A new kind of happy – removing anxiety in adults.

I have always been aware of the sound of my monotone voice. While I am considered articulate, my dyslexia has prevented me from understanding natural pauses taken when reading (observing punctuation) and even talking itself. However, the most embarrassing aspect of this particular problem is listening to myself talk in public for my work. The tone of my voice never carried a melodic flow of those around me. Fortunately, my colleagues have, over the years, seen this as a quirky personality trait and were more interested in what I had to say, than how I said it.

On a more personal level, it is the effect it has had on the interaction between my wife and me. We have been happily married for fourteen years, but my slightly screechy voice has at times caused problems. When discussing things of great importance to her she has often misinterpreted my inflexion, or lack of intonation, as indifference, nothing could be further from the truth.

However, a solution in-part came to me in the most unlikely of ways, in my quest to reduce my anxiety of continually being pushed to my cognitive capacity and feeling unable to cope, I was actively looking to train my adult brain.

That feeling of brain freeze, feeling overwhelmed, and more common prior rather than during the actual event in anticipation, was increasingly getting worse as various promotions came in. As career responsibilities grew, my anxiety proportionality increased.

As one of those individuals who always felt at fault, continually trying to improve and iron out flaws, it was somewhat ironic, my so-called defects, dyslexia and all the issues that surround this diagnosis, was the thing that made me unique in the first place. Regardless, in this fault correcting endeavour I came across a book called “The Brain that Heals Itself,” by Dr Norman Doidge. One of the many amazing stories led me down a convoluted yet interesting path of finding a fast therapy solution that helps reduce anxiety (also known as the fear response). The therapy called the “Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP)” produced by Integrated Listening Systems (iLS). Safe and Sound protocol, was a short five-day listening programme that I could undertake in the evenings as the family settled. There was science behind it, forty years of research by Dr Stephen Porges (further explained in his book “The Polyvagal Theory”). Hence, I wanted to give it a try, mainly as the by-product of anxiety for me manifested in stress headaches and a constant feeling of impending cluster headaches.

Sadly, many a weekend had been written off sleeping in a darkened room after an intensive week at work. So, I contacted a lovely therapist at Raviv Practice London who checked my suitability and enrolled me on the course for five days in July. During the course, there was no dramatic change apart from a few side effects of feeling jumpy, but these soon settled.

However, after the course, there was a noticeable difference in my energy level as the therapy works with the parasympathetic system. Due to all those activities of relaxation, digestion and mental clarity without a sense of dread – there was space between my thoughts and me, nothing felt on top of me in the same burdening way.

Significantly, this space between me and my thoughts also helped me be more congruent with my wife. First, by listening carefully and then identifying, in myself, I truly wanted to be more attentive. Shortly after, I noticed the change in the tone of my voice, softer, much softer. There was a happy tilt when I spoke, and it was now more in tune with hers. Suddenly her mirror neurons or empathy channels tuned in more and wanted a connection not experienced before. A new kind of happy came into being.

Now when I listen, I can hear the tones of others more clearly, something I could never do before. Moreover, though I still cringe at watching playbacks of my professional presentations, I notice a more relaxed body and a more relaxed face. Confidence and self-belief never experienced before.

Reproduced by kind permission of Charles – London

Note: The Safe and Sound protocol is used for adults and children who experience anxiety or have had a traumatic experience. Raviv Practice London offers 5 day rentals to adults wanting to do this therapy at home.

We are to supply both the adult listening programme as well as that suited to children.

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