The Whole Shebang

Ep. 13 - How Our Bodies Speak to Us, Emotional Resilience, and Somatic Therapy with Jill Howell

December 13, 2023 Jen Briggs Season 1 Episode 13
The Whole Shebang
Ep. 13 - How Our Bodies Speak to Us, Emotional Resilience, and Somatic Therapy with Jill Howell
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Our bodies our such a gift and unfortunately, I don't believe we treat them that way. We have tended to beat them up, speak poorly of them, silence and ignore what they're telling us, and in doing so we're denying ourselves a world of benefit.

Today Jill Howell, an emotional health coach and somatic trauma recovery practitioner takes us into the world of embodiment and somatics. She shares her personal experiences with trauma recovery and how somatic therapy helped her find solace and physical healing from years of chronic pain.

You'll learn the science behind embodiment practices and what somatic therapy is. Jill shares several practical tools for creating emotional resilience ultimately helping you gain resources that expand your ability to handle stress, anxiety, and live a more healthy fulfilling life.

Chapters:

5:37 - What is Embodiment and Somatic Therapy
6:10 - Body-Brain Connection
8:20 - Signs of Disconnection from the Body
9:30 - Survival Brain and Cultural Conditioning
15:13 - The Manifestation of Stuck Energy in the Body
21:50 - Where to Get Started Listening to the Body
28:15 - Strategies for Somatic Work
33:10 - The Power of Self-Compassion and Parts Work
36:50 - Expanding Emotional Resilience
40:28 - The Impact of Co-Regulation and Co-Disregulation

Free Resource: 5 Ways to Relieve Anxiety + Overwhelm
https://www.jillhowell.link/relieveanxiety

Connect With Jill:
www.dancinginthemess.com
www.instagram.com/dancinginthemess
www.facebook.com/dancinginthemess

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Speaker 1:

that masculine energy of just being in our cognitive brain trying to fix things, trying to put out the fires with our brain, and instead come into this felt sense of safety and this knowing of I am okay. I'm not just fine, I'm really okay inside with myself, because I know how to show up for myself through every emotional experience that I face so powerful. That's where the real embodiment happens. This expansion happens because I can regulate myself to come to a space of safety and then I can allow for expansion to happen.

Speaker 2:

Hello, it's me, your host, jen, and fellow journeyer on this path of learning how to reintegrate feminine energy into the boardroom. So we'll talk about things like conscious capitalism and leading with vulnerability and awareness and connection and play. We'll be diving into the bedroom. So basically, we're gonna talk about the horizontal mambo in all seriousness. We're gonna look at how to create a deeper level of intimacy and connection in your romantic partnerships, but also in all of our relationships. I think we've become so disconnected, so how do we gain that in our relationships? And then we're gonna look beyond that into any tool or practice that helps us become more magnetic and more full. So manifestation techniques, meditation and personal development approaches that will help us move through challenges to step into our brightest, fullest, most magnetic version of ourselves. It's all the things, it is the whole shebang. So buckle up buttercups. We're diving in. All right, folks, we've got a good one.

Speaker 2:

Today I am here with Jill Howell. She is an emotional health coach that specializes in somatic trauma recovery. So no worries if you don't know what those big words mean. We're gonna dive in today to embodiment in somatics, cognitive processing, nervous system stuff, and specific tools and resources. So, jill, I'm so excited to dive in with you today, welcome.

Speaker 1:

Thank you, thanks for having me.

Speaker 2:

Tell us a little bit about who you are and kind of your journey to getting into this field and this work.

Speaker 1:

Sure, so I am what I call an emotional health coach. Now. I do focus on somatic trauma recovery, and I have gotten to this place through my own experience of dealing with trauma and trying to heal from trauma. I feel like I actually came into the world with a dysregulated nervous system. My mom was in crisis a little bit when I was in her womb and in my first year of life, and I feel like now that I've learned what I've learned, I understand that I really genuinely had a nervous system that was dysregulated and didn't feel safe in the world, and so my journey really started way back then.

Speaker 1:

But little did I know until I became an adult that when I had some stock stacking of traumatic experiences happen that my nervous system finally kind of came to this moment of collapse. And it came to this moment, I would say, twice. The first time was not as intense, the second time was more intense, and in both of those moments I genuinely felt like I wanted to die. I felt like I didn't have anything left in me. I didn't know how, I didn't have skills. I didn't have the skills to really move through.

Speaker 1:

And this is even though I had been going through cognitive talk therapy for my 20s through my 40s, like I went through two decades worth of talk therapy, traditional counseling, and it wasn't enough for my sensitive nervous system. I needed so much more. I needed the body work because my body still felt the alarm. I could try to think my way there, I could try to process and try to help my brain to reframe things and to shift, but it still until just a few years ago, when I discovered somatics and inner child healing and parts work and all of these other modalities of healing, that really started to make me realize, wow, I have a nervous system that needed so much more than that. My body still felt alarm. It's holding so much.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I found it so fascinating because I feel like, from the lens that I'm looking through, there's so many of us and I don't know if you have an opinion of why this is but that we've just been functioning in our heads, including in therapy, in so many ways. We've been functioning so logically and of course I'm looking at it through sort of this, that slope, sort of the masculine way, and a big part of my transformation and change came when I started leaning into paying attention to my body. And so for the people that are listening today that are like what are somatics and what is this modality and what are you talking about? Nervous system? Because most people say I felt depressed or I thought I had these kinds of thoughts, can you describe a little bit more, just kind of the basics, about what embodiment and somatics is like, what the practice is?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, sure. So somatics comes from the Greek word soma, so soma is a part of the word somatics and it just means body. So we are leaning into the wisdom of the body and really creating just that safety and that connection with the body through small gentle, either movement practices or meditative practices, really allowing the body to come back to a state of ease. And the reason that I love this is because I've learned about the vagus nerve, and this vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve in our whole body and it goes from our brainstem all the way down both sides of our neck, in through our digestive system. It goes all the way down and it's this long, wandering nerve that really is communicating. 80% of information goes from the body to the brain. Only 20% goes in the opposite direction. And since this research is out and has become available scientifically, it makes sense as to why just talking about stuff isn't working enough.

Speaker 2:

It's oh, can I pause you there? Like so 80, I haven't heard that before. So 80% of what happens in our body goes to our brain and the other way around. Only 20% of whatever our brain goes into our body. Is that right?

Speaker 1:

Yes, yes, that is crazy. Yes, we have this interconnection highway that is taking place through this vagus nerve. This vagus nerve is our threat detector. It is communicating to the brain and the body constantly any threat signals, any cues of danger. It is on fire, detecting that constantly. Right, like that's just what its job is and it also has the job of. It has the ability that when we stimulate the vagus nerve, we actually can create that turning on of the parasympathetic nervous system state, which is that state of ease, that state of calm and regulation. And so the vagus nerve has begun to be making a way into the world of knowledge and information, which is informing us that so much of our alarm inside of our body. When I say alarm, I really mean like anxiety. This activation, this energetic activation, is like 80% of it, is being held in the body and it's just sending this information to the brain constantly. I'm not safe, I feel scared here. This feels like too much. Whatever the signal is, it's communicating. The brain's trying to make sense of it.

Speaker 2:

Gosh, it's so fascinating, so Maybe you can talk. I don't know if you want to get a little bit into your experience or just in general, how would somebody know if they weren't comfortable in their body? Or like I'm thinking about some women that I've talked to who have specifically said Jen, I just don't feel they've said that. I don't think they're talking about their weight necessarily, right. They're just talking about like I don't feel embodied or I feel sort of disembodied, or I feel disconnected from my body, like my head is a floating head or something. Do you have kind of like cues or things that people could look for that would maybe cue them into? You might not be as connected to your body as you think and why would they want to be? Or why would they not want to be? Why maybe are some people not connected to their bodies?

Speaker 1:

I think some people just are lacking that awareness of what of the things that you're just saying, like how do we even know? We don't even, like most people may not even know. And so I think the other thing that holds us back from this is the fact that our survival brain is bent towards familiarity. Our survival brain has these neural pathways that are very, very much so bent towards anything familiar. So, even if it's something that doesn't serve us well, even if it's something that harms us, if it feels comfortable to the brain in the nervous system, then there's some sort of safety there because it's familiar. And so I think that a lot of I also think a lot of our culture has really gotten to a place of just accepting fine as okay, I'm fine, I'm fine, everything's fine and it's fine. I have a t-shirt that says that, like it's fine, I'm fine, and it's literally.

Speaker 2:

That is classic, for everything is not fine. It's actually on fire.

Speaker 1:

Yes, yes, and that's the thing the recognizing the body is truly on fire inside and we're kind of denying it. And part of that, I think, also is because we've been wired that way, because we've been taught that A lot of the generations of the past did not have the emotional intelligence. They didn't have the skills and the resources to know how to move through their own emotions. So then when we were parented, we weren't taught how to. This is a skill. What I try to teach women is that they don't have to feel shame for feeling anything that they're feeling or experiencing anything they're experiencing.

Speaker 1:

If you haven't learned the skill, if you don't know and you don't have the tools and the resources to move through experiences with ease, you just haven't learned how to do it, and it's not your fault, but you do have a responsibility to learn if you want to move out of it, if you want to live an expansive life, if you want to not just live from that, like you said, that masculine energy of just being in our cognitive brain trying to fix things, trying to put out the fires with our brain, and instead come into this felt sense of safety and this knowing of I am okay. I'm not just fine, I'm really okay inside with myself because I know how to show up for myself through every emotional experience that I face.

Speaker 2:

So powerful.

Speaker 1:

And that's where I became confident, that's how I became somebody who had that self-trust. And now, as I gain that, that's where the real embodiment happens. This expansion happens because I can regulate myself to come to a space of safety, and then I can allow for expansion to happen.

Speaker 2:

I love this so much.

Speaker 2:

So one of the things that I see in the people that I'm talking to and I think, experiences for myself that prior to me experiencing grief, I was so afraid of that emotion. You just touched on the fact that we didn't necessarily, generations ago, teach or were as comfortable as like moving through emotions or letting emotions move through our body. And I think, as women, we've also had this crazy swing of the pendulum through the generations, and our last generation was like women can do it all. We're just as tough, we can go get it. And then I think men were also taught to buckle up and not feel their emotions.

Speaker 2:

And so we have, I think in both genders, a lot of generational teaching that has taught us to almost like be afraid, and I think a lot of people are afraid of going into their body because they're not, because of, honestly, what they don't know. So when you're talking about like that's where the safety is, that's where the expansion is, and they're like for the person that hasn't gone there, and they're like, well, I'm afraid that's where the collapse is, like I'm holding it together right now, but I'm afraid there's a collapse there. Can you speak to that?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, I can, because I think that is what holds people back a lot too is this fear that whatever comes out is going to be too much and it's going to take me down and I have things to do, I have to survive, I have to provide for my kids or I have to be able to function. And there's this fear. And I think that this is where I feel like I come in at as a coach, because I hold the space safely and I teach women. I specifically work with women mostly is I teach them the skills as to how to recover after we open up and engage in the mess.

Speaker 1:

My, you know, my platform on Instagram is dancing in the mess, like my whole philosophy is like this is a dance. We dance in the mess but then we support ourselves really well afterwards so that the brain can feel safe to come back into this emotional experience again, that we don't have to fear feeling the emotions, that actually we're creating more damage with repressing and denying them and we're actually hurting ourselves more when we do that and as we begin to have some tools and resources to actually create that safety, to speak, to be heard, to have a voice, to allow what's really trapped inside to come out and it's held in a safe container with somebody who's you know can hold that safely for you. It's less scary, it's so much less scary. And then people are like, wow, I actually feel better after this.

Speaker 2:

You talk a little bit about how emotional energy can get stuck in the body. Can you, can you speak to that Like? What does that look like? How does it manifest? How would somebody know if they, if they were not using somatics and had like energy stuck in their body? What does that mean?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you know, for me in my healing journey, the very biggest factor that caused me and kind of catapulted me to discover a different type of trauma recovery was chronic pain.

Speaker 1:

Chronic pain in my body. I actually had this pain that was in my neck and in my shoulders and it was so debilitating that on some days I couldn't work. And so I went to acupuncturists, I went to massage therapists, I did cupping, I went to a physical therapist, I went to a chiropractor, and all of these things would maybe gently relieve some of the pain in the moment, but it was still debilitating and overwhelming to my body and I was like what the heck? As soon as I learned how to do this emotional work, my pain started dissipating, it started that's bananas, and then I was like holy cow. All of this inside of me was repressed emotions that I felt stuck in, and I knew it. I knew that what I was going through was a traumatic experience that felt heavy, it felt somewhat depressive, I felt a lot of emotions all at once. It was a lot for my nervous system.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

That's one of the ways.

Speaker 2:

I'm going to ask you, if you don't mind, it's like a quick question on that. I hear people say trauma or triggers, and I've seen different sort of definitions for that, or a spectrum of what trauma means or covers. I tend to think that we all have had some form of trauma in our lives, especially societally with everything that's happening right now. What's your take on what trauma is? I mean, is trauma only major things or how would you define that?

Speaker 1:

So I would say that anything that leaves this imprint on you can be traumatic. So I think the problem is that we use the word trauma and we're trying to figure out what was the trauma, like it was a specific thing, when in fact oftentimes it can be a lot of small things that are repetitive. But really, for me, trauma anything can be traumatic to the body and to the nervous system. If we don't feel supported, if we don't have skills and resources to move through the emotional experience, if we feel alone in it, if we feel out of control, like something is out of our control and we don't know what to do about it, it feels like too much, it could be too much too fast, or it can be not enough or not at all. So you and I can go through the exact same experience and we can both walk out of the, away from the experience. One of us can feel like that was a traumatic experience for me. The other person doesn't at all, and it's really an interconnected knowing and a felt sense of do I feel safe in the world or not?

Speaker 1:

If something is causing me to not feel safe within myself or safe within the world, it can be traumatic for me and based on my experiences of the past that can inform my nervous system. My vagus nerve is informed of what was a threat in the past and if I meet that threat again, then that trauma intensifies and I feel like the brain is trying to create this emotional chain of like. I felt this emotion here, oh, now I feel this emotion again. And then the nervous system and this vagus nerve is like detecting oh, there's a patterning here. Oh, I need to self protect. Oh, this is not good, this doesn't feel good, I don't know what to do with it. And then the nervous system kind of is like collapsing inside, feeling like I have no clue what to do with this.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I've had some unique experiences Like I was. Specifically, I was going through my divorce and around that time I was at a conference and just out of nowhere felt my nervous system light up. I was, we were out with some friends at a work thing and we're having a few drinks and just walking the streets of New Orleans and all of a sudden I felt like I was going to faint and I was like what is happening? And I did faint I might nervous system lit up and eventually I fainted and then for the next two months I didn't recognize it as a nervous system thing that was happening. But before I would leave trainings a lot of people don't know this but before I would leave trainings in front of a room, I would feel my heart start to flutter, I would start to get hot and like sweaty and just really nervous. I eventually figured out how to resource myself and breathe through that and then recognized it as as my nervous system just going into fight or flight because of the trauma that my body was holding on to and as I started to.

Speaker 2:

I haven't had it happen since, but I did have to work through that and I think I think sometimes you know I've heard of people that are just so stressed at work they think they're having a heart attack and they realize they're having a panic attack and then don't, because we're not attuned to our bodies and we're just like I'm just going to tough it out, I'm just going to push that aside.

Speaker 2:

I think we tend to stack all of that stress and trauma right that to our bodies. It's traumatic because our bodies are like I'm not made to handle this and we keep pressing through until the alarm gets bigger and bigger and it turns into what we think is a heart attack or a fainting spell or something or chronic pain, like you were talking about. So I'm hoping that, as people are listening today because I think sometimes people can for better, people kind of write, write this off sometimes and think, well, I'm not there yet, but I'm, I'm looking at people going. Well, you could very easily be there if you don't. You have an opportunity right now to start tuning into your body and listening to the cues it's giving you and doing the work to lean into it. So I'd love to hear from you like, where does a person get started with practices on this or what? What do somatic embodiment practices or that modality. What does it look like?

Speaker 1:

Sure, and I'm happy to answer that. But I also realized we really have an answer the full question of like, like. How do people even know? Because it's not just pain, right, that manifests, or fainting Like, it can be chronic headaches, it could be autoimmune disorders, are actually a sign of stuck traumatic energy in the body that's changing you on a cellular level. It's changing the hormones of these stressful situations, in this chronic stress is actually changing our bodies on a cellular level.

Speaker 1:

And recognizing that you know the, the tightness in our chest, the shallow breaths, the stomach aches that we have a lot of body alarms are going off to get our attention. I even had a client today tell me. I just told my husband that I feel like I'm going deaf in my ears and then when I explained to her that when you're in fight or flight, biologically your middle ears turn off, your middle ears are constricted and cannot work. You cannot hear and receive the tonality of all of the things that are taking place around you because the body constricts almost like a turtle. We go into our turtle shell and self protection. The body is really, even if we don't see it in this over exaggerated stance inwardly, all of these parts of us are going and it's like this constriction, this tension, and then if it's not released, it's stuck.

Speaker 2:

And there's real science behind that. I mean, like you were talking about you, the cortisol, I mean I don't know if you want to speak to that a little bit, but I think that's just so fascinating. Our bodies have been built this way to protect us and then it serves us until it doesn't serve us anymore. But can you speak a little bit to the science behind you? Know what's happening more in that terms of constriction, or is it hormones or what is it? That is because it's not just woo woo energy, it's not just like, oh, these feelings are trapped, it's like actual energy.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean, we are energetic beings. So the energy though that the stress hormones are creating, this energy, that then gets stuck inside of our body because it becomes conditioned and there's a pattern that creates of our body getting used to holding that tension, that constriction, and then that becomes familiar, and so then the body and the brain view that as oh, that's our baseline. Okay, our baseline is here, and that's where everybody's walking around like zombies, being like I'm fine, I'm fine, everything's fine, and we're like no, your body is holding so much inside really. And so what happens, though, on a biological, scientific level, you know, we are in that fight or flight inside of our body.

Speaker 1:

Our body is working brilliantly, it's working hard to try and keep us safe, to try and help us come back to a place of being okay, and then, when it's chronic and we're stuck in that pattern for too long, then we move into this dorsal, vagal shutdown where our body just collapses. It's immobilization, it's disconnection, it's disassociation, it's numbing out, it's not being able to process and cognitively think clearly, and it's really this survival system that kicks on and it comes from the body being in fire, flight, fire flight, fire flight. And then it's like freeze and shutdown are activated because the body can only do so much, it can only hold so much, you know, before it gets so exhausted. If we think of it that way, it's working hard and then it's just tired.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so you're working with people that are coming to you in that state. Yeah, Like they're just like I'm breaking down. Where do you start with them? What's the work?

Speaker 1:

look like so for me it comes into somatic reconnection with our body of really coming into slow, gentle understanding of sensations in the body, emotions we're experiencing, cognitively identifying what are these triggers, what is my body doing, how do I know that my body is in that fight or fight place? So I teach the nervous system education piece first, because I believe that we have to understand biologically what the body is doing. I think it helps inform us, it helps us, like, really step aside because what we have to do is we have to become observers. Most of the time if we're living in anxiety and depression, often if we're even just going back and forth between fight, fight and freeze a lot, we feel a lot of shame and guilt for being there and then that keeps us further stuck. And I believe that the education piece is really critical because it lets that shame piece come down a level of like you don't have to feel ashamed for being where you're at. Your nervous system has been brilliantly and beautifully working for you and being in the you know that fight or flight zone and being in the shutdown zone is not bad, it's human.

Speaker 1:

We are all every day going through this up and down pendulum of activation and deactivation energetically all day long. We have a triggered, we bring ourselves back down to calm and ease. You know, something happens. And then sometimes, when it's too much for the body, too much for the brain, too much for the whole nervous system at large, that's when we get stuck in it, that's when it's too hard to move through it and so they need the resources. So we start with the education piece, then we move towards nervous system regulation and soothing, nourishing our heart, our mind, our body, our spirit, knowing what has worked for me in the past, and then I create more like a toolbox for them. Every week we are going in and really learning more strategies to go into the body, because it's not intuitive. We have to really learn and practice in a safe space how to do it. And then also, I have, I'll go ahead.

Speaker 2:

I was just going to ask, like, if you don't mind, what are, what are maybe one of your top one or two tools or strategies to go into the body.

Speaker 1:

So somatics is such a large term because it means anything body related. Breathwork can be somatic, yoga can be somatic. Right, I mean anything that we do that incorporates the body can be considered and classified as somatic. One of the things that I do is I'm integrating. I'm constantly integrating practices, and so when I teach and guide my clients to go into their body, one of the very first things is all about touch.

Speaker 1:

Okay, when we disconnect, when our brain and our body disconnect, moving towards ourself in just a simple way of putting our hand on our heart is so, just like, oh, okay, it communicates without words to the body. I'm here and I'm present, I'm noticing, I'm listening, and so I teach people to genuinely slow down, close their eyes, really come into the body and notice the sensations. Where are the sensations in the body? Where do you feel it? What do you feel like? What does it look like? Does it have, you know, warps? Does it have cold? Like we go into it in a more expansive way than what we could on our own, because it's a skill, it's a very unique experience, but then what I do is I power punch it with inner child healing and parts work, which is, we feel, where this constriction and tension is being held in the body. And then we notice and observe the emotional energy that's stuck in there and all we do is ask. We just ask that part of our body like, okay, I'm feeling all of these sensations in my chest right here, and I just say ask your chest, what is it holding in the body?

Speaker 1:

Nose, I don't know if you've heard of the book. The body keeps the score, but it's true. The body has a knowing and a wisdom that if we just pause and we actually connect with the body, we can know. I mean, we can ask the question like how long has this energy been stuck in here? How long have I been holding these emotions in this place? How old is this? Sometimes my clients come up with wow, six, it's been here since I was six years old. I've been here since I was eight years old.

Speaker 2:

Is that just like a subconscious, like in that moment when you're asking yourself those questions? I think because, again, if we're like super stuck in our heads at least this has been my experience I'm like is that just a random thought I'm having or is that the body that's keeping the score, that knows when I ask myself those questions? I think part of the practice for me has been really I don't know, just like trusting my intuition and understanding what's intuition and what's a busy mind and like how to know the difference between that. So when I'm asking my body questions, I know when the answers are coming from busy mind and I know when they're coming from like my gut, do you get that question yeah?

Speaker 1:

It's a certain skill, and mostly the time it's when people are beginning this work and they're like I don't know. I don't know the answer. I'm like I don't want you to cognitively think about this. I want you to close, like this whole experience, our eyes closed down, because it allows the subconscious mind to speak. We're not cognitively trying to figure it out with our eyes open. We're going into, we've already spent time by this point, really connecting with the body and creating safety in the body and listening to what its needs are and what's happening inside, and just that reconnection piece opens this up to like.

Speaker 1:

They're like well, that was weird, I guess. It's like it says six. Like you think, like how is that so? And then I'm like well, what happened when you were six? Like what did you feel? What did this little girl inside of you feel at six years old? Did she feel abandoned and rejected? Because that's I mean, it makes sense that you would have this trigger when you feel that now that, really, this little girl inside of you still feels that way. So I'm. What I'm doing, though, is I'm taking somatics and I'm power punching it with parts work and integrative modalities of healing. You know, inner child healing and moving this stuck energy out of the body and connecting with that core part of us that needs us. Healing needs a safe place to be seen and heard and validated, and it needs to be responded to with compassion and love. And tenderness.

Speaker 2:

That's so great that you just said that. It's not surprising to me. But over the last like few, maybe even just week or two I've been running into more whether it's on Instagram or books or podcasts or things I'm listening to that are talking about this concept of self compassion, which I don't know if this is what you mean when you're saying parts work, but this idea that we have these parts of us that are either, you know, wounded children still, and when we react and we're speaking out of this place, often it's that part of us that's wounded, or we have parts of us that feel shame or guilt or regret or whatever those things are. And for I would say, almost my entire life, until maybe two or three years ago, especially being like a make it happen type person with those parts of me, I would just constantly try to fix them and I always saw them as other. You know, like this is this other part of me and I don't really want it to be a part of me.

Speaker 2:

So I was piling up shame on shame, right, like shame on that part of me, and it was such a light bulb to go. Oh, I remember just wrestling with like well, how do I let go of fear, how do I let go of guilt, how do I let go of shame and having this light bulb moment of what if I don't let it go? What if I love it? What if I have compassion for that part of me? And I don't know if this is like a universal law, but my experience has been that when I go to that part of me and just like express gratitude and love, and just in my mind's eye, like you said, if I close my eyes and go there, the part of me that felt, all of those low vibe feelings, kind of just like turns to mush it just it melts and think of it as a little kid when they're really distressed and you hold them in their lap and all of a sudden they're just like you feel their body relax.

Speaker 1:

Feel it and that's embodiment, like their bodies. We are now re parenting ourselves, re parenting all of these parts of us See, these core needs that didn't get met, and these parts of us that are still kind of on fire inside, like they feel deeply in big, because they've had decades worth of feeling big and not being seen and heard. When we are holding them it's like embracing and I do guide my clients through visualization experiences. We're meditatively re engaging and connecting and holding these parts of us safely with love and so much compassion. No part is bad. There's another book, it's called no Bad Parts and it's really all about this IFS therapy, which is internal family systems, and it is all about embracing every part of us as like an opportunity to love and connect those parts, because it's basically stemming from a core need that didn't get met.

Speaker 2:

So like what's on the other side of this? So let's say, I spend however many months, years, lifetime, working to integrate the parts and regulate the nervous system, like what happens then? Is there like what's the result of doing this work?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So I would say, okay, let's go basic here. And we have this window of capacity. Right, we have this window of our ability to function, our ability to handle distress. Okay, it's our window of tolerance, our ability to tolerate anything difficult that happens. And when we start at this point, most of my clients that start with me usually have a very small window. Okay, and I tell them that every time we regulate our nervous system, every time we show up for ourself, every time we nourish these hurting parts and we're really present with them, we're expanding that capacity, we're opening that window of tolerance and allowing our threshold to be greater.

Speaker 1:

So then the next stressful experience that happens doesn't hurt as much. The triggers aren't as strong and as powerful. They don't take us down, they don't put us into a tailspin of fight or flight. We can see them, we become the observers of what is really taking place and we are able to have the tools and the skills and resources to show up for ourself over and, over and over again. It doesn't mean we get to a state of living in that like parasympathetic state of like that ventral, vagal energy of calm and ease 100% of the time. It's not human, it's not realistic. We can't live from that. But that can be our mid, our baseline, it can be our ground zero, this can be where we come back home to. We can teach our body and guide our body to come back home to that space again and again and again, because we live as a human in a hurting world full of painful things, things that are way out of our control, always.

Speaker 2:

Well, I think like big painful things and I also think like one of the things is a mom of three that I worked hard on is just like it can be stressful when I'm coming home from work and figuring out what to cook and my kids need to be driven all over the place and you know things can escalate really quick where you're all of a sudden boiling beneath the surface over something that is really mundane.

Speaker 2:

And I like what you're saying about just like increasing your capacity to handle stress from the day to day, things that I think can bring us a lot of stress If we're regulated and in that moment I can recognize my chest is starting to get tight breathe. I can't breathe right there. If I just take a deep breath, like all of a sudden I feel my parasympathetic system starts to come online because breathing slows down the heart rate. You know very basic things, but that has changed my life and changed my daughter's experience of me and at work, navigating tough things, and so I think that for me personally, I can recognize it in these big traumatic experiences, but also in the just the day to day, to be able to resource yourself in some of the small moments that at the end of life are honestly some of the biggest moments, because we remember the day to day, I think, more than the big experiences, sometimes too.

Speaker 1:

We remember that stuff in our body, the most we have a felt sense. Mom lives stressed all the time. Mom is calm. They have this felt sense because we're constantly affected by the energy of others, and so we're either co-regulating or we're co-disregulating with others. Oh let's pause there.

Speaker 2:

That's a big one. Okay, so we are affected by the people around us and we affect the people around us. Can we talk about this for a minute? What does it mean to you just said we're either co-regulating or co-disregulating. Can you talk about that please?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so I mean our ability to self-regulate. Regulation just means we're coming back into balance, into harmony, into that peaceful state of ease right, we're able to self-soothe and self-regulate. That's what that means. When we are regulated, we invite other nervous systems around us to join in with our regulation. Okay, Now we can. Also, if we don't have good energetic boundaries, we can dysregulate when somebody else around us is dysregulated and, honestly, that was a big part of my traumatic experience that happened in 2019, 2020. That really catapulted me forward into the work that I've learned in somatics and all of this inner child healing, because my body was becoming incredibly dysregulated by somebody else's body in my home. That was incredibly dysregulated.

Speaker 2:

I heard some study about. Sorry to interrupt you, I heard a study about a couple of things. One I think it was Bruce Lipton, he's a scientist and he talked about if you take heart cells from two different hearts and put them in a Petri dish, the heart cell that has the most regulated, consistent heartbeat will kind of lead the way and then the other heart cell will line up with that heartbeat and become regulated with it. And then I heard another study about pets, like dogs. Actually, for myself, I had a breakup a while ago and right after that breakup my dog kept coming in laying on my chest and she doesn't normally do that and I was like what is this about? What is she doing? And, come to think of it, she's not doing it anymore right now, but I read that if their heartbeats are really regulated, they sense that you're dysregulated and they'll put their heart next to yours to regulate your nervous system.

Speaker 1:

Which I was like Baby's, baby's, same. Yeah, think about why do they tell you to put your baby on your chest right after you've delivered them? Yeah, that closeness, that safety, that regulation of your heartbeat in theirs. And it also means that, as parents, this is the real thing. I mean. The real sucky part of being a parent is that we also, if we're coming into life daily dysregulated, we are projecting that onto the other humans around us, and our kids learn the patterning their bodies, their nervous systems align with what they know and with what is familiar. If that is their familiarity, then they will grow up feeling dysregulated as well.

Speaker 2:

It's so crazy. So in parenthood I would first you're saying partnership. I can imagine that, even in a work environment, if I'm walking into a room and I'm very dysregulated, I know I can feel it. When other people walk in a room, they don't have to say a word. I can feel anxiousness, right, you can feel the energy that feels dysregulated. And what would you say to somebody like in the moment, if I, as a mother or, let's say, in a romantic partnership, I'm recognizing oh my gosh, I'm dysregulated and I'm about to enter a tough conversation, or I'm about to come home from work, what would be like the top quick thing I could do to regulate myself out of a sense of like I want to be the responsible one here to do what I can to show up as healthy as I can. Are there things you can do in the moment or do you need to really spend the time diving in deeper to do this work?

Speaker 1:

Oh, I think you can do lots of things. There's lots of small things and everybody's nervous system receives things differently, so I can't say it's a one size fits all approach. Right Like, what I'm doing when I'm working with my clients is we are looking at tools, we're trying, we're exploring things, but I want them to see what does this feel like for your body? This might feel really good in nourishing for my body, but maybe not yours. This might help soothe yours, but not mine, and I've come to find that to be true with all of my clients. There are some tools that they're like no, that actually does not feel good at all and I'm like okay, don't force, don't push flow. And so it becomes like a really like gentle. You know respect and honoring of what feels good for the body.

Speaker 1:

So, whether that's breath, whether that's holding, I hold myself a lot and I rock. I don't remember ever being rocked as a child and you know I'm not mad at my parents for that, but it's just this like I don't remember. Maybe it happened, but I don't have any knowledge of that and for whatever reason, it feels good and soothing. There's another activity where, like you know, just palming is one of the ones. That works is really strong for my clients. You just put your your elbows up on, like the your your legs or on a table or whatever, and you rub your hands together and warm them up and then you literally put your palms on your eyes and you just sit there and you breathe and you hold the safe space and what I would say is I always, I always, am intertwining things. So then in that moment I'm saying like I'm talking to myself, I am the guide, so I'm like really preparing myself for whatever the conversation is.

Speaker 1:

I will use some of these somatic practices to help the body come down, but then I will also, you know, speak to my body. It's one of the reasons, actually, why I love EFT tapping. This is my, my favorite, my most favorite tool in my toolbox. It's helped me the most because it involves cognitive processing and somatic body calming at the same time. It's both. We're tapping on the body, but we're outwardly processing through what we're about to do or what's happening or what's triggering or what's stressful, and we're guiding ourself back to a state of ease and of confidence and of claiming what it is that we want to claim and what we want to be, how we want to show up for something.

Speaker 2:

Great, these are great tools. I know we're getting to the end of time here, so, joe, before we hop, I want to make sure we mentioned where can people find you? Do you have any resources that they can get ahold of to get started with this work?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so you can find me online at JillMarieHowellcom. So J-I-L-L-M-A-R-I-E-H-O-W-E-L-Lcom. You can find me on Instagram, jillmariehowell. I'm also. My URL actually is dancing in the mess, because I like the analogy of all of the. We're dancing in the mess, of you know, pain, but we're also dancing in the pleasure, and so it's kind of a dance between. Holding space for both is how I like to view it. But also, I do have a free guide that I would love to share, you know, with your audience. It's a free guide that actually has five videos and audios that guide the body back to a state of ease when we're feeling anxious or overwhelmed. So it's really helping to relieve the anxiety and the overwhelm that we're feeling. We all feel it on a daily basis, like we all have moments of things that trigger us to feel that, so helping you to learn how to move through that skillfully.

Speaker 2:

That's awesome. Thank you, that's great. Thank you, jill, for your work and for bringing the awareness to the forefront. I think this is such a powerful conversation for so many of us that have just been in our heads and can benefit from getting in our bodies. So thank you for joining us today. It's great to have you here.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you're welcome, and thank you so much for having me. I've loved it.

Speaker 2:

As always, thank you for tuning in. I hope that this episode is supporting you in becoming your most whole self so that you can lead your most full life. You are definitely worthy and deserving of that. All of the resources that we shared today are going to be linked in the show notes. You can check those out there, along with ways that you can connect with us if you've got questions or feedback or people that you think we should reach out to to highlight their story on the Holschwange podcast. In the meantime, please be sure to hit that follow button so you don't miss a beat. Share this episode or any others with those that you think could benefit from this conversation, and you can do the podcast a huge favor by leaving a five star review In the meantime. I hope that you have a fantastic bang in day.

What is Embodiment and Somatic Therapy
Body-Brain Connection
Signs of Disconnection from the Body
Survival Brain and Cultural Conditioning
Our Responsibility for Emotional Healing
The Manifestation of Stuck Energy in the Body
Defining Trauma
Effects of Trauma on the Nervous System
Embodiment Practices for Stress and Trauma
Where to Get Started Listening to the Body
Strategies for Somatic Work
The Power of Self-Compassion and Parts Work
Expanding Capacity for Self-Regulation and Co-Regulation
Expanding Emotional Resilience
The Impact of Co-Regulation and Co-Disregulation
Strategies for Self-Regulation
Resources and Where to Find Jill