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Survival Mode

Collectively, we’re in survival mode at the moment. Our nervous systems are firing and we’re either hypervigilant and unable to switch off, or in functional freeze, disassociated.

We’re not made to be able to cope with what we’re seeing play out on the global stage and it feels hard to know how to process it. Our nervous system was designed for the 100 people in our village before electricity. Yet here we are.

Mobilisation, survival responses are made to help us run from the tiger or play dead so he loses interest, we can’t live there. These short term energy surges need to be moved through our bodies – which counterintuitively – is actually where we experience the world. Not in our heads.

You can support yourself during overwhelm by literally shaking it off, shake your hands, dance, move your body at the end of the day.

Stretch, go for a walk, put your body in cold water. Put your phone down. Sit in stillness.

And remember to breathe – deeply with a longer exhale. We underestimate these simple responses to big emotions and heaviness but they’re the most effective way. Coping skills like movement and breathing exercises are game changes and it’s what I spend the most time talking about with people in counselling. The answer to overwhelm is in our bodies not our heads.

You can bring your parasympathetic nervous system online to counter the survival response, it knows what to do. You can’t rationalise or out-think your way out of overwhelm, your body needs to process it.

Connection is vital too. Don’t minimise what you’re feeling. Talk about it.

I’m here if you need to do that. Feel free to get in touch. I offer 15 minute free calls too if you’d like to chat about counselling and see how it works.

Go gently.

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