Trauma-Informed Series Exercises: Week 2 ​: Self-Regulation

by Dr. Will Henson

This week we want you to focus on self-regulation. That is, YOU being calm, despite what’s going on around you. If it’s been a while since you watched the regulation video from our Trauma Informed schools series, let’s back up and talk about what this term means:

Regulation is the way people manage their thoughts, emotions, attention and physical sensations. These are heavily impacted by ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences). Important Point: this is not just about “emotions”; it’s about a person’s entire experience.

Let’s start this week by identifying your two most predictably stressful times of your day. Maybe it’s your afternoon commute, a usually chaotic time during the workday, a predictable interaction with a student you work with, or anything else that you are definitely not looking forward to.

During these two stressful times I want you to purposefully stop and think about:

  • What are you thinking? Are you thinking thoughts that make things worse like “I hate this/I can’t do this/this is never going to get better.” If so…STOP. You are going to make yourself miserable! Try some more quality thoughts – ones that encourage you to succeed.
  • What are you feeling? Can you identify the feeling you are experiencing? Does it have a name? Where do you feel that feeling in your body? Tune into it. It won’t hurt you. Allow yourself to feel it without fighting it or reacting to it.

And that’s it. The first step is just awareness of what is going on. We are not going to change anything yet but we are going to get good at paying attention to ourselves. You will get more out of it if you keep a few notes and really think about it.

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