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Perhaps the most profound effect of facial palsy is on a person’s self-image. What bothers people most is their appearance, and inevitably causes stress and grief.
Looking in the mirror and feeling shame about your appearance is unfortunately part of the facial palsy journey.
We are such a visual society. We rely on another's facial expressions to read the moment. When you are unable to physically create that representation of how you feel, it creates self consciousness.
Find information and Free Downloads below for Stress and Grief.
Stress Compromises The Ability to Heal
Medical research estimates as much as 90 percent of illness and disease is stress related.
What we feel as stress is the product of the sympathetic nervous system or the “fight or flight” response - an almost instantaneous surge in heart rate, cardiac output, blood pressure, sweating, shallow breathing, and metabolism, combined with a tensing of muscles. Internally, the “fight or flight” response shuts down digestion and elimination and reduces blood flow to the internal organs. Short term, this stress reaction is a good thing. The “fight or flight” response prepares us to respond to any environmental threat by fighting against it or fleeing from it. But long term, continuous exposure to stress is harmful, placing excess wear and tear on the body’s systems and severely limiting the body’s natural maintenance and healing abilities. The nervous system is super sensitive to stress. Because of the other stresses I was experiencing in body, mind and heart, I found myself in long pauses with no improvement.
When activated, the parasympathetic nervous system lowers blood pressure, heart rate and respiration (the pace of the breath). Digestion and elimination are allowed to be stimulated, and blood is free to travel to the digestive, reproductive, glandular, and immune systems — systems necessary for the promotion of long-term health. This is the “relaxation response” also known as the “rest and renew” stage, when the body has the time and resources to heal.
Here I share an 11min audio meditation that takes you through progressively relaxing the body, the breath and the nervous system. It is designed to activate the "relaxation response".
Many find it helpful to reduce anxiety and to fall asleep.
Feel free to download it and use it as often as you need to.
The Shame and Grief of Facial Distortion
Did you ever imagine a time before Bells Palsy when you would be grateful to see wrinkles again or that you would be so happy not to have to hold your eye shut any longer while your rinse your hair?!
Everything is awkward, like eating and drinking in front of others, showing your face not only in public but at work everyday. I really noticed that the camera accentuates the disfigurement - my 50th birthday pictures make me cringe.
I teach in front of a camera several times a week and have recordings of classes I have taught throughout this journey, that were shared to the participants.
No one else shamed me. I just became naturally very self-conscious about my appearance and my speech.
I transformed my current feelings of shame, and the layers of buried shame, through the healing art form I teach and practice called Alchemical Healing.
The fact that I am a yoga teacher and medicine woman, and could not heal myself in a timely fashion added to my self-imposed shame. I believe that everything happens for a reason, I have learned and grown so much through this process, I am grateful for the heightened awareness, and commitment to myself, and the appreciation of things I took for granted. I wouldn't have learned all of this to share with you through my own lengthy journey with Facial Palsy.
You can learn more about a Healing Session with me here:
I also practiced a mantra meditation that expressed
I Am Beautiful, Inside and Out.
This repeated phrase brought up the sorrow and grief of my outward appearance. Keep repeating it until your tears are spent and you believe it no matter what your face looks like.
Welcome to My Monthly Free Healing Circles for Bell's Palsy
The 3rd Tuesday of each month 7:30-9:00pm EST
Welcome to My YouTube Channel
Get inspired with ongoing tips and guidance. View all of Nik's Bell's Palsy Youtube videos here.
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