[00:00:00] Welcome to Move With Deb. I'm Deb, your friendly neuroplastician. And this is a podcast that explores the relationship between the body and the mind from a health at every size, judgment, free perspective. I teach you how developing a new internal conversation based on curiosity, self friendship and simple neuro-plasticity techniques can rewire your bodymind out of pain and emotional overwhelm to help you build the rich full life that you want to live. Disclaimer, this is not a replacement for medical care.
[00:00:50] Hi, and welcome to Move With Deb the podcast. This is episode 32 and today I'm sharing with you a somatic tracking audio that is based on a video that I made that's up on my website or my YouTube channel.
[00:01:08] Hopefully what you'll hear in this somatic tracking audio is also a meta explanation. As I often like to do, of why you want to do somatic tracking, why it is a useful tool to learn and to practice. And I also go into what I like to call a somatic smile. Which is a tool that I made up and I apply when I am feeling intense sensations or emotions while moving.
[00:01:42] So I hope you enjoy. Thanks for listening.
[00:01:45] I just wanted to record my version of somatic tracking. And right now we're having some amazing sounds joining us today. So there's the sounds of the garbage trucks outside the sound of the cat scratching on the cat scratchy thing. So I just want to acknowledge that, you know, we don't need the sounds and the experiences in our life to go away, to be able to attend to them in a different way.
[00:02:15] So somatic tracking. It is an amazing technique that sounds deceptively easy. And it is literally the way that we train our brain away from danger into a sense of safety. And I want to just suggest that it is a practice. It is a practice of neural reprocessing and how we practice it is just like how you practice learning to tie your shoe when you were young or when you're old. Learning an instrument, like learning the piano. It is a process by training the mind and the neural pathways, how to attend to the sensations in your body. So in the beginning, you're not going to be good at it. So I just want to offer you that idea that nothing has gone wrong.
[00:03:09] If you do this activity, nothing changes and you feel uncomfortable or it feels weird or, you're not really sure what the point is. So one thing I want to invite you to do is just allow all of those thoughts, those questions, those fears, those, um, bits of confusion, to just be there, to just rise to the surface. It's really, really useful to get those kind of murmurings of our brain out from our subconscious into consciousness so that we can just start, even knowing what's running around inside of us, that is creating this kind of relationship with our sensory experience. So our thoughts and our feelings about what we are experiencing in our body really matter.
[00:04:07] They go a long way into whether our brain and our nervous system thinks that these sensations are safe, or they think that these sensations are dangerous. So things like perception, meaning, belief, they all go in together to this process. So it's okay if you have thoughts, that are full of confusion. That is normal human process of not knowing. We want to welcome the experience of not knowing something as we are on the journey to learning it.
[00:04:43] So somatic tracking, you can do this work anywhere. I like to sometimes when I'm feeling an unpleasant sensation, right. Now I've trained myself. This is the, this is the neuroplastic part. I've created a conditioned response in my own mind body that when I feel an unpleasant physical sensation, somatic tracking is an activity that I reach out to.
[00:05:12] So somatic tracking is the practice of attending to the sensation in your body. It doesn't have to be unpleasant or negative. It can even be a pleasant sensation, or an invited sensation. So we want to reach out and, experience this sensation with curious awareness. And I always like to say self friendship.
[00:05:38] This idea of friendship is really just about like, creating a sense of welcome and because it's something that we want to welcome to our nervous system, just the fact that we are feeling. We want to create welcome with the ability to feel. So I understand that we don't always want to feel the unpleasant feelings or the unpleasant emotions, of course we don't.
[00:06:08] But learning to at least allow them to be part of our human feeling experience will help train the brain away from reactivity and fear and having to like guard us against it. So we do that by paying attention. So say right now I have a little tickle in my throat and I just like placed my attention on it and I just follow it.
[00:06:38] So it feels a little scratchy feels a little bit like a little bubbly sensation in the back of my throat. I can feel a little bit of zizziness happening in my chest. So I just want to like attend to the sensations with some curiosity. Is there any fear that's arising? Is there something else that's coming into focus?
[00:07:06] And then I just take a deep breath and pay attention to sensations in the body. Is that tickle in my throat getting stronger, louder? Is it moving around? Am I feeling it on the other side? Am I aware of the tension in my forehead. What is that sensation feel like? Is that sensation, dark or heavy. Does it feel like it's tapping or throbbing or moving around?
[00:07:42] Does it have a quality that you can name? Does it have a taste? What would that be? We want to just ask these questions so that we just stay in the body. You don't need to spend a lot of time thinking about it. Thinking about how we don't like it and thinking about how long is this going to keep going on?
[00:08:04] Thinking about arguing with it. Anytime we feel ourselves, go to thinking, just want to invite you to come back to the body. Back to the breath, come back to attending to these sensations with a sense of safety, tending to these sensations with curious awareness.
[00:08:25] So what is the feeling? I can feel my leg on the chair. What is the sensation of the leg on the chair? It feels a little heavy. I'm just paying attention to it. There's a zingy sensation. I just want to follow it. I just want to create a sense that this sensation is not dangerous.
[00:08:48] There's nothing I have to do to fix it. We're just going to keep following it and being like, huh, that's so interesting. Well, that's what that feels like. That's what that tickle in my throat feels like. That's what that sensation in my forehead feels like, how it feels a little, um, I need to come up with more words.
[00:09:11] Uh it feels a little soupy in my head. And, and so any word, we would just want to evoke the actual quality of what it feels like, right. So just let your self, be creative, have some fun with that and just let it be a part of your lived experience. I feel a little. Little Zippy Zappy sensation in my right foot.
[00:09:40] And this going to follow that. Just paying attention to the sensation in my foot with a sense of ease. Remembering to breathe. Just being like welcoming all the experiences, all the sensory experiences that are happening into my body are welcome. And you're a part of the human experience of feeling. That's how my body is assessing its environment. And I know that I'm safe. I'm sitting in a chair, I'm talking on a video, talking to you.
[00:10:17] I'm perfectly safe. My body is having sensations, that's okay. Let me train myself. These sensations are just passers by. They're just little communications from the inside of me, from the sensing me to the perceiving me. And if anything creates a sense of fear, you just want to note that. You just want to know what is the worry? What are the thoughts in my head? When I feel this feeling?
[00:10:46] We're not trying to fix or solve that, but it's just useful to notice that sometimes we have a feeling and then we have a thought about that feeling. Sometimes we have a physical sensation and then we have a fear arise. You just want to create some welcome for the fear part of us for the part of us that feels fear. Fear is a normal, natural, important human experience. We just don't need to be feeling fear all the time when we're not in danger. We need to turn the volume down on these sensations. We need to get our safety alarm system better tuned. Right? So that the alarms go off when there's a fire, not when we're trying to make toast, right? We want to be able to make toast. We want to be able to live our lives. We want to be able to move with ease. We want our alarm system to be working in alerting us when we are in danger, when we need to be attending to whatever is causing the pain. So this somatic tracking, this curious awareness piece, following the sensations in your body with a sense of self friendship. And if they get to be really strong and scary and we get to do what I call inviting in your friends, you're feeling friends.
[00:12:10] So that could be hand on your heart inviting in the feeling of self-compassion and self friendship, It can be inviting in the sensation of petting a cat or looking out the window at a tree and looking at the leaves glistening in the light. It can be the sound of some music that you really enjoy, or the taste of something that you love. Want to invite in maybe neutral and positive sensations to keep good company with us while we do this practice.
[00:12:47] You don't have to white knuckle our way through it. You don't have to grin and bear it. We're creating a sense of welcome. This is an invitation to feeling. And an invitation to feeling safe feeling. And whatever your body is offering you, you can just say thank you. You can say thank you belly for rumbling. Thank you chest for fluttering and letting me know that this is how you feel when you feel nervous.
[00:13:18] Again, just we want to get out of our thinking mind, thinking about the pain, thinking about the sensations and moving back into the feeling body. Allowing a feeling to be felt with a sense of welcome with a sense of peace, with a sense of friendship.
[00:13:39] When I am having intense negative sensations in my body, I often like to place what I call a somatic smile. The smile actually relates to our polyvagal nerve and it is the way that we teach our body, that we're feeling okay. So we want it to be a real smile, not like a fake smile. You know what a fake smile feels like, a fake smile feels kind of terrible, right?
[00:14:09] There's like one thing happening in your face, but there's something else happening on the inside. of you. We want a real smile. It could even just be the willingness to try smile, right? Just the practice of smile, creating a little warmth, a little lightness inside of us. So, because I am well practiced at this, it's easy for me. It's not necessarily going to be easy for you when you first start that's okay. That's just learning.
[00:14:44] But the idea of a somatic smile is so cool. So in a body part that is feeling some unpleasant sensations. I will often place what I call a somatic smile. Which means I literally smile. And then I imagine that smile, those sensations of warmth connection, self love to be like placed in that body part.
[00:15:11] I just meet it with the smile. The smile is me creating love for me, with me, all the mes. I often do this when I'm moving. If I'm walking and I find something that feels uncomfortable. Normally what happens is then I feel an arousal of fear. A little fear comes in. A little worry, comes in. My brain starts to offer me ideas about what's happening inside of my body. And I'd just like to say, thank you. And then I send a somatic smile to that part. And I just say that we're safe, that there's nothing wrong with my body. This is just a sensation of fear.
[00:15:53] And then just keep smiling, practicing. And I keep walking. I do the activity. I invite in a sense of ease and peace while I am doing the activity, while I'm walking. The work is to create a corrective experience for our brain when we are experiencing the unpleasant sensation.
[00:16:15] So yes, we can relax and do all of these things ahead of time. We can create some visualizations, but when the rubber meets the road, when we're actually doing it, that's when we need to have that conversation about safety with our nervous system. I invite you to practice, to meet yourself with grace and love, curiosity, and friendship while practicing.
[00:16:39] That's how you will one, want to do it more often, growing the experience of love, connection, self friendship, curiosity, and unwiring hypersensitivity, hyper-reactivity fear and pain. We're wiring towards something, which means that we're automatically wiring away. If there's something that we want to experience less, we have to wire towards something we want to experience more.
[00:17:11] Thank you for listening to this. I hope it's been helpful. Just keep practicing. I'm Deb, you can follow me on [email protected] where I'm hoping to share more tips, tricks, and tools on how to wire your brain away from pain and towards safety.