your vagus nerve in order to harness it’s power to heal your nervous system?
Ch. 5 Questions:
- What were some of your dreams from childhood if you can remember?
- Did you learn to listen to your intuition as a child?
- How were bodies talked about in your family growing up?
- What is your current relationship like with your body?
- What was your reaction to learning about the vagal nerve and ways we can train it to rebalance our nervous system?
- What approach appeals to you best? Top-Down approach to healing like meditation or Down-Up approach like ice baths and exercise?
- How are you going to commit to listening to your body? List 3 realistic ways you will listen to your body this week.
Don’t forget to log onto our Zoom call meeting to discuss the rest of the book Thursday April 29th at 5:00pm PST. Click HERE for details on the Zoom call!
With hope & healing,