You know when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, and your body just shuts down? Like no matter how many times you tell yourself to “push through it” or “get it done,” you can’t seem to move forward? Well, that’s what we like to call the freeze response, and it’s a natural reaction to stress and trauma. Now, I know what you’re thinking – we’ve got to tough it out, right? Keep pushing forward at all costs? But here’s the deal – that’s not always the healthiest thing for us. Sometimes what we need is to slow down and allow ourselves to fully experience our emotions so we can process them in a healthy way.
The freeze response is nothing to be ashamed of. Feeling like our nervous system has ground to a halt, and we’re unable to move forward. But the thing is, when we try to push our way through it, we’re actually prolonging our time in the freeze response and making everything worse. It’s like when we were kids, and we fell off our bikes, and someone told us to “get back up” even though we were scared and in pain. Sometimes what we need is to stay down for a minute so we can process our emotions and figure out what we need to do next.
So here’s what I’m suggesting: the next time you notice yourself freezing up or feeling stuck, take a moment to meet yourself where you’re at. Give yourself permission to collapse into that feeling, to space out, and to just be. When we allow ourselves to slow down and experience our emotions fully, we’re giving our nervous system the space and time it needs to process everything naturally. After all, there’s no shame in admitting that we need to take a break or ask for help.
The thing about slowness, rest, and surrender is that they’re actually the keys to recovering our emotional and physical wellbeing. When we stop trying to fight against our body’s natural response to stress and trauma, we can begin to see the progress we crave. So go ahead – slow down, take a deep breath, and give yourself the grace you deserve. Remember, none of us are in this alone – we’re all just doing our best to navigate this crazy thing we call life.