As we embrace the vibrant energy of summer, let us explore a pathway to increased pleasure, joy, and calm by focusing on the ventral vagal capacity within our nervous system. The ventral vagal state, also known as the social engagement system, is a crucial aspect of our well-being and plays a significant role in our ability to connect with others, experience inner peace, and find genuine happiness.
When the ventral vagal state is interrupted, our nervous system can shift into two states: sympathetic activation and dorsal shutdown. Sympathetic activation is associated with the "fight-or-flight" response, involving heightened stress, anxiety, and a sense of urgency. On the other hand, dorsal shutdown is associated with the “freeze” response, involving disconnection and feelings of numbness, depression, and isolation.
Consider a scenario where you're having a heartfelt conversation with a close friend, sharing vulnerable emotions. Suddenly, your friend responds with a dismissive remark or doesn't seem present in the moment. This interruption to the ventral vagal state of connection can trigger a shift in your nervous system. You may feel a surge of frustration, defensiveness, or sadness, disrupting the safe and harmonious connection you were experiencing.
Instances like these illustrate the profound impact interruptions can have on our ventral vagal state of connection. One of the key insights I have gained from the Polyvagal Theory, particularly through the work of Deb Dana, is that regulating our nervous system's sympathetic activation and dorsal shutdown is not the sole solution. Equally important is the active endeavor to expand our capacity to stay connected, even when faced with a challenge.
Intentionally expanding our ventral vagal capacity paves the way for nurturing deeper relationships, cultivating authentic connections, effectively resolving conflicts through clear communication, and establishing a strong foundation of safety and trust.
Embrace this summer as an opportunity to harness the energy of expansion and heartfelt connection already present in nature all around us and within us. By consciously engaging in practices that stretch our ventral vagal capacity, such as deep breathing, mindful movement, positive social interactions, and self-compassion, we gradually restore and expand our innate ability not only to connect deeply but also to experience pleasure, joy, and calm.
May your summer be filled with boundless pleasure, radiant joy, and a profound sense of calm within.
Acupressure, Family Constellations, Nervous System Regulation, and Shamanic Healing
P.S. Ready to unlock new levels of pleasure, joy, and calm? Schedule a call with me to discover practical strategies and personalized insights tailored to enhance your capacity for a more vibrant and connected life.
I am an acupressurist, educator, and practitioner of complementary medicine. My background in literature, teaching, and Yoga Nidra informs my wellness practice. My approach is personalized and holistic, tailored to each individual's unique needs and goals.