I am delighted to work again with my colleagues Claire Clerkin and Margaret Palmer: on Sat 27 Feb we are offering ‘The Vitality Seminar’ in Ballybay Wetlands Centre. Last year we co-presented 2 workshops – we really enjoyed working together and feedback from participants was very positive, so we decided to formalize our collaboration and offer a range of workshops in 2016 under the banner of ‘Natural Health Events’.
We had another topic lined up for February, but then it struck us that this is a great time of year to think about vitality! Winter is over (or nearly we hope!), days are getting longer and it’s the time of year for energy to rise again – we hope the ‘Vitality Seminar’ will do something to support this time of natural growth and new beginnings…
Please visit our Facebook page where we’ll be posting more detail over the next week or so. For more details or to make a booking you can contact any one of us, or book on line at http://vitalityseminar.eventbrite.com
Look forward to hearing from you!
Have you ever had a moment – perhaps on a particularly bad day – that you’ve thought
‘This can’t be right! A human being was never meant to live like this!’
There’s a lot of truth in your bewildered observation; it may or may not be some consolation to know that the world’s leaders in trauma therapy are thinking along the same lines…
Because trauma and stress are rampant in our world today an enormous amount of work has been done, and helped along by new insights in brain science, there is a growing clarity about the brain-body mechanisms that lead to PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and its many debilitating symptoms.
Naturally someone who had been through a horrific event – like a serious road traffic accident, a violent assault, or a natural disaster – will be deeply affected. However there’s a worrying trend that many who have been through fairly minor events are being diagnosed with PTSD. An example might be someone who seemed to be functioning perfectly well is tail-ended on the way to work one morning, and their lives fall apart! Someone who would by no means be perceived as a ‘wimp’ may suffer years of sleep disturbance, chronic pain and inability to hold down a job – the result of a 5mile an hour collision!
So what has gone wrong when someone (as in the example above) appears to have so little resilience – how can a minor event have such devastating consequences? Leaders in the field of trauma therapy would say that the underlying problem is accumulated stress: stress responses that are meant to fire up, help us through a crisis, then disappear, have actually stacked up in the system. These accumulated stress responses mean that a person who appears to be functioning perfectly well might actually be living very close to their edge; due to the backlog of stress in their system, they were probably working really hard to ‘function perfectly well’. Sadly, it’s not going to take much to push them beyond their tipping point.
But coming back to your thought at the beginning
‘This ain’t right. Surely this isn’t how a human being is meant to live!’
One of the most fascinating lines of enquiry that the experts in trauma are following … is that indeed this isn’t right. While life has changed enormously since our human ancestors came down from the trees and started to live a two-legged life on the ground, our nervous systems have not actually changed very much. Our nervous systems are designed for a life of the hunter-gatherer – a life lived in tribes of about 50 to 150 people, where we knew everybody, everybody looked out for everybody else; we hardly ever met a stranger and crises – such as a visit from a man-eating tiger, or aggression from a neighbouring tribe – were intense but short lived. The important thing is that crises were spaced out – there was time for life (and our nervous systems) to get back to normal: life usually returned to a state of relative ease, before the next crisis.
So from this perspective, it seems that modern life itself is a ‘trauma’ for a species designed for a much quieter, slower and generally less intense existence. Unless you’re living as a hermit, if you’re living in 2016, it’s quite likely that you have a background feeling that there’s always something else to sort – you’ve just negotiated one crisis and there’s another half dozen waiting! This is a recipe for accumulated stress, a recipe for living dangerously close to your tipping point – the edge of your resilience. But, please don’t despair – there’s a lot that you can do – just to understand how your nervous system and stress responses work is a great first step.
So, while the bad news is that trauma and accumulated stress are rampant in our society, the good news is that an amazing amount of work is being done to deepen our understanding and to discover ways to heal this modern epidemic.
If you are curious to learn more about the fascinating new developments in trauma therapy; or indeed if you yourself are suffering from what you feel are ‘stress related’ issues (difficulty with sleep, digestion, chronic pain, mood swings) why not think about joining
‘From Stress to Resilience’ a 6 week course starting on Wed 27th in The Be Well Clinic, Hill Street, Monaghan. The course will not only present some fascinating information about how trauma and stress mess us up, but also lots of ways in which we can reduce our own backlog of accumulated stress, thus restoring our capacity to live with resilience, connection and aliveness.
Topics will include:
How accumulated stress responses get locked into the body
How many physical, mental and emotional problems are caused by nervous system dysregulation
How to use yoga, mindfulness and a range of easy, enjoyable awareness exercises to work directly with the body and restore nervous system regulation
How presence and pleasure and key to restoring inner balance
If you’d like to hear more, do please come along to a free information session in Dochas, Park Street this Tues 26th at 8pm. Or just give me a call and I’ll be glad to answer your questions and share some more detail on the phone.
Contact: Mairead 086 8120332
For the last 3 years I have been immersed in the study of Somatic Experiencing…it’s a body based approach to working with the symptoms of trauma and accumulated stress…in what’s being referred to as ‘the new traumatalogy’ Somatic Experiencing is one of the leading disciplines in a new and vibrant field.
However… around Monaghan and Cavan it probably isn’t widely known – as far as I know I’m the first around these parts to have earned the title ‘Somatic Experiencing Practitioner’ SEP! Intending to put this right and spread the word about this wonderful therapeutic approach it’s my plan to write a series of articles to explain its background and potential.
In the meantime, here’s and extract from an email I sent out to my network recently – may begin to put you in the picture…but as it says – there’s more to come
Somatic Experiencing, or SE is a way of working with trauma and accumulated stress that’s based on latest knowledge of the brain and nervous system. Over the last couple of decades there has been a veritable explosion of new knowledge about the human brain and nervous system. This new knowledge has been the result of both new technologies (Cat scans, fMRI scanners etc) and an unprecedented wave of inter-disciplinary research involving neuroscience, neurobiology, psychophysiology, psychotherapy, attachment theory, sociology, anthropology, nutrition, functional medicine etc, etc…a new understanding is emerging on the many and inter-related influences on human well-being.
The main focus of Somatic Experiencing is the nervous system. I promise to not get too technical, but feel I should at least introduce you the nervous system. It’s job is to regulate all our essential survival functions: breathing, heart rate, digestion, elimination, muscle tone, the rhythm of sleep/wakefulness, and stress responses. Given half a chance, the nervous system does this really well, helping us rise to the occasion in a crisis and settle back down to normal functioning when the crisis is over. However the nervous system can be overwhelmed by trauma or accumulated stress. Now bearing in mind that it regulates all our vital functions, it’s easy to appreciate how nervous system disturbances can have far-reaching consequences on our health and well-being: it can contribute to symptoms which range from problems with sleep, digestion, headaches, chronic muscle tension to full-blown syndromes such as IBS and ME. Somatic Experiencing Practitioners are trained to recognize signs of nervous system dysregulation and to work with the client in re-establishing the conditions which allow the nervous system to resume its normal function.
But I promised not to get technical – if you’re curious about the scope or SE (and I hope you are!), I intend to post a series of articles on my website explaining a bit more. As well as providing some background, I’ll offer some easy self-help techniques you can use yourself to help your nervous system stay healthy and resilient.
For the moment, suffice it to say that SE has had a profound influence on me: in both my work and personal life I have felt it’s very positive impact.
I have thoroughly enjoyed being exposed to the many new and hopeful areas of research and practice with which SE is associated. But with study over for the moment, I am hoping now to immerse myself in spreading the word…At the risk of sounding like an evangelist, I feel this information is so important that everybody needs to know! And I have a bit of a strategy for making it available in a way that will be easy for you to access. At the moment it’s a 3-pronged strategy that goes something like this:
1. From Stress to Resilience: a 6-week course
Understanding how our brain, body and nervous system work can be a powerful tool in mitigating the feelings of anxiety, tension that can be caused by trauma or accumulated stress. So, I’m offering this 6-week psycho-education programme based on the theoretical underpinnings of Somatic Experiencing. Blending fascinating input with nourishing practice, the course aims to be informative and deeply encouraging – offering tools for living with greater ease, connection and resilience.
Starting in the Be Well Clinic in Monaghan on Wed 27 Jan, 7 to 9pm Further details, see the attached flyer
- Somatic Experiencing: One-to-One Sessions
Perhaps you are experiencing persistent symptoms of stress: digestive problems, issues with sleep, mood swings, chronic pain, and fatigue are frequently the result of trauma or accumulated stress. If you feel you need more than a course, why not contact me and I can explain how Somatic Experiencing works as a one-to- one therapy. Tel: 086 8120332
- Articles to appear soon on www.ways-to-wellness.org
You might not want to take one-to-one sessions or attend a course, but I’d still love you to know something about this material – I’m hope to start posting by the end of the month
There is so much research these days on the benefits of Mindfulness and Yoga – I do my best to keep up myself, but usually forget to share. Here’s a link to a nice short article a friend sent me on how even 8 weeks of Mindfulness benefits the brain.
I’ll put something up soon about Yoga – lots of studies show that Yoga practice affects the brain in much the same ways as Mindfulness …enjoy!
If you’re hoping to put self-care high on the agenda this Autumn, here are a few opportunities you might be interested in (and more to come…)
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction(MBSR) has been clinically proven to alleviate stress, anxiety, panic, depression and chronic pain. Studies suggest that meditation not only makes us healthier and more productive, but actually happier…maybe just what you’re looking for!
8-week course starting:
Wed 23 Sept ~ The Crocus Centre, Monaghan ~ 7.00 to 9.30pm
Yoga and Mindfulness
Working gently with body, breath and mind to cultivate physical ease, mental clarity and emotional resilience…taking good care of you!
10-week courses starting:
Thurs 17 September ~ Canal Stores, Clones ~ 6.00 and 7.30pm
Tues 22 Sept ~ The Crocus Centre, Monaghan ~ 7.00pm
Details and Bookings: Call me on 086 8120332
Do you often give yourself a hard time? Have you a very active inner critic?
Can you imagine what it would be like to be your own best friend?
Have you grown to tolerate tiredness and minor aches and pains?
What might it be like to recover a sense of ‘firing on all cylinders’?
Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by what life throws at you?
Would you like to explore ways back to your own natural resilience and passion for life?
If you can relate to any of the above, you just might be interested in….
A one-day workshop with Mairéad Flynn & Mairéad Heaney
- Reflecting on aspects of Body and Emotions
- Understanding & valuing compassionate presence to self
- Exploring practices which help us integrate mindful compassion in daily life (this will include some gentle movement)
The workshop will be offered at 2 venues:
August 22nd: Wellington Hall, St. Mary’s Rd., Dundalk
August 29th: The Wetlands Centre, Ballybay.
Times: 10am – 5pm
Please bring along a lunch to suit your own taste!
Tea/ Coffee breaks will be catered for.
Booking: Closing date is August 15th
If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact one of us…
CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org /086 8120332
email@example.com / 087 6889822
Both Mairéads are experienced Mindfulness Teachers alongside having other professional qualifications:
Mairead Flynn in Yoga and Stress Management; Mairéad Heaney in Psychotherapy.
They offer regular themed workshops as on-going nourishment and support for those who have completed the 8 week MBSR. However they welcome anyone who wishes to explore the possibilities of mindfulness for personal growth and wellbeing.