The focus of our last TRE class was on self-regulation and the way it leads to self-empowerment.

The path of discovery through self-regulation and self-empowerment is essential not only in our inner search, healing and integration, but in every aspect of our lives: within family, in our work, in all our social interactions.

Over the last twenty years of studying, practicing and teaching in the field of alternative medicine, I have often come across ideas of self-regulation and self-empowerment in a mental and esoteric context. Lately, working with trauma and TRE, my understanding of both shifted profoundly to a much simpler point of reference – our own body!

So what exactly is self-regulation?

In scientific terms, self-regulation is related to biological, neurological, genetic, homeostatic processes in the body. These processes are mainly unconscious and out of our control.

In psychological and sociological terms, self-regulation is related to self-control, behaviour that is rooted in a mechanism of reward and punishment.

In TRE, self-regulation is bridging and connecting unconscious processes in the body to behaviour which is conditioned by stressful events and trauma we have experienced in our life.

As we prime our body through the TRE exercise sequence to begin invoking neurogenic tremors and release the neurological charge that has been accumulated in the body, we are gently starting to peek into our unconscious body and mind mechanisms.

Self-regulation in TRE starts simply by allowing you to be exactly as you are! As you continue to allow your body to express itself in subtle and sometimes less subtle ways, you are beginning to loosen conditioning and unhealthy self-control patterns. Once you start to move, shake and tremor spontaneously, your capacity to be with you rapidly grows.

These are what I would call the first steps in self-regulation. As you progress further, you will begin observing and allowing other movements and deeper layers to open up; your initial bewilderment at shaking on the floor uncontrollably turns into curiosity and a deeper respect for your body and your life story begins to set in.

The crucial skill of self-regulation within the context of TRE is to remain present and aware of your body, not getting lost in the sensations or the story.

Using proprioceptive receptors and sensing your body in contact with the floor; being aware of your feet, legs, pelvis, abdomen, chest, lower back, upper back, spine, hands, arms, shoulders, neck and head; sensing your body temperature; sensing the weight of your body, your inner organs … just by observing changes and patterns in your own body, you are practising self-regulation.

Using your senses, all the senses – your eyes, hearing, smell, touch – keeps you aware of you and the space around you.

Your breath is paramount. Breathing intentionally through your nose or mouth into your chest, abdomen, feet, into a part of your body that is perhaps tense, painful or joyful – this is self-regulation. You can slow or speed your process simply by adjusting your breath.

Keep your eyes closed or open, change preference to allow yourself to explore different sensations in your body, different patterns of safety.

Some emotions may come up. By observing them and locating them in the body you are self-regulating.

Some memories or thoughts may come to the surface. Again, let them be, and gently let them be on their way.

You will observe shaking patterns in your body and how they change, depending on your emotional state. If at any stage you start to feel uncomfortable, insecure or afraid, you can always extend your legs and stop the tremors, ask for assistance and support. There is no need to force anything or try to do too much in this work. Staying within your limits, knowing them, respecting them and then learning to ride to the edge, is the way to expand your limits.

In TRE, by following natural body mechanisms, being mindful, respectful and present to your needs, you tap into the deep peace, silence and health within, you open up unimaginable spaces capable of transforming and integrating all of your life’s experiences.

After a while, new patterns, limits and behaviours start to spill into your daily life, work, family, empowering others too.

The greatest reward in this work is what happens at the end of the class. An amazing sense of deep peace and stillness radiates from the participants and permeates the entire space in and around us. Whether in individual sessions or in groups, this happens every time!

Reaching that level of peace and stillness in thirty minutes of active TRE with self-regulation and support is a true self-empowerment.

Cheda Mikic