Making Friends with
Difficult Emotions
Through Touch
“From the rough and tumble play of
five-year-old children to a mother...
  2	
  
Notice of Copyright
The material in this eBook is copyrighted. You are restricted from making
copies, posting it o...
  3	
  
Dr. Mike Changaris, post-doctoral resident
I currently work with children and families who are facing significant
...
  4	
  
Table of Contents
1. Touch and Emotions.
2. Emotion Regulation Through Touch.
3. Two Types of Emotional Regulation...
  5	
  
Touch and Emotion
You might be asking… What on earth does touch have to do
with emotions? The truth is A LOT! How ...
  6	
  
Scientists and therapists alike have neglected the power of
human touch in psychotherapy. Touch is one of the most...
  7	
  
Emotion Regulation Through Touch
What is emotion regulation?
Emotion regulation is how we learn
to tolerate, reduc...
  8	
  
When we are overwhelmed our emotional regulation system shuts
down. Soothing, kind touch helps to wake it up! The ...
  9	
  
are social animals. We become who we are through
interactions with others. Our emotions are no different! As
we gr...
  10	
  
Two Skills for Making Friends with
Difficult Emotions
Now we would like to give you some tools you can use to
bui...
  11	
  
Step 2: Let your self get comfortable and settle in. Look around
the room. Notice your surroundings and then let ...
  12	
  
When to use the skill:
1. When you are feeling anxious, angry or overwhelmed.
2. Five minutes of using this skill...
  13	
  
Skill #2: Puppy love…
Building positive emotion
through contact
with a pet.
Overview: In this skill you’ll
intera...
  14	
  
Step 3: Notice any positive emotions, sensations or
feelings that arise inside of you. Humans have a tendency
to ...
  15	
  
in the wild who have some one to groom them and
who groom others actually live longer!
Someone caring for another...
  16	
  
Well, that about covers it for the MyShrink – Making
friends with difficult emotions through touch. I hope you
en...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

E book Making Friends with Difficult Emotions Via Touch

441 views
363 views

Published on

Published in: Health & Medicine
0 Comments
1 Like
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Views
Total views
441
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
6
Comments
0
Likes
1
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

E book Making Friends with Difficult Emotions Via Touch

  1. 1. Making Friends with Difficult Emotions Through Touch “From the rough and tumble play of five-year-old children to a mother’s caresses, touch plays a vital role in the building of the brain, the mind, and the self...”    
  2. 2.   2   Notice of Copyright The material in this eBook is copyrighted. You are restricted from making copies, posting it on a website, modifying it in any way or transmitting it in any form or by any means, electrical, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted. If you would like to let your friends know about it, send them this link: [link] Limit of Liability / Disclaimer of Warranty This report is for educational purposes only. While the authors have used their best efforts in preparing this book, they make no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents and specifically disclaim any implied warranties. You should consult a professional where appropriate. The author, advisors, and publisher shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage, monetary or otherwise, caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by the information contained in this report. If you do not agree, do not read any further.
  3. 3.   3   Dr. Mike Changaris, post-doctoral resident I currently work with children and families who are facing significant life challenges. For more than ten years I have been supporting people to find connections with their body first as a body-worker and now as a pre-licensure therapist. I am deeply committed to helping people make friends with their experiences, their mind and emotions! When I first came to this work I was quite disconnected from my body. Through understanding the body and the brain I am now able to do more and feel deeply connected to my life than I could have ever expected. I would like to share some of the things I have found along the way with you. It is exciting to introduce you to your brain and ways you can help use this knowledge to transform your life.
  4. 4.   4   Table of Contents 1. Touch and Emotions. 2. Emotion Regulation Through Touch. 3. Two Types of Emotional Regulation. 4. Skills for Making Friends with Difficult Emotions. 5. Skill #1: Making Friends with Difficult Emotions Through Self-Touch. 6. Skill #2: Puppy love… Building positive emotion through contact with a pet.
  5. 5.   5   Touch and Emotion You might be asking… What on earth does touch have to do with emotions? The truth is A LOT! How could touch possibly help me learn to make friends with emotions? When we were very small and before we had words we communicated with others through touch. When we cried as an infant we were soothed by connected touch. It is through a mother’s touch that we learned about our bodies and our feeling of safety in the world. As adults when we are upset often a friend might pat us on the back or give us a hug. Some of us had difficult relationships with our parents. For those of us who did, finding safe ways to receive nurturing touch can allow you to build your core feeling of safety in the world.
  6. 6.   6   Scientists and therapists alike have neglected the power of human touch in psychotherapy. Touch is one of the most understudied senses. However, recently some researchers have started to change this! The current research out of the touch and emotion lab has found that even adults use touch to communicate their emotions. These studies have found that people can identify emotions such as anger, fear, disgust, love, gratitude, and sympathy through physical touch with a high degree of accuracy. Other studies have shown that people can accurately read the emotions communicated by touch by simply watching touch on a film, T.V. or movie. Try this out. Next time you are watching T.V. turn down the sound and just watch how people touch each other. You will find you can learn a lot about what people are trying to say even with out the words! Up to 80% of communication is body language. A lot of body language is communicated through touch! For more info about emotions and touch check out the touch and emotions lab @ http://www.depauw.edu/learn/lab/
  7. 7.   7   Emotion Regulation Through Touch What is emotion regulation? Emotion regulation is how we learn to tolerate, reduce, enjoy and in some cases just survive difficult emotions. Touch can be a profound way to learn to make friends with our emotional experiences. Emotions are a big part of human life. They help us solve problems, find out what is most true for us and even make decisions. Some emotions are difficult and some are enjoyable. In our brains there are key areas that help us make friends with our emotions. Some people think that an emotion is two things: A thought in the mind and the sensations in the body. The right brain connects our bodily feeling of emotions up to our conscious mind. The left brain is the part that names or puts thought labels on our feelings. Touch and particularly soothing touch helps to activate the parts of our brains that supports us to “regulate” or make friends with our emotions.
  8. 8.   8   When we are overwhelmed our emotional regulation system shuts down. Soothing, kind touch helps to wake it up! The emotional regulation system is the part of the brain (Medial Pre-frontal Cortex a.k.a. – mPFC and Anterior Cingulate Cortex – ACC) that tells your body and mind that you are safe! It is like a big hug for difficult emotions. Soothing touch also tells our emotional brain to activate feelings of rest and safety. Two Types of Emotional Regulation Co-regulation: This is Regulation of emotion through the interaction with another person or animal. Talking with a friend, rocking a baby and giving a hug are all ways people use co-regulation of emotions! Emotional Regulation Skills: This is using skills to help your body and mind make friends with your emotional experiences! The Science of Touch Touch is as vital as food for us humans. An infant who does not have adequate physical contact from her or his family will not survive. We humans
  9. 9.   9   are social animals. We become who we are through interactions with others. Our emotions are no different! As we grow up we learn to soothe or make friends with difficult emotions through our relationships. Touch is a key way we as humans learn to tolerate and handle difficult emotions. A hug from a friend when we are sad, a pat on the back after a difficult game, and giving a high five allow us to reduce stress and be at home with many different emotions. Touch can affect your brain too! It changes the same systems that are changed by anti-depressant and anxiety medications, just at a lower level. Massage has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression, stress, anxiety and trauma! Having one positive emotion after a stressful event increases how fast a person goes from stress to rest. Soothing, safe touch can be an effective means to provide an experience of safety, relaxation and positive emotions. For more information Check out the The Touch Research Institute @ http://www6.miami.edu/touch-research/
  10. 10.   10   Two Skills for Making Friends with Difficult Emotions Now we would like to give you some tools you can use to build positive emotions and make friends with your emotions. Some emotions can be difficult to tolerate. Touch and self-acceptance can help us tolerate difficult emotions and build the ability to be resilient in the face of many life difficulties! We hope you enjoy the skills. Skill #1: Making Friends with Difficult Emotions Through Self-Touch Overview: In this skill you will provide solid firm pressure with your hands on: 1. Your shoulders, 2. Your chest and belly and 3. The outside of your legs. Step 1: Find a comfortable place that you know you will not be interrupted.
  11. 11.   11   Step 2: Let your self get comfortable and settle in. Look around the room. Notice your surroundings and then let your mind become curious about the way your back contacts the chair. Notice these sensations. Let yourself be curious about what they are like. Step 3: Wrap your arms around your chest like you are giving yourself a hug. Put your hands on the outside of your shoulders and apply a firm steady pressure. Notice if there is a change in your breathing. Hold this position for at least four breaths. Step 4: Put one hand lightly on your stomach and the other lightly on your chest. Let them rise and fall with your breath a couple of times. Then apply a firm steady pressure to your chest and belly that still allows you to breath easily. Hold this position for four breaths. Step 5: Put your hands on the outside of your legs. Press your legs firmly into your hands. Notice what happens to your breath. Notice any positive feelings that occur inside your body. Step 6: Let your eyes look around the room and notice what they are drawn to look at. Just let your eyes find something to rest on. Notice what you like about the object. Then notice your back and how it contacts the chair. At your own pace get up and let yourself take a few moments before you go back to your daily routine.
  12. 12.   12   When to use the skill: 1. When you are feeling anxious, angry or overwhelmed. 2. Five minutes of using this skill each day will over time increase your ability to respond to life stress. 3. Use this skill before bedtime in a dim light to increase ease of falling asleep. 4. After a stressful day. Why it works: Deep touch contacts our muscles and our deep nerve endings. These deep nerve endings tell our mind we are safe. This tells the body to stop producing the pain hormone and to produce the resting hormones. The deep pressure is also associated with an increased rest response (a.k.a. parasympathetic response) and a decreased fight/ flight response (a.k.a. sympathetic response). Noticing your experience of touch in the moment with curiosity coaxes your social engagement system online. Our social engagement system in our brain is active when we are with people we trust and love. Physical touch calls the part of the brain responsible for emotion regulation online (mPFC – a.k.a. the orbital medial prefrontal cortex). This helps you to find ways to make friends with the emotion. Happy practicing. We hope you enjoy it!
  13. 13.   13   Skill #2: Puppy love… Building positive emotion through contact with a pet. Overview: In this skill you’ll interact with your favorite animal (puppy, cat or other pettable animal... sorry to those with porcupines for pets). If you do not have an animal of your own, borrow a friend’s! Step 1: Sit down with the animal. Let yourself look around the room. Notice what your eyes are drawn to. Just let your eyes rest on what they are drawn to. At your own pace find another object in the room that your eyes like to rest on. I will invite you to take you attention inside for a moment. As you look around your inner world notice any place on the inside of you body that feels good. Step 2: Lay down with the animal. Notice the contact. Let your self pet or snuggle with the animal. See if you can discover this animal’s favorite spot to be petted. Notice the sensations in your body as you pet the animal.
  14. 14.   14   Step 3: Notice any positive emotions, sensations or feelings that arise inside of you. Humans have a tendency to only notice the negative things in life! This is your chance to build a new habit and notice the parts of your experience that feel good. However, some people find that they are feeling lots of negative emotions and have difficulty finding positive ones! Don’t worry. Let yourself ignore them for a minute. As you do that put 100% of your attention into petting the animal. When the negative emotions come back into your mind simply name it as a negative emotion comes, and shift your attention back to petting the animal with 100% attention! When to use the skill: 1. When you are stressed or have an emotion that is difficult to tolerate. 2. When you are having difficulty sleeping. 3. After a stressor, a loss, or when feeling sad. Why it works: We humans are social animals. We regulate emotions or learn to make friends with our emotions through interactions with others. Gorillas
  15. 15.   15   in the wild who have some one to groom them and who groom others actually live longer! Someone caring for another animal reduces our own stress levels and increases the amount of positive emotion we experience. In our brains touch increases the hormone of safety and love (a.k.a. oxytocin) and reduces the stress hormone (a.k.a cortisol). In other words it helps us feel safe and connected! A word of caution! Learning anything new takes work! Some people may try these skills once, feel frustrated that they did not work and give up. It is important to use the skill with small amounts of feeling before trying to work with large amounts of emotions! It is like lifting weights. As you practice you get stronger! So does your brain. As always if practicing this skill brings up a lot of emotion, contact your therapist or seek out a therapist who can work with you!
  16. 16.   16   Well, that about covers it for the MyShrink – Making friends with difficult emotions through touch. I hope you enjoyed it and found some relief and relaxation! We always love to hear people’s thoughts about how this has helped you in your life. Please feel free to send us questions, feed back and thoughts! Good Luck on Your Journey!

×