It has been an extremely difficult, often distressing, week. Not completely, there have been moments of pure joy - leading a new all-age community choir; talking about a fascinating book at book group at a gorgeous local café; autumnal walks; chatting with a good friend over coffee and visiting lovely former colleagues. This social engagement, a key element in supporting a healthy nervous system, has been vital for me this week where I have been forced to confront personal, community and international trauma - events have been shocking, disturbing and heart-breaking. You can be indirectly affected and still feel the force of those events - irritability, anger, sadness, sleeplessness, lack of capacity to focus, anxiety (to name but a few). If we take the American Psychological Association's definition of trauma, we can see how wide-reaching traumatic events are:
Noun: any disturbing experience that results in significant fear, helplessness, dissociation, confusion, or other disruptive feelings intense enough to have a long-lasting negative effect on a person’s attitudes, behavior, and other aspects of functioning. Traumatic events include those caused by human behavior (e.g., rape, war, industrial accidents) as well as by nature (e.g., earthquakes) and often challenge an individual’s view of the world as a just, safe, and predictable place.
We can also extend the impact of trauma to anything that happens to affect our view of the world as safe and predictable. Our capacity and resilience to withstand these occurrences appear to vary from person to person, in my experience. For example, one person may not be (or may be slightly) affected by an event or incident; someone else might be deeply affected.
TRE® and me
Whilst I am not going to delve into events, I do want to explore how I have found TRE® invaluable this week. I've been practising TRE® for a number of years and my practice has evolved so much in that time. At first, I mainly practised in a group but training as a practitioner led me to explore my personal practice on a deeper level and 'play' with the duration and regularity of tremoring.
My practice has evolved into an essential self-help tool, for example I might do TRE® in the night for a few minutes when I can't sleep (it is much more effective than other approaches for me); I also might do TRE® before a stressful or new experience or I might do TRE® following a stressful/traumatic event. I don't have a rigorous timetable for TRE® - some people do and find it extremely helpful but I prefer a more flexible responsive approach. However, I can tell you that TRE® always works and it helps me to maintain a sense of perspective, find a place of calmness and supports me in relation to all the effects of stress and trauma from a current/recent experience, or those in my past. And, that's the beauty of TRE®...it is completely personalised to you, your body, your body's stories.
This week, my practice has been much more regular...little and often (a few minutes on a number of days but with gaps between and enough time to integrate the sessions effectively). It has helped my nervous system to down-regulate, reducing activation and moving into a calmer state. The time spent doing TRE® has supported me to deal with some tricky conversations, find more emotional stability and appreciate the moments of joy amongst the traumatic and difficult events. It has allowed me to make plans to address the issues that I can. It has also allowed me to support those I need to. I know I am in a much better place at the end of, frankly, an emotionally exhausting week than I would have been if I had never found TRE®.
My hope is that more and more people get to know about the benefits of TRE®. I'm not saying it is a practice to replace all others (it works extremely well in combination with other modalities). It is not a panacea and it can take time to believe in the effects of this practice over time. There is so much we do not know about our bodies and how they work. What I do know is that I end this week in a much stronger state emotionally than without TRE®; for me that makes the practice worth so much.
If you would like to talk about how TRE® could help you, or you are just curious, please get in touch (contact details on my contact page of this site). There are also other articles at www.slaynt.com that provide more discussion of TRE®.
Thinking of everyone who has had a difficult week and hoping your coping strategies are making a difference at this time.