The Calm Body – Turning a Tanker 26/10

This week we move our focus from the emotions to the body.

This is an artificial distinction really because they aren’t truly separate.

In a way we are coming at the same thing from lots of different angles. In week one when we were looking at the main thing, we are looking at our higher thinking, our soul essence and who we truly are, when we looked at emotions in week two we did some hard work figuring out the more primitive reactions and training from others that get in the way of us being more authentic and true to ourselves. This week the focus on the body will impact on both those areas.

I’m going to teach about the anxiety cycle, and the hoops of depression. We are going to look at practical support that we can give ourselves regarding light, sleep routine, vitamins and exercise. We are going to learn and practice some lovely self-care routines and we are going to encourage each other to prioritise ourselves (at least for a chunk of time each day).

Building a confident relationship between you and your body. This is all about your body learning to trust you, and you behaving in a trust-worthy manner.

This is also a week of understanding the chemicals we produce, the chemicals we take and their impact on us as individuals. We will be making decisions about which chemicals we will increase and which we will decrease and the habits we need to embed to achieve this.



If you imagine a circle around you and you make tiny adjustments to your direction at a point in the centre of the circle, this changes the trajectory and a small adjustment can make a bit change as to where you end up.

If you imagine a large tanker on the ocean, and using the tiller, the tanker doesn’t swing around suddenly, in the course of a few miles it changes direction.


 I hope you enjoy this week and that you feel refreshed and restored by the end of it.



Read the introduction for this week.

Review the previous two weeks.

Write in your journal.


There are several videos in the facebook group explaining the direction of the course so far and for this week.

See also the mini meditation I have done live for this week.

You can also do




Monday – Friday

Join us on Facebook: The three daily threads are symbolised by a heart, a thinking bubble and a hand.

Reflective inner voice work will be on the heart thread, planning, strategies and awareness work will be on the thinking thread and habit installation will be on the hand thread.

All the posts are under Week 3 in the Units section on facebook, and also here in full on my website.

A potted version is found below for quick reference:


This week we have been looking at THE CALM BODY.

An anxious person has an anxious body and a depressed person has a depressed body. Anxiety and depression are not just some concept floating around in people’s heads, they have reality in the body in chemical form and felt experience.

So we can intervene through the mind, through exercise and relaxation and through chemicals (medication or diet). Each intervention has an effect on the whole.

Long term I am supporting you to build a relationship of trust with you body, this reduces the way the primitive brain responses and feelings (which we explored last week), control your life and actions.

Yesterday I offered an exercise from Authentic Movement therapy which is hugely powerful and today we are switching from helping your body trust YOU as a good caretaker to you learning to trust the lead of your body.


MONDAY : Warmth and Light
Today focus on light and warmth. Find out by background reading and then by consulting your own inner wisdom and your own body to discover that is needed now and what might help you through the winter.
Kidney / Winter energy has physical properties to help purify our system but it also has spiritual energy to help us detox and purify our inner world and this is the winter energy, purification.
Lung / Intestine / Autumn energy is physically about processing air and food but also about psychologically taking in what is good and letting go of waste products.
TIP for light:
If you can, use a light lamp, in the morning. If you don’t have, and can’t afford, a lamp, then open your curtains or blinds early every morning and get as much natural light as you can as early as you can in the day. Even if you’re depressed or physically unwell, even if you’re having a duvet day, get up and open the curtains. Do it early, even if you’re going to go back to sleep, your body will appreciate being able to distinguish between day and night.
TIP for warmth:
It is stressful to be cold and works against our sense of well-being, trust that we are cared for, and our immune system. In Chinese medicine it’s especially important to keep our kidneys warm (have you seen those belts the Chinese sometimes wear similar to a cummerbund?). So YES it’s big knickers time, an acupuncturist would not be keen for you to wear low waisted jeans and a crop top. Don’t let yourself get chilled. Baths are not an indulgence they are a way to top up your kidney energy in Chinese medicine.
Similarly, wearing scarves is important and it’s important to protect the lungs and digestive system in the autumn. This is in Chinese medicine again, but it’s also common sense in ‘flu season. Think about air quality and air temperature indoors and outdoors. It’s not a good time to drink chilled drinks or eat chilled food. It’s easier on your system to eat warming soups and stews and spiced drinks.
Thinking: Research, read, discuss.
Reflection: Consult your own body with this in mind as you meditate and connect with yourself and your inner wisdom and body wisdom.
Action: Add light and warmth to your day today.
Sleep and rest
Technology review
Today we are looking at sleep and rest.
• we cannot choose whether we sleep or not but we can choose whether we rest
• through the winter months you will probably need more sleep
Reflection: Find a place of rest within yourself. Remind yourself you can always return to this place. If you are not asleep when you would like to be, return to a resting place within, you can rest your body and be peaceful. Getting worked up about sleep will be counter productive.
Thinking: Research, read and discuss here about good ‘sleep hygiene’. Find out what you think will work best for you and make a list in your journal.
Have a look a how your smart phone can help and hinder your rest. Discuss here what ideas the group has and think about which methods you could implement now!
Action: Take steps towards a good sleep routine, take a guilt free nap, reset your smart phone in a way that will support your rest and your sleep. Let us know how you are getting on.

Everybody is different and unique. So I’m just going to use guidelines today to open discussion in order to help you explore what works for you and what is right for you.

What is your approach to sleep and rest?

What could you do differently this winter to enhance your health and well-being? Is there anything you could tweak?

Maybe you can post your issues and thoughts here and we can discuss and help each other.

Thinking: Research, read and discuss. In what ways could you enhance or tweak the things that you put into your body to help your wellbeing, health and mood this winter?
Discussion points: supplements, diet, medicine (including anti-depressants), alcohol, herbs.
Mood Food
“A 2017 study found that the symptoms of people with moderate-to-severe depression improved when they received nutritional counselling sessions and ate a more healthful diet for 12 weeks.
The improved diet focused on fresh and whole foods that are high in nutrients. It also limited processed refined foods, sweets, and fried food, including junk food.
Depressive symptoms, including mood and anxiety, improved enough to achieve remission criteria in more than 32% of the participants.
The researchers concluded that people could help manage or improve their symptoms of depression by addressing their diet.”
Carbohydrates are linked to the mood-boosting brain chemical, serotonin. Experts aren’t sure, but carb cravings sometimes may be related to low serotonin activity.
Seasonal Food
Warming foods, root vegetables, grains and nuts.
Not salads or cold foods.
Not processed carbs or sugars as this slows down the intestine (autumn energy in Chinese medicine)
Also warm and spicy drinks.
More on seasonal eating for autumn in the blogs below
Food and supplements
We are not engaging in calorie restriction on this course because we are aiming for a CALM body which means keeping stress low by not triggering survival signals.
Whatever action you undertake from today’s materials it is very important that you ensure that your body does not interpret you as hostile or neglectful. Just because you think it is self care, it doesn’t mean that the body sees it this way (it is part of your primitive system not your advanced thinking), so it is important to keep communicating with your body, by stopping and listening, by being responsive and by minimising stress.
This doesn’t mean we can’t address our diet in terms of mood food and seasonally appropriate input. See today’s THINKING post.
Supplements: I am not qualified to give medical or dietary advice but doctors do advocate that we ALL take Vitamin D during the winter months.
Reflection:Do a mini-meditation, like the one I recorded on Monday or a longer meditation like week one’s meditation, and ask your body what it wants and needs in terms of input.
Action: Order or buy your Vitamin D supplements TODAY, or take them if you already have them. If you are having a ‘flu vaccination, book it today too. Echineacea fans, Vitamin C and Zinc fans, take action today. Promise yourself rest at the first sign of a virus. Make sure your repeat prescriptions are ordered and your medication has been reviewed with your GP. Have you got a dental check up booked?
Thinking: Read the separate thinking post and talk in this group about what you agree and disagree with, while sipping a warm, possibly spiced drink.

Thursday 31st October – Exercise Prescriptions and Pain Management

Working with people and explaining the cycles of depression and anxiety, I know the benefits of exercise on mood and management of adrenaline.

In all tests for depression it was found that combining 2 treatments was more effective than a single treatment. We can break both these cycles by paying attention to the CHEMICAL component, the PHYSICAL component or the PSYCHOLOGICAL component. They all feed each other in the cycle. We think the thoughts, we feel the feelings, we produce the chemicals and feel more feelings and think the thoughts about these feelings… round and round.

So treatments that combine the physical (exercise and relaxation) with the chemical (anti depressants or diet) or with the psychological (therapy) where thoughts can be examined, are always more effective. Chemical and psychological combined are more effective too than either on their own.

Addressing each component of the cycle really helps and that is what this course aims to do.

Exercise is different for each of us – I can’t walk for example so the 10,000 steps a day isn’t something we can apply generally to all.

My exercise programme needs to be even more basic and perhaps to go back to addressing how to reduce pain.

Do YOU have physical pain that limits exercise and movement? Are you putting up with it or do you have a pain management programme?


Reflection: Lie on the floor, if you can do so comfortably, and spend 20 minutes letting your body lead you, it may choose to lie still or to take you skipping around the garden, you may stretch your arms or roll around, you might lie on your tummy or stand on your head. Try and not THINK about what is ‘good’ movement and posture and what is ‘bad’ movement and posture and simply follow your body’s inclination.


What is a realistic exercise plan for you? Write it down and think about ways in which you block yourself and how you can overcome them.


1. Find an article about mood and exercise and post it in the thread for discussion.

2. Do your pain management steps today.

3. Move your body and be aware of it today.

💭 This week I have resourced my posts with extensive training over decades in the somatic body, the traumatised body, zero balancing, authentic movement development and Gestalt body work therapy.

Think of some questions you’d like me to answer in a live video this weekend about the body and why it is part of this course.

🖐 I can’t recommend yesterday’s authenitic movement exercise enough and hope to talk about it live this weekend.

I also recommend today’s exploration which has tremendous benefits – I aim to do this every day and certainly manage 4 or 5 times a week.

Today is Alexander Technique’s CONSTRUCTIVE REST and there are links in the comments below about how to do this. Imogen Ragone who is on our course is an experienced teacher of AT and a workshop leader in Body-Mind.

Alternatives or additions to today’s exercise are YOGA NIDRA – which I will explain this weekend – and Sandy Newbigging’s BODY CALM which I will introduce later and recommend buying on CD or on the Audible app.

❣️ Close your eyes. When you are in a state of relaxation, ask your body what it wants.

Ask your body what it wants to eat, how it wants to move or rest, what posture or position it wants to take.

Journal about this. Share here.