Category Archives: Anxiety tips

Read tips and techniques that can help you reduce the symptoms of anxiety

How to feel safe in unsafe times: find safety in your body

Find safety in your body

Mama Mia… here we go again.  As the second wave of Covid-19 hits Australia, it feels like we will never get back to ‘normal’ life again.  This week someone said to me “it feels like I’m looking at a tsunami wave coming towards me, but there’s no point even trying to run away – you won’t make it, there is nowhere safe.”  Many of my clients are suffering from anxiety and not feeling safe in their world.  When the world around you is spinning, the only place you can find safety is in your body.  Your body is a ‘resource’ to help you feel safe again and reduce the symptoms of anxiety.

Here are my favorite ways to find safety in your body:

Grounding

There are approximately 200,000 sensory nerves on the soles of your feet.  They sense pressure, texture, temperature, and more. Sensory nerves send chemical information to the brain on the status of the environment around you. Telling your brain whether the environment is safe or unsafe. So let’s use those nerves to tell your brain that your body is safe.  

Take off your shoes and socks, feel the ground beneath your feet. Really focus your attention on what you feel beneath your feet – textures, temperature, shapes, pressure, painful bits (avoid those bindis!)

If you can go outside and touch the ground that’s brilliant. But even letting your feet contact the carpet or tiles is enough. 

The messages sent to your brain will be telling your nervous system about the state of your immediate physical surroundings. Telling your brain that you are in a place of safety, bringing you into the present moment. We’re tricking your brain into focusing on the physical surroundings instead of your anxious thoughts. Helping you feel calmer and safe in your body.

Grounded

Self-massage, tapping, and pummelling

Sometimes when we get anxious or feel unsafe, we mentally disconnect from our bodies. Applying gentle pressure on our sensory nerves through massage, tapping, or pummelling is a quick way to remind your brain that you have a body beneath your neck.

Starting at your feet, squeeze-and-release the sole of your foot with your fingers and thumb. Move from the pads of your toes all the way to your heel. The pressure will reawaken those sensory nerves, reminding your brain that we’re focusing on your body, not your anxious thoughts.

When you’ve finished your foot, work your way up to your calf muscle and into your upper thigh. Gently (and the emphasis is on ‘gently’ because we want you to relax) massage your leg. Perhaps using your hand to softly squeeze and release the muscles. Or maybe tapping with your fingertips or pummelling with a soft fist.

Swap to the other leg and work your way up to your thigh.

Using softly-closed fists, gently pummel your buttock muscles and your lower back.

Moving up to your belly, place the flat of your hand just below your ribcage. Take a moment to sense the warmth from your hand through your skin/clothes. Slowly circle the flat of your hand clockwise around your belly. (For the directionally-challenged of you – start below the ribcage, move your hands to the left, then down to your pubic area, over to the right, and then continue in your circle. By going in a clockwise direction, we follow the direction of your large intestine).

Bring your hand up to your breast bone, your sternum. With your fingertips gently tap up and down your sternum bone, bringing awareness to this area. This can be quite painful, so go easy on yourself.

Take one hand to your opposite arm, squeezing and releasing the muscles from your upper arm down to your hands. Hands can take a lot of pressure, so don’t be afraid to go a bit heavier here with the pressure.

Massage your opposite shoulder using the pads of your fingers. Then swap.

Squeeze and release the muscles on the back of your neck with one hand. Note. Avoid the front of your throat – there are many delicate structures here e.g. thyroid gland and blood vessels.

Use the pads of your fingers to gently tap all over your face and scalp.

You should now be able to feel all of your body. Perhaps even sense a gentle glow throughout your body.

Diaphragmatic breathing

Yoga, Pilates, and Body Psychotherapy all have one thing in common – deep diaphragmatic breathing. We can override our nervous system – press the reset button if you like – with deep diaphragmatic breathing.   When we breathe deeply, the long slow exhale tells our nervous system that it can switch back into the ‘rest and digest’ parasympathetic state.  That it is safe.

Here are some simple types of calming diaphragmatic breathing:

Square breathing

4-7-8 breathing

If you want to find out more about why we experience these physical symptoms in anxiety, have a look at my FREE e-book “Three Easy Ways to Reduce Your Anxiety”.  It’s an instant download and there is a bonus video and audio recording to help you do the exercises.

I hope this guide helped you find safety in your body, and feel a whole lot less anxious.

How to feel safe in unsafe times: find safety in your body was last modified: August 7th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett

Four ways that music calms your anxiety

Four ways that music calms your anxiety

Music has the ability to soothe our soul like nothing else.  Your choice of soothing music has the ability to reduce your anxiety, make you feel calmer and happier.  Here are four ways in which music calms your anxiety:

Record being played on record player  - Three ways music can reduce your anxiety - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane
Photo by Adrian Korte on Unsplash

1. Listening to music impacts your nervous system and the neurotransmitters your brain sends out

Listening to calming music reduces the levels of cortisol and stress hormones in your body.

Music has been shown to have a greater effect on calming your anxiety than relaxation techniques and anti-anxiety medication in scientific studies (2014 and 2017). And all you have to do is listen! 

Music has even been found to have had an anti-inflammatory effect on the body (which is a risk factor for lots of diseases and health conditions).

2. Music soothes your heart

When you are feeling anxious you will often feel your heart racing.  Music helps to slow your heart rate and decrease your blood pressure. (Read more..)

Photo of young woman in green dress with her eyes closed as if listening to music - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane
Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

3. Listening to your favorite songs releases dopamine which makes you feel happy

Yup, the same ‘happy’ neurotransmitter that is released when you are doing pleasurable activities (e.g. food, sex, drugs), is released by just listening to your favorite song.  So maybe step away from the chocolate and put on your favorite song. (Yeah no…. That’s never going to happen…). Find out more…

Happy middle aged lady - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane
Image by Frank Busch on Unsplash

4. Singing along slows your exhale and this reduces your anxiety even more

When you sing you have to do a long exhale. That long exhale that tells our nervous system that we want to relax.  (Just like you do in Square breathing, 4-7-8 breathing and breathing in the stars – give it a go!)

Sure your neighbours or your pets may not always appreciate your efforts. But you’ll feel better!

And if you MOVE along to the music then that’s even better! Find out how movement calms your anxiety here.

Photo of neon sign saying "You are what you listen to". Learn how music can reduce your anxiety with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane
Photo by Mohammed Metri on Unsplash

Now that you know that music really can reduce your anxiety, I hope this inspires you to put on your favorite music whenever you are stressed or anxious.

For more breathing, movement and rest techniques, hop on over to the Resources page.

If you would like to ask me what Counselling or body psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20-minute discovery session by phone for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

Schedule Appointment

Alternatively, call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

Read more about how body psychotherapy can help you go deeper and achieve more effective results from your therapy.

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Four ways that music calms your anxiety was last modified: July 10th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett

Breathing in the stars

Breathing in the stars

Stars in the night sky - breathing in the stars, breathing out stress - a breathing technique by Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane
Photo by Paolo Nicolello on Unsplash

Breathing in the stars and breathing out stress

A few years ago, one of my clients told me how he had adapted one of the breathing techniques I had given him. I loved it so much I immediately told everyone who came through my door. I had forgotten it until I saw this photo of the night sky.

It’s a lovely technique to calm your nervous system at night time. All you have to do is:

  1. Lie down on your back in your back yard (or your balcony, or gaze out of the window if it’s too cold).
  2. Make sure you are really comfortable.  That sense of comfort is what is going to let your nervous system know that you are OK to relax.  So use cushions, rugs, pillows, blankets.  Whatever you need to make a nest.
  3. Let your body sink down into your nest.  Yield to gravity.
  4. Allow your eyes to gaze up at the night sky.  
  5. Bring your awareness to your breath.
  6. Inhale the stars.
  7. Exhale any negativity, stress or tension.
  8. Repeat.

Thank you R 😉

For more breathing, movement and rest techniques, hop on over to the Resources page.

If you would like to ask me what Counselling or body psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20-minute discovery session by phone for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

Schedule Appointment

Alternatively, call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

Read more about how body psychotherapy can help you go deeper and achieve more effective results from your therapy.

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Breathing in the stars was last modified: July 10th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett

Calming 4-7-8 breath

How to do the calming 4-7-8 breath technique

The calming 4-7-8 breath technique is an easy way to calm yourself down when you are feeling stressed out. The long, slow exhale is what calms your nervous system and takes you down into that lovely ‘rest and digest’ (parasympathetic) state. And it’s super easy….

Neon sign saying "and breathe" in front of green foliage.  Learn how to calm your nervous system with the 4-7-8 breath technique with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane.
Photo by Valeriia Bugaiova on Unsplash

How to do the calming 4-7-8 breath technique

  1. Make sure you are seated comfortably.
  2. Inhale for a count of 4.
  3. Hold your breath for a count of 7.
  4. Exhale for a count of 8. 
  5. Repeat several times.
  6. Check-in with your body.  What physical sensations are you aware of? Do you feel different to before?

You can choose any numbers you like, as long as the holding and exhale are longer than the inhale. So for example, you may like to start off with 4-5-7.

For more breathing, movement and rest techniques, hop on over to the Resources page.

If you would like to ask me what Counselling or body psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20-minute discovery session by phone for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

Schedule Appointment

Alternatively, call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

Read more about how body psychotherapy can help you go deeper and achieve more effective results from your therapy.

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Calming 4-7-8 breath was last modified: July 10th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett

Square breathing

Square breathing to calm the mind

Square breathing is one of the simplest breathing techniques I know to calm your nervous system, which will calm your mind and your body.  And the beauty of it is that you can do it literally anywhere!

Square window looking out over the city scape.  Learn the technique of 'Square breathing' with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane
Photo by Alvan Nee on Unsplash

How to do square breathing

  1. Visualize the four sides of a square in your mind’s eye.   Or find a square shape in front of you. e.g. the window of the bus.
  2. Inhale as your mind travels along the first side of the square.  You may want to count slowly up to 5 of 6.  It can be any number, as long as you are focusing on slowing your breath down.
  3. Hold your breath as you travel along the next side. Again counting to 5 or 6.
  4. Exhale as you travel along the third side. Counting to 5 or 6 slowly.
  5. Hold your breath as you travel along the final side counting to 5 or 6 slowly.
  6. Start again.
  7. Do 3 or 4 sets.  Or as many as you feel like.
  8. Check-in with your body.  What physical sensations are you aware of?  Do you feel calmer than before? 

For more breathing, movement and rest techniques, hop on over to the Resources page.

If you would like to ask me what Counselling or body psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20-minute discovery session by phone for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

Schedule Appointment

Alternatively, call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

Read more about how body psychotherapy can help you go deeper and achieve more effective results from your therapy.

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Square breathing was last modified: July 10th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett

Deep sleep reduces anxiety

Deep Sleep Reduces Anxiety Levels

When we have anxiety often one of the first things to suffer is our sleep.  It may be difficult for us to drop off to sleep: we ruminate, toss and turn.  Or maybe you have no problem dropping off, but wake suddenly at 3 am with an anxious thought and are then unable to return to sleep. However, the good news is that if we can improve your sleep quality, deep sleep reduces anxiety levels.

Woman sleeping deeply - deep sleep reduces anxiety, says Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane
Photo by Gregory Pappas on Unsplash

The not-so-good news

Research from UC Berkeley in the USA shows that one sleepless night can increase our anxiety levels up to a whopping 30%. 

The good news

They also found that deep sleep reduces our anxiety.  

Something as simple as getting better quality sleep could help reduce your anxiety levels. How awesome is that!

“Deep sleep had restored the brain’s prefrontal mechanism that regulates our emotions, lowering emotional and physiological reactivity and preventing the escalation of anxiety,” Eti Ben Simon, postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Human Sleep Science at UC Berkeley.

So when do we get deep sleep?

In each sleep cycle there are several phases to sleep (see the image below) and we go through these cycles approximately four times in an eight-hour period.  However, we only have two cycles of this deep sleep (stage 4) which has this anxiolytic (anxiety-relieving) effect.

How do I get more deep sleep to reduce anxiety?

Try this simple Evening Mind Clearance technique as you lie in bed (3 mins)

There are 3 simple steps to this Evening Mind Clearance technique created by Siimon Reynolds. So as you lie down in bed preparing for sleep, we’ll use the power of positive thinking to reduce anxiety:

  1. Create a list in your head of things that you are grateful for.
  2. Forgive anyone who’s annoyed you today (or before).
  3. Visualise tomorrow going really well. Really picture your day ahead going swimmingly and having a great time. (I’m usually asleep before I get to this point, so my big tip is to turn the reading light off before you start this!)

Avoid alcohol to get more deep sleep

“Booo” I hear you say.  Sadly, although it might make you feel more relaxed initially, that glass of Rosé is a depressant and a sedative.  Sedation is not the same as sleep.  Alcohol lessens both REM and deep sleep.  Which means less of that protective anxiety-alleviating effect.

Avoid caffeine after 1pm

It’s a stimulant.  Preferably we want our body and mind to calm down in the afternoon and evening. 

Have a regular routine

Get up and go to bed at the same time, even on weekends.

Give your body time to wind down in the evening. Favour gentle exercise and stretching in the evening. Avoid vigorous exercise before you need to go to sleep.

Keep your bedroom cool

Keep your bedroom cool. (Easier said than done in a Queensland summer.  TIP – wrap a freezer block in a towel if your ceiling fan isn’t cutting the mustard. )

Dim the lighting and reduce blue light exposure

Keep your lighting dim in the evenings to promote natural circadian rhythms. Especially avoid fluorescent lights because they inhibit the release of melatonin (which makes you want to sleep).

Avoid blue light from technology at least 2 hours before you go to sleep. The blue light affects the release of melatonin. Read more about blue light and sleep here.

And here are 12 more suggestions for calming your mind before you go to sleep.

If you would like to ask me what Counselling or body psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20-minute discovery session by phone for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

Schedule Appointment

Alternatively, call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

Read more about how body psychotherapy can help you go deeper and achieve more effective results from your therapy.

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Deep sleep reduces anxiety was last modified: July 10th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett

Why I get you to move and breathe in your session

Why I get you to move and breathe in your session: the neuroscience

Have you ever wondered why I invite you to move or breathe deeply in your session?  Have you questioned how it makes you feel better?  With my training in both body psychotherapy and dance-movement therapy (as well as the more conventional talking therapies), it makes perfect sense to me.  However, a new client said to me the other day “I thought I’d try something a bit woo woo” which made me chuckle inside.  So in order to dispel the woo woo “I’m going to have to science the sh** out of this” as Matt Damon’s character said in the Martian.  Read on to find out the neuroscience behind why I get you to move and breathe in your session:

Your brain experiences the world through your body

You experience the world around you via your body. Sound, images, sensations, smells via your sensory organs. Is it a threat? Or is it an opportunity?

When you feel anxiety or depression you feel physical symptoms in your body as well as thoughts and emotions.  Your body is responding to something in your environment, whether it is actually there in front of you, or just being thought about.  

For example, with anxiety you may feel a racing heart, the pressure in the centre of your chest, dizziness, and maybe even a separation from the rest of your body.  With depression you may feel a total lack of energy in your body and a desire to withdraw.

There is no separation between mind and body

Historically Western medicine has followed the philosophy that diseases of the mind are separate to diseases of the body.  This all started with French philosopher René Descarts in the mid 1600’s.  Eastern medicine takes a very different view and thankfully, 400 years later, we are now coming around to a more integrated view of the body and mind.  

What affects your body affects your mind.  And your thoughts and emotions affect how you hold your body. There is no separation between dis-ease of the mind and dis-ease of the body.

Your body remembers (not just your brain)

Photo of the back of a tattoo'd woman - we store our memories in our body as well as our mind - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane
Photo by Jake Davies on Unsplash

What we normally think of as memory (images, facts, figures) is what scientist call our ‘explicit memory’ and is dependent on written or oral language.  But there is another kind of memory, the implicit memory which is unconscious. For example, remembering how to ride a bike (you don’t consciously get on and thinking to yourself, I put my right foot here and my left foot here and push… you just get on and do it automatically). 

Both the explicit and implicit memory are intricately linked to our sensory nervous system. How you stand, what you are touching, what you can smell, hear or see.  So by changing how you stand and what you are doing with your body we might invoke old memories to surface from your subconscious.

Your somatic nervous system and the soft tissues of your body are like a storehouse of the history of your life.

We are creatures of habit and what we do every day becomes our reality

Your body ‘braces’ in preparation for a perceived threat and that over time this bracing becomes habitual.  Unconscious muscular contraction occurs over time and becomes a habitual, adaptive pattern in the body, leading to altered posture and movement. 

Young man in collapsed, depressed posture

By bringing awareness to posture and creating a movement that differs from the habitual patterns, we can help bring to consciousness any unconscious beliefs and withheld feelings, and start to lessen the contraction of your muscles.

Photo by Blake Cheek on Unsplash

To change your mind we need to move your body

To understand WHY you feel like you do we’ll be using the newest part of your brain (in evolutionary terms), the prefrontal cortex.  We’ll talk and use mindfulness techniques.

But to make a CHANGE we need to engage both your mid-brain, the limbic system (which controls instinct and the basic emotions (pleasure, anger, fear) and drives (hunger, caring, sex, dominance), plus your brain stem (movement, breathing, touch).

We recalibrate your nervous system from the bottom up. To do that we use movement, breathing, music, vocal and physical expression. 

Image of the triune brain - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane

Top-down regulation involves strengthening the capacity of the watchtower (medial prefrontal cortex) to monitor your body’s sensations.  Mindfulness meditation and yoga can help with this.  Bottom-up regulation involves recalibrating the autonomic nervous system, (which as we have seen, originates in the brain stem).  We can access the ANS through breath, movement or touch.”  Bessel van der Kolk in ‘The Body Keeps the Score’.

Emotions are ‘felt’ in the body

It’s not just anxiety or depression that are felt in the body. All emotions are felt in the body. Scientists Lauri Nummenmaa, Enrico Glerean, Riitta Hari, and Jari Hietanen at Aalto University in Finland have mapped where people feel emotions in their body:

Image showing where emotions are located in the body - results of research from Aalto University in Finland

Each emotion has a physical expression in the body

Did you know that each emotion has a posture or a gesture?  Neurologist Antonio Damasio explains that each emotion has specific movements in the body:

  • Externally visible movements e.g. in your body or facial muscles
  • Internal movements of organs e.g. your heart racing
  • Molecules in your body e.g. adrenalin released

Your body reacts to triggers in its environment unconsciously based on past experience, genes, and cultural factors.

We can use different postures or gestures to help you feel different emotions

Happy ladies holding hands in a field of flowers
Photo by Tuấn Trương on Unsplash

If you’re feeling confused about what you are feeling, we can check into your body posture or gestures to help you understand.

But we can also change what you are feeling by altering your posture or movement. (Read the science behind this here).

Think of how you would hold your body if you were angry.  You might stand and shake your fists, screwing up your face.   Do you think it is possible to feel joy whilst you are in that posture?  Try it!  

What about if you stood with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, hands-on-hips, chest puffed out – the wonder woman/power posture.  Could you feel week and powerless in that stance?

Check out this 30-second video of Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy explaining why standing in wonder woman pose for 2 minutes could change the way you feel:

Neuroscience tells us that by moving differently we can explore different emotions

Exploration and practice of new and unfamiliar motor patterns can help the client to experience new unaccustomed feelings.”  Tal Shafir “Using Movement to Regulate Emotion: Neurophysiological findings and their application in Psychotherapy”, Frontiers in Psychology 2016.

Just by changing your movement out of the habitual, it will allow previously withheld information to surface from your implicit or explicit memory. 

Movement helps you to explore your inner reality. We find the authenticity of ourselves through movement: a sense of moving ourselves and being moved by the unconscious. 

By increasing the range of movement in your body we increase the range of psychological or emotional possibilities in your life.

So there you have it….

I’ve explained the neuroscience behind why I get you to move and breathe in your session, but we’re all unique beings and there’s a lot we still don’t know or understand about the body and the mind.  So maybe there’s a bit of woo woo in there anyway!

If you would like to learn more about the science behind what I do, I would suggest these books as a starter:

If you are interested in delving deeper into this I would recommend:

The Body Remembers” by Babette Rothschild   

The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel van der Kolk M.D   

Healing Trauma: a pioneering program for restoring the wisdom of your body” by Peter Levine PhD  

 

If you would like to ask me what Counselling or body psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20 minute discovery session by phone for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

Schedule Appointment

Alternatively call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

Read more about how body psychotherapy can help you go deeper and achieve more effective results from your therapy.

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Why I get you to move and breathe in your session was last modified: July 10th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett

The Impact of Music on the Nervous System and Mental Health

The Impact of Music on the Nervous System

Sounds can either delight or irritate the nervous system, which in turn has an impact on how we feel, think and behave. Last Thursday a car parked in my street had the alarm going off every 5 minutes from 10am until they picked the car up after work. By the end of the day I was grumpy and frazzled.  The constant blare of car horn had bored into my nervous system, setting me on edge (a sympathetic nervous system response).  This unpleasant experience led me to search Google scholar for articles on the impact of music on the nervous system.

The impact of music on your nervous system - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane
Photo by Vlad Deep on Unsplash

The Impact of Music on Anxiety and Depression

Heaps of research has been done on the impact of music on anxiety and depression:

A 2017 study by S Aalbers and colleagues found that music therapy reduces anxiety and depression. 

In a 2014 review of 63 scientific studies, Fancourt and co. found that not only did listening to music decrease the blood pressure, levels of cortisol and stress in your body, but it had a GREATER EFFECT than anti-anxiety medication and relaxation techniques. 

Let’s think about that for a minute.  Listening to your choice of relaxing music is more effective than medication!  All you have to do is listen…   Pass me the earphones STAT!

How does music do this?  Apparently listening to the music you love releases Dopamine, the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter that impacts our thinking, feeling and behaviour. See the research here…

  

listening to the music you love releases Dopamine, the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter that impacts our thinking, feeling and behaviour. -Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane
Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

But it’s not just about feeling good emotionally.  The impact of sound on your nervous system impacts other systems in your body.

The Impact of Music on Your Body

  • Music was found to have had an anti-inflammatory effect on the body (which is a risk for numerous diseases and conditions). See the research here..
  • It had a beneficial effect on anxiety, blood pressure, breathing, heart rate, sleep and pain in people with Coronary Heart Disease. See the research here..
  • And it had beneficial effects on anxiety, fatigue, pain and quality of life for people with cancer. See the research here..
Relaxing the nervous system - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane

So choose the sounds you listen to carefully….. Think about the impact of music on the nervous system.

  • Feeling stressed or anxious?  Put on your favorite music and see if it makes an impact.
  • If you work in a stressful environment, why not use noise-cancelling earphones?
  • What sound do you use as your alarm?  A friend of mine listens to the sublime, silky sounds of “Samba da Bencao” by Bebel Gilberto.  Imagine waking up to that instead of a beep.  How chilled would the start of your day be?

I use music to either quieten or arouse the nervous system in my movement therapy classes and workshops. If you are interested in finding out more, hop on over to my Movement Therapy Page.

If you would like to ask me what Counselling or body psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20 minute discovery session by phone for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

Schedule Appointment

Alternatively call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

The Impact of Music on the Nervous System and Mental Health was last modified: July 10th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett

Emotional eating (and how to stop)

Emotional eating (and how to stop)

Do you struggle with food cravings?  I do.  I’m an emotional eater but learning the neuroscience and psychology of emotional eating has helped me quit.

Brownies are not a girls best friend. If you want help with emotional eating then speak to Sarah Tuckett
Photo by Rasmus Mikkelstrup on Unsplash

People always assume that a therapist totally has their act together, but we’re human beings just like you. If I’ve had a tough day ice cream soothes my worries away.  Missing my family overseas? Chocolate brownies make me feel loved.   Delicious, but not at all healthy and this emotional eating is the reason my jeans kept getting tighter.   But I recently found an eating plan that is working – and it’s because it is based on the psychology and neuroscience of eating.

I say ‘eating plan’ because I don’t ‘do’ diets.  I’ve only done two in my whole 47 years on the planet and every cell of my brain rebelled against the food restriction.  “What do you mean I can’t eat cheese whenever I want??  FK YOU!”  For me it was like DIE with a T on the end.  I’d rather slog away in the gym for hours than restrict my source of pleasure.  Whilst that may have somehow worked in 30’s, it no longer worked in my 40’s.  Recently, however, a friend told me about Bright Line Eating Plan and so far I have lost weight, my emotional eating has reduced to ZERO and there’s no part of my brain that is rebelling.   It’s not about willpower……  It’s about planning.

Bright Line Eating is the program run by Dr Susan Peirce Thompson. She has a Ph.D. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences and was a psychology professor.  Her expertise is the neuroscience and psychology of food addiction and sustainable weight loss and she has done heaps of research on why and how people loose weight (and why they don’t).  I found out that I am a 7 (out of 10) in her susceptibility scale (gasp!), which helps me understand why I can consume the entire block of chocolate-covered marzipan without even blinking.  It also means that Persian Love Cake is my own personal form of heroin. 

I joined her 14 day challenge for $29 USD and those numbers on the scale decreased and made me dance around the kitchen like a lunatic.  (I admit that I do this most days just for the sheer joy of being able to dance!)  However, the most important thing is that I’ve stopped the emotional eating.   Dr Thompson’s daily 5 minute videos helped me with my ‘food thoughts’ and and what to do to get through it.

I have absolutely no affiliation with the Bright Line Eating program other than my own participation.  I’m sharing this info because it worked for me and maybe it might work for you.  And I think this lady is amazing!

I still talk to my own therapist about the underlying issues – the things that are making me sad, lonely or exhausted.  If you would like to talk to me about your emotional eating and the underlying issues in your life that are upsetting you, give me a call on 0450 22 00 59 or book into my diary using this link.

If you would like to find out more about how body psychotherapy or counselling could help you, look here

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Emotional eating (and how to stop) was last modified: July 10th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett

How to deal with unpleasant thoughts and feelings

How to deal with unpleasant thoughts and feelings – How Sean Connery gets me to the gym on a monday morning

We humans have evolved to do whatever we can to avoid pain, whether it’s physical, emotional or psychological.  Obviously avoiding physical pain is a good thing.  However, sometimes we behave in unhelpful and unhealthy ways in order to avoid unpleasant thoughts or feelings.  For example, making yourself super busy in order to avoid feeling something.  Smashing a tub of Ben & Jerry’s after a breakup to ‘eat’ your feelings.  Or avoiding social situations that make you feel uncomfortable.

 

Do unpleasant thoughts and feelings have a hold on you?  Try Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in North Brisbane
Photo by Eduard Militaru on Unsplash

 

In psychological terms we call this behaviour “experiential avoidance”.  I do it myself.  We all do it to some extent because it’s a totally normal human behaviour.  If it’s not excessive or it’s not really hurting you, it’s ok.  But if it’s affecting your health or keeping your life ‘small’ in some way, then it’s unworkable.  In which case, it’s probably a good idea to look at how you can stop these unpleasant thoughts and feelings from having so much sway over your life.

I have unpleasant thoughts and feelings every Monday when the alarm goes off for my early morning PT session.  I’m guessing you may have similar thoughts.  When the alarm goes off my first thought is “Oh gawwwwd I’m so tired. I need to stay in bed.  It’s too early to exercise – I’ll hurt a muscle because I’m so tired and stiff.  Ugh I’ll get all sweaty.  It’s too far”.  (Cough… It’s a 10 minute walk princess …) 

 

Having unpleasant thoughts and feelings about getting out of bed each day?  Speak to Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in North Brisbane

 

The truth is that when I’m there I love it and I feel GREAT afterwards.  My trainer is really knowledgeable and he doesn’t shout commands at me (unlike other trainers who didn’t last very long).  He’s also hilarious and my unofficial dating advisor.  So why the resistance?  Why the melodrama every Monday morning?

Quite simply, I’m not a natural early riser and a very vocal part of me wants to stay in bed.  I want to stay in a place of comfort.  I want to avoid the unpleasant thoughts and feelings about having to get up, get sweaty and get out there when I could stay under the covers and snooze. 

 

Avoiding unpleasant thoughts and feelings?  Learn techniques to accept them with Sarah Tuckett and Psychotherapy and Counselling, North Brisbane
Photo by elizabeth lies on Unsplash

 

 

As I’ve said, these kind of avoidance strategies are ok if they work and they aren’t too costly in one way or another.  But if I listened to those thoughts and stayed in bed it would affect my waist line and my muscle mass (very important for us ladies over a certain age).  And I’m pretty sure my PT would get fire me as a client, which would mean no Dating High Command.  

So every Monday morning I use a ‘de-fusion’ technique from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) which helps me accept my unpleasant thoughts and feelings and gives them less power over me.

To do this, I replay the uncomfortable thoughts over and over in my head using the voice of a famous person/character.  My favorite is Sean Connery.  You can borrow him if you like. 

“Och I’m going to get so schweaty” said Sean, over and over.  It makes it sound a little silly and I smile a little.  The thought has less power over me.  I don’t get so anxious about it and I get out of bed!  (If I’m honest it also sounds a little bit pervy when Sean says it).

 

Learn Acceptance and Commitment Therapy techniques to help you deal with unpleasant thoughts and feelings - see Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in North Brisbane

 

Here’s how you can do it for yourself:

 

An easy de-fusion technique for unpleasant thoughts and feelings

 

  1. Pick an unpleasant thought or feeling that’s been plaguing you.
  2. Say it over and over in your head silently for 10 seconds. 
  3. Notice how you feel having done this. How much do you believe the thought (how ‘fused’ are you with the thought?).  How does it make you feel emotionally?  And what sensations can you feel in your body. 
  4. Pick the voice of a well-known character or actor.  Someone you can really ‘hear’ speaking in your head.  (Run out of ideas?  What about:  Arnold Schwarzenegger, Marilyn Monroe, Miss Piggy, Donald Duck, Dr Sheldon Cooper, or even that hideous Trump person).  

  5. Say the same unpleasant thought or feeling over and over in your head in their voice for 10 seconds.
  6. Again, notice how you feel having done this.  Do you feel any differently in your body?  Does the thought or feeling have more or less power over you? 

 

It’s important to understand that we’re not trying to avoid or ‘tolerate’ the unpleasant thought or feeling.  These thoughts are going to keep popping up into our mind and that’s not something that’s under our control.  But what do have control over, and what we’re learning to do, is to ‘accept’ these unpleasant thoughts and feelings.  To allow them to have less power over us. 

 

Learn Acceptance and Commitment Therapy techniques to make your unpleasant thoughts and feelings have less control over you - contact Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in North Brisbane
Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

 

We can do this in therapy with any unpleasant feeling or thought.  A particularly common one among my clients is “I’m not good enough”.  Not a particularly helpful thought, and probably not true. 

Through different ACT techniques we can help you unhook from these unpleasant thoughts and feelings.  And in doing so, help you stop avoiding situations or people where this thought might pop up.  Helping reduce the amount of experiential avoidance in your life.   Helping you live a BIGGER life.

 

If you want to find out more about ACT please hop on over to my Services page

 

If you would like to speak to me give me a call on 0450 22 00 59 or have a look through my online diary to book a spot that works for you. 

I offer confidential counselling and psychotherapy sessions to people who are going through a hard time, whether that’s because of a mental health issue like anxiety or depression or because of a situation (relationship issues, bullying, abuse, isolation).  There is no need for you to suffer in silence.  

If you’re feeling unsure, or want to ask me what Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or somatic psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20 minute discovery session by phone/skype for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

 

BOOK ONLINE

 

Alternatively call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

 

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

 

 

How to deal with unpleasant thoughts and feelings was last modified: July 10th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett