How to Self-Soothe
Over the last week I have seen the people closest to me struggle with so many manifestations of anger such as frustration, disappointment, fear, depression, anxiety, feeling unworthy and unloved. What a helpless feeling it is when you are standing in front of them and literally loving them with all your heart, but really that is all you can do. Be there for them and hold space. I know what it is like to be in this cycle as I am sure many of you do. The question is how do we come back into our body? How do we begin moving beyond overwhelm? How do we self-regulate and self-soothe?
The Science and Western Approach
Fortunately, our body is pretty good at helping us out in that department. When we are in an emotional upheaval the neurotransmitter dopamine is released to help regulate these emotions. When does this not work so well? If the person has an underlying condition such as a history of early childhood trauma, PTSD, Parkinson’s, and schizophrenia.
For people that identify with any of these conditions we may have an emotional processing dysfunction. This is due to an impairment in the dopamine mechanism. We literally don’t have the optimal ability to self-soothe. Does that mean that we can’t be helped? Hell no!! There is the Western medicine approach that may include having a team of psychiatrists and physicians. Although I am not a fan it doesn’t mean this isn’t helpful for some people. So, absolutely do what you believe is the best treatment for you. Even, if this is the path you do choose, please know there are other ways you can help yourself including past life regression, Reiki, acupuncture, reflexology, massage, EMDR and yoga. That is why I do the work I do, and I dream of a world where people are not shamed when they go into the ER with a panic attack. I want to teach people how they can get back into their body when they feel like they are at deaths door because their heart is beating wildly in their chest, they can’t move, they are bathed in sweat and they can’t feel their fingers or toes.
How Does Yoga Fit in?
Yoga has helped me gain so many tools to help reign in my emotions without relying on outside pleasures, which trigger dopamine . These external mirages inevitably reveal themselves as false once the hunt is over. This is a lifelong journey for me because I still have moments when I give into the beast and look for the rush when my life is going sideways. As an example, I was surfing for a new massage table online last night, even though mine is perfectly fine, just to feel the thrill of excitement of doing something I know is harmful. I had dopamine releasing like there was no tomorrow. I literally felt high! Fortunately, I used my tools of yoga to come back into my body when I realized what I was doing.
So, what are these tools I keep talking about? Breathwork or Pranayama, body scanning, connecting with a higher power through prayer and/or mantra, mudra, and movement. These are things that I can do anywhere and at any time. Remember, a home practice doesn’t necessarily mean an hour of yoga poses on a sticky mat. It really means living the yogic life by practicing these teachings on a regular basis, so they are literally available to you when the shit hits the fan.
The Yogic Lifestyle
The yoga lifestyle is the life you are living now. You are “doing yoga” when you wash your face in the morning, when you prepare your breakfast, when you sing in the car, when you interact with others and the way you treat yourself. Because yoga is the action of re-establishing your connection with yourself and the divine. That is our ultimate goal, not putting our foot behind our head. That is where the magic happens. With yoga you can learn how to surf the never ending wave of emotions and realize that it is ok to cry and feel without holding back and in the end you can self-soothe when you are ready to do so. You are never alone if you have your breath and a higher power. This might sound way too simple but in truth it is. If you need further instruction or help getting started with any of these practices please contact me.