A helpful coping tool to decrease emotional reactivity and stress in clients is CPR for the Amygdala® (short for Creating Personal Resilience for the Amygdala). This is a program Dr. Kate Truitt and her colleagues developed to help people show up for themselves in a loving, proactive way when the survival brain starts taking over. It’s a simple, yet effective, brain hack that can help bring you back into the resilient zone quickly.
CPR for the Amygdala is designed to help your clients regain physical and emotional balance when they find themselves on those neural freeways of stress. It uses the mindful touch from self-havening in combination with “brain games” that redirect their thoughts away from the emotionally activating experience. Brain games are essentially any form of cognitive distraction that occupies the working memory resources.This is important, because when a client begins moving into survival mode, they are using all of their working memory resources to compare the current stressor to any stressful, painful, or distressing experiences from their past.
An easy way to begin integrating CPR for the Amygdala into your practice is to keep in mind the acronym SNAP, as though you’re going to snap the amygdala out of a stress reaction. These are the four foundational steps of the CPR for the Amygdala protocol:
- Sense into the experience of emotional activation, distress, or disturbance.
- Notice the intensity of the experience and rank it on the scale of 0–10.
- Apply the self-havening touch.
- Preoccupy your brain with brain games to redirect your attention and focus.
And if you’re ready to get started with CPR for the Amygdala, download this FREE introductory CPR for the Amygdala practice
that uses breath work as a simple breath distraction.