290 – Understanding the Mind-Body Connection in Recovery | Journey to Recovery 2nd Edition
Counselor Toolbox

 
 
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This podcast episode is based on Journey to Recovery: A Comprehensive Guide to Recovery from Mental Health and Addiction Issues 2nd Edition by Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes

Journey to Recovery  2nd Edition:  The Mind-Body Connection
Presented by: Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes
Executive Director, AllCEUs Counselor Education
Podcast Host: Counselor Toolbox & Happiness isn’t Brain Surgery

To get on the pre-release list for Journey to Recovery 2nd Edition and a 50% discount on the digital version, please email support@allceus.com. Publication is expected at the end of October.

Activity: How Do Your Mind & Body Interact?

~ What physical sensations do you have when you are angry? Anxious? Depressed?
~ When you are hungry or your blood sugar is low, what are your physical sensations? How does it affect your mood?
~ If you have been eating like crap, how do you feel?
~ When you drink alcohol or caffeine, does it impact your mood?
~ When you are sleepy or sick, how does it affect your mood?
~ When you are stressed, how does it affect your sleep? What physical aches and pains do you get when you are stressed?
~ When you are overtired, does life seem more stressful and exhausting?
~ When you are in pain, what is your mood like?

Objectives
~ Learn about the central control center, the brain
~ What role does it play in
~ Emotions
~ Thoughts
~ Physical Reactions/Sensations
~ How things can go wrong
~ How to fix those things
The Brain
~ Your central control center
~ Takes in information
~ Compares it to what it already knows (or thinks it knows) from prior experiences
~ Makes a decision about what to do.
~ Based on that decision it activates action centers which excrete neurotransmitters in order to produce the desired reaction.
Neurotransmitters and Mood Creation
~ Chemical messengers take “orders” to and from the brain through the nervous system
~ The Big 5 fall into 2 main categories
~ Excitatory:
~ Dopamine = Pleasure
~ Norepinepherine & Glutamate: Motivation and stimulation (get-up-and-go)
~ Inhibitory:
~ GABA – Relax
~ Serotonin – Calming, contentment
Neurotransmitters Function
~ Emotional
~ Happiness
~ Sadness
~ Anger & Fear
~ Mental
~ Concentration
~ Learning
~ Decision Making

~ Physical
~ Sleep behavior
~ Eating behavior
~ Libido
~ Gastrointestinal Functioning/motility
~ Pain perception
Think About It
~ When you are…
~ “Afraid”
~ “Angry”
~ “Depressed”
~ What is your body’s response?
~ Are you more optimistic or pessimistic?
~ Do you tend to notice the positive things or the negative ones?
Your Senses
~ Thoughts can trigger feelings and physical reactions
~ Feelings can impact thoughts and physical reactions
~ Physical sensations (your senses) can also trigger feelings and thoughts
~ Sight (Happy, Sad, Angry)
~ Smell (Happy, Sad, Angry)
~ Sounds (Happy, Sad, Angry)
~ Touch/comfort (Happy, Irritable)
Mood Disorders
~ An imbalance in neurotransmitters will cause emotional, mental, or physical “distress”
~ What causes imbalances
~ Reduced Flow & Insufficiency
~ Too much “stress” for too long
~ Addictive behaviors
~ Medications
~ Poor nutrition
~ Insufficient sleep

Neurotransmitters, Addiction & Black Friday
~ Normal day
~ Normal store capacity is 750 people.
~ The store needs a constant 500 to stay open
~ The store has 8 doors to allows for people to easily enter and exit without getting “bunched”
~ Black Friday
~ 1500 people push through the door as soon as it opens
~ Store is destroyed
~ Staff is exhausted
~ Takes time to restock and refresh staff
~ Management closes all but two doors and adds security guards to manage flow

Where Does the Information Come From
~ Your Stress Sensor (Security Guard): Peripheral Nervous System
~ Your nervous system continues to feed the brain information about whether the threat is:
~ Continuing and something else needs to be done
~ Continuing but there is no hope
~ Subsiding and your brain can tell your body to relax.

~ How does all this happen?
~ How does the brain “know” what is threatening?

Lets find out…

The Brain
~ When you were born, there were very few things that were “meaningful”
~ You assigned meaning to things through observation and experience
~ The Uh-oh game
~ Barking Dogs
~ Spicy foods
~ Men with beards
~ When something happens you compare it to prior experiences to decide what to do

The Brain
~ Unfortunately until about age 7 children’s interpretation of behavior is:
~ Centric—Based on one thing at a time (snake)
~ Concrete and often overgeneralized (all snakes)
~ All-or-nothing (All snakes are bad)
~ Egocentric (This snake is in the path to bite me)
~ Things you learned as a child may be:
~ Inaccurate
~ No longer applicable
The Brain
~ Interpretations are only as good as:
~ The information coming in
~ The prior knowledge
~ Things that are learned in early childhood need to be re-examined as we grow
~ Once you were in middle school you could be taught to start
~ Considering multiple aspects of a situation (The snake is in the only sunny spot)
~ Using abstract reasoning (Looking for other interpretations of events) (Dozens of other hikers have passed)

Activity
~ What things did you learn or think as a child that you either no longer believe or are no longer relevant?
~ What old is
~ Strangers
~ All people love a party
~ Why the cashier is grumpy
~ Why mom is always angry or sad
~ That X behavior is wrong
~ That X people are bad or sick (homeless, people with addictions…)
~ That all people are… (high school)

Activity
~ What thoughts or beliefs do you currently have that trigger feelings of anxiety, anger, stress or depression?
~ Dogs/snakes/airplanes are terrifying
~ My addiction makes me unlovable
~ To be happy I must have a super nice car and house
~ I am a failure/I will never amount to anything.
~ People are not trustworthy
~ The house must be super clean at all times
~ When people ask you to do something, if you are a good person you will always say yes.

What’s the Point
~ Much of your anxiety and distress may come from
~ Faulty interpretations of prior experiences creating faulty interpretations of present experiences
~ The brain using outdated experiences
~ Negative Messages = Threat  Stress Reaction
~ When you constantly bombard yourself with negative messages
~ Your body constantly perceives a threat
~ You are on “high alert” all the time  Exhaustion, depression, hopelessness & helplessness
~ Your brain turns down the sensitivity of the threat response system  Apathy and lack of pleasure and motivation

But That’s Not All…
~ Simply reducing your “stress” often will not fix it.
~ When you were overly stressed you may have
~ Had poor quality sleep
~ Eaten poorly
~ Carried tension in your muscles causing pain
~ To rebalance itself, the body needs to have
~ Times when it is not on high-alert
~ Sufficient QUALITY sleep
~ Decent nutrition to fuel the system

Summary
~ The brain is your central control center
~ Neurotransmitters are sent out to produce a reaction to help you
~ Survive a threat
~ Repeat a reward
~ Through observation and experience it “learns” what is okay and what is threatening
~ Things that were threatening or misinterpreted in the past may now need to be re-examined
~ Too much stress or “excitement” for too long means the brain is sending out far more “excitatory neurotransmitters” changing the balance
~ After a hard day, you often want to relax and “veg” This is the brain sending out the “all clear” message and “inhibitory” or calming chemicals to balance out the stress of the day.

Summary
~ After a hard day, you often want to relax and “veg” This is the brain sending out the “all clear” message and “inhibitory” or calming chemicals to balance out the stress of the day.
~ When the brain does not get the “all clear” it recognizes that it needs to conserve the “excitatory” chemicals for a true emergency so it turns down the sensitivity of the threat response system (basically saying if you wont conserve energy, I will force you to)
~ By addressing those old, unhelpful thoughts and interpretations you can reduce physical and mental stress and anxiety.
~ This in turn helps your body have some “down time” to recover between stressors.
~ Recovery involves not only helping your mind and thoughts become healthy, but also your body