Imagine you are in a restaurant and you start feeling nervous, angry, or scared for no apparent reason. What would you do first?
B. Get really frustrated?
C. Stop and use your zoom button?
“WAIT! Stop and use your Zoom button?”
Yes, every person with sensory processing disorder needs to learn that they have a Zoom button and also how to use it well.
Now be honest…
Most of us would usually pick A or B for our reaction, because that’s how our fight, flight or freeze mechanism works. But that isn’t the best way to respond, especially if you are chatting with a friend or (even worse) at a business lunch.
We can’t afford to panic or get frustrated!
So what do we do?
First, we need to Zoom out!
Stop and notice what is around you? For instance: Is their a noisy fan in the room? Is the restaurant crowded? Is your cloths itchy or too tight? Did you have something crunchy or smooth in your food that you didn’t like? Was there a texture lacking in your food (ie. lack of something crunchy)? Is there a strange smell?
Noting what is potentially the problem is the first step!
Second, we need to Zoom in!
Often when we are overwhelmed by what our body is saying, we don’t completely recognize what we are actually feeling. For instance, I often react by hyperventilating. When I start hyperventilating I am consumed with the false idea, “I cannot breath” or ” I need more air,” when instead I need to stop and recognize that I can breath. That I am not lacking air, otherwise I would pass out.
After understanding this, I can see clearly that I am hyperventilating, not dying.
But what do we do with this information?
Third, we need to Zoom back to normal and use that information to find what helps.
Now that we know the source of the problem (ie. the air conditioning fan above my head). And we have found out that this is creating an emotion or a reaction inside of us (ie. feeling overwhelmed/hyperventilating). Then we can successfully use sensory tools to help us feel better.
Try putting on ear plugs that allow for conversations to still be heard, while muffling the noisy fan. If I am having troubles with the food, I wiggle a bit more on my core disk or squeeze a Koosh ball to give me sensory impute.
The question is: Which choice are you going to pick?
We all want to avoid choices A and B. Learning how to use your Zoom button will be difficult at first. Yet, the more you learn about how your body reacts and what your body needs, the better your Zoom will work. As the old saying goes, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try, try… again.
Using you Zoom button when dealing with SPD reactions will hopefully help keep you sane and in the place you need to be.
I am curious? What places do you need to learn how to use your Zoom button more effectively? What victories have you experienced lately in using your Zoom button? Please comment below, I would love to hear from YOU!
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