The season of Autumn arrives early in the morning on Saturday September 23rd, reminding us that we need to prepare for the long, cold winter that will follow. Observe the natural outdoor environment and you notice the squirrels burying their acorns, the leaves falling from the tree limbs, and the many birds migrating to warmer climates. Nature herself is preparing to be quiet, be still – and this encourages us to continue to turn inward, to reacquaint ourselves with our inner thoughts, our deeper longings, and reconnect to our inner wisdom and innate knowing.
According to Chinese medicine theory, the season of Autumn is the time of Lung and Large Intestine, both systems representing the release and letting go of that which is unsupportive. In accordance with living within the natural cycle of release, we are encouraged to clear things, thoughts, habits and relationships that no longer support us. In preparation for Winter, we want to create a clear, unfettered space to incubate our dreams as well as cultivate our opportunities for being more mindful, present and aware of our interconnectedness to the inner and outer worlds.
But how can we do this in the noisy world we live in? So many factors interfere in our quiet pursuits and the distractions of technology and modern day life feel overwhelming at times. How can we create contentment, calm and confidence in our world? What does it take to calm the mind, thereby healing the body? It is already well documented in neuroscientific research that the body and the mind are not only connected but also inter-dependent upon one another to support a healthy, resilient human. While we can’t control life, we can learn to regulate our nervous systems so that we are not at the mercy of every little thing that happens.
What contributes to nervous system dysregulation?
- Lack of movement
- Poor sleep quality
- Processed foods
- Glucose spikes
- Chronic stressors
- Inadequate hydration – electrolyte imbalance
- Lack of sun exposure
- Chaotic messy spaces in home & work environments
A dysregulated nervous system can keep you ruminating about things and situations, many times keeping you awake at night. It may trigger you into irritability and arguments with your loved ones and send you down a spiral of shame and isolation. It may fuel a sense of not being good enough or not being understood. Every nervous system goes through cycles of dysregulation, but it’s important to spot the signs and know what to do, before it becomes a chronic spiral.
How does DYSREGULATION of the nervous system show up? What are the messages from the body that indicate disharmony of the system?
- Digestive disturbances
- Hormone imbalances
- Heart palpitations
- Blood pressure changes
- Sleep disturbances
- Chronic pain
Dr. Rick Hanson, PhD, reminds us that we need to build up resources to support our long road of life, and his book, Hardwiring Happiness, outlines 4 simple steps that can be practiced to help build resilience and create a new normal of happiness by focusing on the body’s messages, processing the build up of tension and emotions in the body, learning how to release and then re-imprint how we want to be responding. The good news is that there is plenty of research and evidence to support the notion that we can change our brains, thereby positively influencing our bodies to manifest health as a strong foundation.
Dr. Hanson’s plan of Taking in the Good, which he defines as “the deliberate internalization of positive experiences in implicit memory,” happens in 4 simple steps of H.E.A.L.:
- Have a positive experience
- Enrich it
- Absorb it
- Link positive and negative material
These 4 steps are discussed in the podcast linked to this newsletter this week and I encourage you to listen!!!
When you take the time to nurture and strengthen your sensitive nervous system, you’ll find that you can become resilient and powerful by mindfully paying attention to the small details of everyday life and crafting a practice that supports your dreams and goals.
Sources of REGULATION:
- Nourishing food
- Adequate hydration (electrolytes too!!)
- Restful sleep
- Controlled breathing
- Connection to people, animals, community
Healing the body and mind with movement:
Proprioceptive movement helps the brain connect to the body’s position which is calming and grounding
- Bodyweight exercises such as planks, squats and push ups – these require awareness of body position and alignment.
- Resistance training with elastic bands or light weights, starting with lunges or squats.
- Wall pushes = stand with your hands against the wall and push away and release.
Practice all of these easy to incorporate micro moves 2x per day and begin to notice the shift.
Types of resource experiences to practice with mindful awareness:
- Avoiding Harms: Feeling basically alright right now, Feeling protected, strong, safe, at peace, The sense that awareness itself is untroubled
- Approaching Rewards: Feeling basically full, the enoughness of this moment, Feeling pleasured, glad, grateful, successful, satisfied
- Attaching to Others: Feeling basically connected, Feeling included, seen, liked, appreciated, loved, Feeling compassionate, kind, generous, loving
Dr. Hanson’s contribution to the world of not only hardwiring happiness but creating simple foundations for all people to follow is part of my training as an integrative change worker and coach. If any of this resonates with you, and you are ready to explore different paths to living a life with less agitation and more presence, schedule a call today!!