What’s the difference between a thought (cognition) and feeling (emotion)?

We often jump to thoughts and opinions automatically when faced with a “problem”. Feelings present problems, that is, needs or demands upon the mind to work, i.e. to think. But, what if instead of rationalizing our feelings, we simply sought to feel them? Acknowledging and feeling emotions for what they are “energy in motion”, helps our bodies process them and return to a steady state of wellbeing. Feelings serve to heighten our awareness that something unexpected or unfamiliar is happening, they are neither good nor bad.

Why do some symptoms never completely resolve?

While the term holistic health is widely accepted in the community, traditional health concepts and practices frequently fail to integrate mind, body, and spirit. Physical and mental health are often treated as separate entities, by different healthcare practitioners. Given time to explore more closely, connections between seemingly disjointed symptoms are often revealed, along with common underlying themes and a path to true cure.

What’s the role of therapy / counselling in naturopathic medicine?

Integrative Body Psychotherapy (IBP) is a type of mind-body medicine, a psycho-somatic therapy, that aims to help patients integrate their somatic and psychological experiences. Like naturopathic medicine, it’s an energetic model that helps activate our natural resources to optimize health and wellbeing. We all have an inherent ability to heal ourselves physically, metally, emotionally, and spiritually, if we create the right conditions. The foundation of IBP is building awareness of the body through breathing and using the breath to access the wisdom stored within each of us.

How bad is stress for you really?

Stress, whether we’re mindful of it, has a physiological effect. Somatization is the physical expression of emotions and stress (e.g., butterflies in your stomach). Physical illness / trauma can also trigger mental health issues: panic, anxiety, depression, etc. There’s constant two-way communication between our mind and body. The stress response (fight, flight, freeze, or fragment) is involved in 90% of illness. Cortisol (the stress hormone) shuts down our immune system to conserve energy for fighting or fleeing, even in the absence of imminent danger. Fear of something can be more harmful than the threat itself. By simply believing in a negative outcome, a substance with no measurable medical effect can make you feel worse or aggravate your symptoms. This is the nocebo effect.

What are the benefits of positive thinking?

The “positivity effect” is our ability to analyze a situation where the desired result / outcome was not achieved AND still obtain positive feedback (e.g., learning and building resilience) that assists us in future situations and develops us as individuals. We are all inherently disposed to be optimistic, but situations surrounding us can cause short- and long- term negative behaviours. Despite changing environmental conditions, we must strive to consistently show ourselves unconditional positive regard.

Next time you post on social media, remember that humans are emotionally affected by positive news more than twice than negative news. The more positive you are the more followers and “likes” you’ll get because the content is more engaging and inspiring. Allow yourself and others to stay physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually open to receiving positivity, even if it may seem strange at first because so many of us are accustomed to feeling “not good enough”.

In health, Dr. Vanessa