Emma talks with Psychologist – Dr Sophie Muir 

Join me, Emma Ferris, while I talk with the fabulous Dr Sophie Muir about what we can do to help survive and thrive through trauma, grief and life change. Sophie is a clinical psychologist that has her background working in corrections and had first-hand experience working in psychology with criminals. It was due to this background that I connected with Dr Sophie and had her collaborate on my upcoming podcast, Conning The Con. 

She is a wise woman and I am thrilled to have her share her wisdom with us on how we can nurture our mental health. 

Now working in a private practice as a Psychologist, Sophie works with people who have mental health difficulties including anxiety, stress, depression, relationship problems, difficulty with emotions and decisions who are trying to work through these common difficulties. Sophie focuses on how people behave and how that can affect so many areas of our life, which I find fascinating as our brain interacts in so many aspects of trauma. 

With the effects of Covid-19 not only in New Zealand but around the whole world, there is a huge traumatic process and we are all beginning to think about how it impacts us and what is normal?

When we go into a trauma, we are in fight or flight mode where your blood pressure rises, breathing becomes shallow and your muscles tense. It becomes really hard to think clearly, people are reactive and impulsive and feel frantic. Sound familiar? In Sophie’s sessions, she works on helping people find and implement strategies to calm themselves and get their brain working in an integrated way again.

One of the difficult things about going through trauma is that some people experience more of the ‘freeze’ response, which is the root of real disruption in life. Where you feel really stuck, powerless and blocked from carrying out your protective response. Sound familiar again? This is what Sophie is finding a lot of people are experiencing with Covid-19. They feel very immobilised and powerless whilst carrying around a lot of uncertainty. Not only during these times will our body feel like this.. Our body is always going to react to bullying, abuse, traumas, divorce, grief and of course Covid-19.  

How do people change? The body-mind connection and helping people to engage with others that they feel safe around is a big part of ‘change’. Being in the presence of someone who is calm, can reduce your own psychical activation and by engaging in activities that make you feel really powerful, strong and confident. 

I asked Sophie what she advises people that have been through life events and how do we build back a normal sleep routine? When you are in fight or flight mode your body is not going to allow you to rest if you are trying to protect yourself and there are strategies depending on your degree of sleep difficulty which include:  

-Creating an environment that signals a safe, restful time. 
-Hot showers
-Dim lighting
-Restful music
-Calming smells. 

This opens up an ‘you are safe at this moment’ moment. 

If you are facing trauma, tell someone and look into finding support. This is where you can start identifying the people and places that make you feel safe and powerful and create a structured routine.

I hope myself and Sophie have set in place a starting point to open a conversation for people to talk about mental health more and connect the dots between how the body has been stuck in a state triggered by trauma or grief and how you can unwind it. 

To learn more or connect with Sophie you can go to www.drsophiemuir.com – ‘Helping clients cope with distress and live more satisfying lives.’

Need to talk? 

Visit Reachout here: https://au.reachout.com/mental-health-issues

Or Headspace here: https://headspace.org.au/ 

There are a range of services, initiatives and organisations contributing to preventing suicide. This includes suicide prevention training and services delivered into communities. There are also a range of Māori and Pacific community suicide prevention programmes including Waka Hourua and Kia Piki te Ora.

Ready to get control of stress and take the first step along your breath journey? You can learn from us at The Breath Effect: https://www.thebreatheffect.com/  https://www.facebook.com/TheBreathEffect/ https://www.instagram.com/thebreatheffect/

To connect with me at The Breath Effect you can reach out to https://www.thebreatheffect.com/contact/ or join me on my 30-day online Virtual Retreat ‘The Busy Woman’s Guide To Cultivating Calm’ here https://info.thebreatheffect.com/joinnow42544028