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A common question that’s asked by people when they are dealing with disturbing experiences is how they can cope with a feeling of not being in the present. We call this feeling a dissociative response. It can happen anywhere and at any time if you have not dealt with a trauma. For example, you might have been in a road traffic accident and have to drive past the place where it happened. Or perhaps you have been the victim of abuse and maybe a certain smell or the sound of a stranger’s voice might trigger that sense of floating. The dissociative experience is there for a reason – it is the mind’s way of protecting us, a flight response from danger. Trouble is though, this physical reaction of wanting to float away is not usually helpful when the danger is long gone.

What can you do, then?

1) Use your lungs! Breathe out first, then breathe in before breathing out again. It is a first step in relaxing the body and mind.

2) If you are near a wall then lean into it, press your heels, instep and toes into the floor, really feel the solidness of wall and ground. Let the energy flow from the top of your head down to your legs and feet and onwards down, down into the ground as if you can grow roots to connect yourself with the earth.

3) Posture is key! Get in touch with you core, in other words the trunk, and begin to align it by tilting your pelvis under the core. Soften your knees too so that they are not locked. It might feel a bit odd at first, but this is a way of recapturing the natural alignment that young children have.

4) Imagine you have a string running up from your core, up into your head and that you can attach to the universe above you, gently pulling yourself into that aligned position.

5) Let your shoulders drop gently. Remember to breathe.

6) Finally, imagine you are going to do a karate chop with the outer edge of your hand, either hand will do. But don’t ‘chop’ as such, but tap the edge as you say the words: ‘Even though I have this floaty feeling, I accept myself deeply and completely.’

Try out some of the above and see what happens.

With thanks for her input to Sarah Hallworth, Personal Trainer

Jen Popkin

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