Traumatic Stress: Uncoupling Discomfort From “True” Threat

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After the webinar yesterday and the Live Q&A in my membership program, I’ve been musing more and more about just how necessary it is for us to understand how it is our body responds to traumatic stress and the consequence of that on both a systemic level (in terms of how our nervous system responds) and on the level of experience (our ability to be able to make space or hold feelings of discomfort and unease).

Let’s use a practical example. In a regulated and resourced nervous system, I have the ability to welcome a level of activation into my body and hold that that without it becoming overwhelming, or allowing it to disconnect me from my higher wisdom that tells me what the best course of action is for me and my horse in this situation. This, obviously, is the ideal; where our resources outweigh our stresses and we are able to continue on, even when we are under pressure or stress.

In the case of traumatic stress, discomfort and feelings of being physically under threat are coupled together, meaning that any time I feel a level of energy in my body I immediately feel in peril, and my system responds by taking me straight into a state of fight, flight, freeze or collapse. In order to get to a place where we can increase our resilience and our ability to hold challenging experiences- and not disconnect from ourselves as a result- we need to un-couple that association; to separate discomfort from survival, reset the smoke alarm and teach ourselves that it’s possible to maintain a sense of “I’ve got this”, even when the situation is difficult or challenging.

Increasing our ability to hold our experience without it growing bigger than our body. It’s all about capacity.


❤️ Jane

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