For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. – Psalm 139:13-14
Welcome to Day 1 of #write28days of Nervous System Regulation! Today the prompt is “wonderful” – and I believe that fits so well in describing our nervous systems.
Let me back up a bit since this is Day 1 and describe for you what nervous system regulation really means. A regulated nervous system is not one that is always steady and unfeeling, but one that can return to baseline with timeliness and regularity after a stressor. We do not remain overwhelmed and “on,” nor shut down, dissociated, and “off” for a disordinate amount of time.
One of the biggest helps to nervous system regulation is developing what they call a sense of “felt safety” – a deep knowing, felt by your body, that you are safe, based on both internal body cues and external environmental ones. Therapist Robin Gobbel has an excellent post and podcast that goes deeper on this. It is focused on children but the ideas are globally applicable. As highly sensitive individuals, we often struggle with this sense of felt safety because we are absorbing more input than the average person, and it can become easily overwhelming.
Each of us are fearfully and wonderfully made. I took enough biology classes to know that every cell in our bodies is an amazing thing! The way they all work together in systems is nothing short of miraculous. Learning this and knowing it in a deep way helps to create a sense of compassion and wonder for ourselves and others. We begin to hold ourselves in awe instead of listening to that often critical inner voice. This is one step of many in a dance that creates that sense of felt safety in us, the basis of regulating our nervous systems.
Also, thinking about wonderful things is quite helpful in raising your nervous system’s tolerance. This is not “positive thinking” or saying affirmations that might not be true, but taking time every day to imagine things that make us happy. It could be cute animals, our children, a beautiful sunset, a happy day in our lives, or something we just entirely make up. This is not like mindless scrolling of social media or dissociation but a purposeful moment to breathe, calm ourselves, and raise our minds to better things. Directing our minds in such a way is important to teach our subconscious that we are in a place of control and safety, and also to create new pathways that associate a stressful times with a better outcome (the happy feelings produced).
This is just a quick look at what is a huge topic. I hope to write much more on this in the days to come.
Thank you for joining me for Day 1 of #write28 days! Join me tomorrow, where the word of the day is “broken.” (Hint: YOU’RE NOT) 🙂