Are you looking on the bright side?

Your memories are stored in your eyes and a simple way to let go of negative memories.

Did you know that when you remember an event your eyes are running it through in the same sequence it happened? A study published in the journal Cerebral Cortex discovered that the brain and the eyes used the same sequence of connections and movements just as they happened in the original event. Rapid Eye Movement Therapy

Using the original sequence of eye movements and the brain’s original response all the different parts of that memory are condensed and connected into a replay of what originally happened

The various eye movement therapies such as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) and Rapid Eye Movement Therapy make use of the eye movements to help clear trauma such as PTSD

When working with clients with PTSD and trauma and those with and stress and anxiety I use various forms of eye movements to help release the memory of the original trauma and discomfort. This can be done with minimum need to cognitively go through the whole event which can often be very uncomfortable for the client. Our unconscious mind knows all about the traumas we remember, the ones we don’t remember and the ones we could never remember. So why not let the unconscious mind do the work?

I often notice how many of the issues we are experiencing are reflected in our language such as “If you keep looking in the same place you’ll get the same result”. So try this for yourself by thinking of a past event (choose something happy for this!) and notice whether you look down and to which side (left or right) you look.

Most of us, but not all will probably look down and to the left for what’s “left in our memory”. So if your preferred side is the left try looking to the right any time you find yourself thinking of something stressful.

When I ask clients to look to the other side and “tell me that story again” it’s amazing how many clients either find it difficult to verbalise their feelings from the side they don’t normally use. And often they can’t even tell me what the issue was!

So next time you find yourself stuck in a negative thinking loop notice where your eyes are and switch over to the other side!

A simple guide to the Vagus Nerve

The word Vagus is Latin for “wandering” and the vagus nerve connects the brain stem to the body. It is in effect wandering from the base of the skull all the way down the body to the gut.

As it makes it’s journey through the body it is constantly monitoring and receiving information about how the body is functioning and it relays this information back to the brain. In turn the brain is also communicating it’s own information to the vagus nerve. Vagus Nerve

The vagus nerve connects with virtually every organ in the body starting with the pharynx (throat) and ending at the small intestine?. It is connecting the neck, the heart, the lungs and gut and continually sending important information back to the brain about how the various organs are operating. When the (ventral) vagus nerve is operating optimally it will help lower the heart rate and blood pressure, encourage deeper breathing, relaxation, and decreases inflammation.

Although the singular term vagus nerve is generally used there is also the dorsal vagus If danger appears the dorsal vagus, which runs alongside the ventral vagus will fire, putting the system either in “fight or flight” or, if the danger appears too much to run from the “freeze state” We all know what a “rabbit in the headlights” looks like.

Ideally we want to optimally tone (or tune) our ventral vagus system so we can healthily connect with events in our everyday life. We do not want to be permanently stuck in stress and “fight or flight” 24 hours a day.

When connected to the ventral vagus response significant and valuable changes occur in our lives. These changes help us control our response to stress and our feelings of confidence and safety in the outside world. This gives us the ability to communicate with ourselves and others in a much more relaxed way changing so many things in life for the better.

It’s amazing that it often takes only a few simple changes to set in motion a process that can powerfully change your future life experiences for ever.

When working with clients, in virtually all cases the first thing I write on their take home notes is “Am I Safe?”. This is the question the primal brain is asking us all the time. “Am I safe in the jungle? But we are not in the jungle now (at least not that one!)

My hypnotherapy work is predicated on addressing the issues that have put the body and mind out of synch and disconnected. This means laying a foundation where lasting change can grow and knowledge about the workings of the vagus nerve helps answer many of the questions that come to the surface during therapy.

So as we begin to let the Dorsal Vagus relax (it will always look after us if needed) and turn our attention to toning and relaxing the Ventral Vagus we give ourselves the opportunity to move ever closer to the feeling “I Am Safe”.

Which is where we all want to be.