How to Calm Your Overwhelmed Nervous System
How do you cope with an overwhelmed nervous system? For me, I learned how to cope by eating, and eating, and eating. I really didn’t understand the connection between my eating habits and an overwhelmed nervous system for a long time, so I’m hoping this episode will help you make that connection!
The thing is, most of us deal with high levels of daily stress, so does it seem some folks aren’t even bothered, while the rest of us feel like our nervous system’s been hijacked?
The good news is there are many tools and practices that we can use help to regulate our NS and get it back to my personal favorite mode: grounded and thriving!
While it took me a while to figure it out, it IS possible to avoid using food (or booze) to cope with our emotions and stress. If your nervous system feels like it’s constantly getting hijacked and you’re in a state of distress that leads you to overeat or use food to cope…then you’re going to love this episode!
I dive into:
- The 3 most important steps (that work every time) to get you out of that overwhelmed state
- Important strategies to recognize when your nervous system is overwhelmed – before, during, and after it happens.
- How to regulate the nervous system and expand your window of tolerance.
- Techniques and practices to help bring it back into a state of calm and balance.
- How these practices can help you break free from emotional eating and develop a healthier relationship with food.
Resources and Links:
- Take the FREE Path to Food & Body Freedom Challenge!
- I’d love to hear your thoughts…Drop me a DM on Facebook or Insta!
00:02:47 Importance of regulating the nervous system.
00:08:41 Emotional eating can hijack our nervous system.
00:11:03 Food is not the solution.
00:15:24 Recognize when your nervous system is hijacked.
00:20:05 Regulate your nervous system consciously.
00:26:08. Regulate the nervous system through breathing and movement.
00:29:56 Regulating the nervous system through movement and grounding.
00:34:58 Expand your window of tolerance.
Full Episode Transcript:
Hello. Hello. Hello, everybody. Welcome. Welcome to this episode. I’m really excited to dive in with you today. So I have this beautiful podcast, Hello Body Freedom, and I also record every like video record. Every. Every time I do an episode, I think just about every time. And that’s on purpose because you can find these episodes on YouTube.
You can find them on the blog post, all sorts of reasons. So depending on how you like to consume it may be just listening to the podcast and the audio is great. But if you are ever live and inside of the actual recording of the podcast, or if you catch the replays on YouTube.
What you notice is that I’m always in my office and I am always, in front of my computer, in my office and doing all the good stuff. But today is a little different. So if you are not if you’re listening and you’re not watching then I will go ahead and describe that I it’s still in my office, but I have this lovely like velvet couch in my office that I’m in love with.
And I am sitting on the couch because it is the kind of day I am having. It is a rainy day outside. It is I don’t know. I feel very grounded today. My nervous system has really reregulated down after an incredibly stressful month, pretty much all of September and the first like week or so. Oh, and if you’re here and if you can, little Karuna came to join us.
Hey baby, are you going to come sit down next to us? You’re going to come sit down. So if you were just listening, that would be my 10-year-old Yorkie Poo who just decided to join us. He is usually very quiet, so we’ll let him join. And if you’re watching, you get to see the cutest little forever puppy on the planet and that’s what he is.
He’s my little forever puppy. Anyhow, my nervous system is super regulated right now. It was the level of, and I want to just get into this, the level of fight, flight, freeze in my body. Maybe. The nervous system overwhelm in my body that was pretty much my September into about the first week or two of October was just.
Unbelievable. And I think I want to talk about that cause that is the opposite of how I’m feeling right now. I’m feeling very nervous and regulated and grounded and relaxed. And so you can even hear it in my voice. I decided to do this podcast from my sofa, from my favorite couch, instead of my desk, I’m just feeling really downregulated.
And. I think that this is Karuna, you don’t want to do that in public. Come on now. For those of you who are listening to the podcast, he just, I don’t want him to not when we’re recording, no licking yourself, bro. Come on now. Come on now. Okay. Why am I talking about this downregulated nervous system?
One, because I have been in survival mode for a week and a half or a month and a half. It was real painful and it felt real intense in my body. And that’s what it feels like when our nervous systems get really overwhelmed. Another word for that maybe is that your stressors in your life go up a lot.
Another way to talk about that isn’t just that the stressors go up in your life. It’s that your own nervous system can’t handle in that particular moment, what’s coming at you. It just is a lot of stressors, a lot of intensity, whatever that might be, that ends up taking what your nervous system is, right?
So you can imagine your autonomic nervous system in two different directions. You can imagine the rest space, what I’m in right now for sure, like rest and digest. Mr. Karuna right there, he is in rest and digest phase. My little dog is just chilling like a villain right now. And this is a really beautiful place to be.
This is what I call thriving, right? This is the thriving part of our nervous system. It’s not that the other part of our autonomic nervous system, the stress response, it’s not that’s evil. It’s actually very important. And quite frankly if I have like a deadline to hit or something like that, my stress will come up and like acute stress is actually very good for us.
We’re not sitting here trying to distress, but that’s usually not the problem. Usually the problem is acute. Not just acute stress, but like chronic stress. It’s when we are living in a state of the stress response when we are living in the state of an overwhelmed nervous system. And I think that’s really important to have a conversation about.
Hold on. I want to, I feel like I’m getting Oh, I don’t know what that is. Maybe. Okay. I was thinking I was hearing noises. So if you guys hear noises, apologize. Regardless, let me get back. Overwhelm nervous system. Okay. When your autonomic nervous system spends so much time in the stress state, in the fight and flight state, and then that can lead to that overwhelm of a freeze state, fight, flight, freeze overwhelmed.
And whenever we spend like a lifetime there, A decade there from the time we were children, where we’re so hyper-vigilant now, always in the sense of the other shoe is going to drop when we spend so much of our time there, I call that survival mode. It is we just are waiting for the other shoe to drop and it’s just getting by as best that we can.
And it’s just not healthy. Like a healthy acute stressor is really great. We have a deadline for something. We have a stress response in the body. We get that shit done and we move on and we feel good and accomplished. We want to go work out, a workout is an acute stressor. It is a stressor on the body that is actually really good for us.
It’s just when it becomes chronic, it’s when we really have struggled for a long time with a dysregulated nervous system. And that’s what we’re talking about today. And I just, it just feels so important because, if we look at what a calm, grounded, regulated nervous system looks like, that’s where I am right now.
It’s where I have been for about a week now. And I have actively worked to get myself here. The reason this is so important in the context of Hello Body Freedom is that a lot of us have learned, over the course of time, a lot of us probably learned this as children. We learned it later in life. I have talked to thousands upon thousands of women about their story with their body and their relationship to food.
And it is all over the board. Some just struggled from the time they were children. Some didn’t start struggling until they got married. Some didn’t start struggling until they had kids. But all of these are certain times in our life where our nervous system got overwhelmed, got hijacked where something happened.
I was talking to a new client who had a lot of childhood trauma. And what she said is she was like, like when we talked about survival mode, which is that intense overwhelmed stress response versus thriving, like relaxation response, like we’re feeling good in the neighborhood here. She was talking about her childhood, how she always felt like she was always hiding.
She had to go hide. And think about that. First off, that’s resiliency as a child because she was hiding for a very good reason. But what that’s doing, think about the energy of hiding. If you’re scared and you run and go hide, like that is an overwhelmed nervous system party people.
That is survival mode. That is Oh my God, I need to hide to survive. And so what happens, whether it’s childhood, whether it’s, later in life. Whenever we have some significant emotional experience happens that really activates our nervous system that gets us into that stress mode, that fight flight or freeze mode, what we had learned very likely in the past is that when that intensity that flows through the body, when it happened, we learned that food sure as hell made us feel better, right?
And food does make us feel better. We’re not going to deny that food doesn’t make us feel better when we’re hungry. Thank you. Physical hunger is not the most wonderful sensation on the planet right? You get a growl in your tummy, you feel a little tired, you get a little, I don’t know, I get a little shaky sometimes I might get a little headachy, I might get a little irritable.
These are not the sensations and emotions that we all prefer to feel regularly, right? And so when we eat, what does eating do? It makes us feel better. We have nourishment in our body. It changes our biochemistry. We have like serotonin flowing. We have, all these feel good things going on in our body, right?
It’s Oh, nourish next, right? It can take us from a little bit tired and irritable or stressed out to like feeling better. The problem is not using food in that way. Occasionally, right? There’s actually really good reasons if we’re not feeling good and then using food will make us feel better.
The problem is whenever we learned that our nervous system got super hijacked and overwhelmed, and then food was the answer to fix that. So then food then became the coping mechanism which is the opposite of figuring out how to process and regulate a nervous system. What we did is we throw food on top of it, throw food on top of it, throw food on top of it, which does work for sure.
But the way that I’ve been describing it lately it’s if you have an itch on your back, like something just can’t quite get to it, right? You can’t quite like, what is an itch or a scratch? You can’t scratch your itch or you can’t itch your scratch. So you can, we’re trying to scratch your itch.
It’s like something’s just itching and you just want to scratch it. My brain gets confused with words sometimes. And I want you to think about like, whenever you’re not physically hungry. But it’s there’s something driving you inside and you just go eat the thing, right? And that’s what emotional eating really is.
That’s when we’re using food outside of physical hunger, because really, if we were physically hungry and we fed ourselves, that’s literally like scratching that it’s exactly where we need it. But what happens is let’s say we get really sad or we get frustrated or we get bored or we just feel antsy, right?
We have whatever is going on at the nervous system levels like, Oh, something doesn’t feel right. Something doesn’t feel right. It’s like you have an itch here, but you keep trying to scratch the itch by eating food and eating food. But like food isn’t the answer. You’ve got to reach for that and you’ve got to scratch that thing.
And when you finally figure out the thing, that’s going to make you feel better when you finally figure out and relating this back to what we’re talking about here. When, if you’re just feeling bored, but you actually give yourself what you need in that moment that you were feeling uncomfortable with being bored.
It feels good. It’s Oh, hit the spot. It’s you got that itch. You just hit the spot. Or if you’re feeling lonely. You’re feeling lonely, but then maybe you called your friend or you called your therapist or you called your coach or ask for a hug from your partner or you pet your dog.
I don’t know. There’s all of these other things that actually fully itch the scratch in order to get to that place of Oh, process and regulating. But what we have learned, as especially if you’re in the world of Hello Body Freedom, we’ve learned that like food just fixes all the things, whatever that nervous system dysregulation is, food’s the answer, food’s the answer.
And so this is why we’re having this conversation inside of the context here, so we can really understand what’s really going on, because food isn’t the problem, food is never the problem. You have just learned that food is, you’re attempting to make food the solution because it works sometimes.
It does change the state. It does make us feel better. But really, when we’re using it for all of these other reasons besides physical hunger and it’s affecting us and we don’t like it. This is the important part. It’s that it is affecting our health. It’s affecting our bodies. It’s affecting how we feel.
We feel out of control around it where food just keeps being the answer. That’s when we know something’s not quite right. That’s when we know we need to work here. Okay. And so if we really go underneath that for just not all of the reasons, but for a lot of the reasons, like since I’ve been doing this for two and a half decades, it’s 90 percent of the reasons why we’re reaching for food when we’re not hungry.
It’s underneath that reason without it being A story or an emotion it’s something going on in our nervous system. It’s like we are feeling something in the body that doesn’t feel the way we want to feel. We’re feeling tired, irritable, like angry, frustrated, right? And all of those words I’m using are also words that you can use to describe an overwhelmed
nervous system. So I just got off of a phone, which is why we’re doing this exact podcast episode today, because I just got off of the phone a few hours ago with a new client and she’s just really struggling. It’s a big struggle inside of her because she’s noticing that life is showing up in overwhelming ways.
For instance, she knew that when she got off work last week that what makes her feel good after work is to take a little rest is to, hang out with her kids a little bit and, do the dinner and do the regular evening routine and to go to bed early. So she knows that when I go to bed early, cause she gets up so early, she like, and what I told her, I’m like, good job.
You are basically telling me that you know what it takes to calm your nervous system to regulate your nervous system to feel better. But what ended up happening is that some friends of hers who also has kids. So she’s got like a group of moms, they’ve got kids and they needed some childcare and they do this for each other.
They watch each other’s kids when they need to. They help each other out. They scratch each other’s backs. That’s a beautiful analogy of really getting that it’s scratch. You get the help that you need from other people. That’s beautiful. But in this particular situation, she said, okay, I’ll do it.
But what she noticed the whole night is that she was irritated, frustrated, agitated. And she didn’t even notice it until after this is an important point that we’re making here. She did not notice it until after she’s ah, and then she really didn’t notice it until she started eating.
And then she and I about a week, we had a coaching call planned for that evening and she came on feeling defeated, frustrated. So I want to be really clear here. We’re going to pull all of this apart because this is a very real scenario. It’s not just that. The overwhelm of that her nervous system was just like hijacked and she couldn’t help it, right?
Meaning that like the right answer for this particular moment was to help out her friends She did not realize that her nervous system was going to get so hijacked that she was gonna feel so frustrated so irritable so exhausted all of these different things that kept welling up inside of her that led to on a scale of one to 10 of a nervous system intensity in her body, it led to those higher numbers.
It was like seven, eight, nine, 10 numbers that then led her to use food because that is what she has learned how to do. She’s learned that it’s a habit loop, a real strong one that she’s had for a long time. So now she’s on the other side of it realizing, Oh my God, this happened. And now the excess, it’s not just the overwhelmed nervous system.
Now it’s this inner beat down, this kind of feel like feeling defeated, feeling hopeless. It’s all these other things that are on top of it. Now we’re not going to get so much into that because the last episode that we just did episode I think 22, we really went into what it means to really calm that part of the nerve.
Start talking kinder to yourself. So we worked on that for sure. But what I want you to really gather here is the understanding of the very first part of this is that the very first thing we have to do is come into conscious awareness that our nervous system is actually getting hijacked. I think I actually also talked about this on the episode last week as well.
But if we don’t have that level of knowing, it’s really hard to change. And here’s the cool part. In fact, we did talk about this last week because I remember even if you don’t have the awareness during the episode of where it’s like you’re really getting hijacked, as long as you have the awareness afterwards and then you know what to do afterwards, go back and listen to the last episode.
Cause I went into that, then that’s really powerful. But what we want to do right now is just understand that the very first thing we have to do is really come to a higher level of knowing my nervous system is getting hijacked right now. I’m losing my shit right now. I am on the struggle bus right now.
I will literally say this to myself out loud. I’ll be like, nothing’s working and I can really tell this is trying to be crazy. Like I will do this. I will say this to myself in a way to actively as I say it out loud, I hear it through my ears and it helps my prefrontal cortex. It helps the smart part of my brain understand on a scale of one to 10.
I am an eight right now. On a scale of one to ten, I am a nine right now, right? This is so important because it’s really hard to do something about it until we can understand that it’s happening. Now again, we can reverse engineer after it’s happened. So that’s what I did with this client. Which I think was really really helpful and amazing because once she gets the lived experience and the consciousness of it, eventually she’ll be able to catch it in the moment.
Okay. And so that’s what we want to talk about. We want to talk about how the hell do we work with an overwhelmed nervous system? The very first thing are the cues that you are given. Irritability, frustration. Anger really low tolerance for just about anything, low tolerance for loud noises, low tolerance for like clanging and banging is an example. Light, like intolerance when you’re just like, Oh, it’s too much light.
Like that could be another one really getting irritated at some human in your life. When maybe another time when your nervous system is more regulated, you wouldn’t have gotten so irritated. So there, there are cues that are happening around you. Okay. And so you being able to, what’s he doing?
He’s such a cutie patootie. Hello baby. Okay. He knows I’m talking about him. Oh, okay. I’ll rub your belly. My little Karuna dog. He’s so sweet today. He doesn’t usually stick around when I do podcasts. So the very first thing is understanding that we have a nervous system and that the fight, flight or freeze stress response of that nervous system starts to go up and the higher it goes up the more we lose access to the smart part of our brain. And so what we’re trying to do is catch it on the way up. So that way we can figure out, Oh my gosh, this is happening. And when we can do that, we can keep a little bit more of this part of our brain. Okay. And so I’m just pulling my notes up here.
Cause I pulled them up for us before we started. Number one is your nervous system hijacked really being able to go yes or no and on a scale of one to ten. What is that? Is it a is a one is barely a one is like a dog is bark I’m telling you when my nervous system is grounded a dog barking outside Like really barking obsessively, my, my puppy never does that.
He’s so sweet. Not very often at least. But if my nervous system is dysregulated and I’m hearing just obnoxious, just going at it I’m flying up. I’m now to an eight or nine. It’s so that the sound of it is so painful for me. But like in this moment with a nervous system regulated, a dog barking probably would get me to a one, maybe a two.
That’s what we’re looking for here. We’re looking for that level of self-awareness. So that is the very first step. All right. Just want to make sure we’re all on the same page here. That’s your very first step. The next thing that we do, and we do this in Hello Body Freedom, we do this at a high level with our clients because it matters.
If we want to stop using food as a coping mechanism, we want to be able to go underneath and look at what’s going on. Now we have a lot of skills and strategies that we use. We use our food freedom formula. We use mindset stuff. We use all sorts of stuff, but nervous system regulation, y’all, whenever we can get to this level.
Thank you. It just makes everything easier. So there’s two different parts to this. Okay. The first part, there’s three different parts. The first part is what we just talked about, recognizing what is going on. You can’t change what you can’t have consciousness about. Okay. You can do it during, but you also can do it afterwards.
And when you do it after it will likely help the next time you do it, you will have more consciousness so you’ll be able to catch it in the moment. So that’s the first thing on a scale of one to 10, what the hell’s going on here? Okay. That’s the first thing. And then the next thing is, what do we do to work with this situation?
Okay. So there are two things that we use that anybody will need to use that this is what comes out of the pioneers of trauma resolution of nervous system regulation of all the beautiful neuroscience coming out, neuroplasticity, all this stuff. Okay. The first thing we want to do is go, how do we get that 10 down to a seven?
How do we get that eight down to a four? How do we essentially, how do we keep working skill sets and practices that get us down to a five, a four, a three to a one and eventually to a zero where we feel regulated. All right. And then ideally what practices are we doing regularly? What practices are we doing regularly in order to keep that nervous system regulated?
All right, that’s it. Hypernervous system. How do we get it down? Very important. And we’re going to talk about that. We’re going to get into those because there’s so much y’all, the tools in the toolbox are just like, I don’t know. It’s like an endless supply of awesome. Okay, so we’re going to get into that.
We’re going to do that. But then number two, the other part of this is we all live on planet earth, which means there’s a reason why our autonomic nervous system has a stress response. There’s a reason why we even feel eights, nines or tens, right? It and I’ll tell you right now. Unprocessed trauma, so like old trauma from the past that you haven’t learned how to work through, that you haven’t processed, that you haven’t worked with highly skilled practitioners in order to move through and process that stuff, what that can do is just keep us stuck in that survival mode.
Really stuck. This is why women come into hello body freedom. They come in because they realize every time they try to diet, every time they try to eat healthy, every time they try to join the gym, something always ends up blocking them and getting them back to where they’re starting. And that usually is because we haven’t dealt with all of this nervous system work.
We want to do this work so that those other things can work a lot better and a lot easier and more sustainably. So what we have to do is we have to understand That it is normal for our nervous systems to get hijacked, right? There’s reasons like fair enough, right? And if we have a lot of unresolved, unprocessed stuff, then what that can often mean is that the little things can really set us off into that survival mode.
Into that survival mode. Okay. And so normal to be hijacked with a nervous system for sure, but also Not so normal if it’s just all the time. So in this situation again, there’s two things. Number one, How do we regulate out of that and get to a place of thriving mode versus survival mode that rest and digest parasympathetic part of the nervous system versus constant stress all the time.
And then number two on the journey to getting good at those strategies, what are we doing to expand our window of tolerance in order? This is so important because literally the only way we’re going to get to the other side is to know that the nervous system is hijacked. Give ourselves what we need to regulate and process so that we can spend more time in that grounded thriving state.
That feeling that I’m feeling right now for sure. And then number three is when the nervous system gets hijacked, because it will, if you have a lot of unresolved, unprocessed stuff in the body, Trauma, all this stuff, it’s definitely going to get hijacked a lot more. And even if you don’t have a lot, welcome to planet earth.
We all live here and nervous systems get hijacked. Shit goes wrong. Life hands us shit sandwiches. It happens. So we also, in addition to being like, Oh, calm, cool and relaxed. We also need to learn when shit hits the fan. How can I tolerate this a little bit more? How can I get to this place where I’m like, Oh, here we go.
Relaxation response, nervous system. Oh, thank God. I can figure out how to expand my ability, expand my tolerance, not ability. Ability is not the right word. Expand my tolerance to this intensity that is happening inside of my body right now. Okay. And that takes, they’re both important and they’re, they both have skill sets involved in them.
And so what I’d like to do for the rest of this podcast is talk more about that. Cause we talked a lot about why are we even talking about this in the first place? Because in Hello Body Freedom, we are working with our relationship with food in terms of emotional eating, stress eating, bored eating, all of the ways that we’re using food to cope.
And the same thing works with alcohol too, right? Unless you were like full-fledged. Like alcoholic. That’s a whole different story. We got like whole other with that. That’s very far on the end of the spectrum. And the same goes with like full-fledged eating disorders, right? Those are we want to think about those as outliers.
So there’s a percentage of the population that are struggling with full-fledged, like eating disorders, but 80 to 90 percent of us, yeah. Are struggling with just disordered relationships with food using food as the mechanism to cope when our nervous system is struggling. So I’m just want to clarify that for everybody.
As we’re moving along here. Okay. So what I want to spend the rest of my time with right now is how the hell do I regulate a nervous system and how the hell do I expand my window of tolerance? Okay. And then if you want more of this, I want you to maybe like in the comment section either in, on the blog posts or inside Facebook or inside of YouTube, right?
Like literally let me know what if you want more of this or if you want to hear a little bit more about this and how we do this. All right. So let’s go ahead and get into this. So Your nervous system is hijacked. You realize it. You’re on the other side of it. Maybe you’re not on the other side of it.
You want to get on the other side of it. What can I do in this moment? Okay. There’s so much you can do. So I want to divide this up into internal processes because these I think are really important and powerful, which are things that you can do that are body-based. These are, this is really where like the juices, the money is, but I’m not going to exclude outside of our body type things, because there are other things that you can do that don’t necessarily have so much to do with working with the body that also help, that also will regulate you. And I will give you some exact examples that clients have come up with and hopefully that this will help you as well.
Okay. So number one, breathing. Breath is the absolute number. And I’m giving you like maybe three or four or five, like the ones that are just really powerful on top of my head. But there are so many. So if you want like a whole, like breakdown of a trillion of them, maybe we can do a whole podcast on it.
Let me know. Totally cool to let you know about that. Okay. So breathing, any level of breathing is very powerful, but I think because most of us have such disordered ways of breathing that it’s helpful to have like tools. So these, I’ll give you one. This is my most, most, most favorite way of breathing.
It’s been researched at the Huberman lab at Stanford. It’s so validated by research to take your nervous system and drop it closer to that thriving space, out of that survival space, that everybody should be doing this like all the time. Anytime you notice that you’re getting pissed off in the car, anytime you notice that you’re getting frustrated with your partner, anytime you notice that your nervous system is getting hijacked, we should all do a double inhale and an exhale.
And, the best way that I like to describe double inhales and exhales are it’s a full inhale, as much air as you can get in, and then an extra inhale, just like that extra sip. even more than what you’re used to doing. And then a real, just whatever, slow exhale. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. You can do it through your nose.
You can do it through your mouth. I talk about it all the time and let’s just do it together because it always makes me feel better. It’s going to make you feel better too. You ready? Here we go. Big inhale, extra inhales.
Let it go. Let it go. Oh my God. That feels so good. Don’t worry. I’m not going to squish you. You’re going to be okay. Oh my God. I feel so much better. Amazing. So if you did three or four of those in a row, the bomb. com just saying. So double inhale, exhale, breathing, any other breathing technique you’ve ever heard of or know of.
Do it. Try it. I’m telling you works. All right. So that’s the very first thing. The other thing I want to talk about is movement. Just moving your body in general. So I want to talk about moderate movement versus like intense movement because both can help you process what you’re going through. So for instance, the client I was talking about earlier, she just talked about going on a walk with her dog.
If I just go out around the block and take my dog for a walk and I’m like boom, walking would be like moderate movement. Like gentle dancing would be moderate movement. We use shaking a lot whenever we’re teaching. So shaking is, could be like dancing. But the idea is that, some people think they’re dancers and some people think they’re not.
Anybody can shake. We can all just start shaking. You can shake in your chair. You can shake standing up. You can shake vigorously. You can shake gentle, but this is moderate movement. These kinds of things start to help you breathe. So think about any moderate move. So the examples that I gave are walking, dancing, an easy bike ride.
If you’re athletic, an easy gentle jog might be like moderate movement yoga, tai chi, qigong, all of these things and any kind. Right? Anything that feels like moderate, right? What you’re doing is you’re just getting the heart rate going. You’re getting the oxygen going through the body.
The breathing is happening, right? Because what’s the very first thing I said, just go breathe. If you can’t move your body, breathe. And it’s just very powerful. And even if it’s not some special technique, you don’t have to have special techniques. You can just move, you can just shake in your chair.
I have some clients who they’re in a lot of pain, so they can’t just get up and go for like a speed walk or something, but they can shake gently in their chair. They can shake gently on the couch or in bed or something like that. And that is body movement that will work. Okay. These things take your nervous system down a little bit.
Okay. Now, vigorous movement can also be really helpful depending on your body state, depending on your pain state. But power yoga, hot yoga, running lifting really heavy shit, throwing it and stuff like that. I’m thinking like kettlebells and CrossFit and crazy stuff like that. Exercise like the traditional idea of exercise where you exert effort, right?
This can also help regulate a nervous system. Now, it depends on your nervous system, but you want to, that’s the whole thing. The whole point is to notice that you’re hijacked and you’re dysregulated and then what can you do? To get yourself back into a place of Oh, like I got me.
Okay. Again, first step is knowledge. We have to know my nervous system is overwhelmed. I’m irritated. I’m pissed at the world. I’m hijacked. I’m screaming at my kids when all they did was ask for a sippy cup, right? These are definite signs that nervous system is like going crazy. Okay. Okay. So those feel very important.
Let me just see what else. Oh, these are real gentle ones. So resting, relaxation, ideally just, we’ll talk about screens and TV and things like that. But if you can just chill. Maybe take a nap. That can feel good. Journaling is a beautiful embodiment process. Remember we talked about these inner ways.
So like just pen to paper can really help get the looping thoughts out of your head and get it onto paper and it can slow it down a little bit. A hijacked nervous system is, can be really intense sometimes. Okay. Earthing. Have you guys heard of earthing? Just take your shoes off and go hang out in the grass.
Go put your feet in the grass, put your feet in the sand, put your feet in dirt. This actually has a like an electron transfer where like some negative ion thing where it literally just helps you feel a little bit more grounded and stable. It’s really powerful. And there’s a lot of research around this as well, that just shows that just being in nature, right? If you’re going to put your feet in grass or sand or dirt or something like that, being outdoors, being in nature, and you can combine these, right? Going for a walk in nature with your dog, right? We haven’t even talked about like pets are like, Oh my God.
Such a soother, this is my emotional support dog. He’s my soul dog. He’s so sweet. He lets me pet him on and it just makes me so happy. Its like, even when I’m calm, it makes me calmer. It’s just like the coolest thing ever. Okay. And so that’s what we’re doing here talking about Let me see if there’s any other ones.
Okay. And then there are actual embodiment practices. And these are things like practices that we do with our clients, where we do sensory motor exercises, where we do like containment exercises, where we do this is a Havening. There’s another sensory exercise. There’s all sorts of ways we use the body in order to calm the nervous system. All right. And so we’ve just, I’ve given you a ton. So any that you guys can think add them very powerful. Okay. The other thing is we want to make sure that we talk about things that are outside of our body where we’re not really focused on like using the body, but we’re maybe going to do something else that helps us maybe distract.
So for instance my client talked about I’ll just put a TV show on, and that’ll help me like not think about what’s going on inside of my body. Totally works. I will use on my phone, I have a Sudoku app. However, you say that, I’m not sure, but I will play like two or three games in a row and it will literally like, I’ll start breathing differently.
I’m just distracted. And even like relaxing. So if you’re just going to relax on the couch, and if you’re going to relax, in front of the TV or something like that. So the reason why we don’t want to discredit these are because sometimes they’re the only things we can think of in the moment, right?
And we might think of them, oh they’re just distracting and they’re not really helping. It’s not necessarily true, right? Sometimes the best thing to do is to distract yourself from the thing, right? In that moment, like the journey to regulating a nervous system, the journey to untangling all this unprocessed shit in our body, to being able to feel more the journey to doing that.
It’s not like some quick little, let’s lose 21 pounds in 21 days. Bullshit. It really is the long game. But when we’re willing to do it, we heal at a level of there is no way to explain how good it feels on the other side. You know what I mean? So I’m just putting that out there for you.
So those are a lot of examples of what to do to regulate your nervous system. Bown. Okay. Then the other part of this is expanding your window of tolerance. How can you have a really bad day and learn how to think about it in a way that doesn’t make it worse? So you’re able to go, this just is what it is.
This is the moment that I’m having. You’re able to go, you’re able to say to yourself. Even though this is really hard right now, and I’m struggle busing big time I’m going to be okay, even though this is painful right now. I know I got this. I can do hard things. I can feel hard things like to have that level of I got this and the way that we do that.
Because what really happens when our nervous system is hijacked and we’re really overwhelmed, it doesn’t feel like we can handle anything, right? I just want to like crawl in a hole. And that leads to that frozen state where we get really dissociated and we can’t seem to move forward.
Expanding our window of tolerance now at this phase, we’re like getting close. I don’t like these to go too long. I want you guys to stick with me. But if you want a podcast episode where all I do is take you through an expansion of window of tolerance a way to work with when you’re nervous systems, like, how do you learn how to go?
I can even handle this. I got this. I got this. Let me know if you want to do that. Cause I will do that right here on the Hello Body Freedom podcast and we will slay it. So the point of this whole thing is to understand and recognize and realize that for a lot of us, the reason why we struggle with our relationship with food, overeating, emotional eating, binge eating, it is because we have something going on inside of our body that does not feel good, does not feel okay, that feels Something of intensity overwhelm something going on in the body, right?
And until we can start to recognize what it is, get really self-aware of what’s happening to us in our body, and then be able to have systems and actual practices that we can do to get that intensity down and also have systems in place that we can learn that we can feel the hard things because welcome to planet earth.
There’s always going to be shit sandwiches. And so our ability to know that we can handle this, that we know that this too shall pass that I can do hard things. This is the work. This is the work. And this is what we do in Hello Body Freedom. And if you want more of this work, if you want to be a part of this work and you want to feel what it’s like, I’m going to invite you to join my free challenge. It’s the hellobodyfreedom.com five-day path. You can check that out. You can actually just go to hellobodyfreedom.com and you will see my challenge right there. It’s going to be amazing. So if you want to go deeper into any of the stuff we’ve been talking about. This is actually part of my advanced training and the challenge then I really hope that you do.
We’d love for you to see there, and I’m just wishing for all of you a double inhale and an exhale and a regulated nervous system so that you can feel more like you’re thriving in life a lot more than you are just surviving. And if you want some help with that, get over there to hello body freedom.com. Join the challenge and I will be in there to help you. I will walk you through it.
It’ll be amazing. See you there guys. Have a beautiful day. Thanks for coming and I’ll see you next time. Bye everybody.