Posts Tagged ‘MEDITATION’

Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness: EXPOSURE


“Left to our own devices, we typically move away from pain and toward what is pleasurable. It’s a habitual, deeply wired response.


But part of practicing mindfulness is deliberately exposing ourselves to whatever is happening in our field of awareness, both pleasant and unpleasant. Whether we’re daydreaming about our next meal or feeling a sharp pain in our shoulder, we stay present.


We let ourselves be impacted by whatever is happening—right here, right now. For many beginning meditators, this can seem counterintuitive, but mindfulness works differently.


We practice turning toward what is arising instead of away from it.”
My two cents: Mindfulness is the safe and secure way to start exposure therapy. We observe our thoughts without judgment.

We have no control over what thoughts surface, only power over where we place our attention. If we have PTSD, intrusive thoughts will arrive without input from us. We do not fight them, engage them or avoid them.


Avoiding our triggers leads to isolation and suffering. Our fears have an unknown quality to them, when we avoid them. They grow more terrifying inside our thoughts.


Staying present, feeling the emotional thought and the body sensation linked to it fully, enables us to let it all go.

Observe the thought patterns of your mind. Most trauma thoughts repeat themselves over and over and over until we integrate them.

When an unworthy thought arrives, I have a planned response!!

In this moment, right now, I approve of me.



In this moment, right now, I shower myself with kindness, compassion and inner peace.



Each time an unworthy thought arrives,  I substitute this affirmation.



Fight for your wellbeing, take action if you want to improve.



This action changes our self-image



Good things come to those who wait…


greater things come to those who get off their ass


and do anything to make it happen.”

– Unknown –
My two cents: Takes daily, repetitive action to change a habit.



The mind is moved to action from simple, immediate and concrete ideas (purpose).



Let’s get moving.


Sharing my vulnerability is difficult after a Trigger!



Triggered yesterday my past trauma resurrects itself again.  Please excuse any grammar issues.

The cause stems from my childhood abuse. Being made fun of, being devalued, and criticized were parts of my childhood.


My father, a narcissist, and my baseball coach demanded I be twice as good as everyone else. Constant criticism was his motivational tool. Every game I was critiqued against his standards. Nowhere to hide, to avoid this abuse.  The abuse was also physically intense at times


Kids are cruel in school. They were merciless making fun of my prominent nose. I was a shy, abused kid who needed help and support, instead I faced ridicule. The combination of both made a permanent scar.


This created an atmosphere of terror for me at home and at school. My nervous system would make me vomit from the constant noise.


My successes in life, looking back, were remarkable coming from my abusive upbringing. Graduating college, playing professional baseball for seven years, and then, business success did nothing to repair my internal devastation. Deep down I was a failure, a fraud.


I never knew what was wrong with my life until I was past fifty. Being an overachiever kept me extremely busy, busy enough to keep my demons at bay. One day with a family crisis, the damn broke and PTSD ignited.


Healing was nonexistent for the first six months. Takes time to figure out what is PTSD and how do I fix this. Thinking my way out, made things much worse. Hard for an overachiever to do nothing but observe, then accept the terror while letting go.


It took me six years to heal the first time. I flowed through life with ease for five years. My true nature, suppressed by my father blossomed. I was an extrovert. My friends were astonished that my introverted behavior disappeared.


A side effect of a blood pressure med ignited my complex PTSD once again. Now, my fight or flight mechanism does not fire violently, but I feel some agitation along with the old storyline.


I know my social anxiety, how my PTSD manifests itself, is not dangerous but mundane. I know there is no fear inside my defense mechanism.


Some PTSD symptoms are subconscious, remember the mind is confused under the fight or flight mechanism. Loss of fine motor skills, tunnel vision and a sense of imminent danger is what our amygdala is signaling! Danger and maybe death is the signal.


This is an irrational disorder we will never quite understand. Danger exists inside this mechanism and can haunt us. At one time imminent death felt near or something worse than death lived in there.


When my triggers sense danger, my mind still can be confused, trying to think it’s way to safety. In reality, I know better and use my mindfulness tools.


Thinking is jet fuel for our trauma fears, letting go, staying present our shield of protection. Yes I am pissed my complex PTSD resurfaced.


It is a weaker hybrid without the huge jolt or fear, but still can bring me pain and confusion.


I share this post and my vulnerability, hopefully to help others. This disorder does not own me but can cause issues under stress.


The recent suicide by Mechelle has been very difficult and my symptoms have increased. For this reason I meditate more, practice more awareness to catch myself ruminating.

It is important for me to face these fears instead of isolate. Hard to believe I facilitate a real mindfulness group. Maybe it is because they can relate to my struggles and ability to fight and take action.


This post has a different feel, it is right after a trigger and some confusion. This is a triumph for me sharing how vulnerable and stupid I feel living this disorder.

“The origins of and mechanism behind social anxiety”




Excerpts from Darius Cikanavicius, Author, Certified Coach:
For the most part, social anxiety develops as an adaptation to stressful and hurtful social childhood environments.


When a child is small, their whole world consists of their primary caregivers (mother, father, family members, other authority figures). This world slowly expands as they get older, but how people understand social interactions is set. In other words, the examples we are exposed to as children creates blueprints for our future relationships.
Sadly, most if not all of us are traumatized as children to one degree or another. The degree to which we were hurt is the degree to which we will have interpersonal problems. One of the most common interpersonal problems is, indeed, social anxiety.



Hurt and mistreated children grow up into adults who feel disappointed, distrustful, overly trustful, bitter, angry, clingy, stressed, numb, or emotionally unavailable in relationships and interactions with others.
They have been programmed to feel like that by how they were treated when they were small, helpless, impressionable, and dependent. Back then, acceptance and validation were vital.



As I write in the book Human Development and Trauma:

“Childhood trauma leads children to become more afraid of the world. When a child’s first and most important bonds are unstable, it is natural and expected that in adulthood they will transfer this lack of a sense of safety and security onto others.”



Unresolved pain that stems from early relationships can haunt us for the rest of our lives. Early hurt and pain can program us to feel and believe that, generally, people are dangerous. They will hurt us, laugh at us, use and abuse us, punish us, hate us, want us dead, or even kill us.



It can be understood as a form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD or C-PTSD) where the trigger is people and social situations because in the past they were a great source of pain.


Continue reading

Triggers part two,,2,,



Let’s be realistic about our expectations. Our healing path will have set backs, frustrating results, intense anxiety mixed with fear.


Our trauma (PTSD) has access to our fight or flight mechanism. A trigger thought, a sound or smell ignites our fight or flight mechanism. We are preparing for a lethal threat from the past, but none currently exists.


PTSD is a mirage, a stored implicit memory of trauma. The physical changes and drugs our body secretes are real.


There is no real danger, just our own defense mechanism. Hopefully, this wisdom helps us resist avoiding, ruminating or freezing (shutting down).


In my mindfulness group, if someone is triggered, I trace five slow, intense breaths with them. Eyes open, I sit across from them, tracing the breathing track together.


I reassure them of their safety, using slow breaths to dissipate the cortisol and adrenaline. They are instructed to let go of the storyline and absorb the cortisol with their slow exhales.


It may take five or more breaths. They realize you can impact PTSD fear and anxiety.


It surprises them when things calm a bit. The intense fear and anxiety can be influenced.


PTSD loses some power each time we focus, let go and breathe deeply.


Our fearful thoughts and judgments soften and fade.

Each time we let the storyline go, we inch closer to wellbeing.


This is when PTSD is at its strongest, triggering the fight or flight mechanism. We fear triggers so much we avoid people and situations that ignite our trauma.


This is also the time when PTSD is at its most vulnerable.


If you can entertain the thought that PTSD is a bluff, that no real power or danger is present, healing is possible.


If we can stay present, focused, PTSD loses power.



You will discover no real danger exists inside our defense mechanism.



With practice we can learn to accept the anxious, scary mechanism as normal.



My fight or flight mechanism does not fire around my triggers anymore.


You can also integrate your trauma and calm your nervous system!

Continue reading

Let’s navigate a trigger, our fight or flight mechanism.


The fight, flight or freeze mechanism: Tunnel vision, hearing loss, fine motor skills disappear, time is distorted along with blood pressure, heart rate and pulse spike, finally the stimulants cortisol and adrenaline are secreted.


This is what we call fear, mixed with anxiety. How we handle this mechanism decides if PTSD lives or dies.


Build your ability to focus and let go. When a trigger explodes, focus, stay present, feel your body, feel the sensations.


Feel the emotion, let the storyline go.



Focus the breath on your solar plexus, slow the exhales, absorb the tension, the anxiety, the fear.



Our breath controls the nervous system. He/She could be a friend.



It is safe, no danger exists, only our defense mechanism.


We can use our fear for fuel in due time.

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