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How To Regulate Your Nervous System

Person standing on a rock, looking at lake and mountains

Our nervous system is made up of two parts.

The Sympathetic Nervous System and the Parasympathetic Nervous System. The sympathetic nervous system readies the body for fight or flight. To get out of harms way.

The parasympathetic nervous system restores the body to a greater sense of calm. Ideally, these two parts work synergistically.

Many people who have suffered trauma or are under a great source of stress can find their nervous system stuck in the sympathetic intensity of fight or flight creating anxiety, insomnia and other uncomfortable symptoms.

We have a great ability to down regulate our nervous system by incorporating some useful daily activities into our day.

Below you will find a last of easy activities to begin to shift and calm you and allow you to rest.

  1. Time in Nature- Being outside in the natural world will ground out your energy and sooth your nervous system.

  2. Deep Belly Breathing-Putting your hand on your chest and slowing counting your breath in; holding your breath for a moment; and then letting it very slowly out to a slightly longer count will sooth your nervous system. Allow yourself to work up to at least 20 slow deep breaths and see your anxiety begin to dissipate.

  3. Play With Animals- our animals are great gifts in providing comfort and calm. When we engage with them, we become present, our breath regulates, and our nervous system calms.

  4. Meditation-even a short guided meditation on YouTube will provide the calm necessary.

  5. Yoga or Dance with uplifting music. The quality of the music matters. Listening to dark music will infuse your body with deeper stress. Finding a playlist that will support your nervous system is vital.

  6. Yoga Nidra or Progressive Relaxation- These tools are easily and freely accessible on YouTube by searching these words.

  7. Immerse Yourself in Body of Water- this can be an epson salt bath, a river, a lake, or an ocean. Imagine the stress be washed away from your body.

  8. Exercise- a short brisk walk is enough to regulate your breathing and calm your body.

  9. Ditch Social Media for awhile- research shows that most social media puts your nervous system in a unregulated state. Put your technology down and engage with a loved one, a pet, or go outside with a good book.

There is no way to minimize the dangers of staying in a constant state of nervous system overload. Yet, knowing ways to mitigate the day to day or long term stressors can change the way we operate in life. Choose just one thing from the list above to put into practice and see how your nervous system reacts after a few days.

Every choice you make to connect, relax, and heal will take you one step closer to deriving greater enjoyment out of life.


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