• The Mind/Body Connection: Sense and Sensibilities

    I was listening to Radiolab the other day and as usual, they addressed a subject that’s near and dear to my heart–literally–the mind/body connection. The show discussed how the brain relates to the body, and vice-versa. As always, the show was thought-provoking, but led me to think a bit more about the mind-body connection and how it’s related to trauma. When Your body knows before your Conscious Brain Knows. The latest research reveals that our viscera “knows” extreme experiences before you, consciously, do. That’s because the ancient circuitry in the brain communicates directly with the amygdala in extreme. When the

    [Read More...]
  • Fight, Flight, and Freezing

    When I first realized that the symptoms I was experiencing were not due to a deadly, chronic ailment, but due, instead, to an overactive, nonstop “fight or flight” response, it was a revelation. How could this be? How could symptoms of dissociation, insomnia, strange bodily sensations such as tingling and “electricity flowing through every nerve of my body” be something other than a serious illness? Many of the answers to what I was experiencing were in the illuminating,  groundbreaking book, Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma: The Innate Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences by Peter Levine. I experienced all stages of the body’s survival mechanism: fight,

    [Read More...]
  • Why we exhaust ourselves with stress and anxiety, and what you can do about it

    Why we Exhaust Ourselves… Today, people tend to be overwhelmed not just by constant inputs (technologically), but by self-criticism. First, the brain is actually built to focus on the negative; this is an evolutionary vestige built for survival, but today, neuroscientists are aware that it’s not just an annoyance, but that the brain remembers and focuses on he negative much more readily than it does the positive. The brain not only retains more negative memories for longer periods of time, but components of the brain actually work to prevent positive experiences from being retained–all in the name of survival. This was perfectly well and good when

    [Read More...]
  • Anxiety, the brain, and modern life: How an ancient biological imperative to survive came to dominate our lives

    As it turns out, all the negativity that humans experience–fear, anxiety, stress response–all are a a natural development in the brain. It’s all a survival mechanism that developed over millennia to “protect” us. But today, we don’t need to escape lions (for the most part) or tribes (for the most part), but the brain doesn’t know that–or much care. If there’s a threat, real or imagined, the brain swings into action to “save the day.” And for the most unlucky people, it can wind up actually killing them, performing an out of control “mindless” task of keeping the body/mind in

    [Read More...]