trauma Archives | Nick Deacon Fitness
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LAST TIME:   We discussed how our evolution sometimes gets in our way as described in the primer to >>The Polyvagal Theory<<. If you missed Part I, make sure to read it  >>here<<. We discussed a bunch of things I learned from Dr. Seth Oberst, like how emotions can get stuck in your tissues, how that can affect your posture, walking patterns, and even your face.  Now, we’re about to dig deeper into stress, support, and what we can do to better live our lives and avoid getting “stuck."   7. Stress-Reduction is a MISTAKE   I go to countless conferences and seminars for fitness, yoga, nutrition, meditation, rehab, physical therapy, medicine, and totally weird stuff that escapes category. Even across disciplines, they can all agree on one thing: The biggest factor common to untold chronic diseases, disorders, and a general lack of well-being is STRESS. If that's the case, the solution looks simple enough - REDUCE STRESS. Duh. But what does that even mean? ENGAGE IN STRESS-REDUCING ACTIVITIES Like meditation, light exercise, journaling, practicing gratitude, time with friends and family, prayer, restful sleep, etc. AVOID STRESS-INDUCING BEHAVIORS Like smoking, drinking, sleep deprivation, confrontations, maintaining toxic relationships, being late and sitting in traffic or a crowded subway ...

In my exploration and study of training, movement, therapy, emotional trauma, and the human condition, I have witnessed all sorts of SEEMINGLY unrelated phenomena. But it’s always tied together somehow.   Just two weeks ago I attended a new course by >>Dr. Seth Oberst: Stress, Movement, and Pain<<. Unexpectedly, it has helped me tie countless ideas together with the common concept of >>The Polyvagal Theory<<*. Although I didn’t know what to expect, the course was nothing short of impressive.   Of all the things I love about Dr. Seth Oberst, his teaching style takes the cake. Unlike most "teachers" who spit information at you and test you on your parroting skills, Dr. Oberst takes the high road. Once he gives you the raw materials, an impressive curation of information, science, and clinical case studies, he encourages you to synthesize your own takeaways. This is a refreshing take on nurturing your own creativity and pure education.   After several days of digesting it all, I have compiled my own notes and takeaways for you.   *If you have not yet read the >>PRIMER<<, go do that first. Then you will understand the underlying concepts and mechanisms I am about to discuss.   A Flood of Emotion   After deep scientific lecture, we moved to begin practicing the Somatic Recovery techniques on each other.   During the first demonstration, I sat and watched in disbelief.   The first guy to receive the technique f'n cried. The guy f'n cried.   WHAT.   For seemingly no reason.   On the table, he asked if there was a tear in his eye. After sitting up, he described getting cold. After a few moments on the table, he began to actually well up with emotion. It was as if it needed time to bubble up after he sat up.   "VOODOO MAGIC," I thought.   So I partner up with my friend, which I believe was a key component as...

Your ancestors developed key reflexes to protect you from danger in emergency situations. This is good because your survival didn't depend on thinking before acting. This is bad because in modern society, these reflexes get triggered, and get stuck on repeat. Since they're beneath conscious control, we can't reset them with our thoughts. Using these as a lens, I would argue that getting stuck in these emergency survival reflex patterns can literally begin to explain just about every malady I can think of. (Or at the very least, play a role in):   weight gain carb cravings diabetes lethargy and chronic fatigue back pain muscle tightness and stiffness any postural pain feeling of stress / overwhelm feeling of loneliness, isolation, disconnectedness social anxiety blank stares; ability to win staring contests inability to laugh/cry difficulty swallowing / coughing / gag problems dry mouth, oral health problems constipation / diarrhea vision and hearing problems addiction lack of motivation, feeling helpless, like things are pointless, useless to even try wounds that won't heal   So how does it all work? Survival Reflexes   For my first trick, I will now attempt to make this mess of science as digestible as possible. Okay so your brain as you know it is the product of MILLIONS of years of evolution. Before your earliest ancestors had the luxury of conscious thought, every action and behavior was instinctive, reactionary, and subconscious. In other words, you weren't the boss - your DNA was. If you ever found yourself in danger, your ancestors had already passed on reflexes telling you exactly what to do. (What's FREAKIN COOL is that they can still be observed in all of mammalian life in the wild! I've got some videos for you later.) As time went on, subsequent brain layers developed, and our mammalian nervous systems became increasingly complex. New layers brought with them new survival abilities, and...