What do you do when you find yourself in a trauma or threat response? Let’s talk about the daily practices you can take to help get yourself into your window of tolerance and moving towards normative eating & peace.
What is a threat response?
It’s when you know what you need to do but you can’t do it.
We’ve talked over the last two weeks about threat responses (here are the blogs & videos on Flight / Fight & Freeze / People Please threat responses).
Knowing what a threat response is and the symptoms of how they show up in our lives is oftentimes the first step towards uncoupling those responses from our food and body.
However, building new neurobiology is action-oriented work. Simply taking in the information isn’t enough. It’s often the first step, but we must put the information into practice.
Having interceptive awareness.
This ability brings us out of denial and into an awareness of what’s going on and why you’re checking out. This brings us into the ‘here-and-now’ and one step closer to finding and living in our window of tolerance.
Use your body as a resource.
Trauma and threat responses do not have the ability to think rationally. So, once we have the awareness that we’re checking out and moving into threat responses, we can then begin to ask ourself some key questions.
1. What has been the result of thinking your body is the wrong body to have?
2. How have restrictive diets served you and made your health any better in the long-term (think 3, 6, 10 years down the road).
Find people in your life you can co-regulate with.
In the early days of recovery, it can be challenging to be both the sufferer and the care provider. You can work yourself towards this but finding people you can co-regulate with is an important step to not skip.
Who might be someone to consider? This can quite literally be anyone that you feel safe enough with. An online support group, a therapist, a friend, a co-worked, a loved one. Anyone who will not judge you, will be a witness to who you really are and can separate you from what you’re struggling with.
Daily Practices for Moving towards Normative Eating
One thing I love about implementing daily practices is that there isn’t a right or wrong way to do it.
For instance, we know that breathing is a great to ground ourselves in the here and now. But if you prefer breathing in deeply and letting it out quickly vs. breathing out and letting it out slowly, it absolutely doesn’t matter. You get to be aware of and recognize your preferences.
Here are just a few ideas to get you started :
- Physic-ball : these are those big, bouncy balls that you see people sitting on. These are great for keeping you grounded and your awareness high as they require your body and muscles to be more engaged to stay on the ball than simply sitting in a normal chair does.
- Notice what you’re doing and do the opposite : an example of this would be : if you’re sitting then stand, if you’re laying down then sit against the way with your knees bent and push your back against the wall).
- Notice textures around you : one thing I love to do is notice the different textures of my dog’s fur by running my toes across his hair. The fur feels different at different places on his body. You can adapt this and find whatever textures you have around you.
- Twist & turn your wrists and ankles
- Touch work : this can come in many different forms (the most common being massage therapy) but please ensure that the provider is trauma-informed and educated.
Again, use your body as a resource. Utilize your 5 senses – smell, taste, touch, sight and hearing – to help keep yourself grounded and in your window of tolerance.
Check out these two videos where we dive deeper into each of these daily practices :