Nervous System Reboot
Toward and Away

3 Building Blocks to Resilience

IMG_2770Regain balance in your body's capacity for healthy adaptive response -- resilience -- starting with these three practices. 

Respect your body's wisdom.

Support what's working well in your body already -- by noticing what you can about how that is happening now.

Luckily, we don't have to tell our hearts to keep pumping, our lungs to inflate and deflate, to duck when a softball is headed our way, to yell "ow" when the knife slips.  These automatic, reflexive responses, just like the Fight - Flight - Freeze responses, kick in when the body senses protection is needed.

Just by noticing these under-the-radar rhythms, small changes begin.  Really!  That is, in fact, how our nervous systems adapt: by changing in small ways based on input.  Small input, easier for the system to digest.

Start by noticing how breath comes in and out, all by itself. Want to play with a small input? Breathe OUT - 2 - 3 - 4.  The rest will follow.

Rest.  

Nearly all of us need more rest! How does your body let you know?  Plan a little down time in every day. Five minutes is a start: Stop to smell pleasant aromas, exhale, and move on. 

Honor the wish to sleep longer by scheduling it.  

Busy at work or school, non-stop?

Seeing multiple health care providers, fitness trainers, coaches?  

Allow ample time between engagements.  This allows your system to integrate smaller chunks of input. 

Yeah, I know.  Sounds good when you read about it, but carving out rest time is the most difficult thing for me, too.  Come back to this one later.

Re-orient.  

The children's series, Where's Waldo? challenges us to locate and identify Waldo in a crowded environment.  Imagine that is you, wearing the red striped shirt in the crowd.  How do you know where you are?  We look, listen, and find ourselves in space by sensing, inside and outside. Orienting is recognized as a discrete stage in the body's organizing process to protect itself from threat.  Over milliseconds, the body takes in lots of information before mobilizing the energy needed to act, moving away or toward.  Info-gathering at this level happens well below cognitive decision control!  Eyes, ears, nose, throat are involved big-time, of course, along with sensors for space, movement, gravity, pressure.

A re-orienting practice you might try could start by checking the calendar.  Do you have ten minutes or so right now? If you'd like, set a timer to end your practice. Then, like the example of Waldo, above, check out what's around you now.  Let your gaze wander to what's familiar or interesting as you look around.  Take your time as you explore finding "you" in the midst of "here".  Feel where the edge of you stops and the ground or other surfaces begin.  Remember that you set your timer, and you can come back anytime.

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