Trauma & Nervous System Dysregulation
When our autonomic nervous system, which operates without our conscious awareness, believes we’re in danger, it compels us to respond to that danger. This may be an acute stressor or trauma or it maybe something more long-lasting. In either case, our physiology can get stuck in one or more stages of self-preservation—fight or flight and/or freeze/shut down—and this dysregulation leaves us largely disconnected from our “thinking brain.” When our thinking brain is offline, it’s difficult to see shades of grey (or to see anything very clearly). Survival requires the immediate all-or-nothing response. Assuming we’re safe in the moment, the either/or, right/wrong, black/white, dualistic perspective offers us only a false sense of clarity and safety. This all or nothing thinking is a coping mechanism that probably served us at some point, but leaves us with few options and less flexibility now.
My invitation: Learn about the nervous system and get to know your unique stress physiology and responses. This will support you in recognizing if/when your thinking brain is offline and your self-protective instincts are running the all-or-nothing show. Building capacity in your nervous system through somatic practices, movement, breath work, coaching, or nervous system education gradually allows you rewire the automatic responses and make more conscious, self-aware choices. This also cultivates a deeper connection with your body and her cues, which offers powerful insights to support higher-order thinking.