Updated: Mar 15, 2022
Do you wonder if you've got the right program for you? Do you think maybe you should try a different one or are you still at the point of trying to make a decision, but it's been dragging on and on? Well, I'm here to help!
After retraining for around two and a quarter years, I've done a lot of programs and had awesome results!
In this post, I will walk you through my choices and the two major approaches, starting with brain retraining (top-down) and then somatic (bottom-up). In the rest of the series, I will highlight the similarities and the differences between programs and how to choose the right program for you.
My story starts with buying the brain retraining (top-down) program DNRS in January 2017. I watched the 1st couple of videos and then put the DVDs back in the cupboard for almost 2 years! I wasn’t quite ready for the program then and it didn’t speak to me at the time. This is part of the reason I ended up with more than 1 program :-).
Due to increasing symptoms in mid-2019 my doctor referred me to the Mind-Gut clinic in Melbourne, which uses evidence-based hypnotherapy from Monash University. I noted tiny changes in my nervous system that indicated to me this was an area to look into, and I knew I needed to address this further.
In October 2019 I bought the Gupta program, another well-known brain retraining program. This time I watched the videos all the way through and it all made sense! I was ready! Being a qualified nutritionist, I already had an understanding of how the brain and our body are connected. So, when I watched the explanation in the Gupta program about limbic conditions it spoke to me instantly. I was now in the right space to learn and for me, the pace of the program worked well.
Sometimes you just need to hear the same thing from a different perspective.
I realized the Gupta program and its 7-Step process were similar to that DNRS program I had hidden away! So I pulled it out and watched it. I was in the right space this time to absorb the material and put it into practice. I found the DNRS rounds were easier for me to get started with, so I used a combination of the 2 programs' tools, meditations, and resources seeing very slow but steady small changes.
The whole time I was retraining using a combination of Gupta and DNRS and I could see how similar they were. There were so many similarities and yet fundamental differences between the programs. As I progressed, I explored more courses such as Creating Calm by Cathleen King which contains a mix of somatic and neuroplasticity tools. I learned more skills and I added these into my toolbox along with laughter yoga and the tools from GUPTA, DNRS, and everything else I learned. Each new perspective from a coach or program helped to solidify the concepts and retrain my brain.
I love learning so I read everything I could on neuroplasticity and the nervous system, and found out everything I could, and every time I was able to, I'd try something new to see what else I could learn. I read many books by authors such as Joe Dispenza and Rick Hansen and tried those tools. I read the lightning process book to learn how that worked and marveled at the simplicity and the similarities. I worked through the John Sarno/TMS mind-body syndrome information, and I found that it didn't really speak to me. But as always, I found a few good takeaways. I kept using hypnotherapy downloads for relaxation and for particular goals along with the DNRS and Gupta tools and found this gave me some options to add in something new when my limbic system was craving change.
Recognizing your brain will constantly doubt, question, and seek new answers is fundamental to brain retraining - and addressing these thoughts while giving the brain a bit of novelty is how we keep our practice fresh and consistent.
Adding in tools (often fairly cheaply), trying them out, and seeing if they fit into my toolbox, was helpful in keeping me on track - rather than dropping the core of what I was doing and switching to something totally different.
During this time I also explored somatic practice (bottom-up), a way of using the communication from the body to the brain to influence our nervous system. I found a type of meditation called iRest that was created for veterans from the yoga nidra philosophies. This method allows you to be present with the body and emotions no matter what is going on. I found getting out of my head and into my body extremely helpful.
I saw a somatic experiencing practitioner and found that It didn't really suit me at the time, so I put that on pause - instead of my old pattern of pushing through, I found that it's ok to try things and decide they are not right. I moved on to body tools and tried movement such as Hanna Somatics and Chi Gong. That worked really well for me - remembering the body is sending information back to our brain too! I performed breathing techniques and learned more about the breath, the Vagus nerve, and exercises that I could do. I also learned about polyvagal theory and I used tools such as the safe and sound protocol. I created my own toolbox full of everything I learned, taken from many different places.
Experimentation is part of life - when we come across the right tool at the right time, magic happens.
As you can see, everyone has a different journey. Some people have quick results with a single program, but most of us take a bit longer. One tool is enough for one person but others require more than one approach or a refresh of skills and ideas from a different source. I incorporated multiple approaches, coaches, and resources into my retraining and I truly believe that we can use more than one thing at a time if it works for us. Often something we just haven’t tried yet that will be helpful is just around the corner, waiting to inspire you.
There are also many great courses not mentioned here. Next month I will dive deeper into the similarities between the programs, both the ones I have done and the ones I have not, so you get a better idea about what is out there and can explore them for yourself.
Happy retraining and see you next time!
Luanne Hopkinson is a Nutritionist, Coach, iRest Level 1 Meditation teacher, and certified Safe and Sound protocol practitioner.
Luanne helps people get back to health and full food freedom using the tools she learned in her own wellness journey and her experience in clinical practice.
Links to the programs discussed and coaching with Luanne: https://flow.page/luanne
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