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Move With Deb the Podcast


Aug 24, 2021

Dr. Sarno taught that unprocessed emotions, particularly anger and rage were responsible for chronic pain, back pain.

Now with Trauma informed care and Polyvagal Theory the conversation has shifted to safety and fear.

Underlying it all is this concept of Emotional Awareness.
And more important (in my opinion) creating safety with Emotional Experiencing. 

There's research that shows, the more granular one is in being able to describe their emotions, the better sense of well-being one has. 

In this episode I discuss the reasons why we want to do this practice and the simple skill of the cognitive-somatic tool I call "I Notice."

Here's the link to the emotion wheel article I mention.  https://flowingdata.com/2020/03/20/wheel-of-emotional-words/

Please feel free to reach out to me via instagram @movewithdeb or book a curiosity call at https://calendly.com/paincoachdeb

My website is www.debmalkin.com

Transcript

[00:00:00] Welcome to Move With Deb. I'm Deb your friendly neuroplastician. And this is a podcast that explores the relationship between the body and the mind from a health at every size, judgment, free perspective. I teach you how developing a new internal conversation based on curiosity, self friendship and simple neuro-plasticity techniques can rewire your bodymind out of pain and emotional overwhelm to help you build the rich full life that you want to live. Disclaimer, this is not a replacement for medical care.

[00:00:50] Hello, everyone. And welcome to move with Deb. This is episode number 28. And I want to encourage you. This is an encouraging pep talk of a podcast. Today my suggestion is that you owe it to yourself, to tell yourself, the truth about your thoughts and feelings. 

[00:01:21] And I promise you that this is a key piece of mind, body healing. This is a key piece of changing your relationship to anxiety, to pain, and to fear. 

[00:01:37] So how do we do this? Gonna try to keep it short and sweet. 

[00:01:42] My suggestion is to start using the phrase. "I notice." 

[00:01:48] So right now, I noticed that I am feeling nervous. 

[00:01:53] And nervous. Feels like a little bit of tightness in my throat. My breath is a little short in my chest. And my head feels a little wiggly. 

[00:02:05] And I'm just noticing that. 

[00:02:07] There is a great tool called an emotion wheel. The emotional word wheel by Jeffrey Roberts. Here's a great quote from a website called Flowing Data. 

[00:02:20] " I work with people who have limited emotional vocabulary and as a result, the intensity of their negative emotions and experiences is heightened. Because they can't describe their feelings. Especially their negative feelings. This is why the list is heavily focused on negative emotion/experiences. Being able to clearly identify how we're feeling has been shown to reduce this intensity of experience because it reengages our rational mind." 

[00:02:55] So I like to. Explain this process of emotional awareness as like a dance. And this noticing language, this cultivating what I call our lazy detective, allows us to sense into an experience and also step out of it. We're creating this habit of building this neutral relaxed observer, which by its nature curiosity, is an antidote to reactivity. 

[00:03:29] So it's this little cognitive somatic awareness practice, it's like a little dance. It's a little inside touching in, pulling back and not analyzing, but just witnessing. You don't have to know why all the time. Why implies. That there's some reason that something is happening. And that if we just fixed that reason, then it wouldn't be happening anymore. In some ways that's true when you pull the whole view back of the mind, body experience, what is happening? Is that you're having a thought and a feeling which creates a sensation in our body. So it's not the why of the thought and the feeling. It's kind of more the how of the thought and the feeling because we are human, we have thoughts and feelings. So learning to not get sucked into the content of the story, of the thought, of the why, of the trauma, of the experience, it can really help to build this cognitive sematic Metta. Awareness practice. I am a human being. I am having a thought. I am having a feeling. I noticed that I'm feeling nervous. I noticed that I'm feeling anxious. This is what these sensations feel like in my body. 

[00:05:01] When we use the emotion wheel, it gives us so many words to help us explain and describe and get creative and be able to tell ourselves the truth about how we're feeling, what we're feeling without this quality of shame that comes with believing that we shouldn't be feeling. That when we allow negative emotion to be felt and witnessed within ourselves then there is no need for shame. Shame creates this resistance to what is. And what is happening when you're experiencing a negative emotion is that you are experiencing a negative emotion. If you look on the emotion wheel. Fearful expands out to threatened, rejected, weak, insecure, anxious, which expands out to helpless, frightened, overwhelmed, worried, inadequate, inferior, worthless, insignificant, excluded, persecuted, nervous, exposed. 

[00:06:16] Now of course those feelings are uncomfortable. When we believe that those feelings mean something about us, we are not going to want to experience them because in our mind body experience we have told ourselves if we feel this, then it must be true. 

[00:06:41] But it's not true as in a verifiable fact about your worthiness, about who you are as a person. The only thing that is true is that this is the emotion that you are feeling. So that's what's important. Because when we tell ourselves that we shouldn't feel something or if you're like, I wish I didn't feel this, or even when you get lost in the fantasy of um, my life would be better if I only felt good things all the time. You're not telling yourself the truth. The truth is that this is the feeling you're having right now. And that is okay. Because human beings feel all the things. And so when we have a feeling, if we tell ourselves I noticed that I am feeling inadequate, we can offer ourselves some compassion. We could also say to ourselves what is the thought that you were thinking that is creating this feeling of inadequate? Well, when I think about that, then the thought that I'm thinking right now, Is that I don't know how to share this tool, that I don't know how to explain this well. That I don't have the skills to do the work that I'm doing, maybe that is what creates the feeling of inadequate. 

[00:08:06] And now I have a lot of evidence that, that thought isn't true. And also our thoughts are not true as in the same thing as this table is a table. it's a sentence in my mind. I can find lots of evidence for the opposite. But what's important is also to just notice. 

[00:08:25] This is the thought that's in my mind. 

[00:08:27] And then this is a sensation that is in my body. 

[00:08:31] When I am able to step back and witness that these are just thoughts that I think sometimes, I can give myself grace. Give myself love. Speak to that part of me that always thinks she's failing. I can meet her with humor and say like, okay, brain this is like your favorite thought to think. Like, I really appreciate that you're trying to keep me safe. That you're trying to protect me by like telling me, in these kind of harsh words to like, not be vulnerable, to not try new things, because what if they're scary? What if we fail? What if, what if, what if, what if. 

[00:09:15] Or what if we succeed? And what if then we have to do more? What if? So there's a way in which I like to frame that all my thoughts and my feelings and my sensations in my body are working in my benefit, they are here to keep me safe. I can also choose to have gratitude for this, kind of unhelpful in trying to be helpful, part of me that's just doing its best. And I can you know, pat myself on the head and say, yes, thank you for wanting to protect me, but I got this. 

[00:09:57] I am willing to say things and maybe be bad at it. I am willing to try really hard to explain these concepts to people. You know, that what it is, that you've learned for your own mind body, for your own healing process can help other people. I'm willing to try. And it doesn't mean that I won't have this thought again. I might have this thought again. 

[00:10:23] I've spent a lot of years thinking thoughts that are just like this. And it doesn't mean anything, other than it is a well-practiced thought. I have a well myelinated neural pathway that loves to go there. I'm in the process of rewiring my brain and learning how to do this is just noticing what I'm thinking, noticing what I'm feeling, creating peace with that, allowing that process. That's the cognitive somatic awareness dance that we do. 

[00:10:58] And how we practice is important. We practice with fear and urgency. We will have more fear and urgency. If we practice with a sense of lightness. Humor. Peace. Love and compassion, for ourselves. Love and compassion for the child in us that wishes that things had been different when we were younger. 

[00:11:24] But we get to make things different for that child who lives inside of us now. By letting them tell the truth about how they're feeling and then offering comfort. When we're in this practice, we can begin to notice what does pushing through feel like? That's a lot of what we create for ourselves when we are in pain. This sense of having to push through. This belief that, you know, I don't have time to feel this. I don't have time to feel sad, angry, frustrated, I have this long list of things that I have to do. I don't have time for these feelings. 

[00:12:05] What I'd like to suggest is we don't have time to not have these feelings. That making time, but more importantly, learning to practice, how to allow a feeling is different than expressing a feeling. It's different than sharing a feeling with another person. It's just the practice of noticing, with a sense of peace. Noticing with a sense of welcome. 

[00:12:36] I want to train my brain that emotions are not a problem. So when I am in resistance to a feeling arising in my body. I'm literally teaching my brain no. We can't have this. No, there's no room for this or No, I'm afraid to feel this. Literally, I have clients who tell me, I can't feel this. I can't feel this, again.

[00:13:02] And when they say that statement, Their body mind believes them. And therefore will help you in not feeling that again. By giving you something else to feel. Or by just taking you out of the whole picture. Sending you into overwhelm, sending you into fight flight, sending your brain off down the drain. Because you're not willing to feel something painful. To be with yourself, as it hurts. And the more that you get good at creating emotional allowance and making room for feelings to be felt, feelings get quieter. They, they just aren't as scary anymore. And maybe you don't believe me. Because you haven't experienced it. Maybe you need some other support for this. Which might mean working with a coach or working with a therapist. Working with the tool of somatic tracking. It's great practice tool for being safe with the sensations that arise in our body. Or being safe with the emotions that we feel. 

[00:14:11] So when we are in resistance. And we're not allowing the feeling to be felt it's usually because we believe that it means something about who we are. So. If you can't get to the feeling part. Start with the thinking part. If you're like, I'm afraid to have this feeling. Ask yourself. Why? What am I making that mean? What will I believe about myself? If I allow this feeling to be felt in my body. And just see what comes up. 

[00:14:45] So like when I suggest that you sit with your feelings, what thought or sensation arises? Now notice that. We want to develop this practice of noticing. 

[00:14:57] Maybe you have the thought. What good will this do? Maybe you have this just giant, like pushing away. No. Rejection. Like if your body spoke it would feel like you're pushing something away. 

[00:15:13] Or defeat. Nothing will change. Right. Just like deflated feeling in your body. What good will this do? What does that feel like for you? Is that a thought that pops up? Any thought can be felt. What is the felt sense of that thought? Start paying attention. 

[00:15:36] You can also do this with positive feelings. We don't only have to deal with negative feelings. Sometimes it's just good to start with positive feelings or neutral feelings, neutral thoughts, neutral feelings, pay attention to those. The same mind, body process. 

[00:15:56] So, you know, I don't want to send you into overload and overwhelm. This noticing, witnessing, self kindness practice will open your window of tolerance. And help you be with yourself during all of it. So we get to make that entry point be wherever you want, because the thing is, it doesn't matter. We don't have to deal with the biggest scariest thing. We can deal with the smallest most innocuous thing first. Because it is about building this practice, about building this cognitive somatic awareness piece. So. If starting with your pain seems too hard start with something you enjoy. Start with a smile that you get on your face when you see your pet. 

[00:16:50] What is the thought that you're thinking. 

[00:16:53] What is the sensation in your body? 

[00:16:56] Where does your mind go? 

[00:16:57] I invite you to notice what arises. And then welcome all that arises. Hello fear. Hello doubt. Hello pain. Hello joy. Hello ecstasy. Hello kindness. Hello love. Hello anger. 

[00:17:15] You are welcome here. I don't need to kick you out. I also might not give you all of my attention. Let's just sit next to each other and share space. Peace. Like meeting a skittish cat. Or a dog who's very afraid. If you hold out your hand, they might run away. So you start by just sitting down. Being calm. Allowing them to come to you. Allowing them to see that you are safe. 

[00:17:47] That's what we can create for ourselves with our own thoughts and feelings. I cannot express to you enough but this is an essential. part of healing. I've had clients roll their eyes at me. Cross their arms in disbelief. And tell me that they think it's a load of bullshit and that they literally don't have time. They don't have time to be with their feelings. And I just want to suggest it's because they think they have to do something about their feelings. And that it requires other people to comply with them, other people to change their behavior. Things in the world to be different. 

[00:18:33] I need to know that I'm financially secure. I need my mother to feel well. I need my children to stop screaming. I need the, you know, climate to stop changing. I need. I need something. Yes, we all want things to be different. But that's not this process. 

[00:18:51] This process is quiet. It is internal and it is for you. Your feelings are for you. 

[00:19:01] They are you talking to you. 

[00:19:04] And if you don't listen they just get louder. And they keep showing up. They just want to be heard. There is a part of you that just wants to be acknowledged. And when we only train ourselves to get that acknowledgement and validation externally it is very challenging, we just make it 10 times harder, a hundred times harder. Because then we can reinforce this story that other people don't know how to take care of us. That if only my parents had been better, if only my life had been better when I was young. Then I would be okay. 

[00:19:46] The problem with that is that, that is in the past. We don't have a time machine. We cannot undo things that have happened in the past. 

[00:19:54] What happens in your body mind as an adult, we can be that self witness. We can be that loving, compassionate listener. To soothe ourselves. To say. I hear you. I am with you. 

[00:20:10] And to just let that feeling be felt. And you will be amazed at how quickly an emotion will move through us. 

[00:20:19] When we teach ourselves that emotions are problems. Or that they indicate that there is some kind of systemic problem with who we are. Some kind of pathology, we don't spend any time getting to know this part of us. We don't spend any time practicing this very quiet, relaxed, neutral observer. To getting to know this felt sense. This absolutely universal human experience of feeling. 

[00:20:51] Feelings are not negative or positive. They're not good or bad. They just are. 

[00:20:58] So that is my best pitch. For feeling all the feels, for caring for ourselves when we are feeling. When we allow ourselves to be seen and witnessed by ourselves we build a sense of unshakeable self-trust. I feel like I can go on and on and on and on. So, I don't know that pitching this any harder is going to help. I'm just gonna suggest that you try it. 

[00:21:30] Just notice what comes up in your mind when you listen to the words that I say on this podcast. Even just say I'm listening to Deb and I noticed that I'm feeling x. That's the entire practice. Try it out. Let me know what you think. 

[00:21:46] I'm here for you. And if you're curious about my eight week pain recovery program. Please message me. Hop on a curiosity call, go visit my website, debmalkin.com. Visit me on Instagram @ movewithedeb. I am here for you to help in any way I can. Help you shift your pain. Help you connect with this felt sense of being okay.