Episode 13: The Language of the Nervous System, Why Affirmations Won’t Regulate It, & Feeling at Home in Your Body with Sorina Mondan, CCTP

lindsey lockett in the woods curiously looking at a fern growing out of a rock. the sun is shining behind her head, lighting up her hair. Our nervous systems are hard-wired for our survival. That is the nervous system’s only function. So, when we experience trauma, the messages our nervous systems send our brains are often a bit confusing. We act and react in ways we don’t understand, ways that are often hurtful to ourselves or others. Once we learn to speak the language of the nervous system, we can release trapped emotions and trauma responses. But, big hint: the nervous system doesn’t speak in words. Affirmations and mantras don’t regulate it. In this episode, you’ll learn why getting back into the body is the only way to regulate the nervous system and how “diagnoses” like anxiety and depression don’t have to be forever. They aren’t the diagnosis; they are symptoms of a dysregulated nervous system — which can be regulated again! We can learn to feel at home in our bodies again! sorina mondan wearing a black shirt and a red skirt and sitting on a grey couch
Sorina is a licensed Clinical Certified Trauma Professional (CCTP). She brings somatic experiencing, mindfulness, and neuropsychology together in a practical approach that helps her clients finally heal. Her self-paced course Home in Your Body is a 101 guide to nervous system healing where you learn the tools to activate your body’s healing powers and find the map that takes you home to yourself.

Show Notes

In this episode with certified clinical trauma therapist Sorina Mondan of @mindful_tricks, we…

  • discuss how developmental trauma causes disconnection from our bodies
  • reveal that the language of our nervous systems is feelings and sensations, not words, therefore affirmations and mantras are not useful when we are in a hypersensitive, dysregulated nervous system state
  • expose that mantras and affirmations can create emotional dissonance or invalidate our emotions
  • discuss somatic experiencing
  • reveal that the belief that we just need to heal our minds is a trauma response and takes us further out of our bodies
  • imagine how we can bring survival responses to completion so they don’t have to be stored in the body
  • clarify our shared opinion that “diagnoses” like anxiety, depression, or OCD aren’t actually diagnoses but our bodies’ adaptations to a dysregulated nervous system and actually often box people into an identity of these diagnoses instead of moving forward in healing
  • talk about how our thoughts are a reflection of the state of our nervous systems, not the other way around
  • discuss that the goal is not to be happy all the time but to create nervous system flexibility
  • talk about how healing feels abnormal and unfamiliar which the mind resists
  • discuss the importance of working with a therapist and not “DIY-ing” your healing through social media
  • state that we cannot heal with the same mind that made us sick
  • remove the shame that we “failed” to feel better and instead offer support and validation that you can explore and experience the various feelings in your nervous system and that alone is powerful in healing

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Transcript

[INTRO MUSIC] Hello, and welcome back to the podcast. I’m so excited that you’re joining me today. Thank you for choosing to spend your time with me, whether you’re in the car or you’re running errands, going to appointments, grocery, shopping, whatever it is that you’re doing. I appreciate that you’re taking me along with you and that you’re spending your time with me. I’m so excited about today’s episode. I am interviewing Sorina Mondan of the Instagram account @mindful_tricks. I really enjoyed this interview with Sorina because it just speaks such real and raw truth about how our nervous systems are just doing the very best that they can to protect us and keep us safe and how they’re always scanning our environment for danger, because we are hardwired for survival. But when we’ve been traumatized, our nervous systems get a little bit confused and they start to see non-threatening people or events as dangerous, again, to protect us. So we can start having trauma responses to things that really aren’t that traumatizing, or shouldn’t be that traumatizing, but they feel traumatizing. And that’s the key word that you’re going to hear in this episode is feeling. Sorina blew my mind when she shared that over 80% of the thoughts that we think actually start in our bodies. We feel a physical sensation first, and the body sends that message to the brain. And then we have the thought. And so we talk a lot in this episode about feeling our feelings, getting into the body somatic, experiencing. We talk about how we can’t use mantras or affirmations to try to convince our bodies that we’re safe and happy and at peace and how using mantras and affirmations while those can be a useful tool. Um, they’re not actually great to use when you’re in a hyper sensitive dysregulated nervous system state. Sorina is a licensed clinical certified trauma professional. She brings somatic experiencing mindfulness and neuropsychology together in a practical approach that helps her clients finally heal her self paced course Home in your Body is a one-on-one guide to nervous system healing, where you can learn the tools to activate your body’s healing powers and find the map that takes you home to yourself. Enjoy this interview with Sorina from @mindful_tricks LINDSEY: Hello, Sorina. Welcome to the holistic trauma healing podcast. I’m super excited to talk to you today. SORINA: Hi, I’m so excited to be here. Thank you so much for having me. LINDSEY: Absolutely. I am such a big fan of your Instagram account. I love the sound bites that you post and the diagrams that you post they’re so helpful. And, I just feel like there’s such a great, easy way to share with people like, yes, this makes sense. This is what I’m talking about. So thank you for what you’re. Yeah. will you tell us a little bit about yourself and the work that you do? You’re in Romania, right? SORINA: Yeah, exactly. I’m based in Romania and a bit of, of my bank background is, I’ve been studying psychology. I’ve been a student in psychology. I wanted to really get into the depths of what it means to heal and to work with our brains, to just rewire them and heal that trauma. I started by studying psychology and then I realized that it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to be doing. And this is because, especially in Romania, I don’t know how this is in US. But the information was quite outdated. I thought I’m going to learn all these cool tricks on how to heal and just these tips and tricks. And, I realized that I was doing basically maths. It was statistics, and I know this is required in psychology, but there were so many pointless, I dunno things that we were learning and not the things that would actually helped me practice, with my future clients and to actually help me heal because yeah, I’ve, I have went to study psychology because I also want it to know how to heal. And, so I didn’t know where to go from there. And I decided to start my own healing journey on my own to find all the modalities that actually help us scale. I put the emphasis on that actually, because I feel like so many modalities promise this amazing results and they may not deliver. So I was like, okay, I’m going to, learn what works based on science is not going to, I promise to continue to be impartial. So I don’t want to, just keep on teaching with the same modality I wanted to be, I don’t know, adapted to what people need. So I want to learn a bit from every every modality that I find. And so I’ve just kept on studying and doing that research on my own. And yeah, I came to this point where I healed, I saw immense results in my own healing journey, in people around me with the tools that I have, I’ve practiced. And I realized that yeah, the trauma informed and what the reality was, what I needed. And I, I actually understood what this trauma informed meant. And it was the fact that what works for people who, I don’t know, are feeling safe within and didn’t experience that much drama doesn’t work for people who maybe are very activated dis-regulated who have experienced trauma. So that’s where the huge change has been started because I realized what I was missing. LINDSEY: Yeah, I feel like you touched on, the modalities that don’t work. And one of their own therapies that I have found to be woefully inadequate is cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy. And for me it felt like CBT was trying to get me to think my way out of how I was feeling. And you actually have a post on your Instagram account that I have saved and I reshared. And you talk about why using words and cognition is not enough to heal trauma and get out of survival mode. And that when we’re under threat, our body creates a lot of energy for self-defense and that energy doesn’t get discharged. So our autonomic nervous system gets stuck in survival mode and can’t find its way back to safety, and traumas, not the events, but the accumulation of energy and our body and tissues and that this energy doesn’t actually go away. So we can’t think our way out of it. We can’t mantra our way out of it. And I feel mantras are great. I have a mantra. My mantra is I am comfortable being uncomfortable. And in that it works well for me, but there have been other times when I’ve really tried mantras, like I am peaceful, I am happy. And I’m thinking that with my brain and then the other part of my brain is going, this is bullshit. You are not happy. This isn’t working. So as a therapist, can you talk about more about this, about how we can’t think our way out of depression or anxiety or other mental health issues. SORINA: Yeah, definitely. First of all, I think the idea of affirmations is creating a big disservice because it actually makes us create this emotional dissonance or, invalidate our emotions. Because if I grew up in an environment where my parents never acknowledged how I’m feeling, they never made room for my emotions. And they always made me be like, just snap out of it. No, you’re not feeling sad. Just get out of that mood. Then I’ve already experienced lots of emotional invalidation and what I’m doing when I grow up, if I’m using affirmations, if, for example, I’m happy. And instead of acknowledging that I’m happy or that I’m unhappy, sorry. I would, this affirmation of I’m happy, I’m fistful, I’m creating a lot of conflict between between me and what I’m trying to experience. So this is why it’s so important to not create more disconnect. Then we’ve already experienced and not spiritually bypass because this is what we are doing when we experienced trauma, where we are heavily district related. And we are trying to make a list with gratitude practices or just things we are grateful for. This is extremely hurtful and I’ve experienced this in many of my clients come to me full of shame and they say, gratitude doesn’t work for me. Affirmation doesn’t work. And why doesn’t it work? And why can’t they choose to be happy? And, Yeah. as, as you mentioned, trauma is not the event is the energy that event left in our body because when one traumatic event or more traumatic events happen, and when we are children and a developmental trauma happens when there are so many ruptures between the child and the parent, maybe we wanted to have needs, and the parents didn’t allow us to have needs or just to exist. Actually are perceived as very, I don’t know, heavily disregulating for the child because the child doesn’t have the, the ability to self soothe. Imagine that we depend on our caregivers to help us feel safe. And if they fail to do this, then we are left, I don’t know, feeling unsafe, having all this energy, or maybe there’s a lot of conflict, the environment where we are in, may feel very dangerous. So we what we would usually need to do would be to fight or flee to escape that environment, to just save ourselves because everything around us feels like, it doesn’t promote the sense of safety. And since we do not have the ability to do that, not always, we are children and we don’t quite know that we have agency. We depend on our parents to tell us what to do and to support us in doing so. And we. I don’t think that there are options. I think this is something that we really need to understand because as we are adults, now, we don’t understand why didn’t I just tell my mom that she shouldn’t make me the parent or so on. We don’t know when we are children. We think everything, we take our reality as. As a given, we just think that’s how it is. And that’s what we need to put up with. and so we have all this stored energy that needed to be released, by putting into action, those survival responses and the, they were never actually put into action. And this created the stored trauma that I talk about. So the store trauma is going to is actually. Held in our tissue. So we hold these blocks into our bodies. And this is one of the main reasons why we cannot. So the only think are waiting to healing. And so we have the store trauma in our nervous system gets actually locked in that survival state. For me, I think I needed so much to escape my environment because it was very stressful at times. My mom was anxious many times and I felt like. I would always need to tiptoe around her because she would be like, don’t you see, I’m anxious. Don’t you see, I’m angry. Just leave me alone. So I didn’t have any space to be myself or to explore my own emotional world. So it really felt dangerous at times. And I wanted to escape it, but since I couldn’t do this, I was left with this survival response of needing to run. In my body and over the years, I’ve, not the one thing that I noticed patterns of all thoughts that were saying, I need to escape the situation to be safe. I need to leave this relationship. I always thought that the solution for me to find happiness is to leave, to move, to do something like this. And I also experienced that anxiety in my legs and in my feet always, that was the only place where I was experiencing anxiety. And only when I went through therapy and I realized I made this connection that. I that’s, that was what I needed. And here is what, for example, somatic experiencing that it helps us, bring those events to completion, bring those survival responses to completion. And this is what I did. Wow. I’ve heard the words, somatic experiencing and somatic processing. I don’t think that I’ve consciously ever done those things. LINDSEY: Can you explain more of what that is and what that looks like? SORINA: So somatic experiencing was founded by Peter Levine and he started by watching the animals in the wild and the animals after they are experiencing something that is scary or life-threatening, they are shaking that excess energy. But, be there love in so that humans don’t do this and he actually asked himself, how can he apply that to us, the humans. And this is how he creates that somatic experiencing. And, it’s an amazing practice because first the word somatic means body. And as I just explained, the body plays a huge role in storing trauma and replaying that trauma, because if we would be able to notice our bodies are going to be activated, when I want to run, I have that energy to run in my body. When I’m feeling threatened, I will feel it in my body, but many times we are very disconnected from our bodies. And here comes a more important piece, when we’ve been so dysregulated for so long, where we’ve experienced that that young, developmental trauma. We actually stored it in our bodies and our bodies became so uncomfortable that we own a subconscious level. We disconnected from them. So we disconnected from our bodies. We got stuck in our minds, and this is what you see now. People thinking that healing is only in our minds, and this is actually a trauma response because we want, that takes us further away from our bodies. And from our bodily experience that holds so much wisdom. And so be there living with somatic, experiencing, he comes with the question, how can we include the body? How can we reconnect with the bodily sensations in healing store trauma, and how can we see what the body learned to do? And this is the amazing practice that I practice right now, and that did a lot. For me. And yes, it’s about bringing those survival responses to completion either through imagination, either through actually pretending like you’re running, we were talking about the fight or flight response. So it’s really amazing and it’s a lot, it involves a lot of play and flexibility, so it’s not one specific science. They are still uncovering it. LINDSEY: What it’s amazing. Yeah, I actually, a few months ago I was introduced to the concept of shaking and, I was having a really anxious day and I messaged my best friend about it. And she said, start shaking, just start shaking your body. And I at first, I was like, that really, you want me to just shake? And so I trusted my friend cause I trust her immensely and I did, I started shaking and I actually went out into the woods and I just started just shaking my arms and my legs and then shaking my torso and. After, just a few minutes. it was a really good workout, but after a few minutes I felt tingley all over and like warm. And then I noticed Oh, that nervousness has gone. That anxiousness has gone. And so it’s become a practice that I’ve done ever since actually just yesterday, I did a whole Instagram story, and I filmed myself shaking and I had just finished doing a podcast interview. And, these interviews are so fun for me to do. I am so blessed to be able to like, have cool conversations with people for a living. But sometimes leading up to an interview, there’s this nervousness or during the interview, just making sure the conversation flows smoothly, making sure it makes sense. Like it puts you a little bit on edge. And so we had a great interview, but I got off the call and I immediately had to turn on some music and start shaking because it was just like, I got to get this nervous energy out. And so I’ve been doing somatic experiencing, and I didn’t even know it. SORINA: Yeah, that’s amazing. And actually I think, imagine how much the store, the energy we carry because we are keep on, stress is such a common way of living our lives. And I feel like it’s not even seen as a trauma response or as a survival response, and everyone is stressed. If you go to the doctors, they tell you your stress when you should just, I don’t know, take some time off or whatever. And I think this is not being taken into consideration. Like stress is a trauma response and it’s a survival response that is being activated over and over again. It’s like I would be in the room with a tiger all the way. So you imagine what that does to our bodies and to our nervous system. LINDSEY: Absolutely. Yeah. and I w I would love to talk more about stress as a trauma response. And, over the last couple of years, I had some pretty serious mental and physical health issues. I’ve had a mental health breakdown and in 2018 and early 2019, I attempted suicide. Before that, I, my diagnoses are generalized anxiety disorder, complex, PTSD, agoraphobia, just, I have all these diagnoses and, they don’t really mean a whole lot to me because, to me, the diagnoses are not actually the diagnoses. They’re anxiety is a symptom of store trauma. It’s not the diagnosis. Depression is a symptom of stored trauma. It’s not a diagnosis. Can you speak to that as a therapist? SORINA: Yeah, definitely. I think we are getting lost in the labeling and on one side, I think it helps therapists that are using talk therapy as a modality to identify where people are at. But I also think it’s causing lots of shame because we focus on identifying people, putting them in a box. And just not allowing them to get out of there. And honestly, I wouldn’t be mentioning this if my third thought therapist wouldn’t have told me when I told her that I’m anxious. And if I ever heal, she told me that you never gets rid of chronic anxiety. And if I didn’t want to investigate more, or if I didn’t actually just have that glimpse of hope. I would have accepted that and now I wouldn’t be where I am, but I decided to question it and it didn’t go right. No matter how anxious I was like, this is not true. Let me just search on Google. Can anxiety be healed? And I actually found one article or something that was saying, yeah, it’s just a survival response. You can heal it. And then I became a trauma certified and I understood much more than that. Yeah. just these labels, as I said, are trauma responses are. Ways in which we’ve learned how to adapt. So adaptations and other adaptation is the ways in which we’ve learned to survive traumatic events. If I’ve experienced developmental trauma And that never got healed, I’m going to, maybe I’m going to be an adult that is extremely anxious and it’s always trying to control the outside environment or it’s always wanted to, I dunno, clean the room because only when the room is clean. Can I feel safe inside? Yeah. Like I’m the same when I’m more stressed. If you go to a classic therapist, they would tell you that if you tell them the compulsions and everything, they will tell you have OCD and that doesn’t go to help you because it just puts you in more shame and it becomes this identity and it, then it’s not the only hard to heal, but it’s hard to break with this identity. And what does this identity do is to put you more in the victim role, whether healing needs you to get out of the victim role and to say, as guilty for what happened? I’m really angry on my parents that shouldn’t have happened, but I still choose to heal. And yeah, I think we should all question the labels, the mental health disorders as they are called. I really don’t like to use this term and when I use OCD, PTSD and so on, I use it for people to know that, that they have they’re under the same umbrella, for example. the D is the, is that survival response that was very intense, that was not brought to completion. So we have all these images and flashbacks and so on, and it’s that trauma really wanting to be healed. It’s our bodies and our minds trying to restore that safety, OCD, eating disorders are, based in a need to control. And this is because trauma leaves us out of control. It really leaves us feel like I couldn’t have done anything for this to avoid this. So what am I going to do from now on I’m going to control either my outside environment, either how I’m feeling inside. So here I can control my emotions, what I eat, I dunno, be obsessed with my body. You meet and with the. And just how I look at people who get really into surgery and song because they, they have that need to control. So it’s really important to, to look at these labels and mental health disorders and to ask ourselves what is actually beyond this, what traumatic, response would be beyond this. LINDSEY: Oh, I’m so glad you brought up how those diagnoses using air quotes there keeps you a box and how they make it they become part of our identities and I’ve noticed with, I used to do this myself and then I don’t even remember how I got this awareness, but one day I realized, because I would always say my anxiety is really bad today. My pain is really bad today and I can’t do that because of my anxiety. And I realized I’m putting the possessive pronoun, my in front of these words. And that puts me into a victim role because now I’ve identified with this thing as it belongs to me, it’s mine. It’s my label. It’s my, to be honest, it was my excuse. It was a way to get out of, if I didn’t want to hang out with friends and they all knew I had anxiety, it was be a way to be like, my anxiety is too much today. I can’t do it. And, one of the main reasons that I wanted to start this podcast is because I believe that we can move out of the victim role and into the role of empowered, conscious creator of our best possible reality. But we cannot do that from a victim place. And it’s the labels that keep us as victims. SORINA: Yeah, that this need for an identity really keeps us stuck because I see people even going to extremes, I identify as an anxious person, and then I identify as someone who is healing all the time and I’m not enjoying life. So it’s really important in this process of healing to not make it an identity or self healer or, I don’t know the spiritual guy or girl or whatever you want to be. It’s important to allow ourselves to simply heal without going from one identity to another, because what the identity does is keeps us stuck to some ways. And this is why part of my approach is to always keep in mind that there are some other modalities that may work to learn more and to not be that obsessive person that is shopping your hair modality onto everyone. I’m always, when I’m talking to someone new to a new client, I’m asking them about their experience. And I see maybe they’re really doing a great job in there feeling safe inside, and we can use affirmations to, I don’t know, create something amazing because that can be happening as well, but not when you’re in survival mode. So that’s what I’m saying. It’s having that, that overview is really important when we are healing. LINDSEY: Yeah. What I’m understanding is that we can use affirmations as a tool, but when we’re in a dysregulated hyperactive, hypersensitive, nervous system state, that when we’re using affirmations, while we’re feeling like shit, that basically lying to ourselves and it’s a trauma response of trying to control how we feel or try to change how we feel instead of sitting with the feeling. SORINA: Yeah, because many people come to me and I see them. They’re like, how can I, I don’t know, I cannot forgive myself. I want to forgive myself. Now she, someone just asked me this and I, I really took a look at that question. And I realized after discussing with her that she was running from that shame and from experiencing that feeling of pain and of hurt and of not being able to change the past. And the truth is that we need to face these feelings. Even if they’re hard, we need to understand that. We’ve done what we could do at that point until we experienced the grief of not doing different things. But sometimes what we are doing is to just overstep that part of our journey. And just try to go from a to b without going through all the steps and yeah, the first step is to acknowledge how we are feeling and to allow that feeling to exist without trying to calm with healing tools and just change our experience. And this is why I always tell my clients, if you’re using a suiting tool, Do it from a point of, I am able to hold this discomfort and I’m also able to feel better. Don’t do it from a place of, I cannot handle this discomfort. I just need to escape from it because that’s again, a trauma response. So first, the first step will always be acknowledged where at be honest about how you feel and allow that those feelings to come to surface and to exist. LINDSEY: Wow. When we were talking the other day, you said something that stuck out to me so much that I actually wrote it down. And you said our thoughts reflect the state of our nervous system. And I’m wondering if you can elaborate on that more. SORINA: Yeah, definitely. Our nervous system is guiding our lives and our nervous system is this scanner that looks at the environment and, also about how we are feeling. And, just says if we are safe or if we are in danger. If we are in danger, we are going to be wired for survival. And the thoughts that we are going to experience are, if we’re in fight or flight, they’re going to be like, No run away from them or leave your relationship or fight with your partner, just go and tell them what they did wrong and so on. And that’s a survival response. The reason why our thoughts are being guided by our nervous system is because 80% of these messages are coming from the body to the brain. So it’s not our brain having these thoughts. We are having those 80% of the thoughts based on our state. And this is why I said our state dictate our thoughts. And if these 80% of the messages are both survival, as I said, fight or flight are more take action now, in dorsal, the are the thoughts are more like depressive. I don’t want to do this right now, or there’s no point in anything. So it’s really important because what we are doing usually is to try to change our thoughts. And by doing that, we simply override our nervous systems messages. We are like, the alarms are going on. Like a fire alarm is so shouting out really hard. And then we’re like, no, there’s no fire that it’s okay. It’s okay. There’s nothing to worry about. So we tried to do this and to push down those messages and to push them with affirmations and just think like I’m happy, I’m safe. And I see a lot of people who teach this they’re like whenever you’re feeling triggered to say, I am safe, your nervous system doesn’t understand words. It understands feelings, sensations. So if you’re going to say I’m safe, you’re not going to do much, and you’re not going to feel safe. However, You take these thoughts as an indication on where you are on the ladder. And this is the polyvagal theory that says we have a ladder in our nervous system and just explains it because we come from the social engagement system, which is the part of our nervous system, where we are really happy and grateful and present. We also have the mobilized survival states, which are more, as I said, prone to action. You need to act now. And also the dorsal part of the nervous system, which is the depressive part when we are more depressed without energy. And this is also the call, the state of last resort, because when we cannot fight or freeze, we go into this. LINDSEY: Yeah. I tend towards a more, I have been depressed before, but I tend more towards the anxious, have to be constantly doing OCD. I have to joke that for the majority of my life, I was a human doing and not a human being. So I’m wondering. So what you’re saying is that the goal is not to be happy all the time. SORINA: Yeah. This would be such a hard to attain goal because we are not, we’re not meant to be happy all the time. First of all, I think it’s important to know that the nervous system Works pretty well when we are not stuck in one Oh survival responses. So the preface here is nervous system flexibility. We are all going up and down the ladder each day. I may, I don’t know, wake up, not in a good mood. And then I go to the shop and the. I dunno, the seller looks at me with such a hateful look, and this puts me into fight or flight. I want to tell her something right. And then I go for dinner and a friend, tells me that they, he went out with another friend and they didn’t invite me. This can be even more disregulating for me. And so I get me get depressed and my thoughts may be, there’s no point why am I even going out with these people and so on. But the idea here is that I returned to save the eye. I find my way back to that safety. And I ha I don’t have a very hard time in going back to feeling safe and overcoming that state, as I said, the main problem happens when we get stuck in one of thestates. And that’s when we need to do the healing work so we can create this nervous system flexibility. And what I also teach my clients is. We have, we create this nervous system flexibility. And it’s also important to know that our minds are prompt to look for problems. So these are things that we will never get to fix. Our minds will look for things even if we’re in a nervous system state that is safe. You’ll notice the mind that tries to solve a problem or pick a fight or do something in that doesn’t always mean that we are dysregulated. And I really think it’s important to mention that we are all human and we will always have a mind, a monkey mind that goes beyond in repetitive cycles and so on. Yeah. So when we get stuck in our mind, That. And that’s why it’s so important to get out of our head and get into our body because you’re not going to think our way out of the physical sensations that we’re playing in our bodies. I’m sorry. So many people don’t even know they have this option to be in their bodies. They think being in their minds is exclusive for you. You don’t have any other options in there as I said, disconnected from their bodily experience. LINDSEY: How do you, what are some practical ways that you can share with people who are listening, who are like, I don’t want to get in my body because my body feels uncomfortable. I don’t trust my body. It feels unsafe. I don’t like, for me, one of my big anxiety symptoms is, my heart pounds and I get a knot in my throat. And I want to feel anything, but those feelings. how do you help your clients or your people on Instagram really get to a place where they can be okay in their bodies and get out of their heads. What are some practical tips that you can give people? SORINA: I think the first thing we need to know is that, when we are healing, we are doing things that are unfamiliar for us. And that means that we are going to find a lot of resistance. And this is an amazing question, really, because it makes me want to cover more things. And so the first one is that we are going to see resistance. That resistance is going to be under the form of thoughts that say, don’t do it. It’s better to just watch TV. You don’t need healing. You don’t need to invest in a therapist. You’re actually able to DIY your healing journey and just look on Instagram with a few therapists and that will be okay. And what people notice is that they feel stuck over and over again. And it’s so important to get to know these tricks that our minds are going to play and to play in this resistance that we are going to encounter. and if we have this awareness, it will be much easier to know. Okay. If I move my body, Now you wouldn’t, if I don’t feel like it, I’m going to notice some resistance and that is okay. so I think this is a big step, second. I think it’s very important to understand that if we are very dysregulated, if we notice a lot of discomfort, and if we feel like we cannot do it’s important to reach out for help. I think self-healing and DIY in our healing journey is so overly promoted on Instagram because we are like, I have a therapist on my phone. Like I can see their posts. For free, why would I ever pay for something? And the answer here is tailored support. You have your own unique set of resistances in relationships. I have people with relationship anxiety, and that is this urge to liberal relationship that is healthy. And so people are like, I’m struggling with these thoughts and they don’t know that those thoughts are the resistance to healing and they come to me and they’re like, yeah, but my thoughts say that I should leave my relationship. And here is where I come and say, these are the thoughts that are your resistance. They’re not just telling you the truth and just making you have this insight based on intuition and so on. I feel like a therapist, Someone who can actually help. You can also give you an insight onto how you can actually experience this resistance and, they can look at you and see how you’re experiencing it. so yeah, this is a very important thing to cover when it comes to, to that resistance and how it would show up. Yeah. And sometimes we need a therapist because we are in our heads all the time. So over here we’re like, all the affirmations, we’re trying to think our way out of our problem. And then over here, we’re like this, isn’t working, this isn’t working for me. It works for you, but it doesn’t work for me. And so sometimes I think it’s helpful to have that outside person, like a therapist who can remind you and hold a mirror up to you and say, okay, you’re doing it again. like how can we respond differently in this situation instead of repeating the cycle over and over again. And I think we imagined that we are, basically having, trying to heal with the same mind that made us sick. And I’ve heard this quote and I loved it because. I was guilty of this. I didn’t know how my mind was tricking me. And I didn’t know that when I was trying to do some yoga or somebody practices that intense discomfort I was feeling was actually resistance. I thought it’s simply, I don’t know an indicator that. W, what am I doing is not working. And many of us are used to thinking that if we experienced discomfort, it’s simply an indicator that the practices were following our networking. And here is why a therapist is No, that’s not what’s happening. And especially with people with anxiety, so that having the anxiety as an umbrella anxiety creates this illusion that make us feel that if only we would clean, we would have our partners show up in the same way that we want them to. I don’t know what they were. We have that. Only if that is in itself when illusion, because we don’t need that in order to heal. And that condition will never make us heal. It will only give us a sense of just brief safety. LINDSEY: Yeah. So can you tell people, you work with people online, And you also have a course. Can you talk about your course and what you help people with in your course? SORINA: Yeah, definitely. So this course came, as, just as a response of people wanting to heal, not having the tools and also why more specifically not having the trauma informed tools. So I wanted, if you’re going to be honest, the Grammy and you feel like for me being staffed, I love writing a lot. I feel like I’m expressing myself very well into writing and into putting my experience that down on the paper. And so I create this course where I have part the extent, the videos that explain, are nervous and also how we can heal trauma and how we can reconnect with them bodies. And I go through, week by week practice on how to do this. When it comes to me, the reason why I create these courses, and these is anyone might post is because I want people to question the, what they see already. If they see gratitude practices, if they think they should simply think their way out of healing, I want to give them that other option. And what I feel like I’m really good at is bringing science and, helping them know why do we do something? So in my module with the body, for example, I explained their why reconnecting with the trauma sensations is actually restoring safety. And I bring lots of science into that. Then I share why this happens. And I feel like this helps me. People break through that resistance. I have people who are suffering with chronic anxiety and they read the course and they are like, okay, I actually got it. And I want to do this because I also see the reason beyond it. Whether if they see therapists on Instagram who say, just be with discomfort, you don’t understand why he doesn’t understand how to do that. How to not be in your mind and to simply be with the sensations in your body. so yeah, that would be my USP. LINDSEY: I love it. So your course is called Home in Your Body, and I love your description. It’s your one-on-one guide to nervous system healing, learn the tools to activate your body’s healing powers and find the map that takes you home to yourself in a self-paced way. I just, yeah, it’s so beautiful. Really exciting. Can you tell people how to find you online? SORINA: Yeah. on Instagram @mind underscores tricks, and you can find my website and the courses that I have and everything, I try to share as much information for free as I can, because I really want people to have, to not have the shame of not knowing why can’t I heal? Why can’t they just heal with what my therapist says? Yeah, I love that your account is it’s such a valuable resource for me. And I feel like all of your posts are so easily shareable. But I agree with you. It’s like that you’re just scratching the surface whenever you’re looking at posts like that. And, it really is helpful to work with a therapist or have a course like your course that takes you through safely getting in your body. safely, moving into discomfort and how to tolerate that and build up to that, how to work with resistance. Even just for me, a profound part of my healing journey was just the information that I learned about the autonomic nervous system. Like just having that knowledge was huge for me because, I come from the health and wellness. sphere and the specific niche that I’m in is all about whatever’s wrong with you, whether it’s mental, like anxiety or depression, or it’s something physical, like an auto-immune disease or it’s chronic pain, whatever’s wrong with you, you just need to find the right diet and the right supplements and heal your gut. And that’s so that’s the world that I come from. So I spent a lot of years on the hamster wheel of doing that. And I didn’t actually get anywhere. And it wasn’t until I learned about the autonomic nervous system that this light bulb went off in my head and I was like, Oh my gosh, I’ve been trying to heal my gut this whole time. And really the problem was in my nervous system. SORINA: Yeah. And actually the vagus nerve has a part and the dorsal part that when we are dysregulated, it goes to depression when it functions, normally, because as I said, they are all these parts are amazing in doing their job and helping our bodies function. That part is actually working with our stomach and our digestive track. And why one time I noticed that I was having, stomach pain. I used to suffer with gastritis and then I’ve tried some, just quick tools to activate, my, just my biggest nerve and to bring it to life and to create that sense of safety in my body and my pain and my stomach just disappeared. And it was amazing because I was, I just knew that I’m not where I should be on my, on the ladder. LINDSEY: So you didn’t need, you didn’t need to go vegan and take a bunch of probiotics? SORINA: No. My doctor said that only those pills are going to save me. This has been amazing when I healed my trauma, all my digestive problems disappeared and I can eat anything I want really. And it’s never a problem. It’s amazing. LINDSEY: Yeah. That’s fantastic. It’s amazing what kind of freedom like lies on the other side of, just this awareness? Like our thoughts, the awareness of our bodies, the awareness of the nervous system. there’s so much freedom that lies on the other side of that, but we got to get out of those boxes. SORINA: We get, we need to get out of those boxes to be willing, to see and do things differently. And to just, I think, what this polyvagal theory and the nervous system that is, it actually helps us bring a map and it helps us understand and make sense of our experience because when we are traumatized, we are very in predictable. We have a mood now, and then we feel a different way and it’s up and down in. We don’t know why we feel the way we feel and we numb those feelings. So when we understand I’m actually exploring, experiencing this because I am on this side in my nervous system and I’m stuck here. We actually start to make sense of that experience, the shame is removed, and if we don’t have that paralyzing shame, we can actually move into healing. Yeah. I think I just want to clarify for people who maybe they’re like, I don’t have shame, just the inner dialogue of how we beat ourselves up. And we told ourselves we shouldn’t feel this way. Your life is great. You shouldn’t feel this way. That is shaming too, right? Yeah. And people, when they look at posts online and they’re trying to find tips online, they don’t know how to navigate that experience themselves. And this is causing shame or guilt. And this is what we actually do. And what I do in therapy is not to save clients, but to help them understand their own emotional world and nervous systems so they can easily have the tools to navigate future situations that are challenging and to simply meet their own emotions, with the tools that they need. LINDSEY: Yeah. We can’t avoid hard situations. That’s part of the human experience, but when you want to navigate through them, they don’t have to get stuck in our bodies the same way that trauma did and re-traumatize us, we can actually move through them. And it doesn’t mean they’re not hard, but it means that they aren’t re-traumatizing. SORINA: Yeah, and they don’t get stuck anymore. It’s like flowing through it. Emotion is energy in motion. So we just, yeah. I know how to allow them through, to flow through our bodies. Peter Levine said that if we are experiencing now a traumatic event and we allow that energy to flow through our bodies, we would not get traumatized. So we are that powerful in simply releasing that energy. when, I don’t know, traumatic things happen. Yeah, just like animals after they run away from a bear woods, they shake off and our bodies know how to release that trauma. But what we do is to tense against the event. That’s when disease happens and when we get stuck trauma stored trauma. LINDSEY: Absolutely. Thank you so much, Sorina. I really appreciate you coming on today. I think that what you shared is that helps so many people. Hope you enjoyed that episode as much as I enjoyed having that conversation with Sorina. You can follow Sorina @mindful_tricks on Instagram. And I will have links to her course Home in your Body in the show notes of this episode, show notes are found at lindseylockett.com/podcast. And this is episode 13. And as always, you can find me on Instagram @iamlindseylockett. [OUTRO MUSIC]
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