Your Body, Your Best Therapist

Is it May already? and 2020. What a weird year!

Sent via my social media and transferred here for you. I’d be curious what people thought about the “anxiety” one. Seems perhaps a bit incomplete. As an occupational therapist, I would add that all of these emotions require bravery – and that anxiety needs bravery + movement + accomplishment (however small). And singing, anxiety needs singing.

It may need acknowledgement that our evolutionary or developmental systems have wires that have been tripped. And perhaps a part is true, but often the ball of worry that snowballs is simply protective, and not fully true in every part. Some of anxiety is habit.

Some of it is an evolutionary “RUN!” when we may need to stand our ground. Or the hard whisper of “Freeze!” when we are actually safe enough to move. How do we know? Talking, being still and waiting with compassion, breathing, looking around, maybe humour, maybe dark humour…. but not just believing that anxiety is being fully honest. Sometimes it’s just our muscles,  that need water, a walk and some humour.  Sometimes it’s overwhelm that needs to do just one small thing. Sometimes we need to actually talk our way into doing a simple task – with bravery, yes. But also with Doing.

Oh, yes, but I was going to just show you this! .What does your body say.. enjoy:

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“The Most Apt Maxim”

This popped up on Linkedin. I thought it was worth sharing here to emphasize that we, not only our therapists, can know about what helps the human condition. And we all have things to rise to, these days.

“In this rare clip from 1972, legendary psychiatrist and Holocaust-survivor Viktor Frankl delivers a powerful message about the human search for meaning — and the most important gift we can give others.”

Preserving Strength

When our strength is pulled on in unexpected and ambiguous ways, it’s important to have a bit of a strategy, even if we can’t control things. This article, lays out a few places where folks can get a foot hold:

How to preserve your mental strength when everything is uncertain

There is knowledge, and then there is movement. Neither is sufficient on its own. So, also find an online group of people doing movement (Yoga, stretching, Tai Chi, or meditation etc) and join them. Try to find a group that you can join daily or weekly and get to know – and make a regular practice of being there with them 🙂

In a slightly different vein, I want to add a soft song from a singer who relentlessly holds hope and shares it in song. Perhaps it’s a “lullaby for adults” as I heard someone call it: “I Forgive Myself”

Meeting Fear – Kim Barthel

Please meet Kim,  fellow OT and neuroscientist, she has been a part of seeding many trauma-informed initiatives around the globe.

She has some wise words about Fear and Covid-19. I was fortunate enough to be in her presence, at a recent conference about neuroscience of the brain with researched lessons about autism, trauma and connection:

Her website has many good things. This is one of them: https://www.kimbarthel.ca/reflections/2020/3/12/meeting-fear

Also, scroll down to use the Blue Bubble as part of guiding your breath.

A Reminder

I like the list that follows (from a Berkley therapist). But I don’t believe it happens in a vacuum. Let your emotional work be there, under what you chose to do with your hands.

Do things each day; Occupy yourself with small things that matter, that advance you, that please you, whether they ‘work’ or ‘fail’ in the moment. They might be momentous accomplishments. Or they may be ‘small’ things. You decide: whittle wood, accept a job, feed the fish, cook supper, read a book, go eat the ice cream at the new library, throw a softball with your family….

And in the background be quietly aware of letting the following happen:

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Meaning, Purpose, Story

I was reminded of this at the Dr. Ruth Lanius conference in recent past days. Strength-based, she kept reminding clinicians to listen to their clients’ experience and self-knowledge.  The digital story-telling was just a comment, but I was reminded of having heard of it before – something that can ground us in our creativity while feeling the power of our voice. Our stories matter; no matter how we tell them: