With all the tragedies in the news lately, it’s hard not to crawl up in a ball and hide under our covers. Feelings of stress and impotence abound.

When we are anxious, we feel more threatened by any challenges confronting us. When we are extremely distressed, our bodies may shut down – to the point where we are immobilized. An animal in the wild who survives a significant threat to its life does an amazing thing; it shakes. After shaking it out , it breathes a huge sigh, gets up, dusts itself off, and goes on its’ way.

When the animal responds by shaking and quivering, it is completing the stress response cycle. When stress gets locked in the body (and the cycle has not been completed) we experience trauma.

When dealing with stress and trauma, it’s important to find ways to relax and be kind to yourself. Cry, exercise, write in a journal, keep your usual routine and also participate in enjoyable recreational activities. Turn to others for support and discuss your experiences and feelings with them. If indicated, counseling may be helpful. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an effective therapeutic method as is IFS (Internal Family Systems).  Hopefully we can utilize these coping strategies to move through the stress response cycle and come out on the other side stronger and better.

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