Three ways to respond to the Freeze Response .

A Guide to Regaining Your Calm

Three ways to respond to the Freeze Response flight or fight response fight flight freeze

Three ways to respond to the Freeze Response. Stress and trauma can often leave us feeling paralyzed, as if our bodies have hit a ‘freeze’ button. This freeze response is a natural reaction, but it can be unsettling and uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are strategies we can employ to gently guide ourselves back to a state of calm and control.

Here are three effective techniques to thaw the freeze and nurture your well-being.

1. The Power of Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is a cornerstone of stress management. By taking slow, deliberate breaths, we signal our nervous system to shift from a state of high alert to one of relaxation. Here’s a simple exercise to try:

  • Inhale slowly through your nose, counting to four. Visualize drawing in peace and serenity with each breath.
  • Hold your breath for another count of four, allowing the tranquility to settle within you.
  • Exhale audibly through your mouth for four counts, releasing any tension or tightness you’re holding onto.
  • Pause for four counts before beginning the cycle again.

This practice, known as box breathing, can be a quick and effective way to center yourself, especially when feelings of panic or immobilization creep in.

2. Grounding: Engage Your Senses

Grounding techniques are designed to bring you back to the here and now, diverting your attention from distressing emotions to the physical world. To ground yourself:

  • Identify three things you can see. Name them silently to yourself.
  • Find three objects you can touch. Notice their texture, temperature, and weight.
  • Acknowledge three things you can hear. Tune into the subtle sounds that you might usually overlook.

Incorporating sensory experiences such as cold water, sour candy, or the comfort of a super soft blanket can enhance this practice, offering immediate tactile feedback that helps solidify your presence in the moment.

3. Shake It Off: Release Through Movement

Our bodies store stress and tension in ways we’re not always conscious of. By intentionally shaking your body, you can help to release this stored energy. It’s a physical expression that can be surprisingly liberating. Here’s how to do it:

  • Stand or sit comfortably and begin to shake your hands and arms.
  • Gradually involve your shoulders, torso, and legs, allowing the movement to become more vigorous.
  • Continue for a few minutes, then slowly wind down, taking note of the newfound lightness in your body.

This somatic technique can be particularly helpful for dissociation and unfreezing your nervous system, promoting a sense of release and ease.

Remember, these practices are not just exercises; they’re acts of self-compassion. In moments of overwhelm, take the time to prioritize your well-being. Your mind and body will thank you for it.