Category Archives: Blog

A walking mindfulness meditation for all you fidget pants

A walking mindfulness meditation for people with ants in their pants.

 

A guide to walking mindfulness meditation

As a kid my parents called me “Squiggle” because of my refusal to sit still.  46 years later and I’m pretty much the same although I move a bit slower.  Seated meditation just isn’t my bag. So when my friend Tammie taught me this walking mindfulness meditation a few weeks ago on her retreat in Sri Lanka, I felt like I’d finally found the answer and I wanted to share it with you all.

 

What is Mindfulness?

 

Being ‘mindful’ simply means being more present.  Being more conscious of where you are now.  Not thinking about the shopping or the email you received this morning that made your blood boil.  Instead your focus is right here, right now.  

Walking mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation doesn’t belong to a particular faith – it belongs to everyone. 

Mindfulness meditation does not have to be performed in lotus position.  There are no rules. What matters is that you find a way that works for YOU and your body. 

How it works is that you focus on something – be-it your breath, the flame of a candle, or your footsteps.  You focus your mind so that you become more present.

I get pins and needles if I sit for too long, so this walking mindfulness meditation is right up my alley.

 

Why is it so incredibly awesome?

The benefit of this mindfulness lark, and the reason that a lot of psychotherapists/psychologists are using mindfulness meditation in their client work, is because it helps to create a gap between your thoughts and your emotional response to that thought.  

So for example if you tend to be impulsive, it helps create a time gap between your thought and your reaction to that thought.  Or if you are anxious, it helps you stop being immediately overwhelmed by a thought.  

walking mindfulness mediation path across a field

So to speak in plain Australian, it helps you “calm the f…. down”.

Which has wondrous benefits for your nervous system and how you feel within yourself.

Sounds good hey?  Let’s get into it.

 

How to do Tammie’s Mindfulness Walking Meditation

Tammie’s version is based on a Buddhist style of walking meditation, so everything is repeated 3 times. However, you don’t need to be Buddhist to do this. This is just one style of walking meditation. 

Walking mindfulness meditation by Buddhist monks

 

What you will need:

A pair of bare feet and preferably some legs above that.

A piece of ground to walk on barefoot that is free of bindi and cruel-shaped pebbles.  You need to find yourself a little ‘pathway’ that is around 10 of your paces in length.

Walking mindfulness mediation in my back garden
This is where I practice walking meditation in my back garden
Yoga shala at Plantation Villa Sri Lanka
We walked forwards and back across the yoga shala at Plantation Villa, Sri Lanka

 

How to do it:

  1. Stand at the beginning of your path. Focus on your path ahead and say to yourself inside your head “Standing, standing, standing”.  (NOTE. you can talk out loud if you want to.  My neighbours already think I’m a little bit eccentric, so I’ve got them primed, but you may want to preserve your reputation).

  2. Begin your walk, saying in your head “right, left, right, left, right, left” etc as you move your feet. Walk ‘mindfully’ at your own pace.  Try not to look at the ground, focus on your path ahead. Concentrate on your walk and the sensations you feel under your feet.
  3. As you near the end of your path, say in your head “Stopping, stopping, stopping” and come to a gentle halt.
  4. Then as you turn around say “Turning, turning, turning” to yourself.
  5. Then start walking back along your path again and saying in your head “right, left, right, left, right, left” etc
  6. Keep walking back and forth for as long as you want. I usually do about 5 minutes (or until I get tripped up by a cat).

I like to finish my practice by looking mindfully around my garden at the flowers, insects and plants.  Somehow the colours seem more vibrant and the insects much noisier.  I have a mini Alice in Wonderland moment (without the shrinking or psychopathic Queen of Hearts).  

I think what I find most soothing is the sensation of the soft ground beneath my feet, my total immersion in a natural environment and finding my own gentle pace through life.

I hope you enjoy doing this walking mindfulness meditation.  I’d like to thank Tammie Day for introducing me to this practice.

Let me know how you go with your own practice – I’d love to hear from you.

If you need a bit of peer encouragement to do a mindfulness practice why not try one of my weekly Release classes or come to one of my workshops (which I usually hold at home/in the garden because it is so peaceful).

Or you can book to see me for a 1:1 session.

Sarah x

 

Additional resources:

Here’s a link to some more mindfulness exercises that you might find useful  https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/

 

Tammie Day runs fantastic retreats for women (sorry guys) in Australia and around the world.  I just did her trips to India and Sri Lanka and I loved it!  For more info go to  https://vibrantwomen.com.au/

 

A walking mindfulness meditation for all you fidget pants was last modified: August 27th, 2017 by Sarah Tuckett

An Emotional Survival Guide for Christmas

An Emotional Survival Guide for Christmas

Emotional Survival Guide to Christmas

This Emotional Survival Guide to Christmas has been written to help you navigate difficult emotions over the ‘silly season’.

Whether you are feeling anxious, stressed, lonely, sad, or suicidal even, here are my tips for getting through the next few weeks:

1. Anxious?  Put your head down towards the ground

Christmas Emotional Survival Guide

Are you freaking out in advance about family visiting?  Are you breathing 5 billion breaths a minute? Is your throat tight?  Is your chest feeling constricted?  Are you feeling like you’re going to implode?

Find a quiet space and hang the top half of your body down towards the ground.

Waterfall pose

The pose is called The Waterfall.  I’ve written an article to explain why it’s good for counteracting anxiety and how to do it (assuming that you’re not a Cirque du Soleil performer). 

Give it a go and notice how heavy the top half of your body feels as it bows to the forces of gravity (a complete opposite to how ‘spacey’ and disconnected your head feels when you’re anxious).  How your diaphragm is more relaxed. How your throat is more open.

It’s really hard to have anxious thoughts when your head is upside down.  Give it a go. I dare you!

2. Catastrophizing?  Ask yourself: “Is that really true?  Or am I exaggerating?”

45647769 - render illustration of radioactive warning sign

When we’re stressing out, it’s easy to catastrophize.  “OMG if I don’t get the meal PERFECT the Monster-in-law’s going to sit there with that smug “I knew you wouldn’t be able to pull it together” face and .. and… and…. “

We create stories in our head before they’ve even happened.  But is that really true?  Is it likely to happen? Or are you exaggerating?

Ask yourself that very simple question and see if you can stop the BS in its tracks.

3. Angry? Bash a punchbag/cushion/have a toddler tantrum on your bed

Hitting the sofa with cushions is another way to safely let out anger

I’m not kidding.  If you hold all that rage down, you risk it leaking out at inappropriate moments.  One snarky comment about the turkey can totally ruin Christmas lunch believe me.

I’ve written a guide to show you how to safely release your anger without hurting yourself (or anyone else) and without embarrassing yourself.

4. Comforting yourself with food? Put the mince pie down.  

Mince pie
Step away from the clotted cream..

Find other ways to comfort yourself.  Here’s my personal Lemon Day list of things I can do to comfort myself instead of reaching for the ice-cream.  Have a printed-out list stuck on your fridge door to stop you instantly reaching for the mince pies.

But then again, it’s Christmas … maybe a couple of mince pies isn’t too bad.  (Just stay away from the clotted cream).

5. Stressed? Earth yourself: get grounded and breathe

Earth yourself
Earth yourself

Are you running around at a million miles an hour to get everything done?  Is your house in a state of upheaval because of visitors?

STOP for a minute.

  • Take off your shoes.
  • Walk outside and focus on the sensation of the grass beneath your feet.  (Even if your lawn is less ‘deliciously springy Sir Walter’, and more ‘Bindi-Cobblers Pegs scrub’ – find somewhere pleasant to stand and focus on the sensations beneath your feet. I particularly like warm concrete in the early evening for example.)
  • Now breathe….  Go on, give me a big sigh on your out-breath.
  • Let all that stuff go for a minute…
  • Focus on what you can feel in your body.
  • It’s just you and the ground.  Everything else is irrelevant for a moment.

‘Earthing’ isn’t just for hippies.  Focusing on the physical contact with the ground will bring your awareness out of your head and down into your body. We’re grounding you.  It brings you right into the present moment and makes you feel 100% less stressed.

6. Lonely? Reach out to people you are emotionally close to

Loneliness

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, loneliness can strike hard at this time of year.  Reaching out to anyone is good, but reaching out to people that you have a close emotional relationship with is preferable because they understand you/get you/speak your language.

Getting help

So reach out to your close friend(s).  And if the first person on your list doesn’t pick up, leave a message and then call the next person on your friend list.  Keep going till you get a real live person. Tell them how you’re feeling and ask if they want to hang out.

Right about here is where your inner depresso may spark up and say “But they’re busy with their family.  They won’t want to see me”.  Don’t listen to him/her.  

Inner Depresso

 These people are your close friends.  They know you.  They LIKE you.  Do you think they’d want you to be all on your own feeling bad?

Call them up.  You never know, they could be feeling exactly the same way as you.

And if you really don’t want to tell a friend?  Call a helpline.  They’re not just for people who are feeling suicidal – they’re also there to help people who are struggling.  The numbers are listed below.

7. Suicidal?  Call a helpline (no matter what time of day or night)

18364958 - unhappy

This is where I’m going to be a little firm with you. Some part of you wants to live because you’re reading this message.   So I need you to reach out and tell someone how you’re feeling.

Tell your friend, a family member, your GP.  Call a helpline.  The people on the end of the phone at these helplines want to help you. They want to hear your story (no matter how boring you might think it is). They’re trained professionals.

Your life is too important.  CALL THEM.

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
Lifeline  13 11 14
Diverse Voices (LGBT)  (diversevoices.org.au)  7pm to 10pm daily 1800 184 527
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
Parent Line 1300 30 1300
SANE helpline  1800 187 263
Men’s Line  1300 78 99 78
DV Connect – womensline 1800 811 811
DV connect – mensline 1800 600 636
MARS – men affected by rape and sexual assault  07 3857 1222
BRISSC Brisbane Rape and Incest helpline (female only)  9am-1pm Mon-Thur 07 3391 0004

I hope this list helps you.  Feel free to share it.

I’m working right up until Christmas Day.  Here’s a link to book online to see me.  Or you can call me on 0450 22 00 59.

If you want to find out more about my Services or the benefits of psychotherapy or counselling, feel free to have a peek around my website.

I’ll then be taking a break to recharge until 18 January 2017.  I have a network of psychologist and psychotherapist pals in Brisbane who would love to help you whilst I am away.  Give me a call to talk about finding someone to help you.

Sarah

An Emotional Survival Guide for Christmas was last modified: December 13th, 2018 by Sarah Tuckett

Lemon day lists

What’s on your “lemon day” list?

Lemon day lists

When life gives you lemons do you make lemonade or do you reach for the ice cream? I have been known to do the latter when things go really downhill. Sometimes you just need a bit of sweetness in your life, but then I regret it the next day. However, there are other things you can do to make yourself feel better that don’t involve a delicious combo of fat and sugar.

I’ve created a list of my own ‘Lemon Day’ strategies and put it on the fridge for when it is needed:

1. Walk outside and get fresh air into my lungs

2. Take off my shoes and feel the connection with the soft grass under my feet.

3. Play with my animals for 5 minutes

4. Walk by the sea and get great big gulps of fresh, salty air into my lungs

5. Drink a big glass of water in case I’m dehydrated

6. Call a friend

7. Release my frustration/anger/disappointment in a safe contained space (read more about how to do this is at home safely

8. Go and work from another location e.g. library or café

9. Put on essential oils in the vaporiser

10. Have a shower/swim to wash off the grrrrrr/bleugh

11. Put on Adele and sing really loud (sorry neighbours…). I find vocal expression really helps shift my mood

12. Turn off all electronic devices and read.

13. (Only when all the above have failed….) Eat icecream.

What is on your “Lemon Day List”?

Sarah

Lemon day lists was last modified: August 27th, 2017 by Sarah Tuckett

What flavour unicorn are you?

What flavour unicorn are you?
What flavour unicorn are you?

What flavour Unicorn are you?  Takes this quiz to find out.  I’m kidding of course. Everyone knows that Unicorns only come in one flavour:  AWESOME.   But have you noticed how many “know yourself” quizzes pop up in your feed these days?  (I love doing them and I’ve listed my favourite quiz ever below.)   We’re curious to know WHO we are, HOW we perceive the world compared to others and WHY we’re here.  

My all-time favorite quiz

My all-time favourite is the one created by the brilliant biological anthropologist, Helen Fisher.  Her “Know thyself” quiz has helped hundreds of people understand themselves and the other people in their life.   It helps you understand how your brain functions and the types of people you relate to easily and those who you might find more challenging. 

Wanting to know yourself better and find your purpose in life is one of the three main things that people come to see me about (the other two are depression/anxiety and relationship issues).  We all want to feel like we’re on the right track.  When I say ‘living a life of purpose’ I don’t mean that you have to be the next Dalai Lama or Mother Theresa.  I just mean living a life that feels right to you. (As opposed to living in ways that please others but feel totally grey and depressing to you).

Often people will say to me “I just feel stuck”.  Sometimes they feel a deep yearning to do something different but they just don’t know what.  (Yet).

Feeling stuck
Totally stuck … Great they were my favorites

Talking about yourself helps

In therapy we get to explore your dreams and your deepest longings.   You get to try them on for size – explore what it would FEEL like if those dreams came true – without being shot down or laughed at. 

We delve into your past to see how and why you might have deviated from your true calling.  We also look at ways in which you are acting out in defence patterns that originated from childhood wounds. And find ways to stop living from those defensive places.   

Childhood wounds stay with us longer than you think
Childhood wounds stay with us longer than you think

(I could go on about the benefits of therapy forever, so if you’re interested have a look at my benefits page).  

Maybe you don’t need these quizzes to tell you who you are.  Perhaps you just need to look inside….

Somewhere within you already know who you are.  Perhaps it is hidden somewhere deep out of fear of failure, shame or embarrassment.  However, talking to a therapist can help bring your true feelings to the surface because they’re neutral, non-judgmental and confidential (unlike your partner/mum/work colleague  who usually foist their own ideas of how life should be lived onto you). 

A therapist helps you understand yourself by holding up a mirror and reflecting back to you what they see and what they hear.  In body psychotherapy we take this a step further by noticing how you feel physically as we talk through this stuff.  

 

What makes you feel sparkly and expansive inside?  And what makes you feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders?  How do you want to live the rest of your life?  

Show the world your brilliance
Show the world your brilliance

What if you could step forward with ease and confidence because you KNEW beyond all doubt who YOU are and what you love.  Wouldn’t that be awesome?  Perhaps you were a sparkly, badasse unicorn all along but you hadn’t dared to look in a mirror…. 

I just KNEW you were a glittery unicorn
I just KNEW you were a glittery unicorn

If you’re up for discovering your inner unicorn why not have a look at my Services page to see if I could help you.   You can also book me online or give me a call 0450 22 00 59. 

Stay sparkly my fellow unicorns!

Sarah 

*Warning:   Eating unicorns is considered extremely bad karma. 

What flavour unicorn are you? was last modified: April 1st, 2017 by Sarah Tuckett

The waterfall – a pose to help with anxiety

The waterfall – a pose to help with anxiety

If you ever suffer from anxiety, whether it’s just low level worrying and rumination or a full-blown panic attack, you know that it’s not a pleasant sensation.   As a therapist I give people strategies to help with anxiety.  Here’s my favorite pose: the waterfall. 

 

 

When I’m feeling anxious I feel my chest constrict, my breathing becomes shallow and my thoughts are racing a  million miles an hour.  I repeat conversations or scenarios over and over again in my head.  Each time I think these things my nervous system releases more hormones keeping me in flight or fight mode, preparing me to swiftly evade grizzly bears.  However there are no bears.  Just my thoughts.  The quickest way to help myself out of this state of anxiety is to tip over and put my head upside down in a pose called the Waterfall, bringing my energy back down into my body, grounding myself and letting go.  

When you do this pose you’ll notice two things:

  1.  It’s really hard to have anxious thoughts when your head is upside down; and
  2. You feel much calmer when you’re earthed into the floor like a lightning conductor.

Help with anxiety - the Waterfall pose is a bioenergetic pose from Body Psychotherapy

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Find a quiet space and take off your shoes

When you’re feeling anxiety there’s a tendency to loose contact with your body, so feeling the floor beneath your feet is going to anchor you back into your body. i.e. ground you.

2. Stand with your feet hip width apart, toes slightly inwards

(That’s your ‘real’ hip width not the wishful thinking width).  Probably around two hand spans apart.   Making your toes turn inwards slightly will stretch some of your glute muscles.

3.  Bend forward and touch the ground with your finger tips

Slowly bend forward until you can touch the ground (bending your knees as much as you need to in order to touch down).  Make a little claw with your fingers and use them to anchor yourself down into the ground.  There should not be any weight in your hands.

4. Let your head and neck hang loosely

This is a pose of surrender; of letting go.   Do a few yes and no movements with your head to release the tension in your neck and then just let it hang.    When I do this pose I feel like my body is melting down towards the ground like a candle. 

5.  Breathe in and sigh out

Breath in through your nose and sigh out through your mouth. Letting go of everything. 

6.  Search for the sensation of vibration

What we’re aiming to do in this pose is let go in your muscles and in your mind.  We’re asking your mind and your muscles to relax and melt into the floor.  So we’re going to search for the sensation of your muscles letting go.  This feels like little vibrations up the back of your body.  It’s the opposite of having your muscles locked-up for strength.    Keep your knees soft (off-lock).  (All you yogis out there – this is different to Uttanasana – you’re aiming for softness not a hard stretch). Slowly straighten and bend your legs to find the place where your legs slightly vibrate.   Once you’ve found the place, just breathe into it. Breathing in through your nose and sighing out through your mouth.    If you don’t feel any vibrations, make your out-breath longer (it’s often hiding there).  And if you’re feeling adventurous you can gently lift your heels off the floor and bend and straighten your legs.      

7.  Hang out down here for 1-5 minutes

Depending on how much time you have, whether your nose clogs up upside-down,  or whether the phone rings.  Just hang out down here as long as you feel you want to.  Always come up slowly so that your blood pressure can equalise.  

8. Don’t worry if you don’t feel any vibrations at first

When I was first taught this pose I hung out there for 10 minutes willing my body to let go.  I had anxiety about the fact that I couldn’t do the pose “properly”! My muscles were really flexible from years of yoga and dancing, but my mind was more rigid.  It wasn’t until I softened my mind that I felt the vibration and relaxation.   There’s no competition, just let what happens happen and enjoy the peace and quiet.

For more information on how I can help with anxiety please have a look at my Anxiety page or have a look at my Services page which tells you all about the different techniques I use to help you recover (counselling, mindfulness and body psychotherapy).

If you would like some help with anxiety please feel free to give me a call on 0450 22 00 59 or  book online.

 

Warm regards

Sarah
x

 

 

 

The waterfall – a pose to help with anxiety was last modified: September 7th, 2017 by Sarah Tuckett

What stops you from asking for help?

My closest friends are currently dealing with depression, work stress, relationship issues, anxiety and the terminal illness of a family member.  But they don’t ask for help.  Not one of them is seeing a therapist for their emotional distress.  They soldier on alone.  Why?  Because the stigma of mental illness still lingers like a bad smell in an elevator.  So I thought it was time to blow some of the myths about therapy wide open in the hope that it will encourage more of you to try therapy. 

Hands reaching out to help

My friend Mark Pacitti writes an excellent blog called Dancing with the Black Dog.  The other day he posed a question to his 10,000 followers: “What’s stopping you from talking to a psychologist?”  His own reason had been the stigma of mental illness: “I remember the first time I was referred to a psychologist for my anxiety and depression. It felt like from that moment on, I was being marked for life; that I’d forever live under a dark shadow, known as the guy with something wrong with him who went to see a shrink.”  Thankfully he did get help and now he is helping eradicate the stigma of mental illness.  Have a look at his most recent campaign “It’s OK to say if you don’t feel OK”.

So what are you own reasons for not getting help for anxiety, depression or stress?  After all, I’m just an ordinary 45-year old woman, sitting on comfy chairs in my therapy room, waiting to help you.  There are thousands of mental health professionals like me across Australia who would love to help you.   So what’s stopping you from getting help?

 

Let’s look at some of the reasons people hold off on getting help:

 

1. I’m not crazy 

You don’t have to be ‘crazy’ to see a therapist (I’ve covered this in another blog – have a look).   My clients are normal people like you and me – they’re just doing something  about their depression, anxiety, stress, relationship troubles.  Some of them are just at a crossroads and they don’t know where to turn.  Some of them are facing a life change.    What’s common amongst my clients is that they are all taking a proactive stance on their emotional and psychological health.  They are practicing self-care. 

Crazy old lady

2. Fear of being ‘found out’ and judged ‘mentally ill’.

Do you tell your work colleagues every time you go to get a bikini wax?  Do you tell your parents every time you go on a Tinder date?  I sure as hell don’t!  You don’t have to tell anyone you’re seeing a therapist if you don’t want to.   How are they ever going to find out?  Your therapist is ethically bound to maintain confidentiality.  They will only break confidentiality if you pose a danger to yourself or to others.   This means your friends and family do not need to know you’re in therapy unless you want them to.  So potentially the only person judging you is you.   (And by the way, fear of being judged is a great thing to work on with your therapist.  What would it be like if you could just be yourself without worrying what everyone else thought?)

Most therapists take care to preserve your anonymity.  I mostly work from home and I don’t have a sign on my gate.  So to someone in my street it would just look like I’ve got a friend dropping by for coffee.  I live in a small town on the outskirts of Brisbane and I often see my clients out and about as I walk by the sea or do my shopping at Woollies.  I just smile at them as I would any passer-by.  If they want to stop and chat that’s up to them, but if not I just keep walking.  Your therapist is not going to ‘blow your cover’.  They’re not going to come up to you in public and say “hey I was thinking about that total a’hole brother of yours… oh this is your brother, so nice to meet you.. I really must dash off now….”

3. Not wanting to ask for help.

Some people see asking for help as a sign of weakness. That they weren’t competent somehow.  That it means that they were failing.  But answer me this….  Would you try and cut your hair yourself?  Would you extract your own tooth? No you’d go to a hairdresser or a dentist (preferably the teeth thing is done at the dentist – they’re not usually very good at hair).  You see a professional for the maintenance of your body, so why not go to a professional for emotional and psychological maintenance? 

Ask for help

 

4. I don’t want to rehash the past…

A lot of people think that therapy is just about talking about the past.  And yes, some of it is.   But it’s also about the present.  My favorite psychology author (yes I do have one, I’m a total nerd), the amazing Psychiatrist, Irvin Yalom, talks about working with the “here and now”.  I work with what’s going on in client’s life right now:  their interpersonal problems including their therapeutic relationship with me, because that is a reflection of their relationships outside the microcosm of the therapy room.   You heal in therapy because of the therapeutic bond that you form with your therapist.  You try out behaviours with your therapist and get it reflected back to you.  You get to see what works and what doesn’t, how other people might perceive you.  All in a safe, non-judgemental space.  And this brings me onto my last point…

5. I tried it once but I didn’t like the therapist

There are so many different kinds of mental health professionals out there.  Psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, counsellors, social workers, support workers.   You have to find the person that’s right for you.   I say ‘person’ because you need to find the human that you click with, because it’s the therapeutic relationship that’s going to help you heal.  We’re all human – you don’t like everyone at work or at school, so don’t expect to like every single therapist you encounter.   If you don’t like the therapist, say thank you and move on.   Next! Don’t give up until you find your person.  

I go to see my personal therapist every fortnight.  As a therapist myself it is extremely important that I’ve cleared out all my sh*t so that I don’t impose it on any of my clients.  I LOVE going to see my therapist – sometimes it’s the highlight of my fortnight.  She’s not my friend, she’s my therapist.  She empathises when I bitch and whinge about my life.  She patiently listens while I excitedly rattle off all the cool things that have happened.   She laughs at the crazy stuff that happens.  She points out my blind spots.  She helps me work through difficult emotions like sadness, anger and jealousy.  She helps me heal myself.   And I value every single hour I spend in her therapy room. 

 

So do yourself a favour, an act of self-care, pick up that phone and ask for help.  That person may turn out to be one of the most valuable people in your life.

Sarah

0450 22 00 59
info@sarahtuckett.com.au

What stops you from asking for help? was last modified: April 1st, 2017 by Sarah Tuckett

Don’t hold your anger in – make pesto!

39249348_s
Let your anger out on some poor innocent greenery by making pesto the old fashioned way

Holding onto anger feels awful and it’s no good for you physiologically. The other day a foul-mouthed oaf masquerading as a concreting  contractor yelled expletives at me at 6.30am in my back yard, for a reason that was nothing to do with me. I was left shaking with anger, tears threatening to pour down my cheeks at any minute. Rather than carry this anger with me and hold that sick feeling inside me for the rest of the day, I went into my kitchen and made some pesto in a most unladylike fashion.

As I annihilated the basil leaves I screamed out expletives that would appall my mother. As I pulverised the pine nuts I yelled out the withering comments that would have left him begging to apologise. I took out my anger out on some poor unassuming greenery with a granite stick, in my own kitchen with no one else around except the cat (who ran away pretty quickly). And it felt GREAT!  I let all the remnants of that unpleasant encounter go. I didn’t let it spoil the rest of my day. (Side note –  I did make a bit of a mess).

As a somatic psychotherapist I help people release anger in a safe, confidential, therapeutic setting. Sometimes they hit a giant foam cube with a foam mallet, sometimes they stamp their feet and scream. I encourage them to let it go. You do not need to carry that anger inside you. Better to let it out in a safe, therapeutic space rather than keeping it inside you and risk it leaking out later onto someone else (usually your nearest and dearest). And best of all, when you let go of the anger there’s more room inside you for love, pleasure and joy.

But you can’t always queue up a handy therapist appointment at the precise moment of the anger, so here are my top tips for letting out it out in a safe way:

Choose your location and time

Don’t have a dummy spit in public like this lady in China .

Find a quiet, private spot so that you can let rip without scaring or offending anyone (or making a complete tool of yourself).

Soundproofing

If you are worried about noise put on some loud music. I live in a Queenslander which has zero sound proofing so I put on loud music so that I don’t scare the daylights out of my octogenarian neighbours (pretty sure they’re deaf anyway…)

Get grounded and ‘present’ first

Letting rip whilst you’re un-grounded (not feeling like you’re connected to your body) is a BAD idea.  Doing some squats against a wall is a quick and easy way to get grounded. Do whatever you need to in order to feel connected with your body, safe, strong and present. Then…

Choose your method for expressing your anger

You want to let the anger out in a satisfying but safe way. You don’t want to hurt yourself or break something that you’d later regret. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Have a tantrum on your bed. Lie on your bed and have a dummy spit just like a toddler would. Kick your legs and flail your arms. Shout out what you wanted to say but couldn’t, or possibly just “ffffffffffff ##%@@!” Keep going until you’re exhausted.

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    Having a toddler tantrum (in private) can help release anger
  2. Smack the sofa with a cushion (or the bed with a pillow). Hold the cushion with both hands, take it up over your head and then repeatedly whallop the sofa as you yell out what you need to. Or maybe just punch the shizz out of some innocent cushions.
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    I wish I looked this glamorous letting anger out by hitting a cushion. I look more “Animal” from the Muppets
  3. Buy a granite mortar and pestle and annihilate some innocent vegetables. (Tip. The ceramic ones will shatter if you hit them too hard – granite is stronger).

And finally – rest…

When you feel like you’ve vented your anger, take an equal amount of time to let your nervous system settle back down. Don’t miss this step – your body needs this. An easy way to do this is a pose called the waterfall.

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Waterfall pose – helps your nervous system chill out. (It’s also a great pose if you are suffering from anxiety)

Bend over and touch the floor with your fingers, bending your knees if your hamstrings are tight. Breath slowly and deeply, letting that energy you’ve built up drain out of you into the floor. Let your energy drip down into the ground like a candle melting. Breathing in through your nose and sighing out through your mouth. Using your breath is an excellent method of telling your nervous system to go back into the parasympathetic (rest and digest) state. When you’ve finished, roll up slowly, giving your blood pressure time to equalise, and then go about your day, safe in the knowledge that you’re not going to take it out on your mother in law (although it may be tempting!)

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So Zen right now (and it’s nothing to do with the bowl of Ben and Jerry’s I’ve just consumed)

 

So remember…Get grounded, find a safe space, let rip, drop the f-bomb and then it all go. Don’t carry that shizz with you. There are more pleasant things to carry around (like a bowl of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food).

Sarah
x

Don’t hold your anger in – make pesto! was last modified: April 1st, 2017 by Sarah Tuckett

Why am I so tired all the time?

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“I eat the right food, exercise regularly, get 8 hours sleep.  Why am I so tired all the time?”

Not so long ago that was me. In fact some days it still is me. As a somatic psychotherapist I often hear this from otherwise medically healthy clients. What I tell them is that your body and your mind are connected. The muscles of your body hold patterns of tension, acting as armour to protect you not just from re-damaging old injury sites, but also to stop you from feeling psychological or emotional pain. Muscles use up energy. So you may be unconsciously withholding your own energy; blocking your own life force.   Think of all that extra energy that would suddenly become available to you if  you could let everything go. This is what a Core Aliveness class is all about. Unlocking the vitality in your body and making room more for joy and pleasure!

Holding your breath is a way of minimizing physical pain. Shallow breathing is also the best way to minimize emotional and psychological pain.  If you don’t breathe fully you won’t FEEL. But this also inhibits the amount of energy available to you. In Core Aliveness classes we focus on deep, lungful’s of air.

Core Aliveness group classes are a low impact, playful mind-body class based on Bioenergetic exercises, suitable for all levels of fitness, all body types and all genders. There are 3 sections in each class:

1. Establishing the mind-body link and grounding

In the first part we focus on reconnecting your body and mind. It’s all too easy to cut off from the neck down, ignoring the messages from your body.  This is your chance to gently stretch, mobilise and ground your body, listening to the messages your body is trying to send you.

 

 

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2. Energising your body and lungs

In the second section of Core Aliveness class we fire up your body using your muscles, breath and voice – generating heat and energy in your body. Giving you the opportunity to let off some steam!

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3. Letting it all go

In the final section of a Core Aliveness class we put you into poses that allow the energy you’ve just built up to flow through and out of your body. We’re letting go of old stuck energy and undigested feelings, clearing space for more enjoyable states such as pleasure, love and joy. Finally we end up in relaxation poses to let your body-mind integrate all it has learned and enjoy a well-deserved rest.

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We run Core Aliveness Group classes at Coorparoo and Margate.

For more info please see the group classes page or to ask me a question please see our Facebook page  or call Sarah on 0450 22 00 59.

Personal Therapy Sessions

Not ready for a group class? Why not try a personal therapy session and make space for more joy, pleasure and vitality in your life. Find out more on my somatic psychotherapy page.

To book your appointment please book online or call Sarah on 0450 22 00 59

Why am I so tired all the time? was last modified: April 1st, 2017 by Sarah Tuckett

From Burnout to Bliss…. the importance of doing nothing

The importance of scheduling time to do nothing

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How are you feeling right now? Are you running on a full tank of fuel or are you about to break down by the side of the road? Your ability to react positively to the stressors you encounter in your daily life depends not only on your mental resilience, but also on your body’s energy reserves. These days we tend to think of our stressors are mostly mental rather than physical, because there just aren’t as many tigers chasing us as there used to be. However, there are things that put stress on your body’s energy reserves that we don’t often think about. This physical depletion can affect your resilience and your mental state.  So rather than think of ‘doing nothing’ as wasted time, perhaps it’s time to think of it as time spent filling up your tank.

How did I get burnout?

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The graphics below illustrate the relationship between stress and your energy reserves – leading to either endurance or exhaustion. In the first example – low stress and a full tank – you’ll be feeling pretty awesome!

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In the second example however – high stress and an empty tank – you’re on your way to burnout if the stressors continue for a prolonged period.

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Why am I writing about this? Because I burnt out last year.  I practice self-care in the form of eating a really healthy diet, getting 7 hours sleep a night, doing regular yoga and dancing classes, having regular personal therapy and making time to see friends.  However, what I wasn’t taking into account was the fact that I was doing all of that on top of a full-time job and running my own part-time business. I had the (pleasurable) mental stress of work and business but I was using up all my long-term energy reserves because I was eating on the fly between clients and dance classes; going to bed after 10.30pm;  and being ‘busy’ most of the weekend.  I wasn’t  making enough time for “nothing”, for my body to rest.

Hammock - perfect place to do nothing

Here are some of the surprising (ok probably not so surprising) things that can deplete your batteries over time:

  • Not getting enough sleep for YOUR body (7 hours may be great for some but not enough for you);
  • Going to bed after 10.30pm every night.  (If you go to bed too late your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) will kick in to keep you going, putting more adrenaline and cortisol into your system.  Not ideal because there are no tigers to run from at that time of night.  Your body really wants to rest at this time, but you’re asking it to keep going);
  • Dehydration;
  • Doing too much exercise;
  • Eating on the fly and not taking time to rest and digest;
  • Eating poor nutritional choices to keep yourself going rather than just admitting you are zonked and resting;
  • Not enough rest full stop; and
  • And here’s one you may not have thought of…..  Holding onto undigested feelings in your body (anger, fear, sadness, jealousy).  You need to let them go.  Imagine how much more energy you’d free up if you could just let that stuff go… (I’ve written about this in another blog – read it here) . (find out more about somatic (body-mind) psychotherapy)

The good news is that our batteries are rechargeable – it just takes time.  I learned to listen to my body rather than the list I had in my head of the things that I ought to do.  I’ve been there and back again. And now it’s my turn to help others.

As a somatic psychotherapist I will listen to what you’re saying and also look for the clues your body is showing me.  So if you’re feeling stressed or exhausted, come and see me and we’ll make a plan for your recovery.  (Call me on 0450 22 00 59 or book online here).

I leave you with this quote from Winnie the Pooh.  I’m off to do some very important ‘nothing’ for a few hours….

“What I like doing best is Nothing.”

“How do you do Nothing,” asked Pooh after he had wondered for a long time.

“Well, it’s when people call out at you just as you’re going off to do it, ‘What are you going to do, Christopher Robin?’ and you say, ‘Oh, Nothing,’ and then you go and do it.

It means just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”

“Oh!” said Pooh.”
― A.A. MilneWinnie-the-Pooh

Winnie the Pooh

 

From Burnout to Bliss…. the importance of doing nothing was last modified: April 1st, 2017 by Sarah Tuckett

Why massage on its own won’t cut the mustard

(Or ‘Why we work with both the mind and the body in body psychotherapy’)

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As a remedial massage therapist specialising in body-mind massage, I would help my clients release the tension and stuck emotions in their body. They would report that they felt immediate relief and felt wonderful. However this relief wouldn’t last. The next time they came to see me the same patterns of tension would be back. Why? Because your mind is stronger than my hands. And these patterns of tension are like armour that protects you from painful feelings that you couldn’t deal with at the time (anger, sadness, stress). Having a massage gave immediate relief to the symptoms, but left the cause – the wound – untouched.

You store your issues not just in your mind, but also in your muscles. This is why it is so important to work with both the mind and body when dealing with psychological or emotional issues. So this is exactly what we do in body psychotherapy.

So where does this armour come from? Think of what you do when you stub your toe… a typical reaction is to hold your breath whilst hobbling about on one foot. Holding your breath is in an instinctive reaction to stop feeling the physical pain in our body. This muscular armour works in the same way for emotions. By tensing the diaphragm we restrict our breathing and in doing so stop ourselves from feeling the tender feelings in our bellies. By gritting our jaw we hold ourselves back from speaking out, something that could potentially get us into trouble. So why is this a problem? Because it’s causing you physical pain. Or holding you back psychologically.

These patterns of armouring start to form when we are children. As a child we are totally dependent on the love and protection of our parents or primary care givers. We play roles in order to gain love and attention from our parents. A defence against rejection. Think about the terrified child who pacifies their alcoholic father, bringing them food and coffee in order to avoid a violent outburst. I myself played the role of the academic achiever in order to gain my father’s attention. If I didn’t achieve I believed I would be unloveable. I feared I would be rejected. I don’t mind admitting that I carried on this belief until I was 40. It was only through therapy that I started to see where this faulty logic came from, and slowly I started taking different decisions.

Think about the roles you still play as an adult. Your work persona versus your private persona. How you act around your family versus how you act around your friends? Which is the real you? Any of them? Like actors we play a role, we wear a mask in order to gain acceptance and love from the people around us. The happy person. The caring friend. The leader. We do it to be socially acceptable. And sometimes we believe that our true self will not be accepted, or worse will be un-loveable or rejected.

Over time, these masks or roles become structured in our bodies. Our body becomes shaped to the self-image we create. Initially we consciously hold our muscles in patterns to effect the mask that we need to show, or to stop ourselves from feeling the emotional pain of rejection or abandonment. Over time the holding pattern becomes unconscious and the muscle tension becomes chronic. We are no longer aware that we are doing it and these holding patterns become the norm. The self-deprecating people pleaser has an open, smiling face, despite the tears that lie within. The sad, lonely person rounds their shoulders to protect the heart, their entire energy drooping towards the floor in defeat. The fearful child holds terror in his eyes and anger in his jaw and shoulders from where he’s not been able to express his own rage for fear of rejection.

But we’re no longer children. We no longer need to rely on the love and protection of our parents. We can stop playing these roles, but it takes time and we need to proceed gently, because these patterns are ingrained in your subconscious; these childhood wounds are deep. This armour should be treated with kindness and melted away gently, after all it helped you survive as a child.

In body psychotherapy our goal is to return aliveness to the body. To gently melt the armour. To discharge the stuck emotions. To release the trauma. We do this by working with the breath and physical movements. As we release the tight muscles a client will often remember events, memories or emotions associated with that tension. The client may sob as they feel and release the childhood grief, or express the anger that they were unable to express as a child for fear of rejection by mum or dad. We may revisit the same stories time and time again as we release the tensions, like peeling the layers off an onion. But one thing is sure… as you release those tensions and withheld emotions, you will feel more alive. You will have more energy for life. And you will have more capacity for joy.

It takes an awful lot of physical energy to maintain these muscle-holding patterns, and mental energy to maintain the façade of the mask you portray. Imagine if you could let go of the mask and truly be yourself? Think of the additional energy that would be freed up.

With the help of a brilliant therapist I started to listen to my inner voice and started following my non-academic interests. I started following my own heart. But it’s still there… the inner voice that tells me that perhaps I’m not good enough and therefore don’t deserve love. It’s something I work on every day. But that voice is growing quieter and quieter each day. And now it’s my turn to help you.

With love

Sara Elizabeth
xxx
Mobile: 0450 22 00 59
www.saraelizabeth.com.au
info@saraelizabeth.com.au

To find out more about how body psychotherapy can help you have a look at my Services Page

To find out how to contact me or info about my opening hours please visit my Contact page. Or book your appointment online.

Why massage on its own won’t cut the mustard was last modified: April 1st, 2017 by Sarah Tuckett