By: Bria Wannamaker
If you’re in freeze mode (fight-flight-freeze), you’re essentially playing dead. Neglecting to engage in any decision that might potentially bring you harm such as fighting or the potential dangers that might come from fleeing. We go into freeze when we are so overwhelmed that we don’t feel like we could win in terms of fighting, or be successful in terms of escaping. It’s often labelled in the ADHD community as “Task Paralysis” where you resist doing the task which brings a sense of relief but also a sense of shame, and if you engaged in the task, it would bring a sense of accomplishment but also requires energy, focus, concentration, and initiation. This creates this sense of overwhelm, confusion, and numbness. stuck in limbo, straddling the line, unsure of your next move; a sitting duck, if you will.
So, here’s what you’re gonna do…
- YOU HAVE TO MOBILIZE – Breathwork, yoga, stretch, walk, exercise, you have to physically move your body. You are in control, you have the power to make changes for yourself it does not matter whether it’s something big or small but you have to get out of this shutdown, frozen state.
- STOP THINKING – Thinking is the best way to get stuck in analysis paralysis. In freeze mode, you essential don’t trust yourself. You don’t trust that you’ll be able to win a fight, and you don’t trust that you’ll be able to escape. This is where people get stuck procrastinating, engaging in numbing behaviours, distractions, or addictive behaviours. Start attuning to your body and it’s natural reactions such as tensing, soreness, physical pain and discomfort. The body holds so much wisdom and has been trying to communicate to you but you haven’t been listening, you’ve been thinking; and that’s OK! So now, take a moment to pause, sit in stillness, and listen. Then, you’ll find the answers that you’ve been looking for externally – you’ll find that they were available to you all along.
- SHIFT YOUR ROUTINE – even the smallest of changes help, before you make a meal do a funny dance move, listen to music instead of a podcast, have an afternoon tea instead of coffee, walk around the block before you watch TV. Just something to shift your state so that your nervous system doesn’t keep looping and replaying old programming.
- YOU HAVE TO SELF-CARE – During this time, you really have to nurture yourself in order to shift out of the overuse of the sympathetic nervous system (survival mode), and to shift back to use of the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). Focus on doing things that bring you a sense of joy, ease, and relaxation.
- BUILD COMMUNITY – Talk to someone, a therapist, your doctor, a friend, sports, clubs, teams – when we are involved in community, we feel a sense of safety and security. Isolation doesn’t help a rabbit who is frozen; sometimes it needs other rabbits to lead it to safety.