I remember well what it felt like to be unhappy.
It was exhausting. It was isolating. It was such an unnatural state like my body was to be in. It was rejecting my emotions by making it physically painful to be so sad.
Post-partum anything is nuts. The period after you give birth where you try to make sense of a seemingly new world order is tough for any mom. I had just brought two beautiful boys into the world. They were healthy and they were happy. Why couldn’t I be?
I will never forget the moment when I read the story of another mom who had been diagnosed with post-partum depression (PPD), and who had anger escaping her, hurling itself at the people she loved the most, with such lack of self-control, that she was scared. Something changed inside me as I read her words.
It was like she was telling my story.
When I saw myself in another woman’s story, I felt immediate permission to hope. I wasn’t alone in what I was experiencing. I wasn’t a lost cause. Maybe, just maybe, I would be happy again.
As I read my story in her story that day, I connected with her. She didn’t even know it, but her bravery in telling her story, her bravery in being real and honest and flawed, made it okay for me to be real, too.
That moment was the beginning of my new life.
It has been eight years since I read that story. And those eight years have had ups and downs, but mostly ups. Along the way, I have discovered that there is one thing that elevates a person’s health, happiness and wellness to increasingly new heights, and it’s actually very simple.
That one thing is connection.
The one thing that wraps itself around each and every helpful wellness technique, from healthy eating to mindful gratitude practice to making time for movement, is the fact that all of it, every single last bit of it, endeavours to make you feel connected.
• Connected to your real self.
• Connected to your body.
• Connected to your soul.
• Connected to the people you love.
• Connected to your community.
• Connected to people who share your story.
• Connected to source, a higher power, or whatever resonates with you.
For the last few years, I have been busy creating safe spaces for people to be real among a tribe of like- minded others who get them, hear them and make it safe for them to no longer feel alone.
And through that experience, I have learned that life is a series of moments in time. It’s in those moments that we are offered a simple choice: to feel alone and disconnected by our challenges, or to choose in favour of our happiness and thrive in connection with others.
Originally published: November 2, 2017
Sarah Hutchison, Contributor and co-owner of She Thrives
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Sarah Hutchison is co-owner of She Thrives, an innovative women’s wellness centre in downtown Belleville, and co-founder of Bliss B4 Laundry, a company that hosts life-changing, transformational wellness events for women. Sarah is a creative soul, spiritual mama, and an ever-passionate rooter for the underdog who loves to meditate, read thought-provoking books, and write about life.
For decades now, medication along with talk therapy have been the go-to for treating mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD and more. Psycho-pharmaceuticals such as anti-depression medications and anti-anxiety medications take weeks - sometimes months to start making a difference for people. Often times the side effects necessitate adjustments in dosages before arriving at a suitable outcome. But, with our human brains being electro- chemical organs, are chemical treatments (medications) the only way or even the most effective way to help?
Through recent studies on brain function and greater comprehension in neuroscience, it’s been shown that neurons in the brain that fire together, actually wire together. All of our life experiences are recorded in our brains, but, the negative experiences are remembered indefinitely. Likely to keep us from further harm or trauma in the future, they are actually encoded in great detail in our memories.
These detailed, encoded memories are pulled up during our most vulnerable moments and can interfere with our ability to function day to day. Messages from our pasts such as ‘you’re not good enough’, ‘you’re stupid’, ‘you’re fat’, ‘you’re worthless’, or ‘nobody loves you’ leave a lasting impact that can affect not only our present, but also our future.
The ability to engage with the brain’s neurons that have encoded negative experiences and to de-link the emotional charge associated with the experience has been made possible utilizing Havening Techniques ®, which is a psycho-sensory technique. Sensory input creates an electrical wave in the brain which changes the circuitry of the brain altering the way the brain accesses and utilizes negative memories and traumatic events.
As a therapist, the opportunity to witness the lift that happens and the different perception of self that occurs as a result of Havening Techniques is a wonder and a privilege to behold.
Havening Techniques can help with a wide variety of issues from phobias, grief, cravings, panic attacks, distressing memories, PTSD, anger or fear of abandonment to name a few.
This past June, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Richard Oakley, a UK Police Officer diagnosed with PTSD after being first on scene of a deadly terrorist attack in London and he told me the tremendous difference Havening has made in his own life.
Neuroscience is providing new and better ways to find healing from mental health issues. Healing doesn’t always come in the form of a pill. A new paradigm has arrived.
Originally Published: October 28, 2017
Have you ever gotten back from a week’s holidays and thought, “that just wasn’t long enough.”? I know I have.
Even though I’m good at relaxing and letting go of work once I’m on vacation, I do always feel like I am still connected to it in a subtle way. I always have my phone with me. I usually check it twice a day in case there are any emergencies that need to be attended to. I tend to be rushing to get things done before I leave, and then I’m rushing to catch up when I get back.
For better mental health, and at the recommendation of more than one person I see to keep myself healthy and balanced, I needed a longer break from my self-imposed workaholic tendencies. So, this upcoming four-week holiday has actually been eight months in the making.
So here are five reasons I am taking an extended vacation and why you should consider it too. You don’t have to jump into the deep end like me, but your vacation should be longer than what people expect and longer than what is comfortable for you, in order for it to be effective.
1. It’s a priority for my long-term health
I became aware that helping more patients become healthy isn’t going to make me healthy unless I walk the talk in all areas, not just the ones I’m good at. I want all patients, including myself, to avoid getting sucked into the culture of cortisol. So, instead of giving myself a raise, I’m giving myself more time off.
2. Parkinson’s law
Originally, Parkinson’s law is the adage that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. For me, even though I love my job, I don’t want work to become the most satisfying thing in my life. I need to make space and time for the “fun stuff” or before I know it another year will have gone by.
3. We all need a “deloading” phase in life
Taken from the world of exercise physiology, it’s a concept that can be applied to other areas of life. In the sports world, it’s a back-off week, or a planned reduction in exercise volume or intensity. The whole point of this week is to prepare the body for the increased demand of the next phase or period of training and more importantly mitigate the risk of overtraining. For me, this means avoiding burn-out!
4. It’s OK to say no sometimes
I have a quote that many patients have seen on the filing cabinet in my office that reads, “You can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no.” Up until this year, I have planned my vacation around other people, other events, less busy times of year, etc. Instead of having my own agenda, it was determined by default, dependent on everyone else’s agenda. I realized that this was rooted in the limiting belief that saying no was somehow a bad thing. I’m slowly learning to say no when it conflicts with my priorities.
5. The most important thing is usually the most uncomfortable
Being away from my office for a month is kinda scary, not just uncomfortable. My mind immediately started to go to the worst-case scenario when it was first suggested to me. Now that I have had six months to get used to the idea and plan for my absence, it’s getting a little less uncomfortable. I keep reminding myself of the quote from Neale Donald Walsch – “Life begins just outside your comfort zone.”
Now, I would love to hear from you! Which of my reasons for taking an extended vacation resonated with you the most? Leave a comment below!
Originally Published: October 21, 2017
Dr. Michelle Durkin, BSC(H), ND, Contributor and Bowen Practitioner at Quinte Naturopathic Centre
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Dr. Michelle Durkin attended the University of Guelph and obtained a Bachelor of Science with honours in Biomedical Science. With this medical background, she went on to study at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto and graduated as a licensed doctor of naturopathic medicine in 2003. Dr. Durkin founded her clinic, the Quinte Naturopathic Centre. As a Naturopathic Doctor she is very committed to providing excellent individualized health care in a warm and professional environment. Michelle is also a professional Bowenwork® practitioner. In addition, Dr. Durkin holds professional memberships with the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors (OAND), the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND), and the Association of Perinatal Naturopathic Doctors (APND).
Have you ever been caught up in a whirlpool? Everything spins so madly you don’t know which end is up and fighting against it leadsonly to exhaustion. A worry whirlpool is much the same. Something is causing incessant worry, making your head spin. The resulting negative thoughts cause stress and anxiety, and fighting it only draws you in deeper.
Not only that, but because thoughts become things, your worrisome thoughts are vibrating out and matching up with other equally undesirable thoughts, conversations and situations, until it seems your whole life is turned on its head.
The obvious solution is to stop thinking those thoughts, but this is much easier said than done because the Law of Attraction is keeping them coming. It’s much easier to distract yourself by taking a nap, watching a movie or visiting a friend. This will give you the mental space necessary to begin thinking different thoughts. You won’t shift directly from worry to happiness, but you can bridge your worrisome thoughts by repeating phrases such as, ‘things always work out for me’ or ‘I don’t have to think about that right now’ to break the cycle.
Think of a well-worn path in a field. It’s easy to keep going down that path because the weeds have been trampled down. You don’t have to think about where you’re putting your feet, it’s become automatic. When you make the decision to take a new path, it’s difficult initially but gets easier each time you use it, while the old path grows over and is forgotten.
It’s the same with your thoughts. Each time you choose the new path it becomes easier and strengthens your resolve. You are creating new patterns of thought that serve you while simultaneously releasing the negative ones that don’t.
You can take things further with the ‘tell a new story’ process. As the worrisome situation shows what you don’t want, what you do want becomes clear. I recommend sitting with pen and paper and imagining it unfolding exactly as you’d like. You don’t have to know how it can be resolved or even the precise results you want. Just write how happy everyone is with the miraculous solution, holding the feeling in your heart while picturing their happy faces.
If worrying about a loved one, remember we are eternal beings who chose certain challenges each lifetime for the learning it will provide. What we think is a bad thing may be just the experience needed for their spiritual growth, leading to much happier circumstances for them.
If that doesn’t bring relief, consider that worrying gives more energy, thus power, to unwanted things. It is essentially praying for what you don’t want, and robs you of the ability to help. Your best defence against worry whirlpools is to shine your light as bright as you can. This will uplift those you were worried about, and anyone else lucky enough to be around you.
Originally Published: September 20, 2017
Alexandria Barker, Contributor
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Alexandria Barker is a certified life coach and Soul Re-alignment practitioner, providing healing at the deepest level for lasting transformation. She is also an Infinite Possibilities Coach specializing in freeing you of limiting beliefs, enabling you to live the life of your dreams.