Welcome to Day 6 of #write28days of Nervous System Regulation! Today’s topic is “beliefs.”
Beliefs – about yourself and other people, about God, about your situations or illnesses – all play a huge role in the ability of your nervous system to regulate.
While it is thought that you can’t actually *control* your nervous system and it’s regulatory ability (it is running subconsciously), your thoughts can and do inform your nervous system about your interpretation of your life.
Let me be clear, I’m not saying you are causing a symptom, for example, to appear because of your beliefs. It is not “all in your head” nor have you “caused” your disease or your life problem. But they very much could be caused by a nervous system that is just doing it’s job of protecting you, but may be stuck due to past situations and/or current beliefs. (Of course not every issue – but I’m speaking here of the ones that are.)
What are some beliefs you might have that affect your nervous system?
Beliefs about God and His love and sovereignty and power.
Beliefs about your body – what your symptoms might mean or what your body is capable or incapable of.
Beliefs about yourself, many of which were put there in your first formative years. Do you tell yourself you’re stupid when you make a mistake? Or that you’re no good at X, Y, or Z?
Belief that I am safe/not safe — this one is often very subconscious. You may be objectively safe sitting in your living room, but your body may have other ideas.
A good start towards nervous system regulation is to really think about your beliefs.
Get still and really ask yourself “What is this about” when you feel off, and then listen to what you mind and body are telling you. Even if it sounds weird – just honor that intuition for awhile.
Listen to your self talk and replace negative things with truth: “I’m an idiot!” can become, “I am objectively smart but I made a mistake and mistakes are OK.” “I’m never going to get better” can be replaced with, “I am OK in this moment and every day my body is designed to heal me. I will honor and work with it.” “I can’t do math” can become “I struggled in school because I wasn’t taught in a way that worked for me, but I’m older now and can learn it more easily.”
A lot of nervous system regulation is actually limbic system regulation – the limbic system deals with emotions among other things. You don’t have to believe you are actually in a situation to have your limbic system react to it. This works both for good and for bad. In a bad way, your limbic system can believe you are unsafe even when you are safe, like I described before.
But in a positive direction, you can imagine that you are somewhere lovely like a beach, and if you bring up the emotions and sensations associated with that – warm sun, peaceful feeling, happiness, the smell of salt air and sunscreen, etc, your limbic system with react as if you are there.
Do this on a regular basis and you can train your system to calm down and give it the capacity for more regulation.
What would be your lovely situation to imagine? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!