Relief can be talked through
Isn’t it exciting to think that we are never too old or too young to learn new ways to feel better. Often we look towards our physical health and nutrition as a means of feeling better, and sometimes there is actually some type of emotional stress that is standing in our way.
How can just talking or venting our stresses and emotions actually be an effective use of time?
When I began my counselling practice, I needed some evidence that would show me that if people took the time to talk in my office, they would be receiving health benefits for it. I knew that if it were me, I would need something more concrete to invest in.
Then came along the FMRI, which stands for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging; a machine that can map out the path of blood flow in the brain.
I will present an over-simplification of the neuroscience for the non- medical reader. When watching the blood flow of an individual in emotional stress, the blood swirls around and around in the limbic system of the brain. Stuck in a relentless circle and cycle much like our thoughts do when in distress.
Telling someone to “take a deep breath” at this stage, when the hormones of fight and flight are racing, risks being disrespectful as it is almost physically impossible.
And yet, when witnessing the blood flow of an individual who is able to verbally express their frustration, the blood is seen as being released, flowing freely into the executive decision maker of the brain; the prefrontal cortex. It is only when the blood has been redirected by relieving the brain of these powerful thoughts, that an individual is capable of making new and healthy decisions for themselves.
This is proof that it may not be physiologically possible to make new decisions until you have been helped and heard. One path towards the new you can be found in finding yourself a skilled counselor.
Always interview the candidate first to ensure that you feel a comfortable fit, then free yourself because relief has been evidenced through talking it out with an effective counselor. Then you can make new decisions moving towards a happy new year.
• Susan Vanderwerff is a registered clinical counsellor and divorce coach with Sea Change Collaborative Divorce. www.seachangecollaborative.com