Modulating the Nervous System The 2020s have been pretty demanding on our collective nervous system so far! If you've been experiencing stress, anxiety and even panic attacks, you are certainly not alone, and there are lots of things you can do to relieve these contracted states. Ironically, the fastest, most effective way to do this is to fully come into the sensations in our bodies and ACCEPT that we are feeling this way. This requires a descent from the brain into the body which automatically brings us into the present moment. Our bodies are always a gateway to the present moment. Stress and anxiety are often centered around concerns over past or future, and the body has no choice but to be here now. With all of that said, if you have unresolved trauma stored in the body (you do) then it can be very unappealing to stay here long. Many of us have become experts at employing the survival tactics of the ANS (Autonomic Nervous System): fight, flight, freeze, appease, and/or dissociate, which used to help us navigate and even survive our early environments. We programmed these behaviors at a young age to protect ourselves and get our core human needs met. A lovely, no-brainer way to drop right into the body is via the miraculous bridge between spirit and matter that is not only readily available to us, but completely devoted to us: the breath. We can build a relationship with our breathing simply by noticing it more, engaging it more, and realizing its impeccable capacity to be a best friend to us. A simple, yet powerful way to ground out stress/anxiety is the 4-7-8 breath. Try it now as you read the instructions. For fun, first notice your state of mind/body before you start… Inhale for 4 counts Hold for 7 counts Exhale for 8 counts Repeat 3-5 rounds Now let the technique go and breathe naturally. Sit in full acceptance of yourself, your thoughts, your sensations, your experience. Allow yourself to be…… To notice what you notice….. Just sit in your awareness of everything. Now, how do you feel? Has anything shifted? Using a technique like this is excellent in a moment of high stress when you feel that your nervous system is triggered or depleted. Making a routine of practicing techniques such as this one every day will have a cumulative effect and begin to heal your nervous system at deeper levels. You will notice your window of tolerance widen in scenarios that used to make you want to fight, flee, freeze, appease or check out. Another approach is to strengthen your capacity to accept and ultimately, love yourself unconditionally, no matter WHAT is going on. This creates a home base to anchor into, regardless of circumstance. I will speak more to this in articles to come, but in the meantime, I invite you to practice something bold. It’s a formula that you can apply to whatever elicits an emotional response: Even though ______(insert topic creating distress)______, I accept myself. This comes from Emotional Freedom Techniques, or Tapping, a self-regulation method that is a cornerstone in my coaching practice. Simple enough, yes? Try out a few rounds now or next time you feel triggered. If you want to turbo charge this, gently tap on any or all of these points while repeating the phrase:
If this speaks to you, I invite you to check out my Intro to Tapping video https://youtu.be/9dx6n_FiRDw. This will give you the basics around how to neutralize these heightened nervous system responses and even re-program outdated beliefs that keep us stuck in unhealthy patterns.
Check out UPLEVEL Self Healing Workbook: Partnering with the Elements to Re-wire Limiting Beliefs if you haven't already for much, much more on this topic!
Much Love, rah