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

My Reiki Moment…

I have to admit to being quite a Dawn-Fan.  She treated me throughout & beyond my second pregnancy,  has been my saviour when I have experienced acute back pain, as well as to treat more deep-seated stress or trauma-based pain. I think I have probably been treated to most of Dawn’s Maga Therapy tool box over the years – all of which have had resulted in immediate (& lasting) relief & relaxation.

My ‘Reiki moment’ was after I had injured my knee whilst running. I climbed over a stile & must have just turned or twisted in the wrong direction. I felt a deep ‘pop’ somewhere in my knee – no pain, no dramatic tear or crunch, just a slightly odd *twisted* feeling. I ran on a little, then decided it was sensible to walk the rest of the way home.

A few hours later I couldn’t stand up. The pain was incredible – it had just crept up on me & I couldn’t put any weight at all on that leg. Dawn chatted a bit (she chats quite a lot… ;)) as she placed her hand gently on my knee. Then she went quiet (which usually means something serious is about to happen). I felt heat from her hand & then a very clear & strong feeling of my knee going round in circles under her hand. It was like the inner working of my knee were rotating. I told her what I could feel & she said ‘I know. But it needs to go the other way. I need to make it turn’. Then she went quiet again & I felt the circling slow, stop, & then start to judder in the opposite direction. It juddered a little more then started flowing freely in the other direction.

The pain had completely gone away & it never came back. I have absolutely no idea *what* was going round in circles, & then changed direction… but it worked!

I don’t question why or how what Dawn does, works – but it absolutely does. I can’t recommend her highly enough

Wendy

Click HERE to book your bespoke treatment

'It's All About ME' | By Dawn SymonsA PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR A HEALTHY BODY AND MIND

 

When you become embroiled in extreme stress and burnout, one of the biggest difficulties is that is that on the surface you appear to be ‘normal’, healthy and well.

Loaded popular beliefs that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME) does not exist, along with labels such such as hypochondriac, attention seeker or lazy, do little to resolve the emotional conflict of this crippling disease.

What I know for sure is that there are things that you can do… I know this to be true because I had to find and do them myself.

I wrote this book because I burned out 3 times. Frantically chasing a solution for my problems made things even worse. But after many long years I found a solution which is the exact opposite of frantic…

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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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