Finding support in the here and now
In order to recover from trauma and overwhelm it is not necessary to relive a trauma. Neuro-science has given us a better understanding of how people recover from trauma. Traumas are renegotiated while incorporating strengths and resources that were not available at the time of the original trauma. These resources include the ability to track the sensations, emotions, images, behaviors and thoughts as they occur in the here and now. In trauma, people loose their sense of safety and stability. An important part of the healing of trauma is to re-establish a sense of being grounded and centered. Trauma healing therapists provide a supportive and containing relationship in which to recover. In addition there are exercises you may do to help the process of grounding and centering, of feeling safe.
Grounding: while sitting on a chair
Sit with your feet on the floor and your hands resting comfortably on your legs. Feel the contact your feet make with the ground. Direct your attention up the long bones of your legs feeling the back of your thighs against the chair beneath you. Notice your sitting bones and the contact they make with the chair. Feel the contact your back makes with the back of the chair. Are some parts of your back in greater contact with the chair than others? Just notice. Notice how your hands rest on your legs. Take in once more your contact with all the surfaces that are supporting you- your feet on the floor, your legs and sitting bones, your back against the chair and your hands on your legs. What effect does focusing on all that supports you have on your body (heart rate, breathing, muscle tension) and state of mind?
The power of your breath: take 6 slow, deep breaths, breathing in through your nose and out slowly through your mouth. In 6 deep breaths you can bring yourself from an anxious, stressful state into a calm and well regulated state.
5 Sense Sensing of the Present Moment: While you can think about the past or future, you can only sense the present moment. In this exercise you will spend a few minutes focused only on what you take in through your 5 senses. Beginning with what you see; notice the colors, shapes, light and movement of people and things around you. You may close your eyes if you wish and attend to the blackness behind you eye lids. Even with your eye lids closed you may notice movement and light and varying shades of darkness. Shift you focus now to attend to what you hear; the sounds in your immediate surroundings and any sounds you may notice coming from a distance. What do you smell? What is the taste in your mouth? What are you touching? Feel the contact your skin makes with your clothing. Feel the hair on your head, the air on your cheeks and notice the contact you make with the surface you are sitting, standing or lying on. Take another moment to focus on the present moment; taking in the now, what you see, hear, smell, taste and touch.
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