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339: Somatic Practices for Healing Stress and Trauma (with Dr. Arielle Schwartz)

Vibrant Happy Women with Jen Riday | Somatic Practices for Healing Stress and Trauma (with Dr. Arielle Schwartz)

When we experience trauma, our bodies can react in a variety of different ways as they try to respond to threats and process what is happening around us. It can feel difficult to work through trauma, but there are somatic practices we can implement into our lives to heal ourselves, regulate our nervous systems, and achieve our goals.

Dr. Arielle Schwartz is a Clinical Psychologist, EMDR Therapy Consultant, Somatic Psychotherapist, and Certified Yoga Instructor. She is the author of 6 books including The Complex PTSD Workbook and The Post-Traumatic Growth Guidebook and is dedicated to offering informational wellness through her work. She joins me this week to share why she believes the journey of trauma recovery is an awakening of the spiritual heart and some somatic practices you can implement in your life to help your body and nervous system to heal from trauma.

Listen in this week as Dr. Schwartz shares what somatic practices are and why they can often be more effective than traditional talk therapies. She also lets you in on what she believes to be the key to our healing. We dive deeper into movement practices in general and how helpful they can be in processing trauma, and you’ll learn some hands-on, doable strategies to help you manage your emotions.

If you would like to learn the tools to help you process your emotions, resolve trauma and help your loved ones do the same, you have to check out the Vibrant Happy Women Coaching Certification. We start a new round in September 2022, and we would love for you to join us. Click here to learn more about the certification.

If you want support working towards your goals from myself and other like-minded women, you have to join us inside the Vibrant Happy Women Club. It’s only $47 per month, but if you buy the annual membership you get two months free!

What You’ll Learn:

  • Some daily practices you can implement to heal from trauma and facilitate more connection with yourself.
  • What the resilience recipe is and how to apply it in your life.
  • Some core responses to trauma and perceived threats.
  • The antidote to collective sensory overload.
  • How to take some of the positive things about the pandemic and not lose that as we open back up to the world.
  • What avoidance symptoms are and how they might manifest.
  • The gentlest recommendation for shifting out of feeling stuck.
  • Some ideas to help you release trauma from your body.


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Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast. I’m Dr. Jen Riday and on this episode we’ll be talking about somatic practices to help with trauma. Stay tuned.

Hi, I'm Jen Riday. This podcast is for women who want to feel more vibrant, happy, aligned, and alive. You'll gain the emotional, physical, and spiritual tools you need to get your sparkle back and ensure that depression, anxiety, and struggle don't rule your life. Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women Podcast.

Welcome back my friends. How are you? How are you feeling? How are you recovering from all the things that seem to be happening in our world and that seem never to be ending? Well, this episode is for you because I have a special guest, Dr. Arielle Schwartz who is going to talk to us about somatic practices to heal stress and trauma. Somatics refers to the body, our body has nerves woven throughout, nerves that keep us safe, that send sensations or signals to the brain.

For example, if you touch a hot stove your body will react using those nerves before your brain or your thoughts ever get involved. Healing and wellbeing requires us to address both aspects, how we think and how those thoughts make us feel and behave, that is top down and that is important. I’ve talked a lot about that. We have thought tables to help us with that process. But also bottom up, you’ve heard a lot about polyvagal theory lately on this podcast and elsewhere I’m sure.

That is a somatics or bottom up approach to kind of freeing our nervous systems, shifting our nervous systems out of fight or flight or that shut down and freeze response coming back to safe and social, removing or letting go of any stuck messages that are stuck in our body that are not integrated into our psyches, that can be known as trauma.

So, Dr. Arielle and I are going to be talking about this throughout this episode and I want you to key into and notice somatic practices that you might easily introduce into your life. You’ll hear her talk about yoga, being in nature, more specific things like touching parts of your ears that can tone your vagus nerve, a part of your nervous system that helps you shift between the states of fight or flight or back in the safe and social.

So, use this as an opportunity to think about how you can easily use your body and be aware of your body to help with your healing. It doesn’t all have to be that top down approach. So, without further pauses or waiting let’s jump into this episode.

Jen: I am so excited about today’s topic because it deals with the emotions and our emotional response living in our current climate, all the things happening in the world. Hopefully by the end of our time together we will have some hands-on doable strategies to help us manage our emotions, especially through somatic practices. And I have an expert here with us to help us with this topic today, Dr. Arielle Schwartz. Let me tell you a little bit about her.

Dr. Arielle Schwartz is a clinical psychologist, MDR therapy consultant, somatic psychotherapist and certified yoga instructor. She’s the author of six books, including The Complex PTSD Workbook and The Post-Traumatic Growth Guidebook. She’s a leading voice in the treatment of PTSD and is dedicated to offering informational wellness updates through her teaching, social media presence and blog. Arielle believes that the journey of trauma recovery is an awakening of the spiritual heart. And I particularly love that. So, let’s start there. Is it okay if I call you Arielle?

Arielle: Yes, absolutely, please.

Jen: Okay. An awakening of the spiritual heart, tell us more about how that connects with trauma recovery.

Arielle: Yeah. So, for me, I think so much of what just the purpose of our human life is about is a kind of coming into the truth of who we really are. And that doesn’t mean there’s some kind of universal statement about that. But to be able to have the space to know who you are, why you’re here, what is your purpose and what creates a meaningful life. And so, when we’re connecting into this sense of our own presence, we have kind of moved aside all of the barriers that can interfere with our own ability to know that, to know what it feels like just to be.

That whole human being versus a human doing. I get to be here and I get to just reside in the present and know that there is worth and value in who I am. And of course, we all know that accumulated life experiences interfere with that. Whether that’s trauma, whether that’s developmental attachment wounds, whether that’s being bullied in school, whether that’s relationship loss. There are things that can interfere with that deepest knowing of who we’re here and why we’re here.

And so, trauma recovery is really about kind of moving through those accumulated layers that we thought were us, that we overidentified with our wounds, or with our betrayals, or what has happened to us. And we think that that experience of not feeling loved meant we were unlovable. Or that somehow we thought that we weren’t enough. And as we move away from those overidentifications we have cleared out the space to then reside in that deeper spiritual heart.

Jen: So, it sounds beautiful. It sounds like peeling the layers of the onions. How do we do that if we don’t want to spend every week for the rest of our lives in therapy, or do we need to?

Arielle: Well, what I would say is that therapy can be one part of that journey towards self-realization, if you want to call it that. But that there is also other daily practices that we can pull in that are, of course, cheaper than therapy and more accessible at your fingertips and from your own home that we can start to create that facilitate more of that connection on a day-to-day basis and even throughout your day. So that’s often what I refer to as the resilience recipe, that how are we creating our life around the kinds of practices that bring us home.

Jen: So how does that work for you? Walk us through your typical day because everyone wants to be a fly on the wall in everyone else’s lives. So, building in those practices for yourself.

Arielle: Yeah. And if you don’t mind I might back up for a moment and I’ll share with you how I arrived at the practice and what it looks like. But I will share with you that I didn’t just choose to have a daily practice because I felt great and I wanted to feel better. I choose to have a daily practice because I struggled. And I struggled with my own childhood trauma and developmental wounds that interfered with my own sense of self and really left me in a pretty cloudy state.

And it led to anxiety, and depression in my teens and in my early 20s. And I had a friend that dragged me to a yoga class when I was in college. And I grew up exposed to yoga. I grew up in a family where we did yoga and had a family home. I kid you not, held hands at my mom and stepdad’s house and we would sing a family ohm before dinner. So, I had a reference point of this sweetness and of this connection. But I also grew up with a family that experienced divorce and a very contentious divorce with a lot of upheaval and feeling stuck in the middle and two very different households.

So, I knew disruption and I knew what kind of feeling at home felt like in my body. But when this friend brought me to a yoga class in college I had that same feeling after class. I was like, “I’m home. I feel good. I want more of this.” And so, I started going back regularly. And then pretty soon I developed a daily practice for myself. And that has stayed with me now for over 20 years. And for me I love the combination, this question of what does my daily practice look like now. I love the combination of a movement practice.

So, yoga, what that movement practice looks like for me, of being able to kind of clear out the cobwebs of my fascia, and in my neck, and in my shoulders, and in my belly. I love to stretch. I love to move. I love to breathe. I love pranayama. I love the way that that helps my body feel. And I also bring in a mindfulness seated practice and to have a meditation practice kind of feels like it just seals the whole container of body, and mind, and spirit, and the emotional connection to all of that.

Jen: I love that. So how long does your kind of daily practice last usually, or do you have different versions?

Arielle: I have different versions kind of depending on the time that I have in a particular morning. I think we all know that. And also, kind of if you think about the phases of my own life. I have two children who are now 17 and 19. So my practice has expanded again for a long time in the early phases of parenting. My practice was that, I’ve really had to carve out whenever I could go actually get on the mat. But in many ways my spiritual practice became becoming a mother and attending in the best ways and the most compassionate ways that I could.

And being soft with myself when I couldn’t and when I felt all of the tightness and contraction around that. But now at this phase of my life, ideally I like an hour and a half to two hours now. Can I do that every day? Did I do that this morning? Not quite but that’s my ideal practice time.

Jen: It sounds heavenly, bliss. Bliss is a word that’s attached to yoga so often for a reason.

Arielle: Right. And it’s not my only practice. I mean I really do structure my life around my practices. And I would say the other complementary one that fits with this is ensuring that I get some time in nature regularly. I make it a practice to try and be outside at sunset every day and to just kind of take in the changing colors of the sky, and just all of the beauty that happens. I have a beautiful walk near my house that I can go kind of take in the lake and take in all the sights and the sounds.

Jen: I can just imagine it, the lake and the sunset. So, in this current climate of stress and overwhelm, a lot of my listeners are moms. Obviously most, 99% of my listeners are women. I’m sure some people out there are saying, “Practicing anything sounds hard. I’m just done. I’m overbaked. I have no focus. I don’t know where I’m going.” What would be the gentlest or easiest recommendation for shifting out of that stuck-ness through any of the practices that you teach?

Arielle: It’s such an important question because I think especially if you have a history of trauma, trying to drop into the body or just a history of being human, let’s just call it that but trying to connect to your body can be challenging. It’s not always, we don’t immediately always get positive feedback.

So, the first thing that I say around developing any daily practice is that find the things that you know will actually bring you some predictable source of relief, or joy, or bliss, if you want to call it that, or just pause. Whatever that is for you, it doesn’t have to be sitting on the cushion and saying your mantra. That doesn’t have to be your practice. You are going to really need to fine tune what brings you to even just that slightest shift of a positive state. And what supports that practice?

Do you need a teacher? Do you need to be around other people? When I was parenting my younger kids I could only do my practice (a) out of the house and (b) when someone else was talking me through it. I could not do my own home practice for quite a few years, even though I teach other people. But I needed someone just to tell me what to do. And I was like, “I can do that.”

Jen: Yeah. Not having to decide what to do is so soothing, yeah. Talk to us about the similarities and differences between trauma and PTSD, and also just share a few ideas on how to kind of release trauma from the body?

Arielle: Sure. So, if we really just hone in on what is trauma? It is anything that the body and mind cannot fully digest or process. It’s something that overwhelms our senses and overwhelms our processing capacity. And what does it mean to process something? It means to take the kind of raw material of a life experience and integrate that into the overall sense of who I am as a person. And so, a traumatic event that can’t be well integrated is because it’s some kind of outlying experience that we didn’t have sufficient support at the time to handle the degree of fear, or loss, or shame, or whatever the emotion that showed up in that life moment.

We didn’t have at that time the sufficient supports to help us deal with it. And so, as a result we develop these kind of ‘symptoms’, and I’m putting that in quotation marks. We develop these ways of coping with that thing that we don’t want to think about. So, we start to avoid it. We push it out of our mind or we start engaging in behaviors that help us not have to think about it, whether that’s avoiding going to certain places or avoiding certain people that remind us of the event. Or maybe that’s drinking, or emotional eating, or whatever it might be to push that thing out of our consciousness.

So, we call that avoidants and in the context of PTSD we call those avoidants, symptoms. And the flipside of that is that what we’re trying to avoid persists. And so, what then tends to happen is we have these other kinds of symptoms called reexperiencing symptoms. And in the night we might have a nightmare or we might have this kind of flooding of anxiety, or a panic attack. Reexperiencing might be a flashback. And so, these types of intrusive thoughts, intrusive emotions, intrusive images are kind of haunting us. We feel retraumatized each time that occurs.

So, between that, the avoidance and the reexperiencing, we tend to also have a third category of symptoms which are hypervigilance or hyperarousal. That we become so highly attuned to our environment or other people’s facial expressions, or sounds that we might hear, that we’re trying to predict when something is going to shock us, or remind us of the trauma. And so, we’re highly vigilant in a way that can interfere with our sleep, interfere with our digestion.

So, when we look at PTSD it’s when those kinds of symptoms are persisting in a manner that they’re lingering well beyond the event and they’re interfering with our ability to work, our ability to take care of ourselves, and sleep, our ability to take care of our kids, our ability to digest our food.

Jen: So, I think socially we all recognize that if you have PTSD to the point you’re just anxious or you can’t work, you get help. There is a bit of social approval for that but then pulling it back a layer, what about this phase or this level of after the pandemic, we’re just tired, we’re short tempered, maybe depressed. How does that all fit into the whole realm of trauma when we don’t have a diagnosis necessarily to give ourselves? How do we validate that it’s actually still trauma?

Arielle: Yeah. I think that one of the areas of focus that I’ve honed in on over the years is posttraumatic growth. And during the pandemic, during these last few years, I’ve really kind of angled this more towards peritraumatic growth. That the ongoing events, any single one element of this we might be able to handle whether that’s maybe the isolation of having to quarantine. Or kids being at home while you’re also trying to work. There’s been so many layers or the being separated from loved ones who are very far away or maybe you’ve lost a loved one during this time.

Any one of those perhaps, but when we have this accumulation of these repeated chronic events and we don’t know when they’re going to end, we don’t know when this is going to stop, that starts to bring in this feeling of helplessness. And I think that’s where that fatigue shows up as well, this experience of this is just going and going, and I don’t know how long I’m going to have to keep coping with this. And it’s wearing down my resources, that pool of resilience.

So, as I’m looking at this from that angle of peritraumatic growth and peritraumatic resilience I’m really emphasizing on we need to prioritize the things that help us find balance and equanimity in the midst of all of this change that’s happening around us with such a rapid rate.

Jen: So how do you recommend doing that? I ask because what popped into my head was one of the things I have done is remove 75% of the apps from my phone. So, I have zero, not even a search engine. So, I have zero opportunity to view the news and I can’t believe the massive effect that it’s had. I no longer feel exhausted or trapped, it’s just like I eliminated a whole series of threats. Some might say that’s putting your head in the sand but I don’t care, it feels good. So other ideas besides maybe what some would call such an extreme measure as I did?

Arielle: But I think you’re giving such a great example of how do we make a decision based on how much can I process this? How much can I take in this amount of information? And if you think of you eat some food, you eat the right amount of food so you can digest it, so that you can absorb the nutrients and you’re supporting your body. You eat too much food you’re going to feel bloated and you’re going to feel overloaded in some way. And of course, if we don’t eat enough we have another problem.

But I think what we’re dealing with now is that we have an overload of information processing at this stage of the world. And our news really contributes to that. So, we have to ask ourselves the question of how much information can I take in that I can actually process without it becoming an overload or a backlog, a detriment. And so, we all get to make those decisions and that can be around the news, that can be around how much time do I need to spend around other people and have social contact and when do I need to be by myself?

And allow myself just to have that internal experience of being able to process. How much do I need to go out and do, and take actions in the world versus how much time am I creating for myself to simply be, and rest? And I think we have to hold here that these questions come with a certain amount of privilege. They come with the recognition that there are absolutely so many of us out there that are essential health workers or other essential workers working in our grocery stores.

There are this choice to not work so much isn’t a possibility. It’s not a financial possibility. It’s not a possibility for raising your kids. So, we have to always hold that resilience lives inside of context.

Jen: Absolutely. Just being in noisy environments can just be so depleting. I know because I have six kids. My office is so restorative, it’s just quiet so yeah, acknowledging that.

Arielle: Yeah. I’m glad you brought in the noise factor. I think that if we imagine that our senses are that intaking system, we’re taking in with our eyes, we’re taking in with our ears, with our mouth, with taste and with our skin and this experience of how much contact and touch we have. That we really want to be very mindful that we have a condition of collective sensory overload.

Jen: And the antidote is more quiet, more time in nature, more practices to shut that off like you were mentioning.

Arielle: I think so. I think because we are typically imbalanced in that direction. Now, I’m not going to say that everyone is. I think that one of the responses I heard over the last few years, and I’m sure you heard this too is that some people said that the quarantining or that the isolation of the pandemic felt like a relief. There were so many people saying, “Oh my gosh, I’ve finally got to slow down. I have been running, and running, and running for years.”

And then we also, so many of us saw those images of how our climate started to clear up because there were less people flying in airplanes and driving cars. And now we’re opening back up and I think we’re all having to navigate what does this look like now? And how do we continue to take with us some of the things that were good about the pandemic that were actually positive and nourishing? And how do we not lose that as we open back up to the world? I have seen so many people make major life changes as a result of these last two years.

But the other side is to say is that for some people the experience of isolation was profoundly lonely. And came with a lot of loss of those places where that social resilience and social connections were being supported. So again, we’re not going to make a blanket statement as to what balance looks like.

Jen: For sure. Well, let’s talk a little bit about somatics. Somatics, polyvagal theory, trauma, they’re all becoming humongous words kind of in the zeitgeist of our time in terms of life, life coaching, mental health. What are somatic practices specifically and why are they sometimes better than talk therapy for example?

Arielle: Right. Going back to this definition of trauma that one of the things that can happen in trauma is that our bodies are trying to process what’s happening around us, trying to respond to the threat. And our kind of core defensive responses to threat are to go into a flight or a fight response. We either want to leave a situation where we don’t feel safe or we want to protect ourselves and somehow kind of fight for our survival in an environment where we don’t feel safe.

Other protective responses might be reaching out for support, might be using your voice and calling out for someone or saying help. And very often when we look at someone who’s experienced trauma and perhaps you yourself can relate to this, I know I can. Is that there is some experience that that didn’t get to happen, I didn’t get to leave, I didn’t get to protect myself. I didn’t get to call out for help. I didn’t get to reach out for support. And so, we call those from a somatic lens, we call that a thwarted instinct.

That the instinctual survival response got stopped, or stuck, or didn’t get to happen. Now, the body will carry not only the burden of the trauma or as Bessel van der Kolk speaks about, the body keeps the score. The body will carry the impact of a traumatic event. However, the body also will carry the memory of what wanted to happen and that’s very important. That’s the key to our healing. And so, when we pay attention to the thwarted instinct, that urge to be able to move my body now in some self-protective action.

And when we mindfully slowly come into some form of movement practice we are healing from what scientifically we refer to as from the bottom up. We’re accessing the lower brain centers, because when we go to talk therapy we’re usually practicing what we call top down therapy. We’re thinking about something, we want to change how we’re thinking about something and that will change how we feel. That’s a great strategy. I don’t want to knock it, it’s a necessary part of the whole picture but it’s not the whole picture.

Because what that doesn’t get to is the felt sense in the body. And creating a sense of resolution because once we can find that completion of the movement, it’s kind of like the wave finally comes to shore. And that there is this feeling of resolution and we’re looking for that in the somatic experience, that ah, or that lightness, or that sense of relief that comes with – and again we all have a version of this. We all know, you’ve had that build up, there was so much emotion. And then we’re able to finally touch the grief and we had a cry.

And we can feel how the wave touched the shore, it’s like I feel better afterwards. That resolved something for me. I finally gave words to something and had the felt experience of the shift.

Jen:. So, let’s imagine that someone knows they have trauma but they don’t remember it or would you say that just movement practices in general, like shaking, qigong, yoga, that even if we don’t know the trauma or what got stuck, that just movement in general can be helpful?

Arielle: I certainly think it can be helpful. I mean there’s no question about that for me that the movement itself is creating a shift and ideally just through the movement we can feel again, like an openness, or that open heart, or that release because I shook something out. Or in the sense of empowerment, I’m in a warrior pose and I feel my legs underneath me or I do a lion’s breath. And I feel some relief. So that’s a really important component.

But when we’re looking at the whole big picture of trauma recovery I think that the narrative piece is what creates what we call coherence of self. That there is this way of saying, this happened, I know how this event impacted me, I know how it’s shaped me and my beliefs. I can choose to think about it this way now and I have that kind of overall sense of integration of that big event. And I think it’s body and mind.

Jen: Yeah, we need the top and the bottom coming together. Well said. Well, I would love to ask you a few random questions. I have been playing around on the podcast with kind of introducing a lightening round but instead of asking superficial questions, deeper questions. So, who are you and how do you show up in life?

Arielle: That is a deep question. It’s like those 36 questions. It’s like how do you really get to know someone? Who are you and how do you show up in life? I am a person that I think was really kind of born into this world capable of feeling a lot. And it took a long time for me to really feel my skin because I felt so sensitive to the world for so long and kind of overwhelmed by it for so long both between the early disruptions of my family life but also just the character of who I am. Like one of those people that got called an old soul at a very young age.

But I think that that experience of how do I show up in life now is that I’ve grown to befriend the bigness of who I am and not be so afraid of that. And to feel comfortable having my voice, which was for me probably the biggest barrier somatically. I held so much in my throat for so long. So, to reclaim my voice has been a very profound journey.

Jen: That’s so beautiful, well said. I love this one. What lights you up or makes you feel most alive?

Arielle: Certainly, time in nature and inner work. The experience of having that deeper soulful inquiry, absolutely lights me up. I had an experience recently where I’d had a dream a few weeks ago and it was a big dream. I went down this hill, it was so steep. I arrived down at this lake. It was in the mountains and I had this very deep knowing that I have been looking for this place. And even this feeling that I’ve had previous dreams of circling around this place.

And I was processing the dream, these tears just pouring out of me of this longing for this place that I have dreamt about. And two weeks ago, or maybe a week after I’d had the dream, we went backpacking as a family and we went to a new place. And we arrived at a lake, I kid you not, and I sat there and the tears just came right out of me. And I went, “Oh my gosh, I have dreamt about this place for years and I’ve finally got here.” And I think that if I don’t pay attention to the dreams, to the signs, to the synchronicities, life starts to feel flat.

So, the lighting up it’s that deepest soul connection and again, where does that show up for you?

Jen: And what else occurs to me is you needed to leave your normal routines to go find this experience. Not that we can’t have it at home but I think the pandemic has left so many of us feeling stuck at home, stuck in the rut of Netflix, stuck in ruts and just getting out. You wouldn’t have found that lake had you not been out. I feel like that’s a theme our world needs right now, adventure.

Arielle: Right. I agree. How many of us have heard people speak about this in equality of groundhog day, I don’t even know what day it is on the calendar. I’m living the same day over and over. I wanted to loop back, I think you’ve got another of your deep questions for me and I’m curious about it. But I just want to loop back because you mentioned polyvagal theory and I never said anything in response to it. But it is something else that actually lights me up. And even though it’s science, and research, and this whole other side of my brain.

But I think that for me when I met Dr. Stephen Porges about 15 years ago, there was something that all of these light bulbs went off in my own mind, of being able to go this makes sense. And for anyone listening that’s like what is polyvagal theory? What the heck are they talking about? What this is about is this understanding that the vagus nerve is this kind of super highway that connects brain and body. And that we need to really optimize the health of this super highway of this connection for the resilience of our nervous system.

And that the vagus nerve takes a pretty hard hit with trauma. And one of the ways that this can show up is that it can either be kind of stuck in the off position where we’re kind of in a fight flight all the time, feeling highly anxious. Or the vagus nerve can get stuck in this evolutionarily older expression where we’re feeling shut down, and hopeless, and fatigued, and collapsed. But optimizing our vagus nerve takes us into in relaxed alertness and a social connection, it’s called our social engagement system. And it really allows us to connect to our heart. It’s the heart face connection.

It connects socially between me and you so that we feel connected to each other. And there are so many practices that we can do that light that connection up whether that’s self-compassion, or gratitude, or loving kindness, or self-touch, and breathwork, and movement. So just a little bit about that kind of other side of me that gets really lit up about something really practical and beneficial.

Jen: So, you mentioned trauma gives the vagus nerve a big hit. How can we kind of tone that vagus nerve and strengthen that whole system again even if life has been hard?

Arielle: Well, the vagus nerve again, vagus stands for wandering. So, it travels pretty broadly through the body into our gut through the diaphragm, into the heart and lungs, into the larynx, and pharynx, and the throat around our eyes, in our inner ear and around our mouth. So, any time that we’re engaging in practices that are basically kind of stimulating either through breath, the lungs, and the heart, through humming which will get into the larynx, and pharynx and the inner ear, through self-touch of pressure points on the face or even massaging your earlobes.

You can do this right now if you’re listening. Or there’s this little area of cartilage right in front of the ears called the tragus and it’s been really well researched that giving a little bit of massage between your thumb and first finger creates a vagal stimulation. And so, we can actually kind of wake up and interact with our vagus nerve and listen for feedback. Pay attention to your body to what creates, whether it’s a breath practice, or a movement practice, or touch practice, what creates the subtle shifts that move us in the direction of more calm, more connected, more social, more warmth.

Jen: It’s so important. I’m so glad that like you this really resonates for me. When I first learned about polyvagal theory. So, we don’t have to talk. We can just do exercises, listen to our bodies, so beautiful. Well, one more fun question, your favorite mantra?

Arielle: I am here to live a full and meaningful life.

Jen: Let’s take that in everyone, I am here to live a full and meaningful life. I love that. Thank you. Arielle, where can people follow you to kind of go deeper into your energy? That’s what I want. I want to be in your energy. I want to live and be your neighbor and go to this lake with you. But for those of us who are not your neighbors, how can we connect further with you?

Arielle: Okay. Well, I’m on Facebook, that’s probably my biggest real channel where I’m interacting. So, Dr. Arielle Schwartz page, I have a personal page. But come join me at Dr. Arielle Schwartz on Facebook. And I have an Instagram which is arielleschwartzboulder where you’ll see all my sunsets. And I have a blog and that is really the best way to stay involved with things that I get kind of nerding out on of polyvagal theory, and the vagus nerve, and yoga, and stuff like that.

I have my books which you can find out more about on my website which is And I have a YouTube channel. So, if you want to just hang out in my energy come on over there. That’s Dr. Arielle Schwartz on YouTube. And there are, I think, 130 videos of guided practices on there. So, we can practice together.

If you want to practice together live, I teach pretty much every other Saturday a live Zoom yoga. You can come in from anywhere in the world and we interact live in real time and it’s a lot of fun, it’s a great community. And you can find that on my website under yoga therapy.

Jen: Wow. Thank you. Thank you so much. I will be there.

Arielle: Right, great, I’ll love to have you there.

Jen: Yes, thank you so much for just sharing your energy, and your thoughts, and your wisdom, I appreciate it so much.

Arielle: Likewise, thank you for having me.

Hey, I hope you enjoyed that and I want to challenge you to add some somatic practices to your life that will help you heal. Arielle shared many ideas, the yoga, the movement, the hiking in nature, the thing with the ears. What are you going to add consistently to your life to help your body heal, to help your whole nervous system to heal? I love this topic. It feels very important. These polyvagal and somatic tools have helped me to help my kids and my spouse so much with anxiety.

And those moments that they’re stressed and can’t handle the situation, helping them shift out of fight or flight back to safe and social. Of course, you’re not obligated to help anyone but it can generate so much peace because we are social creatures. We live in community. We have mirror neurons that influence what we perceive from others in milliseconds. So having these tools is so helpful.

If you want to work on your somatic toolbelt join us in the Vibrant Happy Women Club. We tie somatic tools into every topic we cover throughout the year, topics like self-love, relationships, parenting, finances, visions and goals, all the things we learn about there is a somatic connection. How do we use our bodies? How do we regulate our nervous systems to help us achieve our goals? So, you can join us in the Club any time, we’d love to have you.

We have a new topic that starts on the 1st of every month. And as you move through the 12 topics of each year you can make progress in all the important areas that contribute to wellbeing and happiness. The goal is to raise our emotional baseline. When we do that our thoughts about finances improve and our feelings improve. When we have better feelings our results improve. So, when we raise the emotional baseline through somatic tools and through thought work we make progress. We no longer have to will ourselves to improve in all of these important areas of life.

So, join us in the Club,, we would love to have you. And I can promise you that you will grow as you surround yourself with the right people who are also on the journey of raising their emotional baseline, giving the next generation and the people around you the blessing, the gift of being exposed to positive emotional contagion, to positive thinking, to having the tools.

My friends, I love you. Thank you for being here. Go move your bodies. Go feel better and make it a vibrant and happy week. Take care.

If you enjoy this podcast, you have to check out the Vibrant Happy Women Club. It’s my monthly group coaching program where we take all this material to the next level and to get you the results that will blow your mind. Join me in the Vibrant Happy Women Club at

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About jen

Jen Riday is a mom of 6 and life coach who loves to help women experience massive happiness as they let go of stress, sadness or other chronic emotions of negativity.

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