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Your Body is a Brain…

Great writers and painters have known this fact for decades: The body acts like a brain…

Walt Whitman understood that the flesh was the source of meaning; Auguste Escoffier discovered that taste is actually a smell; Paul Cézanne realized that the brain can decipher an image from minimal brushstrokes.

Jonah Lehrer has written a book called Proust Was a Neuroscientist

In my own trauma-informed trainings I discuss how our central nervous system, specifically the nerves surrounding our “guts”, acts as a second brain.

Did you know that there are 43 different pairs of nerves which connect the nervous system to every part of our body. Twelve of these nerve pairs are connected to the brain, while the remaining 31 are connected to the spinal cord.

Did you know that the gut has 100 million nerve cells that make up it’s own nervous system separate from the brain!

Did you know that one of the major nerve pathways from the gut to the brain is called the Vagus Nerve. The brain interprets signals from the Vagus Nerve as actual emotional information. It really doesn’t know the difference. 

Did you know that there is more and more research on how the gut and gastrointestinal conditions are linked to depression, anxiety, autism, and ADHD. What we are talking about here is nutrition and not just medication can change our mental health.

And did you know that there is a reason we call certain kinds of food “comfort food”? Comfort foods affect our moods. Can someone say chocolate please?

Understanding the brain/body connection can help us overcome trauma in ways that traditional talk therapy cannot. This is because a lot of times there are no words to express what trauma is doing in our lives or the trauma is so far back in infancy and during pregnancy that there was no ability to form words.

This will require a new approach to doing therapy that involves movement, sensory processing, art therapy and my own NeuroResilience Play Therapy Approach. Click here for more info.

What is your body telling you?  Perhaps its time to follow your “gut” instincts today and find the help you need. Hey, writers and artists have been telling us for years this truth about our body acting like a brain. Let’s listen to what it is saying!

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Need trauma-informed training for your organization or up coming conference? Contact Ron today.

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One brain, many different experiences


Nobody likes to have a negative experience of fear, sadness or anxiety. Unfortunately it’s very difficult to shift his mental states two more positive experiences of peace, joy, love. That’s when I realized that we are using the same brain to have very different experiences. Same brain structures, chemicals, and energy networks are being used for both negative and positive states.

In my studies of neurophysiology I discovered there are very similar mechanisms being used for things like anxiety and excitement! Additionally, we are using the same structures to experience past traumas as well as future expectations. The slide above is from a research study in the field of trauma resolution, particularly the use of EMDR as an intervention for trauma.

EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. It’s obviously quite a mouthful. Basically utilizes I have moments to help us manage dramatic situations in our past so they don’t continue the hunt are present and destroy our hopes of a future. The technique was created by Francine Shapiro a psychologist working with traumatized veterans. In the research study illustrated above, The demonstrates how the brain scan can reveal a similar activation when we Thunk about past events as well as future hopes and dreams.

When working in trauma-informed care, we can utilize the same channels in our brain and mind to focus on more positive experiences. We are not limited to only one set of negative experiences. When adding thanks to our trauma informed care, we are able to inject hope it comes from a source greater than ourselves and yet moves in and through us. When we operate in agreement with this belief that we are protected and cared for by a God who loves us unconditionally, we are able to transform our past thoughts about trauma into a hopeful future that start now.

If you would like help at your next training event how to build faith-based, trauma-informed practices contact Ron today at rehuxley@gmail.com .

Don’t Let Depression Destroy Your Life

Don’t Let Depression Destroy Your Life: A Special Report on Treatment

Edited by Ron Huxley, LMFT

Since the end of the Second World War, the rates of depression around the world have soared. Depression is an illness that can destroy lives ad families. Many people try various forms of treatment before any improvement is realized. Many are not so lucky and end up paying the ultimate price. Drugs and medication are one way to treat depression. However there has been a lot of criticism in recent years over the amount of medication we are taking. Depression can be treated naturally and the natural approach should be attempted first if possible.

Natural Treatments:

Getting good nights sleep is essential. Sleep and mood are closely linked. When we are tired we react to things differently than we do when we have had adequate rest. Remember to sleep well and regularly.

Caffeine and other stimulants should be avoided. They do give you temporary energy but have been known to deplete your serotonin levels. Low serotonin levels are a prime cause of depression.

Take a multi vitamin everyday. This is especially important if your lifestyle causes you to skip meals. Low vitamin deficiency has been linked to depression.

You may want to try getting in touch with your spiritual side. This can be done in a variety of ways. If you enjoy going to church, this is a good opportunity. You may want to look at prayer and meditation as well. You do not have to be overly religious to be spiritual. There are many ways to get there.

Finally, you may want to try getting more exercise. This doesn’t mean marathon training. Start out slow and build up if you feel the need. Exercise helps release endorphins which make you feel more empowered. There is also the health benefits attached to more activity.

The natural approach may be effective. It can also have other positive influences on your overall health.

The natural approach isn’t always the best or most effective. However, if the depression isn’t severe and the person isn’t suicidal or incapacitated, then it is recommended to at least give the natural way a chance.

There are many natural remedies that can be tried before trying drugs and medication. Some have tried that natural remedy known as St. John’s wort. This has been known to improve the mood of some depression sufferers without any side effects.

Those that suffer from depression should avoid excessive alcohol intake. Alcohol is a depressant so it will slow your body down. It could react with your body’s chemistry and make your condition worse. Alcohol is also a toxin that they body does not need.

Try to eat a well balances diet. Loss of vitamins and minerals are directly linked with depression. Make time to eat despite the type of lifestyle you have.

You may want to consider cognitive behavior therapy. This will help you refocus your thought and generate a more positive feeling. Your thoughts have a direct bearing on your mood. The more negative they are the more likely you are to become depressed.

Stress Management:

If you lead a stressful lifestyle, then some stress management training could be for you. Stress can be the cause of all kinds of ailments, not only depression. Keeping your stress levels low and learning to deal with highly stressful situations can go a long way in helping your depression.

You may want to try helping others. Sometimes doing volunteer work and helping those less fortunate will help. It can be quite rewarding and can negate some of those negative thoughts about yourself.

If the natural approach does not work, you should not feel bad. It is fine to take medications if this is what will help. You can at least be pleased for giving the natural approach a try.

Family Members With Depression:

If someone you love is suffering from depression, it is only natural to want to help. Family members can provide an incredible amount of support for someone suffering from this illness. However, you must know how to be effective. If not the family member could end up doing more harm than good.

The first thing you should do is read everything you can about depression and its treatments. Being forewarned is being forearmed. By making yourself knowledgeable, you can help make decisions when perhaps the loved one isn’t in a fit state to do so. You should also read up on how your loved one will feel. Getting as much insight as possible as to what depression will do to this person will help you cope with the worst days.

You have to keep in mind that caring for a depressed person is very braining both physically and emotionally. You need to set aside time for yourself. You won’t be any use to your loved one if you are tired and stressed out. In fact you may make things worse. Talk about what you are going through with someone who understand or even join a support group. Take some time to enjoy yourself as well. Don’t let your loved ones depression takes over your life as well.

Depressed people do need lots of love and support. You don’t want to smother them but you need to be there when they need it most. Knowing they can rely on you will help them get through some of the darkest moments.

Don’t deny your own feelings. There will be times when you’re feeling angry and frustrated. You need a support network to help vent these feelings out. A good friend or a support group again can be a great source of comfort. Keeping your feelings bottled up can lead to your own illness.

Dealing with depression is difficult and draining. It puts stress and strain on the life of the depressed person as well as those close to him or her. Many types of therapies may have to be tried and tested before any improvement is seen. One such possibility is talk therapy.

Talk Therapies:

Talking therapies can be of a great help when it comes to treating depression. It involved various types of counseling with a psychologist, Psychiatrist or therapist. Talking therapies allow the depressed person to get their feelings out. They also allow for the two people to work together to try to find the root cause for their depression.

Talking therapies do vary but most involve the same key elements. First there is the listening session. The therapist listens to the person’s problems. Over time the person develops a relationship with the therapist where they feel they are understood. Next there is the emotional release. This is helpful but cannot be done to often. Letting the emotions out too often can have the opposite effect and lead to further depression. Next comes the advice and guidance. The patient may be able to seek the answers on their own through session and homework. Finally, there is information provided. They are giving information in small bits but as progress is made it can be increased. Depressed people can sometimes have poor concentration and memories so information is given carefully.

Talking therapies can be very effective in treating depression but they do take time. Several sessions may be required and the patient’s family may have to be involved. Talking therapies can help mild to moderate depression greatly; however severe cases of depression will usually need a combination of talk and medication.

Inner Healing:

Inner healing is a faith-based approach to dealing with depression. Traumatic events in our lives can interpret our reality and cause us to believe falsehoods about ourselves, our relationships, and our faith in God. Replacing the lies with truth will set us free but it is a battle to renew our minds. It can be done and life can be lived in abundance and not with victim or poverty mindsets.

Need help with Depression? Let Marriage and Family Therapist Ron Huxley assist you and your family members.

Call today at 805-709-2023 or email at rehuxley@gmail.com for an appointment in Ron’s Shell Beach, California office.

7 Steps to a More Authentic Life

authenticbook

7 Steps to a More Authentic Life

By Ron Huxley, LMFT

We are all looking for that muse that can inspire more creative juices into our work and relationships. We all want to be happy, free of the black cloud that hangs over us. You probably know a few people who seem to be “naturally” like this. You really don’t trust them, do you? If you are like me, you probably think they are highly delusional or at least a big faker. And yet… Something draws you to this life of emotional freedom and simple pleasure at being alive. You want to have a passionate, authentic life. That really should be too much to ask, now should it?

Here’s seven steps to help you find a new passionate direction for living. Try them on and see what they can do for you:

1. Start off by being curious. That’s right, just like a young child that stops in the middle of the road to look at pretty flower or a odd looking bug. Stop occasionally and take something in fully. Allow yourself to be curious about people, places and things. I know how perfectionism and pessimism can shut this down. Tell the voices in your head to shut up and stop, look and listen.

2. Garbage in, Garbage out. This is an old saying and I am sure you have heard some variation of it. Perhaps you have heard the expression: “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he…” What you put in your mind transforms you. You don’t have to turn off the television (although it would be a good idea), just watch one hour of the nature channel or the history channel or something other than the depressing junk that’s out there. Read a book on a topic you have never thought about before. Listen to an audio tape by a motivational speaker. Hey, podcasts are a great idea if you like to listen to stuff.

3. Post it. If you come across a saying or verse or picture that touches you in some way. Write it down or cut it out but post it where you can see it everyday. Let it do the work by absorbing into your mind on a subconcious level. Watch what it can do without you having to figure it out.

4. Say thanks. I mean really say thanks, with the whole eye contact for a full half second or more. Let the Barista at Starbucks now you really appreciate him or her. Tell your office mate thank you as sincerely as possible. Make them look you in the eye no matter how painful for them or you. And, tell you higher power thanks for your next breath, that darn cat that scratched your new coach, and your boss because even if he is a pig, at least you can get a paycheck to go to Starbucks and tell the Barista thank you.

5. Watch your language. Not just the cuss words but the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” stuff. Check how often you say things like “I always do…” or “I must have…” Life is really about a lot of choices. Good ones and bad ones. Start using words like “I choose to…” or “I want do…” Oh yeah. Avoid starting off sentences with “You…” as that make people defensive and you can’t control them anyway.

6. Keep humor at the forefront of thought, laughing at and with yourself when possible. You may find yourself quite entertaining when you loosen up! I am yet to see a comedian ever go hungry even though his jokes are as ‘old as great-grandma’. Life has so much to offer to allow you to mope around in self pity. Humor is very attractive, very passionate: life-giving.

7. Believe that you are the architect of your destiny. No one can take your passionate future from you except for you! Create your life authentically. As long as there’s still breath in your body, there is no end to how much you can accomplish in a lifetime. The concept of thinking big is all about enjoying your work, which would lead to celebrate a discovery that is born within your hands. Watch everything flow into place with perfect, passionate precision.

Read Ron’s ebook on “Living More Abundantly: Simple Steps to a Happier Life”