We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Toolkit

IMG_2161As the country transitions into the new presidential administration, it’s impossible to ignore the general restlessness in the air. People are walking around more highly charged than ever before as national identity enters a state of flux and personal futures are held in the balance. Many are reporting symptoms such as pressure in the chest, muscular tightness and pain, difficulty focusing, trouble falling asleep, and more. These are common reactive symptoms to stress, but when they become too much for the body to hold, anxiety and restlessness transforms into listlessness, apathy, and avoidance.

For those of us who want to sustain and even thrive during this period of high trauma, it is imperative that we expand our self-care toolkits. Alternating between high charge and numbness is not a tenable state, so what interventions are available to calm the nervous system and bring functioning back on line?

So many people are intellectually overloaded from the news of each day, making it difficult to engage cognitive strategies since executive functioning is a limited resource and easily depleted. Mindfulness modalities such as meditation are helpful, but when our bodies are carrying such a high charge, it can feel next to impossible to sit.

So how do you down-regulate the nervous system so that you have full access to all the tools in your self-care kit?

MOVEMENT HELPS

IMG_2581At TRE Los Angeles we teach a simple and quick set of movements that turn on the body’s natural rebalancing process known as the therapeutic tremor. When activated safely, playing mind to physical and psychological comfort, this tremor can help release everything from everyday stress to deeply held physical tension and trauma. The immediate result is the down-regulation of the nervous system and a return to a sense of safety and calm.

We teach therapeutic tremor activation in a suite of regulation and resilience-building skills. Knowing when to use which skill is just as important. So if you don’t have access to the therapeutic tremor our #1 self-regulation hack is orientation. This exercise is useful when there is so much charge in the body that you can’t sit with it. Instead of attempting to push it down or ignore the charge, engage the senses and connect to your external environment.

  • Begin by slowly turning your head from side to side, allowing your eyes to track along with the movement of your head.
  • As you slowly move, release your jaw.
  • Notice what colors, shapes, and images attract your attention. Let your gaze linger there.
  • Now begin to engage your other senses.
    • What do you hear?
    • What do you smell?
    • Is there a taste in your mouth?
    • Notice the temperature on your skin.
  • Notice that as you connect to your environment in the present moment, you may feel yourself sighing and your muscles relaxing. Maybe a yawn comes up as your body starts to down-regulate and release the stored charge.

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This exercise can be performed as needed for a quick return to center. If you’re interested in going deeper and addressing chronic stress or trauma in a safe, inclusive, and supportive environment, our class schedule can be found on our website at www.trelosangeles.com. For more information please email info@trelosangeles.com.

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