Maturing the Safety Reflexes

Photo by Victor Vorontsov on Unsplash

Supposing that you have determined that you, or someone you would like to help, is not only dealing with this fundamental fear reflexes from the last post.

First: if you know somebody who has experience in this field, or have access to someone even via Zoom, please don’t do this on your own. It’s fraught with potential escalation of symptoms. BUT if you don’t know anybody, read on!

Next:  do a lot of the movement from the newsletter’s “Tuesday Tidbits” already sent out. It’s absolutely positively critical to do this, or the fear response will intensify, perhaps greatly. If the nervous system isn’t accustomed to feeling these unconscious and subconscious changes, it can strongly trigger even more fear. Sub/unconscious change is an odd sensation!

Occasionally a parent will do some independent research and quietly have their child try some Moro or Fear Paralysis exercises in addition to what I’m doing with them. I find out when the client’s behavior has regressed and things are much worse. Truly, done once a week and going slowly is much preferable to more often.

You may internet search or check out books that teach you exercises for the Moro or Fear Paralysis Reflex. There are some described in Blomberg and Dempsey’s book, Movements that Heal, a worthwhile read in any case.  In addition, any Brain Gym exercises are wonderful at this stage.  Just don’t get the white 34 page book with blue line drawings on the front — too much money for what you get.  My favorite is this one:  Caution: If you buy it used, several unscrupulous sellers will send you the 34 page version.  Send it right back!

Next, decide whether you need to mature the Fear Paralysis or Moro Reflex. Both give pretty much the same symptoms, or coping mechanisms as in my previous posts, but there’s one main difference.

Fear Paralysis develops first; it’s the “freeze,” the “I-can’t-get-moving” reflex.  Deer in the headlights, I can’t get started. Let me go be a hermit and do as little as possible, please. On the couch with a hoodie on, binge-watching Netflix or just be a turtle and hide from the world.

If your Moro reflex (fight or flight) is active, your primary response is to get into action and stay busy, keeping your mind off of things.  Compulsive cleaning or running are frequently good ways to cope with this.  If hanging out on a couch when you get anxious increases the anxiety, you’re dealign with the Moro. I am of the opinion that those with OCD, washing hands and so on, are also more likely to fall into this category.  More apt to have many shallower relationships because there’s always something else to do, someone else to talk to – though certainly that’s not exclusive.

Both lead to AD/HD, to anxiety, to all sorts of problems.  At least one is active in most of people. It’s said that if your fear paralysis reflex is active, chances are that your Moro also hasn’t been learned, but hasn’t shown itself. That’s okay, but know that if you do generalized exercises, both will benefit.

I have many ways to deal with this. For Fear Paralysis, get TTouch for Healthcare. Linda Tellington-Jones’ massage techniques, developed for first for animals, are helpful for more than fear paralysis: I use it for muscle spasms and pain as well.  Great for insomnia, if you have Fear Paralysis. If you’d like to save money, she has youtube videos where she tries to explain what she does – mostly on the animals, where I suspect her heart truly is.

Another technique is also helpful for pain held within your tissues from stored traumatic or unhappy memories. Very slowly rotate any joint, about 30 seconds to turn your palm down to up, or vice versa. You may move your arms above your head, or turn your head, or tilt it. Lying down seems to intensify the effect, and that would be needed if you’re going to move your legs.

For the Moro, the exercises in Movements that Heal (the book noted above) are helpful, or play like you’re trying to scare a bear: make yourself as big as you can – arms and legs spread out, opening your eyes and mouth.  Shake your arms a bit. Then become a pillbug: curl everything into yourself, essentially turtle-ing in. THEN give five short staccato “HA!” – like you’re laughing. Or crying. Try it standing, sitting or lying down.

Again, to heighten the experience and the growth, pay close attention to how your body feels and how you’re reacting during the movement. To soften that experience, do it a little quicker, or don’t pay attention to your body or its sensations.