We are 85% sensations and 15% emotions – – both of which are called feelings. When we fail to recognize this, we fail to address the foundations of psychological trauma. The first indication of tension or upset is a sensation (breathing, heart-rate, etc.). Our body lets us know whether we are calm or upset. Our body notifies our brain of its sensations, and our brain creates a matching emotion. We have to identify, interpret and deal with our emotions using the thinking part of our brain, our Prefrontal Cortex (PFC). Our brain follows our body’s lead.
Our PFC, the thinking part of our brain, only works when we are in a state of calm – – a state of chemical homeostasis. When we are upset, we are out of chemical balance, and the thinking part of our brain does not work as intended. And, since we need our PFC working well before we can benefit from any form of “psychotherapy or talk therapy”, we need to address our body’s needs first. That’s the premise on which the use of psychoactive medications is based. But it also the premise on which the use of calming behaviors is based. When we use our body to achieve a state of calm, and then we use our PFC to practice coping/calming skills until they become habits, we can achieve homeostasis – balance – regardless of the situation.
Calming practices/habits include movement and focused breathing, and can be used in partnership with, or instead of, psychoactive medications. Only calming habits can be more powerful than our prewired automatic fight, flight and freeze behaviors.