Recently, I was chatting with a friend recently who was diagnosed with a serious physical condition. Knowing that he had undergone a lot of trauma during the last few years (and of course having my EFT perspective) I suspected that those events may have been contributing factors to the development of his physical challenges. I was listening compassionately and then with permission offered my thoughts and he responded, “I’m chilling and taking it easy these days and trying not to stress out.” That’s all fine and helpful but what I’ve seen in my EFT practice is that it may not be enough. For me the best course of action is to identify those specific traumatic moments and clear them completely with EFT and/or Matrix Reimprinting. I really feel that the vast majority of us do not understand the impact that trauma can play and how it can affect our daily optimal arousal zone. Here is an explanation of the optimal arousal zone and trauma that we hope will help you and your clients.
The optimal arousal zone is that place we each have that falls between hyper-arousal and hypo-arousal. It is a state in which we are awake and appropriately responsive to stimuli in our external and internal environments. It includes our mental, emotional, physiological and energetic systems. In other words, if I hear a clap of thunder in the distance I don’t jump out of my chair and fly through the air in a knee jerk response fearing being shot. It also means that when someone starts walking towards me in a menacing way that I decide its time to start yawning or freeze on the spot. I represents a bandwidth of being-ness that we might refer to as the ability to be fully present. Unfortunately traumatic experiences affect this zone and shrink it, so that in less and less life experiences do we feel safe, centered or able to be fully present in a balanced homeostatic state.
At the time of traumatic moment, also coined an “U.D.I.N. moment” (first coined by Richard Flook), several key elements of trauma occur. The details of the moment are frozen into our body’s nervous system and many would see the soma of myofascial tissues of our body, as well as our mind. We can be so shocked and traumatized that we don’t have awareness that trauma has just happened. The steps to healing begin with an awareness and acceptance that a trauma has happened. What do we mean by a UDIN moment?
Unexpected – The moment and experience came out of the blue, something that was unanticipated, unforeseen, surprising, was not likely to occur. An example would be when we hear of a loved one being killed when they were on vacation (which is very different from hearing that your elderly relative who’s been very ill in the hospital has passed). It could also be another car suddenly turning into your lane.
Dramatic – Filled with energy or emotion, vivid, severe, serious, very noticeable or striking. An example is when someone is walking home alone at night down an alley like they’ve done a hundred times before and suddenly they see a man holding a knife in front of them as opposed to seeing a kitten scurry out of a doorway.
Isolating – The feeling that you are separate and apart or alone even if you are in the middle of a crowd. An example might be when you hear your teacher call you to the front of the classroom to do a complicated math problem and suddenly you feel like you are alone on stage with all the stage lights focused just on you or when your mother yells, “What are you, an idiot?” when you missed the ball in little league.
No Resources/No strategy – The experience a person has when they have no idea how to correct or overcome the situation, they can’t come up with a plan of action. It’s the sense that they cannot fignt something off or flee from it and feel powerless to overcome it. This single element of UDIN is the most interesting. The key element here is that the experience of having no resources depends on many factors, and one of the most important is the age of the person experiencing the moment. Their PERCEPTION of no resources (accurate or not) is impacted by the variety of experiences they have previously experienced in their life including past similar experiences.
It is important to note that when we recall a traumatic event through the eyes of an adult, we may minimize or trivialize the impact of that moment because as an adult, it seems a “small thing,” something that could easily be overcome by the adult recalling the event. However, through the eyes of a child, a “small thing” like being called to the front of the classroom could be experienced like life as they know it was about to end. If an adult is accidentally locked in a dark cold room they might come up with a multitude of strategies to help them survive the night, such as using their cell phone for help, looking for a window to climb through, finding something to create heat, or yelling for help. Now imagine that same scenario, but the person is 10 years old. Now imagine that same scenario but the person is four years old. What is an uncomfortable situation for one is potentially life threatening to the child.
These UDIN trauma moments are recorded and hardwired into an individual’s brain-body very differently than other moments. It is common for these moments to generate not only heightened emotions and heightened physiological states but are also when significant Core Beliefs are created that can last a lifetime. Examples might be: the world is a dangerous place or God doesn’t love me or I deserve bad things in life. This is why we often go to early childhood memories using Matrix Reimprinting EFT when we want to look for the origins of a repeating patterns that occur throughout a lifetime. It is also why when EFT is being done and we start thinking about a childhood memory that at first seems rather innocuous and we start tapping and tuning into the memory, we commonly discover far more emotional intensity than we originally expected to find there…when we truly re-visit such experiences, the trauma capsule ends up having stored more energy and intensity than we ever imagined.
So the question that you might consider asking yourself is: What events in your childhood fit that category of UDIN moments? Do however take care to recognize that some of these moments you can tap on yourself, but if you find yourself getting highly emotional and dysregulated, it is best to reach out and find a well trained and certified practitioner.
This article was written by Alina Frank and Craig Weiner, directors of the EFT Tapping Training Institute www.efttappingtraining.com They are teachers/trainers/mentors of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) and Matrix Reimprinting and are the producers of The Science of Tapping.