The autonomic nervous system is your body's defense network in charge of keeping you safe from harm. It's an intricate mechanism that directly engages your brain, digestion, muscles, sensory organs, and heart to either stay present and reach for support (ventral vagal state), fight or flee (sympathetic state), or shut down and play dead (dorsal vagal state).
While we no longer live in the wild and don't typically come face to face with a hungry lion or an avalanche, modern life presents its version of threat ranging from the more blatant, like war, robbery, rape, and abuse, to the more subtle, like thoughts of failure and loss of livelihood, anxiety over contracting a virus, and fear of being alone in the world.
What constitutes a threat to our evolved nervous system is subjective. The same thing that triggers one person and floods their body with the impulse, hormones, and energy to run away may make you take a deep breath and try another tactic. And, the same thing that makes you shut down completely and find no words to say at all may make someone else reach out to a friend and communicate more explicitly how s/he feels.
Changing Reactions To Carefully Chosen Responses
Mechanically speaking, we all have the same nervous system and that seems to be unchangeable. However, we can influence what we perceive as a threat and how quickly we cycle through the phases of freeze, fight or flight, and return to safety and connection. This is where we find the key to regulating our own nervous system.
By becoming aware of how our nervous system automatically reacts, we begin to organically make room for new and conscious responses that better fit who we are and the kind of friend/parent/partner/colleague/person we wish to be.
Getting stuck in “freeze mode”, lingering in “fight”, or perpetually cycling through “flight” takes a toll on our health, impacts our sleep, puts a strain on our relationships, significantly decreases our productivity at work, and renders us less present for the warmth of connection and the joys of life. But all hope isn't lost!
The Polyvagal Theory and Deb Dana's work with integrating the science of the nervous system in therapeutic modalities has shown that when we learn to recognize these nervous system modes within ourselves, we can apply techniques that match how our own nervous system reacts in order to shorten the length of freeze, get out of fight or flight quicker, and reach for deeper connections and calm more safely and more often.
Knowing the universal biology behind how we think, feel, and respond to perceived threats reduces the shame from thinking that there is something wrong with us and feeling like we're all alone in it. It frees us from being hijacked by our own nervous system and gives us the opportunity and strength to direct our own lives.
Learn how to move towards more calm in the all new Regulate Your Nervous System Course.
Family Constellations, developed by Bert Hellinger, help you with a recent concern or longstanding pattern regarding your health, career, success, romance, family life, or happiness by looking at possible hidden family and ancestral dynamics that hold the key to relief, resolution, and contentment.
Maybe you feel like you end up with jobs that don't quite suit you or relationships that aren't completely fulfilling. Or perhaps you're dealing with a health issue that seems to show up out of nowhere, or losses that have made you feel drained and ill-equipped to face life.
While these issues may not seem directly related to our family of origin, when we look at them through the Family Constellation lens, we often reveal unconscious familial and trans-generational entanglements or burdens we're carrying for others.
We then make healing shifts to put things back in order, find our rightful place, and free up the strength to live life more fully.
Family Constellation Individual Sessions online offer a safe and private setting for a powerful healing shift around any issue and especially tough, unexplainable, maybe embarrassing or secretive circumstances that you want handled with utmost care.
These sessions are a one-time intervention that keeps evolving in you for the following 6 - 18 months. Are you ready?
Learn more about Family Constellations Individual Sessions with Shira.
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.