An Easy 6-Step Somatic Exercise to Process Triggers — Integrative Psychotherapy Mental Health Blog (2024)

An Easy 6-Step Somatic Exercise to Process Triggers — Integrative Psychotherapy Mental Health Blog (1)

Last blog addressed what triggers are and where they come from. This blog is going to dive a bit deeper into how to support yourself when you are experiencing a trigger or stressful event, and are needing skills for relief.

As we mentioned last week, one of the ways to work with triggers is to ground yourself, and orient to the room around you. This week we are practicing orienting yourself to your body so you can support yourself when triggered. Next, I will give you 6 steps for you to practice for relief.

How to orient you to your body:

  • What does your posture feel like? are you slumped, rigid, or have a flexibility to your stance?

  • What's your natural heart rate? Quick, slow?

  • Where do you carry tension? does it present as a knot in your stomach, neck/back pain, a headache, a tingling in your fingers or twitching of your eye?

  • What external or internal elements offer a sense of calm? A favorite sweater, drink, place (beach, sofa), or experience with a loved one?

  • What external stimuli often trigger you? loud sounds, dark at night, social interactions?

Begin asking yourself these questions to increase your somatic, mind-body awareness.

When you're healing from anxiety, trauma or are experiencing emotional triggers, it can be difficult to feel like your body is supporting you.

However, an important element in healing and getting stronger is inviting your body to help you, to be aresource.

As Babette Rothschild, Trauma Specialist, suggests learning to engage with your body as a DIARY. Begin taking "notes" from what your body is expressing bytuning inward.

Rothschild writes in her book, The Body Remembers,

"It is through sensory storage and messaging that the body communicates. It holds many keys that help in identifying, accessing and resolving traumatic experiences" (Rothschild, 2000).

According to Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, a somatic, body-focused therapy, everything we experience and all the sensations felt on and in the body are forms of communication needing to be expressed.

Think of your triggers as a google translate to knowing what is happening on the inside.

book a somatic session

In order to offer relief, we want to notice what is happening, and then process and release the experience on a mind and body level (Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Ogden, Minton & Pain, 2006).

Next time you feel triggered, practice this 6 step somatic exercise to help you process through the experience and experience relief. Practicing this may also help you identify the stimuli that contributed to the change in "homeostasis" so that you can have awareness for the future.

A 6-step somatic exercise:


Inhale and exhale. Notice what you feel on,in and aroundyour body. Speed of breath, heart rate and body temperature.

2.Think back to safety.

Think back to at a recent moment you felt most calm, safe and most like your “self”.

3. Identify.

Identify at what point in time and/or which part of your body began experiencing disturbance or stress.


Replay the scenario from calm state to stressed state, in slow motion (as if watching a slow movie). Identify people, conversations, objects or behaviors that may have made you stressed, uncomfortable or that stand out to you as you're replaying the recent event(s).

5. Tune in.

Tune in to your body sensations as you recall the event(s) and slow down and notice if there is any shift in your body, a sensation of tingling, tensing, warming, numbing or cooling in your chest, arms, legs, face or an overall change in body temperature.

6.Healing hands.

Place your hand on the area that has experienced a shift or change, and breath deeply. If it's an overall feeling, you can simply place your hands on your heart.

Doing this allows the body to process the somatic experience, and creates a passageway to release the tension.

Notice if something comes up, an image, sensation, awareness or understanding that offers clarity to the situation. If nothing comes up, that's ok. Simply slowing down, pacing your breath and raising awareness is progress and helpful in itself.

I encourage you to practice this after an upsetting experience, to allow your body to process the emotions and communications of your body. You may also choose to practice this before a stressful situation so that you can identify potential triggers and plan ahead ways to support yourself.

book a somatic session

As you go about your day, I encourage you to tune in to you body.


It is important to note that this exercise is not in place of trauma therapy, rather it is a skill you can practice on your own adjunctive to good therapy work. If you are in therapy and notice something new while doing this exercise,jot it down and bring it to your therapist for deeper and continued work. if you are not in therapy and realize that a lot has come up for you, I encourage you to begin your healing today.

Counseling can help you release the tension and somatic stress carried on your body.

If you have been experiencing tension, anxiety, or trauma symptoms that express themselves in the body, due to something from the past, or specific to something that’s come up,I encourage you to reach out to a therapist today.

Do you live in New York and want to begin the deeper work with a therapist?

Now offering virtual and in person therapy for clients living in Long Island and across New York State, and are available to help you!

Therapies we offer In Long Island And New York

At our practice, we offer EMDR therapy, Somatic therapy, Attachment-Informed methods, Cognitive therapy, Internal Family Systems/Parts work and Expressive methods to help you experience relief.

Schedule your free 15 minute consultation by clicking here- to help you begin healing today!

And…get your some FREE downloadable worksheets and downloads… to deepen your somatic “Felt Sense” and engage in some mindfulness activities..and more. Click here for access to FREE content made with you in mind!

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Ogden, Minton & Pain (2006) Trauma and the Body: A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology)1st Edition

Rothschild, B (2000) the Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment

Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Esther Goldstein

somatic therapy nassau county, trauma expert five towns, anxiety treatment five towns, anxiety specialist long island, anxiety therapy long island, anxiety center five towns, trauma center five towns


Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

I am an experienced mental health professional with a deep understanding of trauma, anxiety, and somatic therapy. My expertise is based on years of working with individuals who have experienced trauma and emotional triggers, as well as extensive training in somatic therapy and related modalities. I have studied and applied the principles of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, which focuses on the mind-body connection and the role of somatic experiences in healing from trauma and emotional distress. Additionally, I am familiar with the work of Babette Rothschild, a renowned Trauma Specialist, and the concepts outlined in her book "The Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment."

Concepts Used in the Article

Triggers and Stressful Events In the article, triggers and stressful events are mentioned as experiences that can lead to emotional distress and the need for skills to find relief. Triggers are stimuli that cause a person to experience emotional or physical distress, often related to past trauma or anxiety.

Grounding and Orienting The article refers to the practice of grounding oneself and orienting to the environment as a way to work with triggers. This involves becoming aware of one's surroundings and physical sensations to support oneself during triggering experiences.

Body Awareness and Somatic Experience The article emphasizes the importance of somatic awareness and engaging with the body as a means of healing and gaining strength. It encourages individuals to tune into their body sensations, posture, heart rate, and areas of tension, as well as identify elements that offer a sense of calm.

Somatic Therapy and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy The article introduces the concept of somatic therapy, a body-focused approach to therapy that emphasizes the role of bodily sensations and experiences in processing and releasing emotional triggers and trauma. It references the principles of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, which highlights the importance of understanding and expressing bodily sensations as a form of communication and healing.

6-Step Somatic Exercise The article outlines a 6-step somatic exercise designed to help individuals process through triggering experiences and find relief. This exercise involves noticing bodily sensations, recalling moments of safety, identifying points of disturbance, replaying triggering scenarios, tuning into body sensations, and using healing touch.

Therapy and Healing The article acknowledges the role of therapy in addressing trauma, anxiety, and somatic stress, and encourages individuals to seek professional help if needed. It also highlights various therapeutic modalities, including EMDR therapy, Somatic therapy, Attachment-Informed methods, Cognitive therapy, Internal Family Systems/Parts work, and Expressive methods as potential avenues for relief.

By incorporating these concepts, individuals can gain a deeper understanding of how to support themselves during triggering experiences and work towards healing from trauma and emotional distress.

An Easy 6-Step Somatic Exercise to Process Triggers — Integrative Psychotherapy Mental Health Blog (2024)
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