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Regaining Control: Understanding and Overcoming Dysregulation in the Brain


When you spin into a dysregulated state, your brain is primed to react, not to think. There are both inborn and conditioned reflexes at play, and it's like there's a cut-off valve blocking the brain from accessing those higher levels of thought. You can't analyze, you can't think critically, you can't make good decisions.


From an evolutionary perspective, this makes sense. Self-preservation from danger requires immediate action. The body switches to survival mode, and this reaction helped our ancestors to live and pass those reaction genes to their progeny.


However, in modern society, being in a constant state of survival mode can have negative effects on our mental, emotional, and physical well-being, and our decision-making. So, how can we regain control and move back to a more regulated state?

  1. Identify what sets you off: Understanding what is assured to spark your dysregulated state can help you avoid or prepare for those situations in the future.

  2. Practice self-care: Taking care of your physical and emotional needs can help regulate your state. Engage in activities such as exercise, meditation, and journaling.

  3. Learn to calm yourself: Develop strategies to calm yourself down when you feel yourself getting dysregulated. This can include deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or visualization techniques.

  4. Seek help at the appropriate level: If feel you are dealing with trauma, consider seeking the help of a therapist or counselor. They can help you develop coping strategies and work through the underlying trauma that may be contributing to your dysregulation.

  5. Seek Support: Reach out to friends and family for support. Sometimes, just talking to someone can help you process your feelings and regain control. If your family and friends aren't the right people to talk to, remember that HOLD Listeners care, don't judge, and are completely confidential - and are easy to connect with.

Remember, dysregulation is a normal response to stress, but it's important to learn how to regulate your emotional state in order to live a healthy and balanced life. By understanding your triggers and developing coping strategies, you can regain control and find peace in your mind and body.

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