Our nervous system is how our body sends and receives messages about how to respond to situations we encounter. Individuals who experience an over aroused or over excited nervous system, often have difficulty “turning it down” and finding a sense of calm, especially where there are real or perceived threats in the environment.
Teaching nervous system regulation is one way that I’ve learned to help individuals manage known and unknown challenges as they navigate their lives. Why is this important? In my experience, individuals whose sympathetic nervous system is over activated, tend to struggle with managing anxiety, decision making and an awareness of themselves in the moment. This can be situational or chronic. A chronically over activated SNS can lead to feelings of stress and exhaustion, mentally and physically, as well as issues with hormones, sleep, inflammation in the body, healing and immunity. Because one of the primary jobs of the SNS is survival, when this system is constantly active individuals also report struggling with decision making. This is because they are constantly in a “fight or flight” mode and they find it difficult to move beyond it in order to make a decision that is in their best short and long-term interest. Often what drives people to seek change or relief is the ongoing challenge of managing this intense and powerful feeling of reacting to situations for “survival.” They begin to recognize that surviving isn’t always the same thing as thriving.
Nervous system regulation is the practice of increasing awareness of your body and body sensations. It’s about intentionally increasing energy or activity in the body, being able to identify how that feels in the body, where your “edge” or limit is with it and then being able to use certain skills or techniques that can balance the nervous system by engaging the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). Engagement or activation of the PNS is what begins to calm and soothe the body. It’s what tells us internally that “it’s ok to relax” and evokes feelings of calm and comfort. This is also where the fight or flight response turns off so we experience a sense of being able to respond to situations instead of react to them.
The good news is because there are skills and techniques that can help to quiet the SNS and evoke a response from the PNS, then this is something that individuals can learn, implement and begin to find a change within themselves as to how they navigate their world. It’s also an opportunity to feel more in control, more empowered and more confident about your decisions and responses to what’s happening in your world. If you or someone you know could benefit from learning more about this topic, reach out to me and let me know!