When we are brought up in dysfunctional homes or we undergo chronic stress or overwhelming feelings, we get into the state where we seem fine from outside, but deep down, we are numb and helpless. Functional freeze refers to the state when we are functional and we perform our tasks, but we get into the state of freeze as a response. “We have to condition our body to go into mobilised state and show our mind it’s safe to feel uncomfortable sensations. This means small steps you can start taking daily. I believe right now so many of us are stuck in functional freeze. We’re doing and going and completing tasks. But we’re not actually there. We have no energy and feel checked out. This is usually seen as a depressed state. But the body is actually trying to protect us. It’s trying to help us survive. It’s adapting to the world around us,” wrote Psychologist Nicole LePera.
The expert further noted down a few ways by which we can get out of functional freeze:
Move the body: it is important to keep moving the body naturally. Be it going for a walk or noticing the things around us and being fully present in the moment, movements help in knowing that we are safe.
Release anger: Functional freeze can happen when we have too many pent-up emotions inside us. We should release that anger by screaming into a pillow or writing it down on a piece of paper.
Connect with someone: At this state, we may not feel like connecting with people at a deeper level. Hence, we should push ourselves to connect with people and put in effort in the relationship to make it meaningful.
Shake and feel: We should shake the body and feel the sensations. People in functional freeze have the fear of feeling their own sensations. This pattern can break that.