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  • Tend To Yourself Thursday {5/30}: Learning From Nature’s Wisdom

    Welcome to another edition of Tend To Yourself Thursday.

    This week, let’s draw inspiration from an unexpected source: the innovative spider and its web. In Joshua Sokol’s article, spiders use their webs not just for catching prey, but as extensions of their mind. Known as extended cognition, the concept suggests a spider’s web is a crucial part of its thinking process, enabling it to interact with the world in more adaptable and sophisticated ways.

    Biologist and researcher, Hilton Japyassú looked at how the spider responds when its web is disturbed and where the guiding information comes from. “Is it in [the spider’s] head, or does this information emerge during the interaction with the altered web?” The article details examples of how animals utilize the body as a sensory apparatus to process information and respond to the environment effectively.

    As a holistic practitioner incorporating somatic psychotherapy, I appreciate the idea that cognitive processes extend beyond the brain and involve the entire body. Similar to the extended cognition observed in spiders, researchers have identified examples of a the idea in other animals, termed embodied cognition.

    So, what can we learn from this? Just as spiders use embodied cognition to extend their minds into their webs, we too can expand our cognitive and emotional processes through our bodies to process information more effectively. Embodied approaches to personal work and healing, like mindfulness and holistic psychotherapy, can help us bypass the mind’s traps and defenses by tuning into the body’s felt experience which cultivates deeper awareness, body-mind connection, and more effective processing of stress and trauma.

    Take a moment with me now to try a practice of embodied cognition:

    1. Sit back in your seat and take a few rounds of breath to connect with self
    2. Notice any thoughts or emotions going on without judgment
    3. Notice the felt sense of these thoughts or emotions in your body i.e. what sensations do you notice?
    4. Observe these sensations without assigning meaning to them. Whether pleasant or unpleasant, breathe with them and be curious about how they want to process, i.e. do they want to move? be embraced? be expressed? There’s no right or wrong.

    Remember, self-care is about weaving together various practices that support your mental, emotional, and physical health. By embracing holistic psychotherapy and embodied self-care practices, you can create a resilient and nurturing web that supports your well-being.

    If you’re interested in setting yourself up with further support, don’t hesitate to book a free consultation.