July 29th, 2011 8:50am - Posted By: Anne Maxwell, LCSW, RPT-S
Bryan Post says over and over again: "It is not possible for a child who is dysregulated to become regulated in the presence of an adult who is not." How true! Why would we prefer to be emotionally regulated, to experience emotional well being? What's the payoff? Again, when we are dysregulated, we are living in our heads -- stuck in the past or perseverating about the future. What would it take to be in the present, to be attuned and aware, to live with ease and joy?
First, let's look at the early warning signs of dysregulation in us. These would be the signs that occur before blown gaskets, before screaming and yelling, before slammed doors, before feeling as if you can't go on, before telling yourself how much you dislike everyone and everything involved, before swearing you never signed up for this, before having the awareness that pretty soon you will not be able to stop yourself, and then, actually, not being able to stop yourself.
How does your body tell you that you are becoming upset? What does it do? Does it begin to stiffen? Does it feel numb? Does it freeze? Does your stomach start to tighten? Does it turn into a stomach ache? What about your neck and shoulders? What about your back? Do they also tighten? Do you begin to feel as if your body cannot bend? What about your chest? What about your breathing? Does it become shallow? Is it labored? Or do you simply forget to breathe? What about your body posture? Do you lean forward? Do you experience a degree of intensity that begins to take on a life of its own? What about your head? Does it begin to ache? Does your mind go blank? Does it feel as if it is shutting down? What about your eyes? Do they become piercing? Do they take on "the look"? What about your ears? Do you begin to hear a ringing in them? What about your voice? What about your throat? Can you swallow? What about your hands? Do they clench? Do you crack your wrists? For what period of time does your body give you these clues that all is not well, before you become aware? What does it take for you to listen to your body? (More about that later!) Looking back, are you able to see reflections of your state of dysregulation in the responses that the people and creatures in your life have towards you? Do the pets make themselves scarce? Do your children continue to escalate? Do they look frightened? What about your spouse? Coworkers? We could go on!
So, what's possible? What are some choices? Over the next few weeks, I’ll be discussing tools to use during the three distinct periods of time relating to emotional regulation. The first is "in the moment" - when you realize that you are about to lose it. The second is soon after, when you have begun to regulate, and, would do better by continuing to regulate. The third is during the rest of your life. What can you do on an ongoing basis to achieve a greater, more pervasive sense of ease and well being?
Posted in: Tools and Techniques
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