Shower exercise to Connect with your Body
WHAT IS TRAUMA?
When a situation exceeds the person’s ability to cope with it, and he/she feels helpless and unable to escape, then it results in trauma. It’s said that trauma does not lie in the event but in the response to that event.
WHAT IS DISSOCIATION?
Dissociation, in other words disconnection from the feelings and body, is a way to escape the inescapable. It is a mode of survival. Trauma and dissociation go hand in hand; when the trauma is over, the person can still be dissociated from that incident. According to Dr. Scaer, “Our brain is strongly wired to protect us from life threats through a series of message systems in the limbic brain that allow us to assess danger and then institute a self-preservation response.” Dissociation is a form of self-preservation response.
If you’ve been through trauma and your body initiated a survival response, dissociation, to cope with the trauma, then you’ll habitually disconnect from your body. However, even if we aren’t dissociated, we have a tendency to disconnect from our bodies. We’re in our minds most of the time, hardly in our bodies.
Here’s a simple and gentle exercise to bring your awareness back to your body. This exercise is by Peter Levine and outlined in his book, In an Unspoken Voice.
In his words,
Take a gentle pulsating shower in the following way – at a comfortable temperature, expose your body to the pulsing water. Direct your awareness into the region in your body where the rhythmical stimulation is focused. Let your consciousness move to each part of your body.
Try to include each part of your body and pay attention to the sensation in each area, even if it feels blank, numb, or uncomfortable. While you are doing this say, “ this is my arm, head neck, etc “ “i welcome you back”
You can also do this exercise by gently tapping some parts of your body with fingertips.
When done over time this exercise will re-establish awareness of your body boundary through awakening skin sensations.