4 Ways To Regulate Your Nervous System When Stressed
We’re constantly exposed to different organisms through our noses, mouths, skin and eyes. It is up to our immune systems to fight these organisms. Its ability to do so can be greatly impacted by stress. This is where it is important to listen to our systems and what they are in need of in order to feel regulated.
Our bodies can become activated and this sends us into fight, flight or freeze mode. Each of us will have natural ways of responding to situations that cause us stress. In order to understand the difference, check out my post on ‘The truth about our comfort zone‘ and watch for future content on this subject.
Understanding our bodies and where we are reacting and sometimes, sabotaging ourselves is significant when it comes to our nervous systems.
How do you recognise when you’re out of alignment?
When out of alignment, our bodies talk to us. Honestly, quite often when this happens it can be easy to ignore it and to numb ourselves with substances and distractions. Being able to sit with these sensations will mean that we can act in a healthy way.
When sitting with yourself (fully sober, without any caffeine, dopamine hits or talking), lie flat on your back and feel for sensations in the body. Being completely still will mean that you have the chance to properly understand where those feelings are coming from. Do this for at least 15 minutes. When you feel the urge to move, don’t. Listen to yourself and what this means. If you’d don’t get the answers, do it again and then, follow the same behaviour.
When it comes to calming our bodies, there are a number of techniques we can follow and that can be of interest.
- Cold water immersion: Getting into the sea, a cold river or a cold shower has been known to reset the nervous system. Being in the cold water reminds our brain that we can sit in discomfort and gets us to focus in the moment. While it can feel challenging in the moment, it entirely calms the nervous system. Tip: Start by turning on the cold water for 30 seconds at the end of your shower as a start.
- Do a 15 minute yoga session. As short as a 15 minute yoga session can ground our bodies and shake off some anxiety. Yoga means ‘to join’ or ‘to bind’ and so, it helps to take us out of our heads and into our bodies. Starting with a Youtube 15 minute session can create benefits and when practiced consistently, has shown to have a calming effect on the mind. Tip: Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube is a source of short and longer sessions.
- Seek a calm confidant: When feeling stressed, talking is as good as anything especially if you are extroverted. Making sense of thoughts out loud can mean that clarity can be gained and ease feelings of upset.Leaning on talking as the only method can be detrimental to our habit forming. Choose to have a toolbox of ways to calm amongst talking. Tip: Choose someone who you fully trust, who is calm and where you experience psychological safety.
- Journal it out: Getting words out of us doesn’t always mean talking it out. Sometimes it means writing it out in a journal. Writing is a self-coaching exercise and by following the technique of asking ourselves questions, word-spilling and setting clear actions, we can calm ourselves and our focus. Tip: Use a page of a journal and separate two sections as ‘facts’ versus ‘thoughts’. This allows us to ground our thoughts and what is real.
Share your ideas, try these ideas and continue to circle back for tips.