Reduce Stress! Create Balance! Optimize Your Emotional and Physical Well-being with Somatic Expert Dr. Amy Wheeler

Imperfect Love | Dr. Amy Wheeler | Self Regulation

 

Looking for an antidote to stress? If you feel constantly out of balance, anxious, or stressed, you’re not alone. When life feels challenging or unhealed trauma gets triggered, it’s easy to become dysregulated and spiral downward. This negative cycle hurts us physically, mentally, and emotionally. Although we often can’t control what life brings our way, we can learn how to balance ourselves, co-regulate with loved ones, and recalibrate after being dysregulated. In this episode, you’ll discover practical, life-shifting tips for releasing anxiety and creating sustainable health and happiness with renowned somatic expert Dr. Amy Wheeler. With practice, you can learn to partner with your autonomic nervous system to reduce stress and improve your overall wellbeing. As you learn to regulate your wonderful body, you’ll naturally change how you think and feel!

 

Books by Dr. Carla Manly:

Date Smart: Transform Your Relationships and Love Fearlessly

Joy From Fear: Create the Life of Your Dreams by Making Fear Your Friend

Aging Joyfully: A Woman’s Guide to Optimal Health, Relationships, and Fulfillment for Her 50s and Beyond

The Joy of Imperfect Love: The Art of Creating Healthy, Securely Attached Relationships

 

Connect with Dr. Carla Manly:

Website: https://www.drcarlamanly.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drcarlamanly/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/drcarlamanly/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drcarlamanly

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carla-marie-manly-8682362b/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@dr.carlamariemanly8543

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@dr_carla_manly

 

Connect with Dr. Amy Wheeler:

Website: https://theoptimalstate.com/

Watch the episode here

 

Listen to the podcast here

 

Reduce Stress! Create Balance! Optimize Your Emotional and Physical Well-being with Somatic Expert Dr. Amy Wheeler

Using the Power of Self-Regulation to Create Better Balance and Loving, Connected Relationships

Conflict, stress, trauma, relationships, all of these issues and many more negatively impact our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. When life feels challenging or unhealed trauma gets triggered, and it’s easy to become dysregulated. Although we often can’t control what life brings our way, we can learn how to balance ourselves, co-regulate with loved ones and recalibrate after being dysregulated. With practice, you can learn to partner with your autonomic nervous system to reduce stress and improve your overall well-being.

In this episode, we’ll focus on this audience’s real-life question, “My dad was an alcoholic. He had two sides, the nice and fun guy he showed to everyone else and the mean aggressive guy that was often at home. I grew up walking on eggshells because life felt very unpredictable. A lot of time has passed, but I still struggle because I get angry and aggressive if I don’t have control and things don’t go my way. This hurts my relationships and probably me. Any ideas?” With that question as the focus of this episode.

 

 

 Imperfect Love | Dr. Amy Wheeler | Self Regulation

 

I’m joined by a very special guest, Dr. Amy Wheeler, who will be sharing her expertise on the art of self-regulation and co-regulation. Welcome to the show, Dr. Amy. How are you?

I’m happy to be here. Thank you for having me.

It is such a joy and a privilege to have you with us. I know you have many roles in life and many areas of expertise. Before we dive into answering this audience’s question, could you tell us a little bit about what makes you you?

I feel like I have many facets of who I am, but as they pertain to the show, I think my passion in life is helping people to understand how their autonomic nervous system works, how it feels when it’s dysregulated versus when it’s regulated and the types of things we can do to bring ourselves back into balance so that we can have better relationships. The overall goal is that we can feel more comfortable in our skin, but we can also stay connected to other people.

Thank you for that lovely foundation. before we go any further, could you explain to guests who might not recall or maybe never knew precisely what you mean when you say the autonomic nervous system?

There is a part of your nervous system that when your brain tells your hand to move, it sends signals down your hand and your hand or arm starts to move. We might call that the somatic part, meaning the body in motion. There are other parts of your nervous system that are automatic, the things that cause your heart to beat, lungs to breathe, and your blood pressure. A lot of things are happening in your body on autopilot.

Your emotions, perceptions and thoughts impact how it is that your body is functioning. If I think about something I’m angry about, my heart rate is going to go up, my body temperature is going to go up, and I’m going to have different thoughts. It’s almost like a cascade of effects. While that’s all on autopilot, we have quite a bit of control over our thoughts and the triggers that are sending our autonomic nervous system to a direction of being out of balance.

Thank you for that beautiful explanation. I imagine during our time together, we’ll be using the word somatic quite a lot because of your vast experience in the world of somatic and somatic therapy. Could you illuminate what you mean when you are saying somatic?

For many years we have thought that there’s a top-down approach, meaning your mind thinks something and your body responds. When I get angry, my heart rate and blood pressure go up. That’s why we have many psychologists on the planet because we’re trying to get our minds straight so that our bodies can feel better and we don’t have thoughts, words, and actions that cause us more suffering. What we’re starting to understand through the latest neuroscience is a whole lot more information is coming from the body up, the somatic part of us, soma means body.

What that means is that we have an underlying sensation or feeling in our body and then our brain makes a story about that. That is a huge paradigm shift because what that means is we can work on our thoughts through our bodies first. We can make our bodies feel safe. We can do things to regulate our bodies, and that’s going to change how we think.

We can work on our thoughts through our bodies first. Click To Tweet

I love how simply and clearly you put it because we often think I’m having this bad thought or this angry thought, and that is what is making my heart rate go up. That is why I’m turning red and ready to fight . Let’s talk about gut instinct for a minute because I think people might get it if we talk a little bit about where this comes from, that visceral gut response.

A huge portion of our nervous system is located in our gut. When we say, “I have a gut feeling about something,” our nervous system is turned on. There’s something called neuroception that means you have these unconscious feelings and sensations. You’re not even aware of them. They’re not up here in your cognitive mind. They’re in your gut. Those things are telling you, “I’m lacking safety, I’m not feeling well right now. I don’t like this situation. Something about how that person is speaking or looking at me doesn’t make me feel comfortable.”

Especially when it comes to trauma, a lot of people like your audience had this question, she said she felt like she had to walk on eggshells when she was a child, not knowing if her father was going to be the nice version of himself or the not so nice version of himself. She probably had strong neuroception. She could probably from the moment she heard how the car door shut, his footsteps, how they walked into the house, if the door slammed harder or not hard, how he was breathing, sense all that before he even said a word. Her gut knew if it was going to be an okay or a not-so-okay night.

As someone who works with people who have suffered from trauma and with lots of personal and professional experience, we can see that what you are calling neuroception, our readers get used to that term that it’s similar to me. It reminds me of my giant schnauzer. They are on alert. When they’re on duty, they are picking up sounds I would never hear because they are finely attuned to the environment. They’re not thinking about being attuned to it.

 It’s part of their way of being. For someone who grows up, if I understand you right, in a home environment that is not safe, that is not predictable, they have that quality, that energy about their everyday experience where they’re having to monitor, not because they’re a giant schnauzer or any form of a dog, but because they’re saying, “I am in an unsafe situation. I’ve got to read the room. I’ve got to read Daddy’s face and mommy’s response, brothers and sisters’ response, the sounds, the car, the smell in the air. Did daddy drink or not drink?” All of these little pieces were operating below this audience’s radar and conscious thoughts.

As sad as that is when people grow up with abuse or alcoholism in the home or things that make them have to be on high alert, whether they’re aware of it or not, later in life, if we can integrate this into who we are, it can become one of our superpowers to be able to read a room clearly and quickly, see things before anybody else knows what’s about to happen and read human beings beautifully. I want to also point out, even though it can be a very difficult thing, once we learn to attune our autonomic nervous system and work with ourselves, some of our biggest sources of suffering can be our greatest gifts.

 

 Imperfect Love | Dr. Amy Wheeler | Self Regulation

 

That’s what I want to talk about when we get there about your audience who wrote in this question, recognizing that she gets angry and aggressive sometimes and would like to not ruin relationships. She can do that. She can use the thing that was traumatic in her childhood and turn it into her, his or their superpower.

I have a question for you along that line that does keep us with the question. When trauma is not healed or this hypervigilance all of these, “Let stay alert and read the room,” things. When they are not healed they can be turned into a superpower. I’ve noticed in my clinical practice that the clients who have not gone through that journey, those potential superpowers work against them because they read foes as friends and friends as foes. It’s as though their radar is complete. They’ll gravitate toward people and think they’re good, but they’re maybe addicts or have something deeper going on, then the people who are healthy, they often push them away because it’s not familiar. What do you think of that? What’s your take on that?

When we grow up in a very unstable environment, even though it’s very dysregulating, it’s not a healthy place to be, it’s normal. It’s what feels familiar to us. that’s why I think we seek out what is familiar because we know, “I’ve dealt with this before. I know how to work with this. We might be completely dysregulated on high alert, completely not feeling good and safe in our body, but that’s normal, then like you said, and I see this all the time in my practice too, you have someone who tries to connect with a very healthy human being and they’re perceived as boring and, “I don’t think I have any chemistry with this person,” that type of thing because that person isn’t matching their dysregulation and their chaos.

 the goal would be to heal ourselves and get into a state of regulation from the body up, which we can talk about, and then find another person who’s done the same.

It’s very hard when you have two completely dysregulated people trying to do that work together. they bounce off each other and dysregulate each other more. It’s probably good to take your time to figure out how to get regulated and then find another healthy person who’s also interested in staying regulated. At that point, it won’t seem boring. It will seem safe.

I noticed and I’m wondering if this is your experience that I love how you put it that you get one person who’s chaotic and they might find the other person too stable, too normal, too boring, but they can also take that more stable person and try and get them to become dysregulated. They want them to join and become chaotic themselves. the other person might need to keep saying, “I’m not doing this. I’m not joining you in that circus. Go ahead. You keep trying, but it’s not going to happen.” What do you think about that dynamic?

If anyone studied the attachment styles, they do say that a securely attached person, someone who’s regulated, someone who has good boundaries, good communication, knows how to be in a healthy relationship that they are able to help someone who’s more anxious and attached or has more dysfunction. If they’re willing to do that work, it can work and thank you to them. I would wonder if it might not get old at some point if the person who’s feeling more chaotic and dysregulated doesn’t take it seriously and gets their own nervous system and balance instead of requiring the second person to balance them.

At some point, we all have to take responsibility for our own thoughts, words, emotions, and ultimately nervous system.

 

 

That’s one of the most common things I see in my practice where there will be someone who’s trying to be there with the other person. That journey can work with someone who’s dysregulated and someone who tends to stay stable, but it does get old because then the other person gets very exhausted and says, “I’m tired of this uphill journey with you pulling me down and me trying to take us up, but you keep pulling down and not doing your part .” We’re all evolving. We’re all on a journey, but is the more dysregulated person willing to do their work? If not, that can be a deal breaker.

I think a lot of people understand, “I’m dysregulated. I’ve not had success in relationships. I want to feel more regulated.” They don’t know where or how to start. They don’t know how to work with the somatic body and their own body knows that it’s safe so it tells their mind they’re safe instead of the other way which is the mind saying, “I’m unsafe. I’m on eggshells. I need to be hypervigilant. This person’s going to cheat on me. this person’s going to do horrible things to me,” then the whole body comes into a contracted state and the nervous system is not flowing smoothly.

To add on some of the other messages, “This person’s going to criticize me. This person is going to undermine me. This person’s going to tell me I’ll never add up to anything. I’ll never be this person,” because that fear brain that’s based on all of those negative childhood experiences is running the show. Let me give this to you to help us answer the question about how can this audience and all of those people who are reading who get what we’re talking about, who say, “I have something similar in my life. Please do take us on a journey.”

You know my background and your readers are about to read this, but as of a few years ago, almost 40 million people in the United States were doing yoga. It was predicted within a few years that it would be more like 85 million. The reason people have found yoga and it’s growing fast, it’s still growing. It’s not going anywhere, is because of this.  For the first time in their life, they go to an individual yoga class or a small group yoga class, or maybe even a large group class. The hour of breathing, moving and focusing brings them into a state of regulation, which most people have never felt. they’re lying there at the end of class in savasana or corpse pose where you lie on your back, your eyes are closed and you get about 5 to 7 minutes of peaceful relaxation, people are like, “What happened to me? I’ve never felt this feeling in my body or mind?”

We smile and say, “You’re regulated. That’s what it feels like.” While at first, it may be those little glimpses at the end of practice and then we pop out and get dysregulated again, it is possible over time and with practice to start living in that place where you feel regulated most of the time occasionally you pop out and feel dysregulated and recognize, “I’m not well right now, but I know how to get back.”

 

 

Thank you for bringing up that piece because it allows us all to realize that this is working with the body. It is something that even if we can’t afford a yoga class, we can often find something on YouTube that resonates with us. I have a question because I’m a yoga teacher as well. We have so much in common and I believe in the power and the healing power of the body. I want to illuminate and ask for your assistance with this.

Sometimes people go to something like a very high-powered yoga class that is all about, and I’m not saying this isn’t good, but I don’t think this is what we’re talking about necessarily. The high-powered yoga class where you go in, do all of the poses, strive for perfection, you have a 32nd Savasana, the resting place, and you’re out the door and back in your car and on with your life boy did you look good in those yoga clothes. That’s not necessarily what you are talking about I’m imagining.

At first, if that’s where the person needs to be, I’ll even agree to that like I to stay there. If that’s the entry door, and I think for many of us it was, we were athletes. We wanted to be thinner or whatever we thought, we came for the physical workout. I hope it evolves past that because if we stay with yoga as a physical workout or a way to manage our weight, we miss out on 99% of what it has to offer. Even if we enter through that door, I’d then love to see people experimenting with what we call therapeutic yoga, which means something like, “Go to a four-week series on managing anxiety or managing depression.” Something where you’re in a smaller group, there’s a focus, the teacher knows you, they’re working with you, they’re helping you modify things as needed.

If you need extra mental, emotional and spiritual support during or after the class, there’s someone there that is there to help you integrate what you’re feeling and sensing. That’s one level. The second level could also be a one-on-one session, what we call yoga therapy, where someone works with you not in a psychotherapy way, but in a somatic therapy type of way to help you figure out which postures work for you to come into balance, which breathing exercises work for you to come into balance, which types of meditation support you or cause you more suffering. It’s very individualized.

What you say is that it’s not necessarily a once-a-week class, whether it’s slow yoga, gen yoga or power yoga, that it becomes more of a way of life, which is what yoga’s roots were all about, making yoga practice a way of life. Could you talk about what that would look like?

Making your lifestyle yogic is the best thing you can do to regulate your nervous system, getting to bed at a particular time yoga and Ayurveda, which is the Indian philosophy type of lifestyle medicine. They say, “We want you in bed by 10:00 PM and we want you to get up with the sun.” When you get up in the morning, the first thing we want you to do is clean your mouth and then have a warm cup of lemon water to help cleanse your digestive tract. All day long, there are these things that yoga and Ayurveda recommend to keep your nervous system in balance as well as a healthy mind and body.

Yoga is the best thing you could do to regulate your nervous system. Click To Tweet

Those are such simple can-do pieces. It’s interesting, I naturally wake with the sun and go to bed. I’m ready pretty much 10:00 because sometimes a stretch for me. It’s not about a particular somebody having to watch the clock, but those are for thousands of years, pre-industrial revolution. That’s what our ancestor’s bodies were doing. Knowing it’s more about getting into the body’s natural rhythms, and I love that you called out something as simple as lemon water to get the system going, many of us wake up, pound a cup of coffee, a bagel, a Danish and off we go tell us what that does to the nervous system.

First of all, any warm water, herbal tea or things like that will soothe your nervous system all day long. As we talked about the enteric nervous system in your gut, when you bring warm water into your intestines and into your stomach, it gives a signal to your entire nervous system, “We’re good. We’re settled down.” One of the first things I do for people who are highly dysregulated is tell them, “Can you drink warm water or herbal tea regularly throughout the day?” The lemon part of it has more to do with digestion and getting the metabolism going in the morning and a little very gentle mini cleanse for your intestinal system. You wouldn’t want necessarily to do lemon water all day. I do ask people to carry around a container of warm water with them all day to stay more regulated.

Why warm versus cold?

Warm water will be absorbed more easily. It’s closer to your body temperature as opposed to cold water. Your body has to bring the cool water to body temperature. It takes some time. It’s not as soothing to the nervous system, the cold water I know many of us love a cold drink with ice in it, but I think you’ll find that in terms of things like agitation, anxiety and insomnia, it is the warm water. Sometimes I even say like a clear soup. If you want to have a miso-type soup before you go to bed, that will also help to soothe and calm the nervous system. It’s warm.

I love my bubbly water and my organic decaf tea. What do you say about bubbly water?

Bubbly water is okay for some people. According to yoga and Ayurveda, it causes more air in the digestive tract. For some people, it isn’t a great thing.

We’ve covered that one. Thank you. I learned something. let’s go back to this audience. You’ve given them some wonderful tips about ways that they can start easing their system in very simple ways. Before we go back, you used the word enteric nervous system. A lot of people may find that unfamiliar, even though we’ve talked about the gut before. Could you give a brief description of the enteric nervous system, how magnificently intelligent it is and how it’s always busy behind the scenes?

The enteric nervous system is this extensive network of neurons and neurotransmitters that’s embedded in the gastrointestinal tract. Some people say it’s the second brain and some people even say it’s the first brain. that enteric nervous system knows more about you than even your brain up here. That’s a short version of it.

Your enteric nervous system communicates with the rest of your nervous system. It tells you if you should be in fight or flight or rest and digest. It plays a role in digestion. It even impacts your mood and your mental health. A lot of what the latest neuroscience is showing is that a lot of our mental health issues are showing up in the gut. If we can help people get a healthier gut microbiome, their mental health issues tend to clear up, which is fascinating because the body and mind are one.

 

 

We often don’t realize how interconnected we think that the mind is king indeed the mind is one small part of who we are as these lovely human beings. I remember listening to a TED Talk where the woman was describing the enteric nervous system and how it feeds, if I recall correctly, 90% of the information goes from the enteric nervous system to the brain and then only 10% from the brain down to the gut, which is a reversal of what most people would imagine. Let’s go now that we described the enteric nervous system, thank you for your expertise on that. Could you then now give us some more tips for the audience, this person who is constantly getting dysregulated, activated fight or flight, and lots of anger? What might we offer as ideas and insights?

First, I want to go all the way back to the original trauma that was happening in this person’s home and say that many people with addiction, and in this case the father, are using substances to try to regulate themselves. Whether that’s food, alcohol, drugs, pot, cigarettes, shopping or porn. The act of attempting to regulate to feel better, a lot of times is the addiction. That’s from Gabor Maté. It’s an interesting thing to think about that maybe her father was trying to self-soothe through alcohol. That’s not to take away from her experience and being a victim of someone who is an alcoholic. It’s saying that’s a separate issue it’s interesting to think that maybe he was trying to self-regulate.

The other second part of this is whether we like it or not, we are co-regulating with our caretakers. Even if she felt, “I don’t want to be around dad. I’m walking on eggshells. This is uncomfortable. Why does he keep coming home drunk?” There is a whole other part that wants to be close to dad and have a relationship. Both are true. Unfortunately, the father was the leader nervous system and the daughter or son probably had less power in the relationship. Usually, the person with less power is co-regulating to the person with the power, even if that person is out of balance.

From very early on, your reader who wrote this in their nervous system is co-regulating to a dysfunctional nervous system. That happens neuron by neuron for decades. This is not going to be a quick, easy fix to reprogram that. it’s possible, but it’s not going to happen overnight. I want to say that because the nervous system was impacted for decades, probably from age zero to whenever she or he left the house. It’s not a once-a-week thing, it’s more of a daily practice of breathing or yoga or meditation, all of them. Lifestyle change is going to be what reprograms that.

If I may emphasize something, I completely agree with you, because often people think, “This happened when I left home when I was 17 or 18. I’m out of it. Trauma stopped,” but because the nervous system is wired that way, that’s what it knows. Unconsciously, that’s what it’s patterned for. If this person, I don’t know how old they are, whether they’re 37 or 57, we don’t know, but for however many decades, they have been walking around unhealed, those patterns are even more deeply embedded. I agree with you, it’s not that it’s not possible to shift it, it will require more persistence, empathy, kindness and patience.

Through this process of letting go of shame, there can be a lot of shame around losing your temper and getting aggressive and watching relationships shatter and feeling helpless to do anything about it. There’s a lot of shame that can come with that. There’s going to be a whole element of forgiveness to say, “This happened to me. My nervous system got programmed in a dysregulated way. It has not yet experienced what a healthy nervous system, a stable, safe, nervous system would feel like. It’s going to be a journey. I’m forgiving myself for that childhood trauma knowing that I can move forward into this new way of being in the world.” The first thing I would say is when we feel angry, agitated, going off on somebody and letting them have it, we must stop ourselves. Even if we’re like, “I’m going to try to stop myself and then I do it anyway,” we did it anyway.

“Next time I’m going to try to stop myself. I waited five minutes before I popped off,” no problem, then you try again the next time you talk to your therapist about it. You keep working until one time you’re like, “I’m starting to feel that feeling like I’m getting very upset. I think I’ll go on a walk in nature. I think I’ll go do some yoga. I think I’ll go take a yoga Nidra in my bed with my headphones on. I think I’ll have some warm water. I think I’ll schedule an appointment with my therapist, my best friend or my empathy buddy.”

It’ll take some time to walk it back so that you can see it coming and then get yourself regulated through these lifestyle medicine-type techniques in order to not have it keep happening I have one more thing to say that’s difficult, but when we get run down and exhausted, we will not be able to catch ourselves. It’s going to happen again. We have to forgive ourselves because we all get exhausted and overwhelmed. We’ll probably slip back. This is a lifelong process of learning to regulate, be kind to myself and develop a lifestyle that is going to work to keep me in balance. We’ll be able to catch ourselves more of the time.

We all get exhausted, we all get overwhelmed, and we'll probably slip back. But this is a lifelong process of learning to regulate, be kind to ourselves, and develop a lifestyle that will work to keep us in balance so we'll be able to catch… Click To Tweet

Thank you for such a compassionate, actionable view of how to begin shifting because you are right. When you are raised in a dysfunctional environment and it’s part of your neurobiology, even if it’s something you’re not conscious of, as it becomes conscious, which is a slow process, then you’re able to catch yourself more and more. You’re able to do the small self-corrections more and more. It’s such a gift when you’re working with clients and they don’t see the progress because we don’t tend to see our own progress then one day it’s like, “I didn’t do this. I didn’t scream, use expletives or throw something.” Those are all big victories.

It does take so much work to rewire oneself. I also think another beautiful thing that you were bringing up is truly how much persistence it takes. Forgive, persist for 1 step forward, 1 step forward, maybe a half step back, but continue that journey and that none of us are perfect at this. I love the old acronym of a HALT when you’re Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired and I add an S on to it, Stressed. When any of us are in one or all of those states, it is much easier to get dysregulated. We want to be able to take our temperature, to speak, and say, “I want to talk to my person, my friend or my boss about this. Am I angry? Am I lonely? Am I tired? Am I stressed? If so, maybe I need a timeout.

It’s like, “Go in your little nap with your little blanking. Everything that we learned in kindergarten when they had us take a little rest after lunch is what we need to do now. Pretend you’re like a kindergartner and how would you take care of a little one? Take care of yourself that way.

That’s true. I know to this day I’ll take time out. I did it when I was raising my kids. I’d say, “I wouldn’t put them in time-out. I’d put myself in time-out. Mommy needs time out. Mommy needs ten minutes of quiet time. I learned to put myself in time-out so I could regulate.” I didn’t know at all about what we’re talking about co-regulation and all of that. It wasn’t at all on my radar. I was such a young mom. Now I am on some gut level, I knew if mommy wasn’t regulated, mommy was not going to be able to regulate these little ones.

I’m thinking about the partner who maybe came from a more healthy childhood that is regulated and loves someone who is chronically dysregulated. Instead of going back and forth cognitively to solve the problem, make sure they’re hydrated, make sure they’ve eaten, “Do they need a rest? If they’re stressed out, can they have some time alone for a time out?” Give them a hug and put them in bed. It sounds funny, but I know with my partner, when we get into these stressed-out states, we snap and fight at each other from our mind when we both need to go get regulated and then we come back and we’re fine.

We snap and fight at each other from our minds when really we both just need to go get regulated, and then we come back and we're fine. Click To Tweet

For every one what I would call a care package or self-care package looks different and we all need to take some time to get to know, “When I’m dysregulated, do I need to walk? Do I need to sit with my partner even if I’m angry at them? Do I prefer them next to me?” I love that you brought up hugs because sometimes if the other person’s okay with a hug, a lovely heart-to-heart hug, no words, just a hug can, feeling the other person’s breath can feel affirming because often people weren’t given hugs as children.

I have many clients who say, “If only my parent had hugged me. If only they had taken me and hugged me.” On that very primitive level, we know that we’re safe when a hug feels. Sometimes we don’t want to be hugged if we’re upset, and that too is okay, but I love that you brought that up because it can be a wonderful tool for co-regulation. I could keep talking to you about this. Your wisdom is profound and beautiful. I’m going to give this back to you to see what else you might offer our readers and the person who asks the question without taking too much more of your time.

I think we’ve covered it very beautifully. I would say, be gentle with yourself. We’re all imperfect. We’re all working on this. It’s not your fault that your nervous system learned how to be dysregulated at a very young age, and it’s a totally solvable problem.

You make it sound so human, and that is exactly what it is. We are all humans. Most of us did not grow up in perfect households. I don’t know anyone who did. We are all much more alike in these ways than we sometimes realize. You probably hear the same thing. I hear parents say, “I snapped at my child. I snapped at my partner.” That’s normal. We sometimes snap. We don’t want to hurt other people, but we do want to realize that we can apologize.

We can do it a little bit better the next time. We can envision, instead of spending our time blaming and shaming ourselves about what we did, we can use that time instead on envisioning, imagining and meditating on how we would do it differently the next time. Put our time into imagining a slightly better version. Your wisdom is amazing, comforting and grounding. Where can our readers find you?

We have a website, www.TheOptimalState.com. That’s the first place. There are many free offerings on there. The second place is we have a mobile app for iPhone and Android that helps you regulate your nervous system and track the state of your nervous system and when is it getting out of balance if you go to the Android or iPhone App Store, the first month is free. You could try it out for free. It’s called Optimal State Just. type in Optimal State into the App Store and you’ll find it.

Could you give us what are you saying for our nervous system to be in balance and at peace?

That’s exactly what optimal state is about, you living to your fullest human potential because your nervous system is balanced more often.

An optimal state is about you living to your fullest human potential because your nervous system is balanced more often. Click To Tweet

You’re saying, “When you’re peaceful on the inside, you’ll be able to be much more available to yourself and to other people, follow your dreams and your passions?” We’re not saying, “You need to sit on the couch or be in a yoga position all day long. This simply means you get to be in a regulated state where your vision, all types of vision and availability are more pronounced. Thank you so much. This has been phenomenal. It has been a joy, a pleasure, and a delight.

 

 Imperfect Love | Dr. Amy Wheeler | Self Regulation

 

Thank you. I have enjoyed every moment of our time together.

Thank you, readers.

 

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About Dr. Amy Wheeler

 Imperfect Love | Dr. Amy Wheeler | Self RegulationAmy is the Founder and Director of Optimal State Yoga Therapy School. www.TheOptimalState.com Over the last 25 years, Amy’s life purpose has been to educate people about yoga, psychology and wellness. She uses these professional skills to engage student’s body, breath and mind; teaching them how to create sustainable health and happiness. Amy loves to focus on Autonomic Nervous system regulation with her students and watch their lives change!
 
Amy earned a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and her B.A. and M.A. in Health Promotion. She began her body-mind teaching career as a Sport Psychology Consultant and Yoga Teacher to many elite-level athletes, including the Los Angeles Lakers, various Professional Athletic Teams and five U.S. Olympic/National Teams. For the past 25 years, Amy has studied yoga and yoga therapy extensively in India, Europe and the U.S. and currently teaches in the tradition of T. Krishnamacharya.

13 Responses

  1. This website is phenomenal. The radiant material shows the proprietor’s enthusiasm. I’m dumbfounded and envision more such mind blowing entries.

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