1.5 Getting OUT of lizard brain


In the video, I talk about finding ways to get SAFE. Here are three ideas.

Peter Levine, author of Waking The Tiger and inventor of “Somatic Experiencing”, gives some good body-based tips in this YouTube video, Treating Trauma: 2 Ways to Help Clients Feel Safe.

Sarah Peyton says “What settles human brains, more than anything else, is being understood. When a brain has a sense it is not alone, everything changes.” What really helps that to happen is someone else (or potentially even ourselves) saying to us, “Yes! Of course you feel like this! You make sense!” … is there someone in your life who is able to support you in this way? Even if they’re not available to you in the moment, it can work to imagine them there. If you’re processing it down the track, you can invite that person into the memory – imagine them being there with you, and how they would have supported you, with words or a look or even just their presence. Or, you might prefer to imagine some kind of creature that can protect you – I have a bear. Weird, right?

If your reaction to something is BIG – bigger than what might seem “rational” given the event – then it’s often about trauma (and I mean trauma in the wider sense – not a single traumatic event, but a history of nervous system dysregulation, which is extremely common in our culture). Hysterics means there’s history – there’s something in your past that’s effecting your reaction in the present. Using NVC can help – AND, working on trauma is really important. You could start here, with a short, free course by Irene Lyon. The main thing I learned from Irene is the core exercise for beginning to settle a dis-regulated nervous system, called “Orienting” – you take time to notice where your body touches whatever you’re resting on, then notice your breathing, then notice the world around you. Keeping moving back and forth between those things for a few minutes. Basically, you’re taking time to notice your internal world, then the external world. Many people find this calming. For me, the main positive effect is that I begin to notice that my internal state of distress doesn’t match the external state, which is generally peaceful (when I’m doing the exercise), and my system starts to re-regulate based on that new knowing.

2 thoughts on “1.5 Getting OUT of lizard brain”

  1. I think deep breathing helps to make me feel safe and brings my frontal cortex back online when I’ve been triggered. I’m wondering what others find useful?

    1. whitehawkJulie

      Thanks Leanne. Oddly enough I’ve always found breathing-type stuff to make me worse! I think maybe because it makes me feel stuff *more*? Anyway … I’m currently working on a list of suggestions to add here, I plan to add them soon.

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