Category Archives: Breathing & movement techniques

Learn breathing and movement techniques to help 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

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

Exercise as therapy for your mind and body

Exercise as therapy for your mind

We know that exercise make us healthier.  It has the benefit of lowering blood pressure and reducing your risk of diabetes.  But it’s so easy to NOT do it, right?  Especially as it’s getting so cold and the sofa is so comfy.  But there is a much more important reason for exercising than fitting into those skinny jeans.  Exercise is literally medicine for your mental health.   So why not think of exercise as therapy for your mind.

Exercise for mental wellness at Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling

Exercise boosts your mood, releases those feel-good endorphins and improves your cognitive performance (see this article by JC Miller and Z Krizan for the science).  It also helps you to replace lost energy, or let go of excess tension from your body.

 

Movement therapy for you mind as well as your body

I like to think of exercise as ‘movement therapy for your mental wellbeing’.

 

How do you know what kind of exercise your body needs? First you need to tap into what feels good for YOUR body and your MIND.  Try out different things.  You’re unique so find out what YOU like doing exercise-wise and what your soul needs. There’s no point forcing yourself to go to the gym if it bores the living shizz out of you. 

 

Here are some suggestions for exercise as therapy for your mind:

 

Depression

If you’re feeling depressed it’s likely you’re in a low energy state.  What would be good here is to build up more energy in your body by moving it and by taking big breaths.  Trouble is, when you’re feeling depressed and your motivation is rock bottom, it’s hard to actually get off the sofa. Why not call a friend and get them to take you there?   

The people at Psychology Today wrote a good article about how to exercise when you’re really low.  They advocate just trying little 5 minute bites and building up from there. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/back-the-brink/201311/how-exercise-when-depressed

 

Here are some ideas for depression-busting exercise:

 

Walk 

Walking as movement therapy - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy

The most accessible exercise for those us with functioning lower limbs.   Even if it’s just 5 minutes.  You’ll get your circulation going, you’ll breathe in some fresh air and maybe even get some Vitamin D.  And many more benefits besides these.  

I advocate going with a friend, because not only will it give you some social interaction, they’ll also help you keep going when you really just want to hide away in your nest.   

 

Breathe deeply 

Get yourself to a gentle yoga class – Yin Yoga would be perfect.  Don’t let your ego take over – listen to your body – stay away from the more strenuous classes like Vinyasa until you’ve got more energy in your system. 

The breathing techniques (pranayama) from Yoga are also fantastic for getting more energy into your lungs.  You’re literally pumping yourself up with energy from the inside.

Yin yoga

 

 

Bust out your inner Carmen Miranda/Antonio Banderas

Latin dancing is great for alleviating symptoms of depression

My top pick for depression is Latin dancing.  You’re out there mingling with other people instead of sinking into your aloneness and you‘re getting exercise without having to resort to lycra.  You don’t have to go there with a partner or friends.  The majority of people go on their own and you may even make new friends.

You also don’t have to be already a  dancer.  Everyone starts as a beginner.  Some with two left feet. And there’s no prerequisite to be skinny.  Some of my favorite dance partners are more on the cuddly side. 

Dancing is so good for you the Victorian Government has written about the benefits:

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/dance-health-benefits

 

Have a dance break instead of a chocolate break

Those clever peeps at No Lights No Lycra have created a free app called Dance Break.  Once a day it will randomly take over your phone and sends you a song to dance to in the middle of the office/school/street.  Go to http://dancebreak.com.au/  Or download the app for free from the App Store or Google Play Store.

Dance break

 

Anxiety

When you’re anxious you’re in a state of  fear. That constant rumination (going over thoughts in your head again and again) causes the release of noradrenaline and cortisol into your system. Being in a constantly hyped up state is bad news for your poor over-worked adrenal glands and the cocktail of emergency hormones isn’t too crash hot for the rest of your body either (they’re meant for emergency use, not every day).    Additionally, constantly  being in a fight or flight state chews up a lot of energy.  

You need to ground yourself in the present.  Anything that slows you down and reconnects you with your body and the present time is worth a go. 

Try Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi or Chi Gung.   Restorative yoga is perfect for the over-stressed nervous system.  Again the breathing techniques will bring more energy to your body and replace that depleted energy store.   

Restorative yoga - perfect for reducing anxiety

 

Stressed out?

I advocate doing something to release the pent up tension in your body – especially an activity where you get to use your breath and voice to help release that tension.  Try boxing or martial arts.  Make a racket and unleash the tiger!

Try Martial Arts to release pent up tension and stress - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy

 

But then on the flipside, you also need to calm your nervous system. So once again, walking, yoga, pilates.  Anything that calms you. Massage is fantastic. Laze in a float tank even! Or lie on your back and gaze up at the stars. Whatever it takes to calm you down. 

 

So whatever you do, do something that appeals to you.  Keep trying new things until you find what works for you and make it your personal exercise as therapy for your mind. 

 

 

I hope you found this article helpful.  Please share it.

Sarah

 

Exercise as therapy for your mind and body was last modified: July 10th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett

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: July 10th, 2020 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: July 10th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett

Don’t hold your anger in – make pesto!

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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.

    32986117_s
    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.
    24896769_s    
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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.

Waterfall
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
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Don’t hold your anger in – make pesto! was last modified: July 10th, 2020 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: July 10th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett

From Burnout to Bliss…. the importance of doing nothing

The importance of scheduling time to do nothing

Happy feet

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?

Burnout

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: July 10th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett