Six Steps From Hypervigilance to Sharp Perception (and an Original Song)

in psychology •  7 months ago


Hypervigilance is a skill that can be transformed into discernment.

Children develop hypervigilance when they live in an unsafe or unpredictable environment. It is a skill that helped them survive. It is a symptom of complex trauma also known as C-PTSD. The heightened sense of awareness can be transformed from fear to wisdom.

When the Japanese mend broken objects they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold, because they believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful. – Barbara Bloom

There is a predictable path to healing that can occur in the right environment. These are the steps:

1) Safety First

The very first thing that has to happen is the commitment to safety. Sometimes an adult will still be acting out and engaging in unsafe behaviors, unsafe relationships, unsafe environments. That needs to be addressed with a qualified therapist and a commitment needs to made to be willing to open up about our behaviors. We take inventory of our life. Once we do that we can work to understand that our safety is now our responsibility. There is great freedom in this! Once we transform into this realization we can begin the work of healing.

We need to kind of refresh our fear in order to refresh our understanding of how a safe place works. ~Andrew Pyper

2) Grieving our Losses

The healing in complex trauma and transforming hypervigilance is grieving our losses. Our lost innocence and our lost protection. It is not our fault that the adults in our lives did not protect us. But it is also not helpful to remain resentful about this fact. The way out is through grieving. Remaining angry only hurts us. Grief is a gift that allows us to * release * our pain. A skilled trauma therapist can guide us through this process. This is the way out.

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and hanging on. ~Havelock Ellis


3) Adjusting to Putting Ourselves First

This is the part where we shift from looking outside ourselves to be rescued to learning to relax into the healing of solitude. Healthy adults recharge in solitude rather than escape into isolation. Once this shift occurs the insights that are available to us are quite profound. At this point establishing a meditation practice will be of great benefit to us as we move from emotional hurt and taking things personally. We begin to dis-identify with thought processes that cause us pain. In silence and solitude we expand our consciousness to make room for wisdom. Here we learn to love ourselves.

Beauty is when you can appreciate yourself. When you love yourself, that's when you're most beautiful. ~Zoe Kravitz

4) Learning Discernment

This is where we turn what seemed to be a curse to the other side of the coin. We find the blessing in learning discernment. In order for us to live in peace we have to transform our fear- based hypervigilance into clear perception. It’s an amazing opportunity to cultivate wisdom. We must take this step in order to be free. Most people in life will never take this step because they become comfortable in their everyday patterns. We have to make the transition from being afraid of people and their motives to observing with care from a stable foundation. Since we have already established our physical safety we can observe and contemplate.

We should not fret for what is past, nor should we be anxious about the future; men of discernment deal only with the present moment. ~Chanakya


5) Respond From Wisdom Instead of React From Emotional Hurt

Through practicing contemplation we now know we hold our power. We choose how to respond and if we even want to engage at all. We are in control, not of others, but of ourselves. This is where we really feel what freedom means. We have the power to assess any situation from a center of peace. We already have the skill that helped us survive unsafe environments so now we have transformed it through healing. Peace is now our way.

To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one's family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one's own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him. ~Buddha

6) Create Our Lives From Peace

Once we have established the previous steps we get to the real fun part. We “create our reality”! I’m referring to the new skill of being the masters of our mind and hearts. We gave ourselves the gift of the time and space to heal. We focused on separating wheat from chaff and we find gold. Once we hit gold we are on the path to creating a life of beauty. We transform our existing relationships or create new ones that reflect our realization that we are a divine human being.

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. ~Confucius


We will no longer see the world through the eyes of a hurt child. Releasing our pain through grieving is the way. Sometimes we may walk this path in a spiral but make no mistake we are on the path. I hope through these words you begin to see the opportunity we have in healing. We did not have the luxury of comfort so we have to work to find the way out and find the truth. That the core of our being is peace.

My coming to faith did not start with a leap but rather a series of staggers from what seemed like one safe place to another. Like lily pads, round and green, these places summoned and then held me up while I grew. Each prepared me for the next leaf on which I would land, and in this way I moved across the swamp of doubt and fear ~Anne Lamott

I wrote this song for my inner child once I understood what the path to healing was. It was quite an adventure establishing safety and committing to the therapeutic healing process but it was so worth it. I hope you join me.

Thank you to Aandra for the beautiful music production

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