Return to Your Body, Embrace Acceptance: Advice for Finding Peace with our New Normal

By Viviane Hens

As of this writing, the COVID-19 pandemic continues its merciless surge across the globe. Even if you haven’t gotten sick, odds are good that you have suffered in some way, experiencing disappointment with our “new normal.”

Perhaps you have postponed a graduation party, vacation, or wedding. Maybe your child’s birthday party had to be cancelled. Or, on a smaller scale, maybe you’re just feeling lonely or anxious because the world – with its new requirement of masks and social distancing – feels like such a scary place.

I want to assure you: feeling strong emotions is normal – healthy, even – in a time like this.

Mind-Body Connection

But as a result, your body is likely feeling the strain. After all, the mind and body are inexorably linked. When our minds are disturbed, our bodies often mirror this tension.

Renowned speaker and bestselling author Dr. Gabor Maté is well-known for his research on the mind-body connection. “Mind and body links have to be seen not only for our understanding of illness but also for our understanding of health,” he said. “Not to inform people of the links between emotions, stress, and physiology is to deprive them of a powerful tool.”[1]

Keeping in mind these wise words from Dr. Maté, I have some suggestions that can help.

Return to the Body

I believe that whether you are feeling triggered, trapped, anxious, or stressed, you need to return to your body. Deep, cleansing breaths are a great way to start.

Breathe out your troubles, and breathe in cleansing breaths of faith and hope. Consider adding deep breathing to your daily routine – ideally, several times per day.

Other useful modalities to escape our mental anguish include exercise (the joyful act of dancing is particularly helpful), TRE, and mindfulness. Basically, any activity to get you outside of your mind and back inside your body will help.


We certainly can’t control the state of the world, and as such, we need to release the weight of the world from our shoulders … and minds. Acceptance– acknowledging that this is the way things are – is important. Acceptance has the benefit of being both preventative and curative, and will help protect you from the burnout that comes from worry.

Allow yourself to feel your feelings. Acknowledge and accept your anxiety, resentment, anger, and exhaustion, and know it’s not wrong to have these feelings.

Ask for Help

Life is challenging for everyone right now, but it’s comforting to remember we are all in this together.

If physical movement, deep breathing, and acceptance aren’t doing the trick, please ask for help when you need it. Confiding in a trusted friend or mental health professional when the going gets rough can be highly beneficial for your health – body, mind, and spirit. 

Please to learn more.


Reduce stress… Minus the side effects

Every human being on earth is affected by stress and anxiety on occasion. It is completely normal to feel anxious about stressors such as an upcoming deadline, or a loved one’s recent illness. But, in addition to the regular stress we all experience, chronic anxiety disorders are also on the rise.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA):

  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects 7.7 million adults, or 3.5% of the U.S. population.
  • Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population, every year.
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the U.S. population. And, women are twice as likely to be affected by GAD as men.
  • And, when it comes to anxiety, even children aren’t immune. Anxiety disorders affect 25.1% of children between 13 and 18 years old. Research shows that children with untreated anxiety disorders are at higher risk to perform poorly in school, miss out on important social experiences, and engage in substance abuse.

Side Effects of Medication

Of course, if you’ve ever dealt with anxiety, you know it is a beast; you just want it gone as quickly as possible. Often, doctors will prescribe a psychiatric medication to help treat your symptoms – fast. Xanax comes to mind.

In many cases, medication is a necessary part of an individual’s treatment, and people should certainly listen to the advice from their doctor. But it is important to note that many of these medications can have some serious side effects. 

Common side effects from anti-anxiety medications include confusion, sleepiness, upset stomach, sexual dysfunction and muscle weakness. In the case of the anti-anxiety medication family known as benzodiazepines (which include Valium, Ativan, and Xanax), abuse of the medication can result in dependency, injury and even death.


Perhaps you aren’t reliant on anti-anxiety meds to reduce stress. But maybe you come home and drink three glasses of wine, binge Netflix for four hours, or browse Amazon and make an extravagant purchase after an especially hard day. This is known as “self-medicating,” and is also unhealthy if done to excess.

Healthy Alternative

How can we reduce our stress, without worrying about these pesky side effects? TRE provides a solution that “shakes free” from traditional talk therapy.

Once learned, TRE can be done comfortably in the privacy of your own home. It can be used to help you unwind after a long and stressful day. Its benefits have been shown to bring rest and relaxation to participants. It can be a soothing salve to a weary mind, body and soul. Best of all, TRE offers zero harmful side effects.

So, if you are dealing with chronic stress or anxiety, certainly listen to your doctor. But keep in mind the potentially harmful side effects that psychiatric medications, and some forms of self-medicating, can bring.

Consider adding a wholesome, healthy TRE regimen to your life as a healing practice.  Viviane Hens of TRE | Atlanta is a TRE provider and she is available to help you begin today.

Be the Top Dog in Your Life

Viviane Hens with Luigi Xuxa

When it comes to stress, we can learn a lot from our animal friends. A plump housecat may do a few yoga-like stretches, followed by a leisurely nap. And a high-strung dog will often shake and quiver to deal with their fear. Both species can teach us the wisdom of the natural world, reminding us of the importance of releasing stress.

The shaking seen in dogs and other wild animals, both during and after a stressful event, can be likened to the purposeful trembling we use in TRE. Similar to animals, humans can use this type of release to our benefit, dissipating tension and hastening our healing.

How about you? Are you ready and willing to take advice from your canine companion?

Canine Quivering 101

When it comes to dogs, although they may appear stressed out, their quivering ultimately helps them burn off their nervous energy. From the website

“Dogs can shake or tremble for a variety of reasons both medical and behavioral,” says animal behaviorist Megan E. Maxwell, PhD. “There are many cases where shaking is related to anxiety. Dogs will tremble during thunderstorms, fireworks or in response to other loud noises. They sometimes will shake during vet visits, in new places or in the car …There’s a burst of energy, and the shaking burns it off.”[1]

For dogs, this trembling isn’t something they have been taught. It has been hard-wired into them from birth; a gift from Mother Nature. Dogs intuitively understand that the shaking and quaking will ultimately calm them down.

Observe Mother Nature – Use TRE

Take it from the dogs: using TRE in your daily life can help you relax, naturally. The physical release of tension can facilitate the reduction of stress and nervous energy, making us feel whole and calm again.

The wisdom of TRE is evident in the natural world. As human beings, we can learn much from our animal friends, if we are only wise enough to listen.


Taylor Swift and TRE?!

Shake it Off with TRE

Taylor Swift’s iconic song, “Shake it Off,” has really resonated with the public. The Grammy-nominated pop track has gone multi-platinum and has become a pervasive “ear worm” for young and old alike.

While we have a great time singing and dancing along, most people can also instinctually relate to the lyrics. Whether someone has said something rude to us, we are feeling anxious about an upcoming decision, or we had a bad day at work, we can all subconsciously understand the benefits of “shaking it off.” This relatability is in large part why the song has become such a hit.

TRE – Available anytime

With TRE, the act of shaking it off is so easy to incorporate into daily life. Once learned, it can be done in the privacy of our own homes any time we’d like.

Some of its benefits include better sleep, reduced stress and anxiety, a greater amount of resiliency, and increased feelings of optimism. TRE is a useful tool in our toolbox to help ourselves heal our souls, spirits and bodies in today’s fast-paced, stressed-out world – and it’s there for us whenever we need it.

No equipment needed

Best of all? It’s an all-natural, drug-free healing modality. No specific equipment is needed, and it is easy to learn. The biggest challenge is committing to a regular practice.

By adding a regular TRE regimen to your life, you’ll likely be happier, healthier, and even more optimistic about your future. Use TRE as your “secret weapon,” and you’ll give your entire life a healthy boost. 

So, take it from brilliant singer-songwriter, Taylor Swift: shake it off – and then move on with your day.

A little less talk – a lot more TRE

When it comes to self-care most guys would rather go fishing than go for therapy. In fact, they would rather go anywhere else. Why do men avoid seeking help?

Research shows that women are twice as likely to see a therapist then men. Why is this true?

Research has shown that men would rather “fix” than talk. Most wives have experienced this – for example, when wanting to share about your day, a husband may listen for a problem to fix, rather than just let you vent.

Men also have a tendency to avoid opportunities to discuss their feelings. They skew toward logical/rational discussion versus diving into their emotions on a topic – whether the feelings are his or someone else’s.

Men are more likely to turn toward external relief or “self medication” rather than talk through a problem they are experiencing. They numb the problem with drinking or just tuning out to a sports game, burying or avoiding a struggle. This traps stress in your body and can create physical and emotional symptoms that are hard to live with – whether it’s physical pain or angry outbursts.

Time and again it’s been proven that the “boys don’t cry” and “walk it off” mentality pushed on boys and men is not helping them in the long run. Luckily, some high-profile men are breaking with tradition and opening up:

Wayne Brady ( What’s Your Line” ) opened up about his depression:

Brandon Marshall (New York Giants) talked about the stigma associated with seeking help:

TRE offers a unique way of helping people heal from trauma and stress.  And it’s an excellent option for men you prefer not to discuss their struggles – it’s not talk therapy.  It’s seven simple exercises led by a TRE provider.  Both the provider and the client spend more time listening and observing than they do talking.

  • TRE is not going to ask him how he feels.
  • TRE provides ample space and time for any type of response.
  • TRE offers an alternative to talk therapy.  It’s been highly successful with military veterans dealing with PTSD for all the reasons listed.
  • TRE gives a practical way of addressing feelings and needs through “shaking it off” rather than talking it out.
  • TRE seeks to let men know that their mental health is as important as their physical health

Want to learn more?
Check out these videos from men sharing how TRE has made a difference for them:

CEO does TRE to relax and reduce stress.
“I feel lighter, I don’t feel the pressure and I can think clearer”.

Why is TRE good for young men?
It brings them out of their head and back into their bodies and softens the often rigid structure. 

Heal stress with this profound somatic approach.

by Viviane Hens

I was first introduced to TRE® (Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises®) in 2009 my early experiences with TRE® and the positive results it provided inspired me to become a TRE® provider.  To learn the program, I attended many trainings in the US and other countries with Dr. David Berceli the founder of TRE®. Since then I have shared the technique with hundreds of people seeking relief from stress.

In every session of this simple and gentle practice, I stand in deep appreciation for each individual’s ability to heal themselves.

TRE® is based on the idea that in stressful situations, our body contracts to protect itself. This is a biological response. After the stress is over, the ideal response is a release of the contraction that brings us back to the desired state of balance and relaxation.

The way that the body releases the contraction is through tremoring and shaking.  We are conditioned to believe that shaking is a sign of weakness and we tend to inhibit this healing response or stop the shaking. By practicing TRE® we reactivate this natural releasing mechanism in our body with immediate and sometimes amazing results.

The seven exercises that makeup TRE® are designed to work the legs, tiring them out to create shaking, which begins in the legs and will often spread throughout the body. This gentle shaking is actually the nervous system’s way of discharging long-held tension or unconscious muscle contraction in order to restore the body to wholeness.

The tremors release tension all over the body and in particular in the Psoas muscle.  This is the main muscle of Fight, Flight, or Freeze.  The Psoas contracts every time something stressful happens, and it tends to be tight in absolutely everybody.

The unique element of TRE® is that you don’t need to know what it is that you are releasing.  There is no need to tell your story or sit through hours of talk therapy. It is simply a neurophysiologic release that is enjoyable and effective. Memories and emotions may pop up and if they do, you observe (and are encouraged not to evaluate).

TRE | Atlanta clients have reported better sleep, reduced pain, a lessening of anxiety and depression, a feeling of calm, and the ability to respond to life rather than to react to it.

Regardless of my client’s backgrounds, each person that experiences the tremoring response feels very relaxed at the end of a session.  Some have reported feeling as if they have had a massage!

Once you learn TRE®, it can be a natural part of your life – just like taking a shower or brushing your teeth. Dr. Berceli first created TRE® while he was working as a trauma therapist in war zones and disaster areas, where people needed self-help tools to alleviate the many symptoms of PTSD.

This is an effective practice that can improve anybody’s life.

Vivian Hens lives and works in Atlanta, GA. She is accepting new patients and is excited to introduce all to you tools to address stress, help you understand how you can heal, and most importantly get back to enjoying every day.

For more information about TRE (and about all my activities) please visit my website and please contact me if you have any questions.

Quick Note: TRE® is suitable for people of all ages and level of fitness as the exercises can be modified to accommodate anybody’s needs.