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My Social-Emotional History

figure_drawing008-01 Ver B type FLAT

The illustration is this person moving forward into the past with this backpack of experiences and memories.  Stop/Wait, I am reacting to something and the original cue and reason for my reaction is in the backpack somewhere!

People and their brain actually do well with one time BIG  stressors if they know what it is and it makes sense.  MAKING SENSE OF YOUR REACTIONS with your individual history is a key to less intense stress. Our bodies and emotions  provide direct cues for why we are reacting.

EXAMPLE:  James often runs in and out of burning buildings. Last week he tripped over a hose.  Most people would be very scared, but since James is adapted to this type of experience he react by being angry and then telling his team captain.   because it all makes sense with his daily life in the past 5 years his reaction doesn’t last long.

So let’s unpack your backpack spread it around and find out where your reactions come from and get the story together.  If you have had very strong negative or dangerous experiences in your past just make a few notes with few words on the timeline.  This outline is not a way to re-experience the worst times in your life but to see what your brain is using as self-referencing.

You only do this once in the program.  After writing out part two, many people begin to relax, “Oh, this makes sense… of course I react this way”.

Take your time and get a good outline:

SELF AWARENESS + SELF KNOWLEDGE + SELF DIRECTION.  Your current reactions to stress make sense because of past experiences. These experiences have meaning – that is why they stuck in your brain.

EXAMPLE:  Maria  adapted to stress by trying to shut down her real emotions.   She has stomach aches and shyness from an early age. It is easier for her to be alone but she “forces” herself to eat and drink and be social all the time and the result is reflux heartburn and recently IBS and migraines.

Maria has dealt with a theme of not being good enough for a long time. So she avoids any conversations and has  a fear of it becoming a disappointment to others.  Maria grew up as an only child. Both parents are scientists who had lively discussions at dinner every night about scientific topics. Maria was too young to participate.  Having little to contribute to the conversation, she assumed that her daily issues were not important.  So she felt like as weak and not so smart.  In High school and college May worked very hard to get good grades. She didn’t have many experiences of being involved with people in ways that were relaxing or fun.

In college Maria started experiencing problems with her digestion and was diagnosed with IBS.   While she was sitting in the library her head began to feel like it was going to crack and her vision got blurred. A panic attack as happening.

In the ER the doctor explained that the medication was a temporary fix and that this kind of recurring panic could continue to recur if she did not add relaxation to her life.

Maria lives in chronic stress levels 5 and 6. She lives in fear of not measuring up to a high standard.  She has become more aware of her body cues at levels 3-4

CHECK IN:  Of course I am reacting this way… brunch with friends all talking about performing and achieving… My usual theme. OK this started way back at home around the dinner table when I was 6 yrs old. Of course I

The Day 6 worksheet is a game changer.  You will see how small stresses in your everyday experience of being a child and teen add up over time.  Your ADAPTIVE behavior is a positive aspect of how you were able to cope with the stress of these years.

EXPERIMENT:   Look for a theme running through this page.  Highlight the same cues as you review it from your current age to childhood and back to the current time.    You will see that you are very familiar with the cues for stress and find out the answer to one of the key questions:   what is making me feel this way?”

 

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