⬅️ “JOURNEY to RECOVERY, a 10-step process” Although everyone’s journey of mental health recovery is unique, this roadmap works for many…. Recovery takes time, so the bulk of our effort is spent in steps 7-9.
‼️ The moment ACoAs anticipate upcoming stressful situation that’s familiar, many of us tend to hold our breath, activating the fight / flight / freeze response. This increases body stiffness & anxiety.
♥️ By making intelligent USE of the ParaSympathetic Nervous System (PSNS) we can hack our body’s nervous system for stress relief. (See Intro post).
To encourage its activation, we can stimulate the vagus nerve (VN) – the longest cranial nerve, which runs from the brain all the way to the abdomen, & branches into various key organs such as heart, lungs & digestive tract.
It’s a counter-balance to the fight / flight system, so stimulating it can create a calming effect throughout the body.
(Symptoms of VN dysfunction).
PHYSICAL ways to stimulate the VN
Since the human mind processes one thing at a time, when we’re totally focused on the rhythm of our breathing it’s harder to focus on pressure & pain. (MORE….)
ACTIVITY (“Nasal breathing & the brain“)
• Inhale through nose <— & exhale through mouth —>
• Slower – aim for 6 breaths per minute
• Deeper, from the belly – as you inhale, expand abdomen & widen rib cage
• Exhale longer than inhale – to trigger the Relaxation Response
Oral – gargle loudly with water, chew gum or suck on hard candy
• loud singing stimulates vocal cords, activating the VN
• laughter: lifts mood, & boosts the immune system
Nutrition – a probiotic & Omega-3-rich diet strengthens the VN brain-gut axis
• eating fiber stimulates vagus impulses to the brain, slowing gut movements, making us feel fuller after meals
Self-massage – gentle pressure on ribcage, & both abdomen sides (viscera)
• up & down the neck & directly behind the ears into the hairline
• EFT tapping, to move energy & emotions through the body (works on dissociation)
• palpate temples by hand or with air-filled ball
• feet – gently or firmly touch / massage them.
SITE : “7 Ways to stimulate Vagus Nerve” (psychologically)
SELF-HELP for Dissociation
Connecting – Withdrawal from others is a common symptom of trauma. So it’s important to regularly stay in touch with SAFE support groups, therapy, friends, family. Ask for help. Get hugs!
Grounding our mind & body is the key to dealing with dissociation – connecting us back into the here-&-now.- via mindfulness (not meditation).
It’s an ability we already have, we just need to be taught how to access it. Some methods :
— Taking short pauses we insert into our everyday schedule
— Inner Child Guided Visualizations – lying down, but can lead to sleep
— Listening to Recovery podcasts – seated, walking
— Merge mindfulness with other activities such as yoga, sports, standing in line , long walks, house cleaning …
Movement – research says aerobic exercise can be an effective therapy for people with PTSD, about 30 minutes a day.
Self-care – avoid alcohol & drugs, eat balanced meals, sleep 7–9 hrs a night, relieve stress with creative & fun activities
PSYCHOTHERAPY for Dissociation
🔸CBT = Cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s designed to help you notice, identify & change negative thoughts & stop harmful behavior.
🔸EMDR = Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing. May help to stop nightmares, flashbacks or other PTSD symptoms.
🔸Hypnotherapy. It may feel easier to explore & process painful memories when in a relaxed state. Only to be done by a professional certified in hypnosis, dissociative disorders & PTSD
🔸Family Therapy = It may be helpful to get support from a spouse, partner, or other loved one if available
• Be able to see parts of others different from our own
• Catch on to fake reopen & their facades
• Comprehend layers of our own truth
• Develop genuine, heart-felt compassion
• Gain humility & respect for Self & others
• See that “bad” behavior isn’t always what it seems
• Solve problem creatively
• Truly understand another person’s perspective
NEXT : Power – Negative Worker Types #1