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  • Writer's pictureAlley Dezenhouse Kelner

The Sensory System and Stress Responses

Why am I WAY more reactive to my kids when I'm stressed? Because, science.

Did you know that we can actually experience the environment (sound, sight, smell, taste, touch) differently when we're escalated or dysregulated? If you thought the lights got brighter, the sounds got louder, the smells got more overpowering, or the tags on your shirt suddenly became unbearable--you could be one step closer to understanding your states of escalation.

Why does this matter?

Sometimes we lack the ability to identify low levels of escalation in ourselves; this leads us "up the escalation mountain" and right to our peak. If we can tune into our subtle signs of escalation ("wow my socks feel tight") we can use these signs as cues to use a coping strategy before we bubble over.

The more in tune we are with our (or our kid's) low levels of escalation the less of a surprise our "climb up the mountain" is and the more empowered we feel to articulate our needs and actively pursue regulation before we hit our point of no return (i.e. meltdown).

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