Even those of us who don't think of ourselves as traumatized go through times where our brain pattern mimics a trauma response: our prefrontal cortex goes offline and we get caught in the grip of reactivity. Fortunately, you don't have to stay stuck in these conditioned responses. You can rewire your brain to have more beneficial default functioning. But before we talk about rewiring, let's unpack what trauma is. While you're doing that work, here are Jan's favorite tips for effective delegating: Be patient, and give your team or colleagues some time and space. Trust your people, and assume the best will happen until it doesn't. Be ready to redirect when something doesn't go as planned. Remember: Redirect does not mean jump in. Once you have your list, look through and see what things you can reasonably cut or reduce. If they are work related, can you delegate them to someone else or ask a colleague to help with some of the load? If they are household chores, can you ask your partner to take up the slack or enlist your children to share in the responsibilities? If possible, choose one or two that you can eject from your schedule. If it's not possible, keep reading; The task became one of cooperatively working at the development of a procedure that would be objective yet not mechanical, that would be standardized yet leave room for the individual judgment of the check-pilot, that would differentiate qualified and unqualified pilots but not show degrees of proficiency among those who qualified. The result was a procedure that was far more appropriate to the realities of the situation than one that might have been developed before the groups shared their different perceptions. The barriers to communication within groups or organizations exist only as they are perceived by the individual members as barriers. What is a barrier to one person may not be to another. Thus, highly formalized communication procedures -- written memoranda, prescribed channels, and parliamentary procedures -- may be perceived as barriers to free communication by some group members, but others may find such procedures in no way limiting to their communication. Similarly, such procedures may limit communication in one organization, and may not in another.

Nevertheless, it is likely that there are certain things that universally limit free communication in groups. These may be such conditions as physical space separation, absence of face-to-face contacts, clumsy and complicated methods of communication, and excessively demanding jobs which do not permit time for communication. Apparently, these conditions, which can be thought of as barriers existing in the physical reality of an organization, are important. Yet the significance of such barriers can be overemphasized. WHAT IS TRAUMA? Sometimes we experience something that so violates our sense of safety and rightness that we feel overwhelmed. We feel shattered. The mind freezes in that moment and can't let go, can't just integrate it and carry on. The jolt could have come from an event, such as a natural disaster, terrorist attack, sexual assault, being in a war zone or car accident, seeing someone murdered, even a messy divorce. Even if it doesn't involve physical harm, any situation that leaves us feeling overwhelmed and isolated can result in trauma. Trauma can also stem from not just a singular event but an accumulation of ongoing stressors, such as growing up in a crime-ridden neighborhood or an environment that was unpredictable or dangerous, being bullied, or suffering partner abuse or childhood neglect. It's also traumatizing to grow up surrounded by cultural messages that say you are worthless because of who you are. This is the trauma of oppression, and it's the experience of most people with marginalized identities. Having a supportive and loving family or community may not be enough to protect you from internalizing toxic cultural messages. Step Two: Reframe the Required For those activities that you categorize as boring, annoying, or otherwise unpleasant but need to keep, reframing will greatly lighten the burden. You want to look for the meaning behind the activity. Why are you doing it? What's the greater purpose? Go through your list, and reframe each one.

Here are a few examples that might help you reframe your drudge activities: I'm at work to make money to support my children. While this specific task isn't important, the greater goal is. I don't love walking the dog in the rain or clipping his nails, but I do love my dog. Perhaps even greater barriers to free communication are the more subtle conditions that are frequently perceived by the group member as threats to his own self. This is to say that each individual group member constructs within himself the really effective barriers to free communication. If this is true, it is clear why a nonthreatening climate is another fundamental condition required for releasing the adjustive capacities of groups. A Nonthreatening Psychological Climate The concept of a group climate has been used by a number of different investigators as an abstraction for certain characteristics of a group that seem to have potent effects on the behavior and attitudes of its members. The concept achieved wide recognition as a result of the studies of Lewin, Lippitt, and White (119) on the effects of experimentally created social climates on the behavior of children. These researchers used the concept of climate to stand for different patterns of adult leadership. They differentiated three basic patterns: autocratic, democratic, and laissez-faire. These terms came to be used to describe the climates that the investigators assumed were induced by the three different leadership patterns. Thus, for them, the different climates were equated with the different leadership patterns. Most of us carry trauma in our bodies to varying degrees. For example, we've all experienced gender-based trauma, but the difference is in the degree. The trauma experienced by cisgender folks, if not often labeled trauma, is real. Consider men who lack full access to their emotions (because they were taught that real men shouldn't cry) or women caught up in the pursuit of beauty ideals (because they were taught that beauty is currency). We can all remember being shamed for stepping outside those gender boxes or silently fearing that others will see our gendered shortcomings. When you feel ashamed of or feel the need to conceal aspects of yourself in order to survive or find belonging, then what you're experiencing isn't true belonging.

Instead, you constantly hustle for your worthiness (to use shame researcher Brene Brown's language). That's traumatic. Although we talk about the catalyst as the trauma, in fact trauma is about an individual's response--it's one's subjective experience that defines whether an event is traumatic, not the nature of the event itself. Then it extends beyond the story of what happened to become the imprint of how your past lives on inside you today. He brings me a lot of joy, and caring for him keeps him healthy. I know I will sit on hold for thirty minutes with the cable company, but the big game is on Sunday, and I want my boyfriend to be able to watch it. This is one small way I can make him happy, and that makes me happy. Paying the bills is how I make sure we have electricity, heat, and phone service in our house. It is part of what keeps our home running smoothly. When my kids sleep under this blanket of security I provide, it makes me feel good. This project may feel like a slog, but it will make a big impression on my client and likely lead to more referrals and income. I will also feel a great sense of accomplishment when it is done, and that's always a boost for me. I'm going to the gym so that I can be healthy for myself and my family. Working out gives me more energy and helps me think better. Anderson and Brewer (8) have used the concept of climate in almost the same way -- that is, they have equated the climates of different classrooms with different patterns of teacher behavior. Withall (225) has also defined classroom climate in terms of whether the teacher's behavior was learner-centered, teacher-centered, or neutral. All these studies define climate by the kind of behavior exhibited by the leader or teacher. It is possible, however, to think of climate as something perceived or felt by the students in a class or the members of a group -- that is, climate can be examined from the frame of reference of the group members. Thelen and Withall (212) have attempted to do just this, but they obtain from their subjects only a positive or a negative reaction, and it is difficult to know just what these reactions mean to the members. Their study is important, however, in that it attempts to obtain a measure of climate as perceived by the group member, though it does not give many clues as to the dimensions of the perceived climate.

Some evidence of the actual dimensions of climate has been obtained in studies of the effects of client-centered therapy as seen through the eyes of the client. As a matter of fact, it has been from the recorded statements of our clients that we have obtained the greatest number of clues as to the nature of the psychological climate as experienced by them. If we can accept this kind of evidence, it seems that clients most often experience a feeling of lack of threat. They feel they are in a safe atmosphere. The invisible nature of some traumas can leave us confused. To an outside observer, an emotionally deprived child might appear fine, since their basic physical needs such as clothing and schooling are fulfilled. The lack of external recognition makes the invisible scars more damaging. The child feels unloved and unworthy, all the while hearing from society that they are well taken care of. This disconnect can create confusion, guilt, and shame. Unfortunately, too many traumatic encounters go unrecognized by typical diagnostic criteria. This is unfortunate because people may then feel ashamed that what they experienced isn't really trauma and thus is unworthy of attention. As you can see, there's a lot more that causes trauma than the usual stories. Consider this humiliating story from my life. It may not contain a classic traumatic event--there was no rape, bomb explosion, or earthquake--but, the impact was traumatizing. Plus, exercise keeps me looking good, and that feels great! Step Three: Add in the Good Stuff We're not quite done parsing your to-do list. Now go through your upcoming schedule and to-do list, and identify the activities that feel engaging, fun, or even quietly rewarding. No pleasure is too small. You're looking for anything in your upcoming day that gives you a little spark.