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Our Safety System

We have a wonderful built it safety detection system which is run by your central nervous system. It is our flight, fight or freeze response. This safety system is an active relationship which is constantly moving. We wonder up and down it like a ladder! It is normal to cycle through stages of social engagement, mobilisation and disconnection due to the information this system is receiving from the world around us through our five senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch.

This is good news because it means by simply changing your environment and /or paying attention to your environment will raise the quality of how you are having an experience or experiencing a trigger. That is why having a buddy can help so much! Call your buddy and grab their ARMM.

The Practical Trigger Management System: ARMM.

How to help you climb back up the ladder of your safety detection system:·

  1. Awareness.

  2. Reach out to your support network and simultaneously change your environment.

  3. Massage the vagus nerve through structured breath-work.

  4. Meditation and other mindful practices to integrate.

Awareness: If you recognise you are being triggered, you need to remove yourself from the present situation and take action to rebalance your safety response system.

Reach Out: This is your buddy system and there is safety in community. You are nurturing this beautiful community on Best Life, sobriety through connection, use it! Activate the Buddy System.

Massage the vagus nerve: Did you know our breathing is the only automatic body function we can effect change on. The vagus nerve is responsible for communicating what it receives from your five senses to your safety system and we have direct access to this nerve through simple structured breathing exercises because this nerve runs down your windpipe and through your diaphragm which is below your lungs. So, grab your buddy and pick a breathing technique!

Buddy Rule number Two: Buddies that breath together stay together Box breathing or 4:4:4:4 breathing is the most effective and easy to do in any scenario at balancing your central nervous system and calming you in a stressful environment.

Meditation and Mindfulness: The act of being aware is an act of mindfulness and through regular practice this will get easier. Get curious about what you are feeling, and why, in response to your different situations. During your active addiction it was safer to be disconnected. During recovery, it is safer to be connected so that you can understand when you don’t feel comfortable and take steps to provide safety for yourself. It’s an act of love, self-care and empowerment.

TOP TIP: It doesn’t matter if we recognise in the moment or retrospectively what the trigger is, here is where practice makes perfect, and you will get better at this! Consciously acknowledging when your safety detection system is being activated can make all the difference and helps you get ahead of your automated central nervous system response.

Start by looking for moments when you were uncharacteristically defensive (fight), feeling overwhelmed in a situation (flight), or feeling panic (freeze). It’s essential to understand the reasons behind these reactions, have a little think, what was happening just before? Those are your triggers.

Blog post written for the sobriety community within Best Life - Sobriety through connection and featured in the Mindfulness and Meditation Group within the App. Download the app here: 

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