Over the last 6 months, we have gone through a lot. The added stress, changes, and strain can take a toll on our body’s overtime, specifically on our nervous systems. Follow along to learn a little more about nervous system nourishment, and how it can help during these uncertain times.
Nervous System Nourishment
Polyvagal Theory: A lot of what it takes for us as individuals to feel safe relies on having a sense of social engagement. Having a connection and exchanging social signals with others all relate to our social engagement systems. We look for safety within each other and our environment, and with the recent lack of social interaction, our nervous systems have gone unnourished.
Many of us are experiencing a rise in our sympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic nervous system is triggered by danger and stressful situations. When this happens, we may experience a raised heart rate and increased muscle tension. When this becomes too extreme, our nervous system goes into a freeze. It’s important to try to calm ourselves down when we first begin to see signs of this. This will help to limit our nervous systems’ overwhelming sense of danger.
Being 6 months into a pandemic, a lot of unrest within politics and social issues, and the recent fires in our area, our nervous systems are going through a lot. Many of us may have experienced or may be experiencing an increase of fight or flight energy as well as freeze energy. How should we be supporting our systems during these times?
Ways to Practice Healthy Habits:
The foundation of this approach is in our systems and how we feel oriented. When we feel overwhelmed, it is important to use our senses to ground us back to safety in the present.
One of the best ways to ground ourselves is by finding what brings us pleasure. From taking a relaxing shower to escape the fire smoke, or cooking yourself a nurturing healthy meal, we all have practices that bring us pleasure. These are moments that we can block the negative outside world experiences for a short bit of time.
Practicing of Orientation
In our meeting, we took the time to practice what we had learned in an attempt to relax and feel present. We noticed our surroundings for a brief moment, and took note of the sensations that our eyes took in. We then focused on our other sensations, from petting a dog, to smelling a candle or tasting water.
If we can all take these moments and ask our systems to be oriented and relaxed, we can feel a higher sense of purpose and meaning. By calming down, we are letting our systems be in whatever state that they are currently in. This practice only took a couple of minutes and did wonders for many of our stress levels.
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