Posts tagged amygdala
Healing From Trauma :: Reclaim Your Identity

Traumatic experiences change the brain and it does so in an effort to protect us from future negative experiences. However, trauma and its symptoms do not have to hold us in its grip forever. As you continue to think, talk, re-tell and act on your experience(s), you reinforce your attachment to what happened, which exacerbates your symptoms and you loop on the upsetting memory and trauma responses. 

The body is designed to heal. We now know that the brain has an amazing capacity to heal by creating new neural pathways. This process is called neuroplasticity. When people are finally able to regain control over their thoughts, behaviors, responses and lives, the brain's limbic system, parasympathetic and vagus nerve system can normalize. 

Unfortunately, most who have suffered trauma want to heal, and yet struggle with allowing and accepting feeling "well" and "whole." This seems counterintuitive, however the underlying instinct is to remain vigilant as if the nervous system signals that it is "unsafe” to heal and be well. If one relaxes into safety and wellness, then

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Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a New York City Psychotherapist + Consultant who splits her time between Manhattan and Santa Fe, providing online therapy to individuals and couples. With extensive training and experience, she provides psychological consultation, psychotherapy, EMDR therapy and executive coaching to a range of clients including VIP's + high-profile clients. As a women's emotional health + relationship expert, her specialties include: anxiety, depression, trauma resolution, addictions, relationship, intimacy and sexual concerns, health + autoimmune issues, loss + grief and women's mentoring. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, meditation, travel and really good key lime pie. She lives with her husband, psychologist, scholar and mindfulness expert John Chambers Christopher. For more, subscribe to her newsletter or connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Psychology Today, EMDRIA and her personal websites KimSeelbrede.com, Santa Fe Integrative Psychotherapy or Well+Being Blog.

Engage Your Vagus Nerve :: Breathing Techniques For Relaxation And Insomnia Relief

Concerns about the long-term impact of chronic stress, depression, anxiety and insomnia is a topic of concern for many of my coaching and therapy clients. A few stressful, sleepless nights can easily spiral into a regular problem as clients begin to develop a negative relationship with bedtime and sleep. Many will seek the help of a psychiatrist to obtain prescription medications in an effort to break the cycle. Not a bad option in the short-term, but less than ideal as a long-term solution. I always recommend lifestyle modifications and attempts at simple changes in the environment first. Before we move to information about engaging your vagus nerve and the relaxation response, let's clear the path to create an optimal environment for sleep. 

How can you modify your environment to promote better sleep? In addition to dimming the lights and reducing evening electronic stimulation, some helpful evening rituals include the following:

  • meditation

  • focused breathing

  • biofeedback

  • guided imagery

  • progressive muscle relaxation

  • restorative yoga

  • gentle stretching to release tension in the body

  • a warm bath

  • a soothing warm drink such as milk, nut milk or non-caffeinated tea 

  • herbs and homeopathic support 

How are you breathing during the day? You may not be aware that throughout your busy day, your breathing has become shallow. Your thoughts likely contribute

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Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a New York City Psychotherapist + Consultant who splits her time between Manhattan and Santa Fe, providing online therapy to individuals and couples. With extensive training and experience, she provides psychological consultation, psychotherapy, EMDR therapy and executive coaching to a range of clients including VIP's + high-profile clients. As a women's emotional health + relationship expert, her specialties include: anxiety, depression, trauma resolution, addictions, relationship, intimacy and sexual concerns, health + autoimmune issues, loss + grief and women's mentoring. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, meditation, travel and really good key lime pie. She lives with her husband, psychologist, scholar and mindfulness expert John Chambers Christopher. For more, subscribe to her newsletter or connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Psychology Today, EMDRIA and her personal websites KimSeelbrede.com, Santa Fe Integrative Psychotherapy or Well+Being Blog.