dawn-symons.com

My journey from Stress to Peace.

I know pain.

Your pain – During the last 30 years, I have been working in the clinical and private treatment of both physical and emotional ailments, ranging from conception/birth difficulties through to end-of-life palliative care and all stages in between.

My pain – During those same 30 years, I have burned out 3 times.

I have spent endless hours planning and working on overdrive to achieve my goals. This unintentionally created dissatisfaction with my life, by focusing on what I don’t have, and relentless chasing of these goals left me constantly stressed and exhausted. And so I would come up with a plan to solve that problem, and chase that goal – not realising that I was still perpetuating a vicious circle. Hence burning out 3 times.

What’s wrong?

During all of this time, I had a nagging feeling that the existing techniques for dealing with stress, burnout and related physical ailments were somehow…not enough.

The psychology approach to stress management can help for a while, but the problems often return. And the same is true for physical treatment of stress-related pain/injury/fatigue, etc.

The trouble, as I see it, is that none of the current approaches deal with the cause of stress. Because I believe stress is not caused by what happens in your life.

At least, not mainly. Allow me to explain, using a common example of what happens in our lives.

It’s early morning. Your children bustle down to the breakfast table, shouting at each other. Which emotion does this make you feel?

a) Irritation. Why do they have to make so much noise, all the time, every day?

b) Love. You are obviously raising energetic, lively, confident children.

How can the same event cause two such contrasting feelings? Because it is not the children that cause your feelings, at all. It is your attitude to them, and to life in general, that dictates your feelings. A positive outlook tends to encourage positive feelings about what happens in your life, while a negative outlook will more often foster negative feelings.

This is a useful realisation for us, but the Optimal Default setting goes much, much further than that. In fact, the Optimal Default Setting can make the things that happen in your life powerless to cause you stress (if you practice using it enough).

The Optimal Default Setting

If you let outside events influence your thoughts, then your related emotions/feelings will be, to a certain extent, at the mercy of random life events (further moderated positively or negatively by your attitude/outlook at the time). For many of us, this often means stressful feelings.

However, there is no need for our feelings to be at the mercy of life events.

In the developed world, we tend to face relatively few stressful situations that are truly life-essential, such as avoiding a car crash, putting out a fire, etc. Our common causes of stress, such as a criticism from your boss, an argument with your partner, an unexpected cost that will put you in the red this month – we regularly and routinely deal with these issues and move on with life. There is actually almost no need for them to cause us stress, but we let them anyway.

But I repeat – with only a few life-necessary exceptions, there is no need for our feelings to be at the mercy of life events. And the Optimal Default Setting demonstrates why.

The Thought Cloud

In 2009, scientists at Stanford University stated that we have up to 90,000 thoughts daily. Since then, it has been suggested by others that we are actually more likely to experience 250,000 thoughts daily.

All of these thoughts have the potential to influence our feelings. If we latch onto a negative thought, it can make us unhappy/angry/jealous, etc. But if we then latch onto another of these thousands of available thoughts, our feeling can suddenly change. We have all experienced this.

The key to the Optimal Default Setting is realising that only very few of our thoughts (and related feelings) are caused by outside life events. Far, far more of our thoughts (and potential related feelings) are just part of the thought cloud that all humans live in.

And here is the most beautiful part of the Optimal Default Setting – it doesn’t require any effort. You don’t have to keep monitoring your thoughts and actively decide to focus on something positive when a negative thought occurs. You don’t have to do anything at all. Just by realising that each thought (and related feeling) is only one of a cast cloud of thoughts (and potential related feelings) is enough to ease the stress. And the more we live with this realisation and let it become our natural ‘optimal’ default setting (hence the name), the more we feel our stress eased.

When I first had my Optimal Default Setting idea firmly in place, I found that right there in the moment, I had clarity and peace. My mind fog, created by an over-drive of thinking, cleared instantly, as I realised that I was responsible for myself and my thinking. This allowed me freedom, direction and purposeful, stress-free flowing thought.

Going back to what I said at the start, I have burned out 3 times. And I know pain. But this new way of thinking has brought me a level of peace which I had not previously experienced. And that peace has not gone away.

I hope it will do the same for you.

 “Dawn is an intuitive therapist who gives practical, credible and creative advice in relaxation and battling the pressures of the office and life.” – Eve Baldwin, Vice President of Human Resources, Personal Care Division, Unilever.
“Dawn is an incredible therapist. Her technical expertise& credentials are excellent, but she is more than a great masseuse (& she IS the best masseuse I’ve ever come across!) Dawn has a true gift for healing & understanding what an individual’s body needs at that moment.” – Wendy Powell, Founder + CEO, MuTu System Limited | Post-Partum Exercise Specialist.

If you would like to understand your body and learn how to turn life from Stress to Bliss BOOK YOUR APPOINTMENT HERE

To avoid sports burnout you need to change your nutritional intake, otherwise you can create the symptoms of burnout whether you are a keen sports person or couch potato!

How can you avoid Sports Burnout?

Regular exercise has countless health benefits, but it can mean you need to check and ‘tweak’ your nutritional intake. The correct balance will help you maintain your energy levels and protect you from ‘burn out’ and injury.

It is crucial to keep an eye on ‘Vitamin B Complex’, this is because their group combined role is the release of energy from food and help prevent burnout. If you have an active lifestyle and partake regularly in sports you will probably require slightly higher amounts of Vitamins B1, B3 & B5.

What should you be taking?

Click on the individual below links to find out more:

Calcium

Zinc

Iron

Vitamin B complex:

Vitamin C

Remember, exercise generates free radicals and can take its toll on your immune system especially if you have a stressed  & busy lifestyle. Vitamin C has a key role for all sports participants.

Vitamin E

During labour massage is a very powerful tool, it really helps you relax both mentally, physically and spiritually.

In early labour you may like to try the following:

Ask your partner to use one of their hands to stroke down the side of your spine, from your shoulder to your bottom. The other hand strokes down the other side of your spine, maintaining a rhythmical movement, with one hand constantly in contact with you. Long, slow strokes can be very soothing.

TIP: Make sure that your partner is massaging you using the whole of his/ her hand (and not just the heel) this way pressure will be much nicer and it’s easier on their wrists and hands!

If you’d like to try some aromatherapy oils Lavender and Clary Sage (ratio:2 drops) per  5mls of grapeseed (base) oil are great oil choices to relax you whilst during labour.
Avoid getting oil to the front of the body where your baby will come to rest, or near your breasts. Remember, your baby will recognise you by your smell and ‘learn’ who you are.

Massage During Advance labour

Massage can feel great especially at the base of you back, but NEVER directly over the spine. A slow firm pressure is often beneficial, but guide your partner as to what feels best.

Top Tip: Ask your partner to use their thumbs to make slow deep ‘circles’ over the dimples either side of the base of your spine. Remember, guide your partner as to what feels best.

My personal favourite oils to use during labour are jasmine, rose, and ylang- ylang. You can also use; bergamot, chamomile, frankincense, mandarin, and neroli.

 

BOOK YOUR MASSAGE HERE

Yes! stress can stop you conceiving. On the face of it having a child is something you expect to ‘do’ easily, especially if are fit and healthy… After several months of ‘ trying’ the shock of the situation sets in. Women unable to have children have a stereotypical image of being desperate and sad and there seems to be a stigma attached to not being able to have children. GP appointments and referral to specialist clinics can add to your worst fears leaving you feeling angry and frustrated too. Sadly the stress of the situation often affects the whole of your life, personal relationships and work situations. A major problem which you face can be anxiety and the effects of stress. The chemical changes which a stressed system evokes can cause difficulties.

Calm mind, calm body

Clients of mine have naturally conceived. One reported immediate cycle changes from as much as (historic) 44+ day cycles to 30 day cycles in less than 3 months, leading to pregnancy! Others with serious medical issues have resolved their stresses and function ‘normally’ without the strain of the dreaded emotions which have such a negative impact.

Things that may be running through your mind

We’ve been trying for a year and still nothing is happening. What is wrong with me? I want a baby because I love my husband and it would make us complete and even happier however my cycle has always been out of sync, I’ve rarely used contraception and know I can’t have a baby because something’s not working properly. Could stress be doing this? I know these things happen my nanny had the same problems and she’s lovely and brilliant with children but she could never have a baby. My mother was punched by a lady when mum was complaining about morning sickness.. The lady was angry that she couldn’t get pregnant. That scares me. I’m worried about how we will cope if we have a baby, I earn more than my partner and with the recession his work is less and less secure. There’s nothing worse than family and friends asking when we’re going to have a baby, it puts more pressure on us as a couple. We argue about it so much I think its destroying our relationship. I am so stressed out. I feel a failure. If I was a proper woman…. I’ve let my partner, my family and everyone that cares for me down. It’s all consuming almost obsessive. I can’t think of anything else. It’s too depressing for words I’ve partied hard when I was at ‘uni’ I wonder if I may have done something to stop my body working properly. I damaged my back in an accident 6 years ago and worry this has damaged something, but I wonder if I fall pregnant how pregnancy will affect me. All of my friends have children or babies, everyone talks about nappies, poo and feeds. I don’t begrudge them but it really gets to me, I’d prefer not to see anyone. My dad is depressed and has been for a long time he had a breakdown recently having a baby would make him happier and give him something else to focus on, I feel bad that I can’t make him feel better. My mother has had to put up with loads of sad family stuff, she’s a brilliant mum I don’t know if I can be that good. It’s not easy for the women in our family to have babies, it’s a genetic thing. It almost feels wrong to have a baby when my sister is struggling to cope with hers, and now her husband & her are having troubles. I’m worried I’ll lose friends family or hurt other people by having a baby. My younger sister had her baby first. The baby is over a year old and I don’t want to steal her limelight.

I Can Help You

In Person Appointments are available in London or Cornwall. If this is not convenient for you I also offer Telephone or Skype sessions.

BOOK YOUR TREATMENT WITH DAWN HERE

Have you experienced Reiki? It may well seem to be ‘mumbo jumbo’, but read what Ralph who has a been a scientist for his entire working life had to say in May 2011.

This is the exact email I received from Ralph, following a Reiki session with me.

A year or so ago I was having back and neck pain and was recommended to Dawn.  Expecting treatment to those parts of my body where the pain was, I was surprised when Dawn started work on my leg which was apparently the source of the problem.

After a period of massage I relaxed whilst Dawn very gently held my foot as I lay on the massage bench. This was when I experienced two very strange feelings.  First my knee cap felt as if it was moving up and down despite the fact that there was no apparent reason for it to be doing so. Dawn continued to gently hold my foot but did not move her hand in any way – I was watching  totally intrigued.. There was then the extremely strange feeling of something moving up and down my leg from my foot to my groin and back again.  It felt as if there were bubbles of something moving inside the leg up and  down for three or four minutes – a weird feeling unlike anything I had ever experienced before.  The movements then stopped and I have had no repeat of the pain or of the strange movements.

Wow!! I wanted to probe a little deeper here. This is the email I sent Ralph:

Thank you very much…..  I wonder can you give me an additional  line or two, from a perspective of logic and your deep understanding of science,  and consider that I believe (and you experienced) that it is somehow possible, using your hands whether on the client or off, (although I find it much ‘stonger’ if I am working hands on!) you can move ‘energy’ around the body to re-balance (the pain), and you can feel it and you know its happening you can’t see it even though you should be able to because it obvious!! And afterwards it feels much better, and that relief lasts…

I strongly believe there is something there and its just not been figured out yet. When someone experiences it it is quite incredible, it helps an individual in a very unique and beneficial way. I’m sure somehow it kick starts a ‘circuit’ somewhere that needs a tweak, that that little boost gets it up and running again and it puts ‘it’ right, whatever ‘it’ might be…. that’s the only scientific’ish’ way I can describe it, and if I write that people may well think I’m bonkers (!!) so Ralph, what do think, how would you possibly describe Reiki?  Dawn

This was his reply:

Amongst other topics I have worked on during my half century as a scientist is energy in its many forms. I fully comprehend the concepts of energy conservation, the different forms in which energy can manifest itself and the ways in which energy can flow from one point in space to another.

I am certain that there was some flow of something in my leg whilst Dawn was holding it and this something had an effect.  I think I must have experieced a flow of energy  in some form which I am unable to identify. What it was, how it started to flow and how it affected my body are all facts that are incomprehensible to me

Maybe somebody sometime will have an explanation that either fits conventional science thinking or does not.  – Ralph.

A question I have often been asked is how does Maga Therapy relieve the symptons of stress?

Long term stress can affect you in many ways as I previously noted (Read more…) With symptoms including headaches, migraines, asthma, skin conditions e.g. eczema, heart-burn, IBS, tension, aches and pains you can very easily feel anxious or depressed (also classic symptoms of stress) and wonder if there is anything that will actually help.
 
I have to explain the just how Maga Therapy can help you, and HAS to be my number one on the stress busting list!
 
It’s not just a case that someone does something ‘nice’ to you for an hour or so, nor that you were able to schedule an hour into your busy routine, there are more powerful ‘forces’ at work which actually decrease the stress levels and (albeit temporarily) will neutralise the effects (obviously, the more regularly you have one the better your body will respond and ‘learn’ to relax.
Basically (as jargon free as I can make it) the stopping what you are doing and doing nothing allows your body to produce less stress hormones (you will remember the fight or flight ones from your adrenal system from school I am sure).

Excessive amounts of stress hormones cause of the problems we suffer physically.Stress hormones are produced in the Adrenal Galnds (Read more here) and are in a ‘normal’ day to day situation useful, making us more alert or having better memory etc, however, prolonged pumping the hormones will actually prove harmful long term.

For example, indigestion and stomach ulcers can be directly linked to the over production of stress hormones because the hormones affect the digestive system, it becomes sluggish and we break food down much slower than we should, as well as having excess acids produced which in time can affect the lining and cause it to ulcerate. Of course, for all of us who have had stressful periods of life, how easy is it to skip meals and survive on coffee and cigarettes (most of us have done it!!)
 
The muscles are helped greatly by the release of tension and tightness. Fatigue in muscle tissue is reduced by removing lactic acid, this helps prevent the formation of fibrositis (inflammation within the muscle fibres), thus, muscles work at maximum efficiency!

Our skeleton is affected by Maga Therapy (MT) too! Massage warms joints, reduces pain and increases production of synovial fluid which protects bone ends.

Our heart receives the very positive assistance from MT too! It increases blood circulation bringing oxygen to muscles and removing waste products such as lactic acid, helps heat up cold extremities, e.g. hands and feet, generally increases heart function.

Our lymphatic system (this is where many waste products are removed)is enhanced by MT resulting in reduction of excess fluid in tissues (oedema) and toxins.

Our breathing becomes slower and deeper. Lung efficiency is increased so more oxygen taken in and more carbon dioxide expelled, our body relaxes when our breather becomes deeper, slower and more efficient.

Our urinary system is kick started and there is an increase of the production of urine, removal of waste products and toxins.

Our digestive system starts to work more effective thus helps prevent constipation (or if IBS an issue, it balances it and slows gut action down)

The action on the endocrine system itself is very important, MT aids circulation of hormones around the body, it can assist depression by helping the uptake of the hormone Serotonin, and relieves stress by decreasing the levels of Adrenaline.
 
So you see, Maga Therapy HAS to be the best (and immediately effective) thing you can do.  But, that’s only a small wedge of the pie.  What else?? So this time I am thinking for most of us stopping and doing nothing for 10-15 mins is an impossible task, but consider how mad that actually sound 10-15 mins THAT’S ALL!

How to prolong or ‘learn’ to relax?
 
You will notice I burn either oil or incense when treating. There are many reasons for this but the main one is that  you can recreate a relaxing ambience at home,light a candle, burn some relaxing oil, put a relaxing CD to play and your body will respond and ‘release’ your tension.

So, you have the MT treatment rationale, now you know about the music, next the lovely odours. A  few drops of your favourite essential oil in water on the burner  will create a relaxing ambiance and help you chill out, dim the lights if you can and just stop……………turn off the phone (or put it on silent with no vibrate,),  it won’t matter for a few mins to not be ready to take a call!

Do nothing at all for 10 mins. Breathe deeply (many believe breathing is the key to success when it comes to stress busting!) Breathe deeply creating a Buddha belly, this will ensure you use all of your lung as opposed to a half or so of it!

Personal Note From Dawn Symons:

One CD which is widely available is’ Sleep’ by a company called Solitudes- this CD has been designed with the alpha waves wound throughout which actually causes you to relax and sends you to sleep!

Read more stress busting tips here

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