[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 neuroplasticity techniques can rewire your body.
[00:00:36] 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.
[00:00:56] Hello, and this is Deb with the move with Deb podcast. This is episode 52. And, um, I know I owe you all, some other podcasts about my conversation with Charlie Merrill about getting ready for Iceland.
[00:01:15] And also I went to Iceland. And I did some hiking and my body was amazing and also sometimes not amazing and also full of feelings, but I climbed a mountain and I climbed down cuz they don't let you just live up at the top of a mountain strangely enough.
[00:01:40] And I noticed the mindset work that I did to create safety really kept me going through that trip. So I'm gonna talk more about that, but what I wanted to touch on today. So this is a short podcast and it is going to be about. How we notice a state change, like how we notice our bodies moving out of sympathetic activation into parasympathetic.
[00:02:10] Like when we notice that we go from activated to relaxed or from relaxed to activated, and I don't, I really want it to be known that like sympathetic nervous system activation is important, essential, and, uh, necessary for human life. There is nothing wrong with sympathetic activation. We want to get to know ourselves so that we don't end up doing what I think of as misdiagnosing our normal, natural human physiological responses.
[00:02:49] And so some of the things that I noticed especially when I was scared, there was a day where we were, walking on a glacier. So we had crampons on and we're going up Hills on ice ancient. Glacial ice. And then of course going downhill, downhill is definitely a trigger for fear for me and, uh, going downhill on ice, wearing crampons, wondering if they're gonna hold and take care of my like 200 plus pound body also just trusting my knees, trusting my body and feeling that sympathetic activation in my nervous system as I am moving. And so what I noticed happened and, and, um, this was something I was talking about with one of my fellow hikers is when we stopped moving, oftentimes some emotion would come in..
[00:03:53] So there would be a trigger for tears or a big breath would come in or a yawn. And these are normal natural responses to stress. And sometimes what happens is, especially when we're in larger bodies, if we think, or we're in bodies and we have judgment about what's happening with our body. Then we try to suppress this kind of physiological accompaniment with our state change.
[00:04:28] So if we're in a sympathetic activation mode, right? So our, our vision is constricted. Our heart rate is elevated, right? There's a lot of adrenaline there's activation, right? My body is like, I got you. You are not falling off of this iceberg. It's not an iceberg, it's a glacier, but it's kinda like walking on an iceberg, right. So you are not gonna fall. right. So we're gonna bring in all of these biological features and functions to help you focus, to help you like bring blood in where it needs to go and you know, this is not a time to be like drifting off into Lala land and being like, oh yeah, I don't know. I'm just totally relaxed. And like maybe I'm in my bedroom walking around. No, it's a little bit more like here let's focus. So my, my body is supporting me in that practice. And now of course I get to modulate the fear, right. So if I. Uh, amplify the terror or the fear of walking on this glacier, then I will experience more and more symptoms.
[00:05:51] They will become more acute or they will be louder. Or there will be some kind of way that my body almost is taking care of me. This is what's so useful to notice. What does your body do when it's taking care of you in its current state. And then when you shift into a state change?
[00:06:13] Part of the beauty of somatic tracking and, and I, I cannot tell you the number of eye rolls I get because people want somatic tracking to be like a magic trick, where you just like apply it. It's like a wand that you wave and then it makes everything different. But sadly, it's not that. But paradoxically, it is also that.
[00:06:41] When we develop the habit or pattern of meeting our physiological experiences with curiosity, and wonder and without judgment, that is the magic that changes the physiological experience.
[00:07:04] So one of the things that I am noticing is these things yawning, like deep breaths, and tears are often things we feel shame about experiencing, and certainly feel shame about experiencing in public with other people. And if we have a, a body that bears a lot of, um, social judgment, it feels very threatening as a big person, moving, feeling a constriction of breath and then stopping, moving. And when I stop moving, my nervous system is like, Hey, we want to bring you into parasympathetic, relax state. And so what it's gonna do is take a big deep breath. It's going to create a yawn.
[00:08:00] The yawn function is the body's response to stress. So it's the body's way of processing stress, whether it's the stress of walking on a glacier, whether it's the stress of walking while fat, whether it's the stress of feeling self-conscious about what you think other people are thinking about, you. Whether it's the stress of moving while experiencing pain.
[00:08:30] When we experience our bodies self regulation, but we experience that as something shameful, then we are getting in the way of our body completing the stress cycle, moving us from sympathetic activation to parasympathetic activation from moving, from fight and flight into rest and restore.
[00:08:59] I just want to offer this point of view that what if the next time you notice some tears arising after a stressful experience or you notice a big breath come in after your breath has felt constricted, or you notice that once you sit down after moving, you have a big yawn that arrives. And what your brain wants to do is to offer judgment and to offer kind of the, this message that you're wrong for feeling those things, that there's something wrong in your body when you feel that. And I want to offer you the, the alternative point of view, which is no, that is your body completing its stress cycle, using its physiology to help you. So when we feel that deep breath want to come in, make room for it, allow it, create peace with that. Say thank you. Thank you body. Thank you body for this big yawn, our body yawns on purpose.
[00:10:12] Yawning isn't just that we're tired. So one of the things that happens is we misunderstand physiological cues and then we go down the wrong road. So if we yawn and our brain only thinks tired, Then we start to question, did I get enough sleep? What's wrong with my sleep? I should be sleeping different. I should be sleeping better.
[00:10:38] I should, I shouldn't have stayed up so late. I should. B BA BA BA, BA, BA BA all the judgment coming in, telling us that our body's physiological responses are wrong. We should be feeling something different and that, you know, we're, we're broken or damaged and, and, you know, there are often then external things that we need to do or take or eat or drink to change our bodies.
[00:11:06] But what if the yawn doesn't mean that you are tired? What if a yawn is your body's way of changing states, of moving out of stress. And now stress in and of itself isn't bad. When we start to explore stress as neutral, start to create space for our physiological responses to be witnessed without judgment, we can start to see patterns and habits and trends.
[00:11:41] And I want to say, I like to think of this as my own personal rebellion, that I am not going to feel shame about breathing deeply about processing the stress of moving my body through space. That my body has my back, when it is doing these things, it is not an indication that I am broken or that there's something wrong.
[00:12:12] And and even tears. and if you know me at all and you know, or you'll be listening to this podcast, you will know how much I love feelings. And these tears are not necessarily even related to the feeling. It's the physiological response, different people's bodies do different things. My body shoots water out of its eyes, when it feels that relief of stress. That there's something tender, poignant. I can just look at it as a physiological experience that happens that's completely neutral and it doesn't mean anything. It doesn't mean that I'm sad. It doesn't mean that I overly emotional. Bodies are designed to shoot water out of our eyes. And that is one way that my body processes stress for my benefit so I can move my state from sympathetic activation, where that's needed when it is needed to parasympathetic rest, digest, connect, relax, find ease when that is needed. And the idea is. As we get to know ourselves as we do this work, as we start to self witness the ability to look inward without judgment, without thinking that we are broken and that we need fixing.
[00:13:43] But instead what we need is love, compassion, curious, like self awareness. And half the time we then can see that there's not actually like what we label as a problem, isn't even a problem. So when we UN problematize our physiological responses, we, we actually gain a lot of time and energy, get back all these things that we think we need to fix in ourselves.
[00:14:18] And get to be our own researchers, our own self authority, our own, scientists in the lab of you and in the lab of me. So one of the beautiful things that I experienced being on this glacier, I had a moment when I decided that I was going to stop. I could feel like I didn't wanna continue on the journey, uh, of, you know, walking on the glacier. I like got, you know, it was a long distance to the glacier. And then I walked on the glacier and I had that experience and I crossed over big cracks and I did a bunch of cool things. And then I kind of felt, I felt complete. I felt I could push more and do more, but I didn't want to, I didn't feel like more was going to get me a different, new, desired experience than what I had already experienced. And what I really wanted to do was to be present with myself in this place, on this glacier and allow my nervous system to kind of pendulate back, so that I would have the resources that I needed for the, for the trip back off the glacier. Right. So there was still more, um, and I had this happen on Kilimanjaro too. It was like, I, at times when I was doing my summit attempt, I thought about, well, what is it that I need to get back down? And then not only did I have to get back down, we had to hike out to the next camp.
[00:16:02] So. I didn't think, what do I need to just get to the top? And maybe, I don't know, from an athlete's point of view, maybe that's not what I needed, but that's from a human point of view. That's what I needed because I needed to also walk myself down the mountain. I didn't need to leave it all up on the mountain and then ask people to carry me down.
[00:16:24] So I needed to also walk myself down off of this glacier and I wanted to do it feeling as resourced and relaxed and comfortable as I could also, while knowing that I was gonna be pretty scared, cuz we had to go back down. And going down is scary for me. So it was a great place where I stopped. It was this very flat area, another hiker stopped with me and we just hung out.
[00:16:56] And one of the things that we noticed was that we both had tears and we both felt emotional that there was a part of our body that was responding to this shift. And whereas I thought it was exciting and great. My hiking friend, I could tell was uncomfortable. Like she felt shame. Um, and I, you know, we started to unravel that there's this story that her body just cries easily, that she is quick to tears.
[00:17:30] And of course, through doing this mind, body work, um, I of course think that's fantastic and she had a different narrative. And so her narrative meant that she experienced the same physiological response through a different lens. And one of the things that, you know, Like I try not to coach without being asked, but one of the things that I tried to offer was like, this is just your body taking care of you.
[00:18:03] It's your body doing the next natural physiological response. And if we just kind of almost get out of its way and just be like, I'm, I'm doing this like hand sweeping motion, which you can't see. But if we get out of our body's way. When we stop saying this shouldn't be happening. This is embarrassing. I shouldn't be crying. I shouldn't be breathing hard.
[00:18:30] When we get out of our own way and we let our bodies do what it's going to do. It often completes that cycle pretty quickly. And we can see the benefits of that activity. We can feel how it's helping us. We can feel the shift to being regulated. We can feel that neurochemical process completing, and then there's this wave of relief that can happen.
[00:19:01] And so that's my invitation to ask you to start to be curious. About your physiological responses and notice any judgment that arises. Notice the thoughts that want to tag along, whose thoughts are they? If you're in a bigger body whose beliefs are they about what your body should be doing when you're moving. Do we have shame about breathing heavy?
[00:19:36] How does it feel when you go from action, like moving to stopping what happens with your body? I noticed that my body does these big yawns and I used to think, oh no, it's cuz I'm fat and it was hard to move and whatever. And now I think, oh, this yawn is my body regulating itself. Thank you yawn. Thank you body bringing in this oxygen and not just the oxygen, but creating this state change.
[00:20:09] Our bodies are wise. They are brilliant. They know all this stuff that like, we don't have to know anything for our brains to work for the blood to circulate through our bodies. Those are things that happen in our bodies as designed and, uh, you know, maybe we could just get out of the way.
[00:20:32] And when we step back from judging, step into being curious, we can see the brilliant ways that our body shows up for us every single day, taking care of us, trying to manage and process our stress. And when we allow for all of that brilliance to happen and we let go of whatever it is, the judgment, other people's thoughts and beliefs, society's pressures and beliefs about us, um, what that freedom can feel like and what that changes and creates how much spaciousness and possibility that can create for you in your body.
[00:21:16] So I hope this podcast was helpful. I am excited to be back. I'm excited to be sharing more of these ideas and my own embodiment process. And, um, I will talk to you again soon. Thank you. Bye.