Body Sense Chapter 8: Book Notes

Coming Home to Ourselves: Restorative Embodied Self-Awareness

Author: Alan Fogel

· “The restoration of embodied self-awareness out of the suffering of suppression and pathological absorption provides a clear contrast, a way to highlight the characteristics of restorative self-awareness” (page 287).

· -Steps toward restoration of health-

1. Opening to embodied self awareness — build up the ability to take in, feel, and experience without emotional suppression

2. Trust in embodied self-awareness — Trusting one’s own experiences, learning from both positive and negative experiences, finding pleasure in activities

3. Balancing closeness and distance — Trusting oneself to make decisions aside from social pressure, balance between conceptual and embodied self-awareness, clarity of linkages and boundaries, the ability to form interdependent (healthy) relationships

4. Willingness to be a process — the understanding/sense that the person is every-evolving –ability to release expectations, accept others/self, forgive others/self, compassion for self/others and gratitude

· Play and creativity allow us to be immersed & full engaged in the moment

· This state of focus is called “flow”

· “Both gratitude and forgiveness have been linked to health and well-being, including lower sympathetic nervous system activation, lower blood pressure and reduced heart rate, fewer medical symptoms, less fatigue and less somatic complaints. Gratitude and forgiveness are also related to better interpersonal conflict management, lower expressed anger, and lower levels of perceived stress” (page 276).

· Embodied exercise, spending time in nature, and meditation are a few ways one can develop restorative embodied awareness.

· “Normal absorption not only enlarges a person’s own embodied self-awareness but it may also enlarge the embodied self-awareness — the capacity for the fullest possible human experience — in others who come into the contact with that person or with their work” (page 277).

· Lachrymal glands: produce tears

· Restorative environments are safe havens where one can recover from stress and rejuvenate — they provide opportunities for play, exploration, restoration and curiosity — they increase our sense of safety and “oneness” (connection with self and others)

· Sensory Integration dysfunction:

· A neurologically based hypo- or hyper-sensitivity of some or all of the basic five senses

· Often paired with neurological disorders such as autism or ADHD but may happen alone

· Treatment:

· Building tolerance through self-awareness and self-regulation

· Exercise helps increase body awareness — it’s been found to improve cognitive function, improves health, reduces disease formation, and slows the neurodegenerative effects of aging.

· Building kinesthetic awareness builds neuropathways across the neuroaxis in the brain related to embodied awareness and health

The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (working memory), the ACC and insula (emotion), and the parietal cortex (body schema) are all activated when we pay attention to our emotion

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