Conscious Communication & Stress Reaction Cycle


Conscious Communication Through FeelingsWhen couples are working through their childhood trauma through the dynamic of their relationship, it is important to remember the stress reaction cycle and conscious communication guidelines.

Although, life feels like a stimulus leads to a response, there are emotional states that lead to one’s reactions.

Conscious Communication Through Emotions: Mad, Sad, Glad, Afraid

We can feel one or more of these emotions at a time.

*However, even BEFORE we have an emotion, we have a reactive interpretation of the stimulus or event. This reactive interpretation is rooted in our history. If one has been abused, neglected or otherwise mistreated, it is imperative that they carefully examine their interpretations of a stimulus/event/experience.

This is the stress reaction cycle and it proceeds as follows:

  1. Event/stimulus/experience
  2. Reactive interpretation
  3. Emotions
  4. Reaction

Stress Reaction Cycle - Event > Interpretation > Emotions > Reaction

If you find yourself asserting interpretations in your communications, you are essentially having a flashback of painful relationship dynamics.

Clues that you are interpreting instead of being emotionally honest are starting sentences with “I think…” “You…” “I think that…” “I feel that…” “I feel like…”

Break Out of the Stress Reaction Cycle

  1. Stop – take a breath
  2. Get Present – keep breathing-feel your feet and your seat
  3. Pay Attention – notice what your reactive interpretation is: Think to yourself, ‘I’m noticing I am perceiving this person as disrespecting me/ignoring me/mad at me’
  4. Tell The Truth – this truth is about how YOU FEEL e.g. I feel afraid when this person doesn’t smile at me.
    *Remember! Emotions are: Mad, Sad, Glad, Afraid
  5. Let Go – This can be accomplished by sharing what your stress reaction cycle looks like with a person. In relationships with a secure attachment, one can share directly with the person who was involved (at least mentally) in your stress reaction.

You can trust that following these guidelines will weed out toxic people. If you were to practice letting go by sharing with them directly, they will dismiss, ignore, rage, or gas-light you in response. Then you REALLY have to practice letting go…