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Navigating the World Of Sensitivity: Activating Survival Energy Vs. Tranquility

As an empath, sensitive person, or someone with complex trauma, understanding the diverse range of trauma triggers and activities that can activate survival energies is crucial.

Experiences like trauma, prolonged grief, or burnout can push our brains into survival mode, where we operate on high alert to perceived threats. This heightened state can be exhausting and detrimental to our overall well-being.

Equally important is adopting strategies to soothe your nervous system and cultivate a more balanced and resilient mental state.

In this article, we’ll explore some lesser-known triggers and delve into practices that can promote healing and well-being for sensitive souls.

Triggers for C-PTSD and Highly Sensitive Nervous Systems

Survival energy activation occurs when an individual encounters stimuli that subconsciously evoke memories of a previous traumatic or emotionally distressing event.

This is commonly known as Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD), which describes trauma experienced over a long period. When something reminds a person of a past difficult experience, it sets off a mental pattern called a schema.

To cope with the intense emotional pain that follows, a defense mechanism, known as a mode, kicks in to protect them.

Triggers can also affect someone who is highly sensitive (HSP), a person with heightened or more profound sensitivity in their central nervous system, responding to physical, emotional, or social stimuli.

This heightened sensitivity is sometimes referred to as sensory processing sensitivity (SPS). Some individuals develop a highly sensitive nervous system as a trauma response, while others are simply born that way.

It’s also possible for someone to be born highly sensitive and then become more so due to traumatic experiences. Neither of these conditions is something the affected person can control. They can’t simply shut off their triggers or sensitivities.

Here are common examples of triggering events that can cause survival activations to kick in for individuals with C-PTSD or HSP:

1. Mind Assaulting Activities

Negative Media Consumption: Consuming distressing news, doom scrolling on social media, or obsessively monitoring a toxic ex-partner online can assault the subconscious mind and nervous system. These activities contribute to heightened anxiety and survival energy activation.

Mental Exhaustion: Constant exposure to negative content can lead to mental exhaustion and exacerbate trauma symptoms. Practicing media mindfulness and setting boundaries for social media use can help mitigate these effects.

2. Religious Trauma

Shame and Judgment: Exposure to punitive and judgmental religious environments can lead to profound religious trauma. Weekly reminders of inherent sinfulness and moral failing can create deep-seated feelings of shame and unworthiness.

Spiritual Disconnection: Leaving organized religion and seeking alternative spiritual paths, like Earth-based spiritualism, can be a healing response. However, the journey to find spiritual fulfillment can also trigger past traumas related to religious abuse.

3. Single Parenthood Struggles

Stress and Overwhelm: Single parents juggle numerous responsibilities, often without adequate support. Chronic stress from managing household demands and financial burdens can lead to nervous system burnout and contribute to the development of C-PTSD.

Isolation and Loneliness: The lack of a support system can exacerbate feelings of isolation, making it harder to cope with daily challenges and increasing vulnerability to triggers.

4. High-Energy Careers

Relentless Pressure: Working in demanding, high-energy careers for financial reasons can severely tax the nervous system. Constant stress, coupled with the fear of job insecurity, can exacerbate C-PTSD symptoms.

Toxic Work Environment: A toxic or cruel boss can intensify feelings of insecurity and stress. Reassessing career priorities and exploring alternative paths that align with personal values and well-being is crucial for managing stress.

5. Repetitive Court Battles

Emotional and Psychological Drain: Prolonged legal battles, especially with a toxic ex-partner, can be emotionally exhausting and psychologically draining. The ongoing stress of legal proceedings can exacerbate trauma symptoms and hinder recovery.

Uncertainty and Fear: The unpredictability of legal outcomes can create a persistent state of anxiety and fear, further activating survival responses.

Soothing the Psyche and Nervous System

Beyond identifying stressors, cultivating practices that soothe the psyche and nervous system is essential for empaths, highly sensitive people, and those with complex trauma. Here are some effective strategies:

1. Cutting Ties with Toxic Exes

Disengaging from toxic relationships is crucial for emotional well-being:

  • Establish Boundaries: Resist the urge to monitor or stay connected with harmful ex-partners online.
  • Protect Your Emotions: Clear boundaries foster a sense of liberation and peace.
  • Focus on Healing: Invest time in self-care and activities that promote recovery.

2. Non-Triggering Shopping Practices

Simplify your life by embracing modern conveniences:

  • Opt for Deliveries: Use grocery and staple delivery services to avoid the stress of physical shopping.
  • Reduce Stressors: This approach saves time and energy, allowing you to focus on more fulfilling activities.
  • Enhance Well-Being: Simplifying daily tasks can significantly improve your overall quality of life.

3. Nature Walks

Immerse yourself in the healing power of nature. Regular walks in natural surroundings can:

  • Reduce Stress: Nature helps lower cortisol levels, the stress hormone.
  • Improve Mood: Exposure to greenery and fresh air boosts serotonin and endorphins.
  • Promote Well-Being: Nature acts as a sanctuary, calming the nervous system and fostering a sense of connection with the world.

4. Educational Reading Choices

Mindful reading can empower and educate without triggering distress:

  • Avoid Triggering Content: Steer clear of literature about abusive dynamics and toxic relationships once you’ve learned the basics.
  • Focus on Growth: Choose self-help books, inspirational stories, or subjects that ignite personal growth.
  • Manage Withdrawal Symptoms: Be prepared for some discomfort as you shift away from consuming material about narcissism. Ride it through to reach a healthier mental state.

5. News Detox

Constant exposure to distressing news can heighten anxiety and stress. To maintain a healthy mental state:

  • Take Breaks: Limit news consumption, especially during challenging times.
  • Set Boundaries: Stay informed but avoid overexposure.
  • Focus on Positive News: Seek out uplifting stories to balance your perspective.

Additional Strategies for Soothing the Nervous System

Mindfulness and Meditation

  • Breathing Exercises: Ground yourself and reduce anxiety through simple breathing techniques.
  • Body Scans: Focus on different parts of your body to reconnect with the present moment.

Routine and Stability

  • Consistent Daily Routine: A predictable routine provides stability and reduces anxiety.

Sensory Breaks

  • Quiet Time: Take breaks in calm environments to soothe an overwhelmed nervous system.
  • Soothing Music: Listen to calming music or nature sounds to relax.

Physical Activity

  • Gentle Exercise: Activities like yoga, walking, or stretching can release built-up tension.
  • Grounding Techniques: Physical grounding exercises, such as walking barefoot on grass, can anchor you in the present.

Emotional Expression

  • Journaling: Writing about your thoughts and feelings helps process and release emotions.
  • Art Therapy: Engaging in creative activities like drawing or painting provides an emotional outlet.

Support Systems

  • Therapy: Work with a therapist who understands trauma and sensitivity for invaluable support.
  • Support Groups: Connect with others who have similar experiences to foster a sense of community and understanding.

Healthy Boundaries

  • Media Mindfulness: Limit exposure to negative content and prioritize activities that nourish your mind and spirit.
  • Social Media Boundaries: Set boundaries for social media use to prevent mental distress and promote well-being.

By integrating these practices into your daily life, you can create a more balanced and resilient mental state, promoting healing and well-being for sensitive souls.

Rituals and Ceremony

Integrating Earth Magic rituals into your self-care practices can profoundly soothe the psyche and nervous system, especially for empaths, highly sensitive people (HSP), and individuals affected by C-PTSD.

These rituals, rooted in the connection with nature, facilitate healing, renewal, and protection, promoting a harmonious balance between mind, body, and spirit.

Here are some Earth Magic rituals that can be seamlessly integrated into your self-care routine:

1. Nature Altars

Create altars in your home or natural settings adorned with symbols of gratitude and connection to the Earth. This practice fosters a deep sense of appreciation for the interconnectedness of all living things.

How to Create:

  • Location: Choose a quiet place indoors or outdoors.
  • Elements: Gather natural items like flowers, leaves, stones, crystals, and other 

meaningful objects.

  • Arrangement: Arrange these items in a way that feels harmonious and reflective of your

gratitude and connection to nature.

  • Use: Visit your altar regularly to meditate, reflect, and renew your sense of connection with the Earth.

2. Create a Sacred Space

Establishing a personal sanctuary is a foundational step, intertwining the physical and metaphysical realms. This sacred space serves as a haven for connecting with nature and performing Earth Magic rituals, representing your inner world and fostering solace, healing, and renewal.

Outdoor Space: Cultivate a small garden with herbs and flowers known for their healing and protective properties.

Indoor Space: Create a cozy corner adorned with natural elements such as stones, crystals, shells, or feathers, symbolizing Earth Magic and linking your sacred space to the natural world.

Spend meaningful time in this sanctuary, engaging in meditation, prayer, or intentional rituals, transforming it into a refuge for releasing negative energy, protecting your spirit, and immersing yourself in the Earth’s transformative magic.

3. Full Moon Ceremonies

Harness the energy of the full moon to release emotional baggage and set new intentions. The full moon’s glow can act as a companion on your journey towards emotional renewal.

How to Perform:

  • Preparation: Create a list of things you wish to release and intentions you want to set.
  • Ritual: Sit under the full moon, meditate, and read your list aloud. Symbolically release the list by burning it or burying it in the earth.
  • Reflection: Embrace the lunar energy and visualize the release and renewal taking place within you.

4. Candle Lighting

Light a candle with a clear intention for healing. The flame not only illuminates the physical space but also the recesses of your soul, guiding you towards a profound release of negativity.

How to Perform:

  • Choose a candle color that aligns with your intention (e.g., white for purity, green for healing, black for protection).
  • Focus on your intention as you light the candle, allowing its flame to symbolize the illumination and purification of your inner world.

By incorporating these Earth Magic rituals into your self-care routine, you embark on a holistic journey of healing and renewal. These practices help release negative energy, cultivate resilience, and foster a profound connection with the Earth’s transformative energies, creating a balanced and resilient mental state in the face of life’s challenges.


Living with sensitivity, especially in the context of navigating the complexities of C-PTSD, demands a comprehensive approach.

The first step toward healing involves recognizing the diverse triggers that can exacerbate symptoms, such as single parenthood struggles, prolonged legal battles, religious trauma, high-energy careers, and mind-assaulting activities.

Whether you find yourself entrenched in survival mode or are preemptively preparing for it, showing yourself kindness and learning to regulate your emotions can significantly impact your well-being.

Embracing self-care is a pivotal aspect of this process, and it’s never too late to prioritize it. Establishing self-care routines and strategies not only helps in managing survival mode but can also serve as preventative measures.