1. Pulse increases, usually over 80 beats per minute for men and 90 bpm for women. The heartbeat feels harder.
2. The breath moves up into the upper chest, feels difficult to breathe, more rapid, shallow breath
3. Stomach feels tight
4. Controlled facial expression, chin muscle tightens, the jaw can feel set
5. Tongue rises to the top of the mouth
6. Voice register changes from chest to head
1. Long eye closure
2. Fluttering eyelids
3. Arms akimbo
4. Turn body away, hips swivel
5. No sense of humor
6. Biting inside of the cheek
7. Touch face and lips often
8. Away behaviors: humming, looking away, sense of needing to go, urgent business elsewhere
9. Stuttering, speech disturbance
1. It makes empathy very difficult
2. It makes sympathy very easy
1. Thinking becomes more difficult
2. Tunnel vision
3. Desire to fight, freeze or run
4. We become blind to alternative solutions, creative problem solving becomes difficult
Dealing with Flooding – How to make it Worse!
1. Use drugs or alcohol to deal with the overwhelming feelings!!
2. Dwell on negative, fear-based thoughts!
3. Stop paying attention to your body, go numb!
4. React with the first thing your mind tells you to do!
How to make it better — OR– How to activate the Parasympathetic Nervous System
1. Breathe deeply and slowly into the belly
2. Breathe to the count of 7, and exhale to the count of 11.
3. Let your body feel heavy
4. Feel your feet
5. Watch thoughts rather than react to them. “Don’t believe everything you think!”
6. In response to fear or anger thoughts, ask simply “Is it true?”
7. Imagine tense parts of your body feeling warmed by the sun.
8. Take a break. Let people know that you are flooding and need 20 minutes to calm down
9. Exercise! Go for a walk, work out, garden . . . whatever it takes to get the blood moving.
10. Find one thing about the situation that will someday be amusing.
How to help others in DPA: Practice active listening and empathy. You can say things like:
1. “I can understand the way you feel . . .”
2. “What you’re saying makes a lot of sense. I can see why you’d feel . . .”
3. “I’d like to hear more about this. . . .”
4. Call for a 20-minute time-out. Agree when and where you will resume the discussion.