[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] Hello, and welcome to Move With Deb, The Podcast. This is episode 49. And this one is called. believe that you're okay. Or decide that you're okay. Sometimes it's harder to believe, but we can just decide to believe or decide to practice the belief. There's a lot of nuance in this idea. I want to invite you to suspend your disbelief because it is very hard when you are in pain or have a chronic illness or have a chronic condition to hear and be told, just believe you're okay.
[00:01:30] I, a hundred percent understand that. And what I want to share with you is this process of rewiring your sensory experience through your belief system, through your imagination and the ways that I'm using it right now for my own body. So maybe this will give you some tools and ideas, on how you can use this for your own body.
[00:01:54] And it is an active process. Belief is an active process. And what sometimes is happening is we're not using it consciously. We're just reinforcing this subconscious belief and experience. And again, that makes a lot of sense. So what we're talking about here always is to take some things that are unconscious or subconscious and move them to a conscious practice.
[00:02:22] So there is some work. There is some labor, there is some choice. There is some engagement. There is some empowerment for you. So how do you believe that you are okay. When we worry and catastrophize and let our brains scare us in the name of being prepared, we are not practicing okay. The idea that we are okay. That we're safe. That we are not in danger. You get more of what you practice. This is neuroplasticity at its simplest. It's a Dr. Carla Shatz, from Stanford, "what fires together, wires together."
[00:03:05] So where this is coming up for me in my life right now is I am training for a week long hike in Iceland. And that is in September.
[00:03:16] But if I were to go now, I don't think I would be up for hiking for a week. So I'm trying to prepare. Like if we want to run a marathon, we just don't put on sneakers and go out and run a marathon. Right. So I'm thinking about tissue adaptation and also mental stamina. And I'm just thinking about how to care for myself in that experience.
[00:03:39] I went on a hike last week. I have been moving some more. I am doing some knee rehab work. Uh, mostly just walking backwards and watching a lot of knees over toes guy, YouTube videos. But I find the walking backwards to be really helpful.
[00:03:59] I posted about it on Instagram. You can always follow some of my movement, activities on Instagram. So I've been hiking more. And this week I walked a bunch. I did some subway stairs. I, was working in my garden and carrying heavy cinder blocks and doing a bunch of physical labor.
[00:04:21] And then I went to the gym and did some weightlifting, which was really fun. And I was like, okay, I know that I'm going to be sore. And I could feel like I was getting worried about being sore. And I have some experiences of having lost dom's which is delayed onset muscle soreness. So I have had experiences usually when I'm in this kind of heightened sensory arousal, that I don't feel like I recover well from muscle soreness.
[00:05:00] Part of my goal in this training process is like, I really want to be able to train hard. And what hard looks like is hard for me. I want to be able to progress and I want to achieve my goal of having this hike be fun and easy and where I feel strong and that my knees feel reliable, that my ankles, my feet feel ready for this adventure.
[00:05:34] And I could just tell, I had a lot of fear about the potential muscle soreness. And how that was going to get in the way of training. And so I was like, well, if I do this weight lifting, then that means I'm going to be sore for this many days. And it means I'm not going to be able to do these things. I could tell that I was a snowball getting ready to roll down a hill. And then I was afraid that experience that I've had in the past was going to happen again.
[00:06:10] But the beautiful thing is I understand that that's not how the brain and body has to work. That the brain will give us the experience that we are expecting to have. And if we update that prediction from the brain we can change that physiological experience.
[00:06:31] The first part is to create the awareness of this fear. And I was like, okay. So I noticed I started Googling things. I started looking up muscle recovery. I think I even ordered some tumeric, which like, that's not a bad idea, but there's something about taking actions to not feel something. And that is never the right framework for doing mind body work. And it's not the right framework for creating safety in the body for having the experience of recovering from a workout from recovering, from doing exercise or even if you're not even doing exercise to say you like go out. And you're like hanging out with friends and you like walk a whole bunch. Right? Like that's not exercise. That's just like moving through your day. But like, okay. So maybe there's like walked around a park a lot more than you normally do. And then the next day you're sore. Right. So we don't only feel sore from doing physical activities, like in the gym.
[00:07:42] Right. We feel can feel sore. Soreness is a real. Normal human feeling. If we're like, we usually move X amount and now like double or triple that, because we like went and did something fun or we went to a dance or we, you know, decided to like go for a really long walk or walk on the beach, like diff even adding different kinds of physiological load.
[00:08:09] So say you're walking on an unstable. Surface like sand, that's going to be felt in your body. And we wouldn't necessarily call that exercise. But if you go into this experience thinking I'm probably going to feel sore the next day and that's okay. That is safe. Feeling sore when moving more is safe.
[00:08:34] And so we get to decide, right? So I was like, okay, how am I going to think about this? I'm going to believe and train my brain, that I'm safe feeling sore. So that's the very first approach is say tomorrow, I'm going to feel sore. I one, I love the feeling of having moved. And I'm going to feel safe, feeling sore. This journey is about me developing and creating this deeper inner conversation of trust and safety for my mind.
[00:09:08] I wrote an Instagram post about it and it is a little bedtime message for myself, which said from a few days before my hike.
[00:09:20] Today, I did a lot of stairs and built a table. I am going to bed sore. I will probably be sore tomorrow. Note to self. It is safe to feel sore. You are very resilient, strong and capable. Soreness is not danger. You are safe with these sensations.
[00:09:41] And it was fun to write it out. Because then I got to look at it and read it. There's a lot of talk in mind, body work about journaling. I find that journaling these positive or encouraging messages to yourself, just like, what is the reminder that your nervous system needs? It could be very helpful to write it down. And then when you look at it, since our eyes are one of our primary senses, that information will come in to your nervous system, come into your brain in a different way.
[00:10:16] And you want to write a sentence that you will believe. And I believed this right? There was a bit of an aspiration, but there was also me communicating with me. So I just planned the way that I was going to talk to myself. And then also the next day, before I went to bed, I visualized waking up in the morning with ease. I imagined myself floating up out of bed. Like I was partially filled with helium and I said I am safe having any sensation. And that's what I put myself to bed with. So this was last week. So this week I did all that other stuff. And then I showed up at weightlifting sore and I lifted and it was so much fun and it felt amazing.
[00:11:07] And then I like, you know, did that kind of like, oh, I'm sore walked to the car. And I posted in, um, the Mind and Fitness Podcast. Deleters of Pain Facebook group, which is Eddy Lindenstein's and he's a lifter. So I was like, okay, I'm going to get like people who are training focused. I want to talk to MINDBODY people cause I noticed I was drifting off into just looking at like recovery work from a very biomechanical, biomedical viewpoint. And I was like, I will get exactly what I'm looking for. If I look here, people will tell me the millions of things that I could do or should do. And what I'm not going to get is the mind body approach in terms of thinking safety first. And so when I posted in here, you know, I said, I'm not afraid. But I'm feeling sore. And does anybody have any post-workout remedies for soreness that also tracks with mind body work? And I said, I'm drinking water with some flavored salt. But I told on myself, which is, I know I tend to fall down Google holes and get in a fixing headspace and I both love and. I'm over myself on this. Like, I don't want to say I hate it. Cause I think I love it. You know, it serves me really well. And if you're familiar with Dr. Sarno and even Nicole Sachs talks about this, right? The fixing impulse is a reinforcement of this idea of a lack of safety in our current experience what we're always trying to do is to teach our brain that we are safe and it can turn off the alarm. And now muscle soreness is also like a physiological experience. I'm not expecting to work out and then, not feel anything. So it was really more about okay. I was noticing that I was afraid that it was going to last for more than two days.
[00:13:21] And then I was already anticipating how it was going to interfere with my training, how I could even imagine, like I had these little inklings of not being ready when I went to Iceland. Like I was ready with an entire mini series about how I was not going to be in the physical condition that I want to be for my trip. I was already thinking in preparing for that now and preparing the despair and then kind of expecting that the problem was going to be me, that I was making this problem for myself by training. It's a little convoluted, but I think if you've ever catastrophized about your health or ever had anxiety about physical sensations, you might know what I'm talking about.
[00:14:18] And so I just also ask, like, you know, but if there's like anything that anybody does to like help reduce workout soreness I'm game, and then like people were like, Did you just get back to training, soreness is expected in an inevitable, right? Like you're gonna, like, if you're going at any level of intensity, like don't worry.
[00:14:38] And I was like, yup, thank you. Good message. And then somebody was like, that's the good kind of pain getting ripped! I don't know if I'm going to get ripped. I mean, I do have a goal of wanting to like squeeze a watermelon with my thighs. That might be TMI, but I was like, you know, sometimes it's fun to have a goal to work towards whether or not I ever do that.
[00:15:02] Somebody else said they love working out because they like, know what caused the soreness. And it just means that they're building strength and I was like, yeah. Okay. And I just didn't feel like my soreness faded quickly. And what was interesting is my brain in that moment was like, I'm different.
[00:15:24] My body is different. Other people's bodies recover. My body doesn't recover. And I could just start to see that I was really ready to compare myself to other people. Somebody said that it requires 48 hours to heal your muscles, which I have never heard of, but I was like, okay. And they're like, just ignore it and move on. And she's like your thoughts about it make you feel it more. And I talk about this all the time. I had that star Trek view screen episode, about where are you placing your attention?
[00:16:02] That was one of my podcasts. And so the spotlight of attention and where we're training our brain to look, it magnifies that experience. So that was a very good reminder. I want this to be not the focus of my attention. And when I tie it to a narrative of, oh, my body's different. Oh, I don't recover well. Oh, this means something about my trip in the future. It means something limiting about my ability to train. Then my nervous system wants to keep that really close. Right. Because we're checking. It's also this habit of checking our pain, like a bruise that we're like watching fade, but you kind of want to keep poking it and be like, does that still hurt?
[00:16:49] Does that still hurt? Is that still hurt? So if that's something that you find that you do pay attention to where your attention is. I talk about this every day and I just was like, let me go get some other voices in my head besides my own reminding me of this. So it is extremely powerful to go get help, whether it's coaching, whether it's in a Facebook group, whether it's listening to somebody else's recovery story, it is very, very useful to hear somebody else's perspective and experience, and then say, how can I apply this to me.
[00:17:33] How are we similar and not different? So yeah, somebody is like, Hey, Dom's can take many days, but some lifts sometimes and they're also like, yeah, I kinda liked Dom's, it just gives me some feedback about which muscles I worked or like, you know, and he's just like, when you build up your capacity, it just won't take you as long.
[00:17:56] And I was like, Absolutely. And he's like, and also it can catch you off guard, however good your work capacity is. And that's such a brilliant message, right? Because we don't want to say feeling pain is bad. It means you're doing something wrong. Not feeling pain is good. It means you're doing everything right.
[00:18:15] That's not a true statement. Somebody else said take it as evidence of your, that your training is working and don't try to fix it or change it. And I just thought don't try to fix it or change it. Like the first impulse I had when I read that, I was like, oh, I don't like that answer.
[00:18:33] Of course, I want to fix it. I want to change it. I don't want it to be happening, but I was like, no, that's the right answer. It's that paradox of mind-body healing. It's the, when we try less to change it and just work on experiencing our physical sensations through this lens of safety, through this lens of curiosity, through this experience of witnessing with self-compassion, then that view screen, the magnification goes down. I allow my body to heal and repair. Then Eddy, I'm going to name him on this because I was on his podcast, he also just said, sleep sleep is the most crucial. I will also say Dr. Hanscom who's a mind body physician and, a former back surgeon, he talks about that the number one most important thing is sleep. The most important thing around sleep really is to find a way to not be in distress about not getting sleep. So there's, again, that same paradox, which is this self witnessing practice, of rest, of working on not being in distress when we are awake and want to be asleep. This guy, Martin Reed is a called the insomnia coach and he's got a podcast and he offers a lot of great solutions as well.
[00:20:13] It's a lot about what are we doing with our mind? What are we doing with our thinking and feeling? Are we moving into an activation cycle and what are we doing around creating nervous system safety for our brain and body? And so I took all of this wonderful advice and I decided that my body was ok.. I decided that I am okay and I can feel anything. And that the most important thing is to feel relaxed today when I am recovering from my workout.
[00:20:50] And so I went to work and I sat and I stood up and I walked around. When I would go from sitting to standing, I definitely felt some soreness from the orthostasis and I just was like, that's fine. It's not a problem.
[00:21:10] And I would get up and I did like two or three rounds of backwards walking in my kitchen. So it's not that big, but I just was like, okay, when I made some coffee, I walked backwards a few laps. And then, um, when I would get up from sitting, I would just walk around a little bit or do a little shimmy shake or walk backwards.
[00:21:30] And I just was like, not with the goal of changing the sensations, but with the goal of just meeting my body and say like, Hey, this is something nice we're doing for ourselves. I also decided to take Advil this morning, which I don't usually take, but I thought, you know, I'm curious to meet this morning with getting ahead of these sensations and seeing how Advil would feel.
[00:21:58] And I decided to take that medication with like gratitude and an attitude of this is helping me do my movement work rather than this is going to take the pain away. And this is going to help me have a good day. And I think that that helped, because then when I felt, you know, then when I still felt soreness as the day went on, like it was fine and I didn't take any more Advil. I just took some in the morning. What I really noticed is as the day went on I actually have relatively little pain. Like had some, but it's a lot less than I was anticipating and that is blowing my mind.
[00:22:48] Not really sure what the right answer is, but I'm definitely sure that I am on the right track. And now I feel much more confident in my ability to train. I feel much more confident that in September I will feel different. I will feel ready. Like if I could do a few hours of yard work, And show up at the gym, feeling sore and then do some training that I haven't done in a long time and wake up today and feel sore, but okay and then as the day progressed, feeling less and less sore, I am so pleased. And the most important thing was to decide that no matter what I was safe and to decide to feel relaxed, to believe that whatever was happening was normal, to not give in to distress and catastrophizing. And to just tell myself that the sensations will change throughout the day and throughout the week. And decide that I'm safe, no matter what the outcome is of my training, no matter whether or not I go on this trip, like I can decide now that no matter what happens, come September I'm okay.
[00:24:07] But also I still want to train. Also I still want to plan, and prepare my body for the trip and this adventure and more hiking and other things that I want to be doing physically. And now I'm really committing to adding more rest. So I'm very excited to see what that is because it is a paradox in that, we're not fixing the sensations. We're creating the conditions for the body to heal. Creating the conditions where I can build stamina, where I can build physical capability that I don't currently have.
[00:24:50] That's one of my favorite things about weightlifting is that you can track how things feel, what the improvement is. But also, like I can tell, you know, when I go for a walk down the street or when I walked to the store, when I carry some groceries home, wherever I meet myself today if I, especially when I meet myself today not believing my body today should be my body tomorrow.
[00:25:17] When I meet my self in my today body just having gratitude for my today body. Knowing that I'm doing work because I want what I think of as improvements and also recognizing that every day is variable. But when I create safety for my physical experience today, I visualize that sense of safety. I visualize that ease. Sometimes when I walk, I really just work on imagining feeling relaxed, like feeling any tension, just flowing out of my body into the ground. Like just giving this tension away. Just saying, yeah. Nope. My body just moves with ease.
[00:26:03] It's okay. If there's some kinds of sensations. Right. And really sensing into where am I gripping? Where am I holding? Where am I holding my breath? Where am I creating tightness that doesn't need to be there really inviting myself to let go. If it feels safe to do that, right? We let go when we feel safety.
[00:26:27] And so those are the things that I am excited to practice and. If I practice those things, those that quality of being with my today body as I am training, I will also have that quality, that skill and practice, and being with my today body on my hike. So that means practicing allowing sensations, practicing changing my pace based on my internal cues and always coming at it from the sense of safety, rather than urgency, rather than fear, rather than being solely goal-driven.
[00:27:04] My main goal is about improving the inner conversation between my mind and my body. And being kind of process oriented rather than results oriented and process oriented means being present with what is, and rather than judging it.
[00:27:30] Sometimes there's the fear pain, fear cycle of the predictive brain often starts with this internal judgment. It starts with what is happening in my body currently, shouldn't be happening either. It's a self-reflective process where I feel like I'm doing something wrong Or I should be doing it better. I should be doing it differently. I used to be able to do these things and now that I can't, or I do them differently now, and I used to be stronger and I used to be... and I see this come up for my clients a lot, where we compare ourselves in our today body to our past body. And then we make predictions about our future body from that place From that fear conversation.
[00:28:25] I understand it intellectually, but what it creates in an embodied sense is it creates and reinforces the prediction of what we're going to be expecting and living into. And when we think about like, if we do think about this biomechanically, we do want to be in situations where we are loading our tissues, right? That gets synovial fluid flowing. That creates tissue repair, that builds bone that gets blood flow and lymph flow and all of those yummy, delicious things that help our bodies function.
[00:29:10] But also it's about that inner conversation with yourself. Practicing peace, practicing the feeling of, okay. And I say, okay on purpose because it's not about feeling amazing all the time. There are some, sometimes you're going to feel amazing when you hit your PR and then there's some times where you just feel okay.
[00:29:35] And then there's the practice of inviting in neutral and pleasant sensations into the experience of being okay. So I can choose to pay attention to how something sounds or something that looks beautiful. Like I can invite in other sensory experiences to anything I'm experiencing. One of the things I had a great time doing at the gym was they had good music and while I was waiting for other people to do their turns, I was just moving. I was just like letting the music move me. And I was really enjoying finding some fluidity, which is not usually part of doing weightlifting. I was having these movement breaks in between sets where I was just flowing with the music and enjoying myself and really being in that moment of being in this community, being in a space that I was excited to check out, cause it was my first time in this gym space. So there was a lot of like pleasure, excitement, nervousness and definitely some soreness. I even decided before I went to the gym, whatever happens today is okay. I am okay.
[00:30:56] Which means like, if I need to advocate for myself, which I, which I did, That's okay. That I'm going to be the creator of feeling okay. So it doesn't mean just kind of like putting up with whatever, means being an active creator and also creating, thinking about what is it that I need that creates a sense of safety. What is it that I need in this space that teaches my brain, that I am not in danger. And that's always the work. And so this is my process for deciding that I'm okay, that I'm excited to bring this to my training experience and really found another level of my fear brain coming to keep me safe by saying like, oh, you know, we're kind of afraid when we train that, we're gonna feel this, you know, muscle soreness too long.
[00:31:59] And I could just tell that that really wanted me to stay safe. And so I appreciate my nervous system. I appreciate my brain for wanting to keep me safe and I really believe that I'm okay. And today's evidence, is that the more, I believe that better, that I feel. The more I believe that my body is safe and strong and capable. The more, I believe my body is capable of repair. And now, especially, I'm going to focus a little more on sleep. The less fearful I am, the less worried I am and the less of a spotlight I'm shining on every time something feels uncomfortable. It's not magnified. It's not turning the alarms on that's what really allowed the sensations to get quieter.
[00:32:57] So I just want to invite you to think about your work, that way, your movement, that way. Like what about the days where you move a lot and then the next day you're sore. How can that be okay? What would be different for you if you believe that that was normal and safe and just gave your mind and your body reinforcement as well as support, right.
[00:33:26] How can you support your body and your mind in believing that you are safe and it's not because you do all the right things. It's not because you do things perfectly it's because you meet the sensations that are happening in your body with this curiosity. With this, oh, if I didn't think this was dangerous or meant something terrible, how would I experience this?
[00:33:56] How could I get curious? How can I tell my brain that we're not in danger? So if this is something that happens for you and you want to chat with me, my calendar is back open. I am starting to work with new clients and I'm very excited to help people get back to moving more, whatever that means for you.
[00:34:20] I have people who are all over the range of ability. I work with people who are athletes. I work with people who have low mobility. I work with people who are part-time wheelchair users, like everybody's welcome. Everybody moves somehow in some way. And so there's a lot to unpack in our mind and our body about what we are physically capable of and what our desires are and what our current reality is and how the predictive brain and neuroplastic pain all roll into it together. And I'm not necessarily saying I have all of the answers, but I have a lot of things to teach.
[00:35:05] I've helped a lot of people find their own ways into their mind and body into that sense of safety. So I am very happy to talk to people. You can hop on a curiosity call with me by clicking the. Link in my link tree, or there'll be a link in the podcast. Or if you go to movewithdeb.com, scroll to the bottom, there will be a curiosity call button. I look forward to speaking with you. I look forward to sharing more about training with you and look forward to helping you ease into this sense of being okay. And how to practice that on purpose for your own best experience. Thank you so much my feelers and healers, I look forward to connecting with you again soon. Bye.