Episode 129 Summary 


The importance of being aware of our thoughts - It is important to become aware of our thoughts, because many of our automatic thoughts can lead to unhelpful actions, responses, or behaviours. Without awareness, we may act on these automatic thoughts and engage in behaviours that are not helpful for us. By becoming aware of our thoughts, we can challenge them and choose a different way to respond and react, leading to more helpful and pleasant outcomes. Additionally, becoming aware of our thoughts can help us identify any unhelpful patterns or beliefs that we may hold and work on changing them.


The thought model and its use in CBT - The thought model is the basis of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). The thought model helps individuals become aware of their automatic thoughts, challenge them, and choose a different response or reaction. It is incredibly helpful to become aware of your own thoughts and identify any unhelpful actions or behaviours that may result from automatic thoughts. We cannot overemphasise how important it is to know yourself and be in tune with your body. Somatic feelings give us powerful clues about our automatic thoughts. We recommend the thought model as it is a powerful tool to practise which can lead us toward more helpful responses and reactions in various situations.

Challenging automatic thoughts and choosing a different response -  This is an important strategy which can lead to more helpful actions and behaviours, rather than reacting in a way that doesn’t serve us well. It's important to become aware of our thoughts, challenge them with loving kindness, and think about what we really need in the situation. With practice, we can insert a pause and choose a different way to respond and react, leading to more positive outcomes. Additionally, sometimes our first indication of automatic thoughts might be a feeling in our body, so it's important to become in tune with our bodies and identify those feelings in order to challenge and change our thoughts.


Pay attention to somatic feelings - Somatic feelings are sensations in your body. Check in with your body as it will be giving you clues regarding your thoughts and emotions. Our bodies provide important information about our mental and emotional state, and by tuning into our physical sensations, we can gain greater insight into our inner world. An example of this is that if you feel a tightness in your chest or a knot in your stomach, this may be an indication of anxiety or fear. By becoming aware of these physical sensations, you can begin to explore what thoughts or emotions may be contributing to them. Similarly, if you feel a sense of lightness or openness in our body, this may be a sign of joy or excitement. We encourage you to develop greater body awareness and to use physical sensations in your body as a tool for understanding our thoughts and emotions. By doing so, you can become more attuned to your complex inner world and develop a deeper sense of self-awareness.

Feeling triggered - Being triggered can be a difficult and uncomfortable experience, but it's important to understand that it's a natural response of our brain trying to keep us safe. Sometimes we may not even recognize that we've been triggered, but with practice, we can learn to identify the triggers and respond in a more positive way.


By taking ownership of our triggers, we can learn to change our thought process and choose a different response. It may take time and practice, but it's a powerful tool that can lead to a happier and more fulfilling life. Remember, we all have different experiences and reasons for being triggered. It's important to be kind to ourselves and others as we navigate through these emotions. With a little patience and understanding, we can overcome our triggers and live our best lives.

Stop, pause, play - This is a BRILLIANT tool from the Gottman InstituteHave you ever found yourself in a situation where your thoughts are going in a completely unhelpful direction, and you feel like you just can't stop them? It happens to all of us sometimes, but luckily there's a simple and effective tool that can help you out - the Stop Pause Play strategy!

Imagine you have a magical remote control with three buttons - Stop, Pause, and Play.

  • When you first notice that your thoughts are going in an unhelpful direction, you can push the stop button and take a moment to ground yourself. Just put your feet on the ground and take a deep breath in and out. 
  • Next, push the pause button and focus on your breath. Take five deep breaths, and feel the relaxation pathways in your brain start to activate. This will bring down your stress levels and help you feel more calm and centred. 
  • Now, it's time to ask yourself, "what do I need here?" Take a moment to think about what might be helpful for you in this situation - maybe you need to take a break, call a friend, or just go outside and get some fresh air.
  • Finally, push the play button and choose the option that feels right for you. You'll feel more relaxed and in control, and you'll be better able to respond to the situation in a positive and effective way.

The Stop Pause Play strategy is a simple but powerful tool that can help you regulate your emotions and respond more effectively to difficult situations. It only takes a few seconds to use, and it can make a big difference in your overall well-being. So, next time you find yourself feeling stressed or overwhelmed, give it a try!

Flipping your lid - Sometimes emotions get the best of us and cause us to make decisions we might regret later. When this happens and we’re in a heightened emotional state, the amygdala in our brain can take over and make decisions that aren't always in our best interest. It’s trying to make us feel better in the moment but it isn’t keeping our long term goals in mind. This is a great time to try the Stop, Pause, Play Strategy. Take the time to ground yourself, breathe and look for a solution before continuing with your day. 


We are passionate advocates of the benefits of medical hypnosis - When we're in a hypnotic state, we can achieve active physiological relaxation and give our brains some helpful suggestions. We're so passionate about this technique that we even offer a free hypnosis session for anyone who wants to try it out. You can find the link on our website at www.rlmedicine.com/nurture 

Please remember not to do hypnosis while you're driving! Drive safe, lovelies!


I would like a free hypnosis to help me nurture my body please!

Show notes:

Episode 129 - You can change your mind

Dr Mary Barson: (0:11) Hello, my lovely listeners. I'm Dr. Mary Barson.


Dr Lucy Burns: (0:15) And I'm Dr. Lucy Burns. Welcome to this episode of Real Health and Weight Loss.


Dr Mary Barson: (0:23) Good morning, lovely listeners, Dr. Mary Barson here. And this Tuesday, I am joined by the fabulous, Dr. Lucy. How's it going, mate?


Dr Lucy Burns: (0:34) Good, really good, actually, I'm feeling, well, it's interesting. So by the time this goes to air, I will have been to Low Carb Denver. So I'd love to pretend that I'm recording this live, but I am not. But I will have been. So I'm heading off to America in two days. So I'm excited about that. Looking for doctors who are in the low carb space over there, hearing some of the latest science and bringing all that goodness back to our community at Real Life Medicine.


Dr Mary Barson: (1:04) I'm very excited too to be on the receiving end of all those wonderful benefits that you'll get and all the beautiful stuff that you'll bring back. Knowledge wise, I'm not actually expected to present as such. You can bring me a present but I'm not expecting one. 


Dr Lucy Burns: (1:17) Well, one of the issues is going to be for me, and this is interesting, is that I looked at the weather. And on the day I arrive, it is one degree Celsius, as the top and the minimum is negative 15. And I've never been in weather like that.


Dr Mary Barson: (1:37) I don't, I have no idea what that would feel like. I mean, I can think a fridge is like four degrees Celsius,


Dr Lucy Burns: (1:42) A freezer.  Freezers are about twenty,  negative twenty. 


Dr Mary Barson: (1:45) Okay.


Dr Lucy Burns: (1:46) So I'd be sitting in a freezer.


Dr Mary Barson: (1:49) Wow. 


Dr Lucy Burns: (1:50) So, I'm off to pack this afternoon. And it's hard again, I always find it tricky to manage your mind around the fact that I'm actually looking out my window in Melbourne on a Summer's day, and it's actually being summery, it's beautiful. Beautiful blue sky, it's about 30 degrees Celsius, it is delightful, and to try and then transport my brain that in three days, I'm going to be negative 15. Anyway, again, the power of our mind, which is what our episode is on today, because you know, lovely listeners, we love working with our brains.


Dr Mary Barson: (2:22) The most important things in our lives always happens between our ears.


Dr Lucy Burns: (2:26) Absolutely. So we thought we'd just do you know, one of our favourite platforms that we have, which is the thought model, which is the basis of cognitive behavioural therapy. And again, recognising that we have thoughts that are in our mind. And for many of these thoughts, I mean, humans have a truckload of thoughts every day, tens of thousands. Interestingly, you're not always cognizant or conscious or aware, they all mean the same thing. Of those thoughts, lots of them go on kind of underneath the surface. They're almost automatic. And when we have automatic thoughts, it never occurs to us to question them. Because they're just there. That first bit. And I know you talk about this a lot, Mary, is bringing awareness to your thoughts.


Dr Mary Barson: (3:26) Mmm. Become aware of your thoughts. Yes, the first step is awareness. And when you become aware of your thoughts, then you can give yourself - it takes practice - and we'll give you a little beautiful model that you can use to help you actually practically do this. You can bring awareness to what your thoughts are, and you can have a bit of a think about your thoughts. I love that it has a really fancy word. It's called metacognition, I really love it. It's good, it's a good word. So you can engage in some thinking about your thoughts. And then you can challenge them gently and with loving kindness and think about what is it that I actually really need here? And the beautiful thing about this is because many of our automatic thoughts can lead to unhelpful actions, responses or behaviours, whether that be yelling at someone because you've been triggered into an angry reaction, whether that be eating chocolate and or ice cream and or insert unhelpful food here to soothe your feelings. There are a myriad of unhelpful actions and responses that we can be triggered to do. And we don't actually necessarily need to be, a triggering is sort of an automatic thought that leads us to an unhelpful or an unpleasant place. You can insert a little pause and think about your thoughts and choose another way to respond and react and this gets better with practice and it is a very powerful tool to learn.


Dr Lucy Burns: (5:03) Absolutely, absolutely. And we need to know ourselves well, and become really in sync or in tune with our bodies. Because sometimes we're not aware of our thoughts and our first, the first time we noticed that might be a feeling in your body. So for some people that will be that, you know, that feeling in your gut, where it’s a little ‘Ooh, and you go, Oh, God, what's wrong’, you know, and we, we might identify it as anxiety, or some people actually won’t identify it as anxiety, they'll identify it as sick. “I feel sick.” Or they'll go, I feel tight in my chest. And the phrase for that is somatic, which means it's a body feeling. So if you find that you've got those coming, again, you go, “Huh, what's going on there?” Because those sorts of body feelings are just the way our body expresses our emotions. Our mind and our body. They're the same thing. They really are. It's so, so interesting, isn't it and again, medicine is very good at separating out the mind and the body. And the thought was always that doctors, all doctors deal with the body unless you're a psychiatrist, in which case, you deal with the mind and everyone else, and you don't deal with the body. And so yeah, we've moved a long way forward, thank God,


Dr Mary Barson: (6:24) The mind and body are one.


Dr Lucy Burns: (6:26) Indeed, indeed. So our brain kind of has two jobs. It's got lots of jobs, but two of its main jobs are to keep us safe. Okay, because as humans, we're quite vulnerable. You know, we don't have claws or wings or feathers, or we can't run that fast. So we are quite vulnerable. So its job is always to be looking for things that might feel unsafe. And then its second job is to make us feel better. Because isn't that what everyone wants to do, who doesn't want to feel better? So when Mary was talking about the word triggered, the trigger is often a place where you don't feel safe. But we don't call it that, because that feels a bit weird, doesn't it?


Dr Mary Barson: (7:05) Yes, yes, yeah, we humans can get triggered for all kinds of reasons. And sometimes we can be triggered to feel like we're in a really very unsafe, very unpleasant emotional state, or we might be triggered to be just in a mildly unpleasant state, or we can even be triggered to be in a happy state and to feel joy and excitement. So there are lots of lots of gradations of triggering. But when people say, Oh, I feel really triggered. Usually what people are talking about is that they see or hear something that sets up an automatic thought process that takes them back to a, into a frightened state. For some reason, they are feeling fearful. This is usually an alert response. And it's our brain trying to keep us safe. And it could be trauma from our past, or, you know, that we experienced or someone close to us experienced. It could be little capital, it could be little like lowercase t trauma, or big capital T Trauma. And we can, something can happen. And we can be brought back into thinking about that and into that unpleasant place. And that certainly isn't fun. And I think Lucy, and I see it happen a lot with our beautiful people, our beautiful members, the people in our Real Life Medicine community and world are traumatised by toxic diet culture. And there is lowercase and capital T trauma scattered throughout there. And I can be really surprised sometimes when I think that my language is moderate and loving as it is most of the time, I can still trigger people. And a big part of what we do is helping people understand what's going on with their brain when they're triggered, so that you can be triggered less often because it ain't fun. You don't really want to live your life like that.


Dr Lucy Burns: (9:04) No. In fact, what happens is when you can learn to identify what's going on. And as I said, people are at varying stages. So some people haven't even, don't recognise that it's a trigger. They just have those uncomfortable feelings. They feel yucky, though, you know, they've got gut or as I said, they've got chest pain, they don't actually realise that they've been triggered by something. But when you learn to identify something that is triggering you, the next step is to actually take a little bit of ownership of that, because you can change it. We don't want to be in that situation where we feel helpless and that we can't control anything unless we don't experience the trigger. Because that just means you have to live your life stuck in your house. And maybe even that's triggering, or you know, so this idea that, “Ah, okay, I see what happened here that It's triggering”. Now, of course, I make it sound quite benign there like, “No, I'd see there’s an ice cream sundae”. And I recognise that for a lot of people it is much more dramatic than that. But a brain is also a pattern machine. That's why it does this. So the things that trigger you will trigger you time and time again. And when you learn to recognise that pattern, you can then start to look at your beautiful thoughts and think, “Hmm, could I think differently about this situation?” And if you can come to that point, “Could I think differently?” That will open up a beautiful range of possibilities for your brain. If your response is, “no, I can't think differently, this is how it is’, then really, then you’re kind of stuck with that one option. And it will be so much better, I think, if you've got a range of options to choose,


Dr Mary Barson: (10:59) Yes, I have this lovely tool that I use and a tool that we teach our beautiful people borrowed from the Emotion Coaching Gottman Institute's research around parenting, around emotionally coaching your children, because you can, yes, emotionally coaching your children is a really sensible thing to do. But, before that, we actually need to emotionally coach ourselves. And I love this tool. It's so simple, and I'm gonna kind of talk about it now. Get excited, everybody. So imagine you've got a remote control, okay, in your hand. And in this remote control, it's got three buttons, it's got stop, pause, play. And when you first notice - you need to bring awareness - when you first notice that your thoughts are going off in an unhelpful direction, that you've been triggered, somehow, you can push stop. And when you push stop, you just literally stop what you're doing and ground yourself. And a great way to ground yourself is to just quite literally put your feet on the ground. If you're sitting, just put your feet on the ground. If you're standing already, just notice your feet on the ground, that is your stop. 


(12:10) And then you can push pause. And with this pause, focus on your breath. Just simply take five deep breaths, you don't have to do it, obviously, you can if you want to, but you don't have to, you can just take five slow breaths, go right down into your belly. And when you're doing that you are turning on the relaxation pathways in your brain, the parasympathetic nervous system is getting activated. And you are bringing down your stress levels, bringing down your arousal levels down into a nice calm state. And you can feel that calmness in your body. And then you tune in and you just feel that calmness. Even if you're not completely calm, you might go from you know, an eight out of 10 stressed out, to a six out of 10 stressed out and you can just notice that calming. That's your pause. And once you notice that you've done that you can stop and ask yourself, ‘What do I need here? What is going on?” Have a little think about your thoughts. And there might be something that you need. It might be that you need to take a break, it might be that you need to call a friend. And it might be to maybe go outside and look at the sky. There might be something that you need in that, that you could do. And then once you've just taken - and we're talking really just a few seconds here, it doesn't take ages - once you've tuned into your body, you can then push play again. And then you can respond with that new understanding and pushing play means you can go and choose from the range of options that you have. What is the one that is right for you right now? Stop, pause, play.


Dr Lucy Burns: (13:55) I love that. I love that on so many levels. And I think it's like a variation on the ‘flip the lid’ thing. We can't make, nobody can make sensible decisions or decisions that they're usually happy with. If they're in that very heightened emotional stage, we know that we know your frontal, your prefrontal cortex has gone offline, you're acting from the place of your amygdala, the amygdala’s job is to keep you very safe. And it will do it sometimes to the detriment of your, you know, relationships, your friends. All kinds of things!


Dr Mary Barson: (14:30) Health goals.

Dr Lucy Burns: (14:32) All of the things. It will just make decisions that are really just for that minute, that second and then you go, “Actually I really didn't want to eat the tub of ice cream”, or “I didn’t really want to yell at my child, I was just having a moment”. So it’s an absolutely wonderful, wonderful technique. And it's interesting because as you were speaking then I was being lulled into some of the words that you do use in your hypnosis, which we both do when we teach our people, hypnosis sessions, we talk often about the relaxation phase and how important it is and how that, you know, just slowing your breathing down elicits your relaxation response. So if you've listened to our last few episodes, you will know that we do have a free hypnosis that is available. And hypnosis, I guess has two elements to it. At its very core, the whole point of it is to elicit a beautiful relaxation response. And for many of us, we literally do not spend any moments in active physiological relaxation. So active physiological relaxation is quite different to just, you know, sitting on the couch watching Netflix, that's not the same thing. I know, we use the same words and people go, I'm just gonna go and relax and watch Netflix, that's a perfectly fine thing to do. Don't think we're not happy with that idea, both Mary and I do that a fair bit as well. But this is an active physiological relaxation. And it's super, super important. That's the first part of the hypnosis, is to induce that state.

(16:08) And then while your brain’s off actually finally relaxing, instead of thinking about a million things, we just talked to it about some helpful suggestions. And in this case, it's about nurturing your body and your mind back to health with real food. So lovelies, if you'd like to go and download that hypnosis, you can, it’ll be in the show notes, but if you're driving, you just don't do it while you're driving. And never do hypnosis while you're driving. Never do hypnosis while you're driving and don't download it while you're driving. But pop this into your memory for later. It is just on our website. www.rlmedicine.com/nurture - all one word little letters, it’s a beautiful, nurturing experience. And that's what we'd like to leave you with today my loves.


Dr Mary Barson: (16:57) Goodbye, everybody. I hope you have a lovely day and bring just a little bit of awareness into your thoughts.


Dr Lucy Burns: (17:06) Absolutely. See you later beautiful ones. So my lovely listeners that ends this episode of Real Health and Weight Loss. I'm Dr. Lucy Burns.


Dr Mary Barson: (17:22) And I'm Dr. Mary Barson. We’re from Real Life Medicine. To contact us, please visit www.rlmedicine.com

Dr Lucy Burns: (17:33)
And until next time, thanks for listening. The information shared on the Real Health and Weight Loss podcast, including show notes and links provides general information only. It is not a substitute, nor is it intended to provide individualised medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, nor can it be construed as such. Please consult your doctor for any medical concerns.


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