The Skills of Tracking 101
I often refer to the importance of developing healthy coping skills. One of the most valuable coping skills is that of "TRACKING."
Let's dig into what it means to "track" in psychological terms.
Not only can you track your progress, emotions, triggers, beliefs, thought patterns, actions, consequences, etc. You can also track the sensation of emotions in your body.
In trauma informed psychotherapy, it is crucial to create awareness around body sensations and embodied experiences. This gives us a sense of presence, power, awareness, connection, and helps foster a sense of security in our bodies.
This is the pathway to reintegrating a sense of self, joining with yourself, and creating a personalized/ unique sense of safety/comfort within your body.
Did you know that much of our emotions are stored in our body, and have a direct impact on shaping our bodies and our brains?
That's right, our body holds memories of what has happened in our lives, how we felt, the meanings that we created around those situations, and more.
Below are some helpful tips on how to utilize THE SKILL OF TRACKING 101:
*When tracking an experience in the body, pay attention to sensations that you notice.
EXAMPLE: tingling, numbness, disconnection, pressure, buzzing, shaking, relaxation, openness, tightness, constriction, pleasant, unpleasant, etc.
*This is meant to be a NON-judgmental process of open awareness and curiosity. JUST NOTICE.
*Notice how the sensations move or stay still as you bring awareness to them.
*Identify if they are pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. Label them.
*This awareness of sensations actually helps regulate your nervous system, which in turn helps you get back in the driver's seat of your wellness.
*Great ways to start tracking are noticing your BREATH (are you holding your breath or breathing deeply?). Notice your HEART RATE (is it fast or slow?). Notice TENSION in your body (where is it shoulders, hips, back?). Notice your POSTURE (are you curled up in a ball, or standing tall and open).
*Ask yourself what you are needing to attend to the sensations that you are noticing. Do you need to stretch? Take a deeper breath? Place your hand on your racing heart? Etc.
Overall, tracking helps you create a connection to and awareness of your nervous system and physical experience. This is important so you don’t get overwhelmed by your experiences, or act-out in unhealthy or damaging ways.
Tracking brings you into the present moment and can help create space for change.
This "tuning into awareness" creates synchronicity, balance and empowerment, so that you can begin to shift into a more pleasant experience (if that is what you wish to accomplish).
BEGINNERS TIP: Practice tracking when you are in a more calm and peaceful state to begin with, so that you can start to notice sensations without being over stimulated. This will also help you have a frame of reference to recreate that sense of calm when you are in a more activated or escalating state.
Comment below and let me know how your attempts at tracking go!