Q: Do you have any tips for how to train around moving when you have environment ITs? And how to approach being environmentally aware without going into a limbic loop about it.
A: Moving mindfully requires us to act as a health conscious person who uses common sense while at the same time not slipping into limbic system dysfunction. It is fine line to walk, for certain. What I recommend is to start by asking yourself, "What would a health conscious person do in this situation to ensure an appropriate living environment?" It might involve an inspection and some sort of basic testing. It might involve asking questions to ensure that the environment is more or less optimal or putting some things in place temporarily to minimize potential negatives. The health conscious person decides what needs to be done, and does it. There is no perseveration on it, there is no fear around the outcome, and it doesn't occupy a lot of air time in their brains beyond deciding what to do, organizing for it to be done, and getting the results.
If we go this route, it is important to stop the automatic negative thoughts (ants) and feelings that may arise, and to really minimize the focus on it to only when it requires attention and action. Anything outside of making the decision and taking action is considered to be an automatic negative thought or perseveration, so we interrupt and redirect our attention to other things. When you are interrupting the ants, be sure to interrupt the feeling states that go along with them. It is normal to an extent for moving to bring up anxiety, as it is one of the top stressors in our society for everyone, but that does not mean that stress and anxiety need to take over. We have a choice about which feeling states we operate from when we are in the process of finding accommodations and moving.
It is often helpful to slow down and bring awareness to the present moment as much as possible, rather than living in the to-do list and functioning on autopilot (i.e. not really being present to what we are doing moment to moment). Take short breaks (2-5 mins) frequently to connect with your breath, with your surroundings, and activate an elevated emotion. Rather than allowing all the things that need to be done swirl around in your brain, create a list and take things one at a time. Don't perseverate over the list. Have it handy but not something you are constantly reviewing, except when you need to add something to it or go to the next thing on the list to get it done. Allow your brain instead to focus on how nice it is going to be when you get to your new space (or find a new space), how much gratitude you have for finding the exact right space for you (even it is hasn't happened yet), and all the positive experiences you'll have and memories you plan to make once you get settled in. You may also want to consider using affirmations along the way, such as: "One step at a time", "There is more than enough time to get this all done", "A great space is out there and finding its way to me now", "I trust that this space is going to be just right for me." Repeat these affirmations anytime you notice your system going into fear or wanting to focus on the negatives, then take a deep breath and move your attention back to what you are doing in the moment.
When making a decision on where to live, it is also helpful to remember that we are designed to live in less than perfect conditions. There are people who do it every day and remain healthy. We have detoxification systems in place for a reason and want to learn to trust in our capacity to be okay in less than perfect spaces. In this day and age, there really is no such thing as the perfect environment so what we are aiming for instead is finding something that is good enough. Watch the fear that arises and the stories your brain may want to tell you about good enough not actually being good enough. Fear is the biggest obstacle to recovery and keeps the limbic system stuck, making it more likely to have a reaction to something that would otherwise not bother you.
Finally, when you do find a new place and move into it, start elevating your emotions right away and intentionally create positive memories. We can also mentally rehearse positive experiences and feeling great in the new environment before we move. Our brains work by patterns of association, so we want to start right away by intentionally creating positive associations with the new space and with being healthy, well, and happy in that space.
Q: Are food intolerances always caused by limbic system impairment or can there be other reasons for it?
A: That's a good question and one that I don't think is easily answered. What I can say is that, regardless of the cause of food intolerances, it is the brain's perception of those foods as being threatening to us in some way that sustains the reactions over time. Lucky for us, that is something we can change, and I do believe that all food intolerances can be overcome by retraining the brain.
Until next time!
If you have a question, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Candy Widdifield is Registered Clinical Counsellor, Wellness Coach, and Registered Reiki Master Teacher in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. She works with people all over the world, helping them to optimize their wellbeing and thrive in their lives. Her modalities include coaching, therapy, Reiki and the Safe & Sound Protocol. More information about Candy can be found at www.candywiddifield.com