Our Body Keeps the Score. How Mindfulness Helps.

Our body keeps the score. What does this mean? It means that through experiences, neural pathways are developed. The implicit memory system stores information, particularly when an experience triggered a strong emotional response. When new experiences arise that are similar, it can trigger a response that may have been useful in a past experience, but may actually be unhelpful in the present. While these responses made survival possible for our ancestors and other animal species, those species bodies regulated once the threat passed.

However, since we have expanded cognitive abilities, our perceptions can prevent our bodies from returning to its regulated state. Additionally, chronic stress, rather than acute stressful experiences, can leave us in an activated state for extended periods. This is what is happening when we feel “stuck.” In this state, protective responses narrow our capacity to feel and express. While it might seem to mitigate difficult emotions, it also inhibits peace, joy, and our sense of intimate connection.

We Can Rewire the Brain

Just like physical therapy after an injury slowly rebuilds muscles, (check out this amazing recovery of a paralyzed dog) the neuroplasticity of our brain enables us to rewire the neural pathways that have been created over time. But it must be conscious and intentional.

At Heartswell we utilize evidence-based modalities in our psychotherapy including Emotionally Focused Therapy, Internal Family Systems, and Somatic Therapies. We also strongly encourage integration of energy and body-based modalities (e.g. mindfulness and yoga) where the brain can take a back seat and the body can help with the healing.

Mindfulness is a powerful tool to help us consciously settle the mind so we can reconfigure patterns of thinking and behavior. Mindfulness comes in many forms including meditation, yoga, journaling, walking, breathing, and more.

Begin Your Journey Now

May is designated as National Meditation Month as well as Mental Health Awareness Month!

Both topics are deeply connected. A mindfulness routine is a powerful tool to allow your mind to be free and clear and serve your well-being in a helpful way. It can relieve suffering from depression and anxiety and lead to rediscovering joy and meaning in life. It can help you through unpleasant and challenging physical activities, pain, illness, and addiction recovery. It can also enhance experiences of pleasure including socializing, travel, and sex.

I am thrilled to announce two new offerings for the month of May, and one new offering for June! Click on the titles to learn more.


  • Thursday, May 20, 2021
  • 7:30 PM 8:30 PM
  • Virtual (map)

This new series is open to those men who have completed the Introductory Series and have experienced the benefits mindfulness brings to your life. You have witnessed what is possible, and are ready to move forward toward a better future.


  • Saturday, May 22, 2021
  • 9:00 AM 11:00 AM
  • Backyard of Paul Pettit (map)

We are thrilled to be able to offer this 2-hour all gender-inclusive workshop, face-to-face and outdoors! Francine Ronis and Paul Pettit will co-lead this practice session, each bringing their holistic practices to support you in your healing journey.


  • Monday, June 7, 2021
  • 7:30 PM 8:30 PM
  • Virtual (map)

Would you like some support with investigating what is keeping you stuck in life? This series will meet you wherever you are, whether you are just getting started or ready to take it to the next level. Join like-minded men and gain support from an experienced life coach and meditation teacher, Paul Pettit. Paul brings Eastern practices along with his experiences of the pressures of the corporate world, balancing family and business, and overcoming personal adversity. Learn more about Paul here.

Join us to continue, or start, your mindfulness routine!

from the journal...

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Couples & Individual Therapy - Virtually or In-person in Arlington, VA

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