Today we’ll be talking about anxiety, emotional management, introversion, and trauma. I explain the window of tolerance and some somatic exercises that I learned in counselling to get out of my head and back into my body. This is a common problem from people who suffer trauma. Distraction, changing my internal monologue, and practicing mindfulness are all important parts of mental health. Mindfulness for me looks like focusing on my breath and reducing how anxious or activated my experience of life is.
A research-based perspective on childhood trauma and why one may be less able to drop from an anxious state into a restful state is discussed in Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is a scientifically supported practice and I’ve included a site with free resources from a retired psychotherapist who enjoys publishing his work and courses online for free. Dr. Tiny Payne Bryson is a psychotherapist and pediatric and adolesent psychology consultant. She publishes a great video discussing how the brain changes with childhood trauma as well. I’ve included an article on how trauma affects the brain as well.
As a person trained in hard science, I do my best to code switch or change the words I choose when speaking to those who subscribe to alternatives. Placebo effects are often very strong and occur any time a person believes they are being treated including when taking empirically supported medications. That means outcomes using painkillers like aspirin are twofold: you get the placebo effect and you get the evidenced medicinal effect. The placebo effect is so strong it noticeably overshadows medicinal effects such that brand name painkillers chemically identical to generics are perceived by users as doing more in studies.
My special guest today is Cathy Vartuli, a San Jose based (think San Francisco Bay area) doctor of Material Science and Engineering with 19 patents to her name. She currently focuses on teaching connection and engaged play at http://theintimacydojo.com. She is working on EFT resources on a sliding scale at https://www.thrivingnow.com. There are some free resources on the site.
Wikipedia’s article on Emotional Freedom Techniques or EFT – also called (“Tapping”) clearly communicates that while some swear by it, it is “not empirically supported.” Tapping is primarily built on Traditional Chinese Medical philosophy (think chi, meridians, energy), and in my opinion relies on distraction to change internal monologue as well as touch to promote grounding in the body. That’s just a skeptic’s opinion.
I think it’s worth listening to people who subscribe to “woo-woo” even if you dismiss most of it. While their language may be unscientific, sometimes they are using a different set of words to describe scientific processes.
When some new age individuals talk about vibrations or energy or a person’s frequency, often they just mean mood, engagement, or enthusiasm. While I certainly don’t subscribe to any mystical reasoning behind laws of attraction, I think it’s fair to say that high affect individuals tend to perceive, pursue, and complete more of their desired opportunities than those with lower affect. That means “high energy” people are more likely aware of, spend energy pursuing, and complete tasks related to goals and desires.
Whether you’re science-minded or new age, let’s all get better at code switching between the two, keep an open mind, and listen to Intimate Interactions.
Rethinking Narcissism by Dr. Craig Malkin (book | audio) – this book gave me a great perspective on people in my life with narcissistic traits, reasons on why I felt I needed to be in the spotlight, as well as reasons I was terrified of being called a narcissist. It positively changed my life and I recommend it to anyone afraid of being called out for being self-centered, selfish, obnoxious, attention-hogs, or narcissistic. If those made you visibly cringe, you might want to read this book.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain (book | audio) – talks about a history of American views on introversion and research on how we got to a space where it had become a bad word. It describes strategies introverts use to recharge after doing socially intense things and normalizes introversion.
Whole-Brained Child, The by Daniel Siegel, M.D., and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D (book | audio) – that taught me so much about my own psychology. It’s an accessible book to parents on how to best encourage healthy brains in children. Written in a language I think most could understand, this book changed how I saw my childhood and taught me strategies for coping. I highly recommend it.
Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology by Donna Jackson Nakazawa (book | audio) helped me find some meaning and camaraderie in my early traumatic experiences. If you experienced childhood trauma, I encourage you to get the book. It goes over research connecting physical and psychological issues and suggests strategies on healing. It even provides the Early Childhood Adversity survey and helps you interpret the results.
https://palousemindfulness.com/ (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction)