Life is a Journey of Love and Self-Acceptance
May you greet yourself with love and compassion.
May you become whole.
May you find inner peace.
May you greet yourself with love and compassion.
May you become whole.
May you find inner peace.
This is a great question to ask yourself.
But don’t jump on the first response.
If you had what you most wanted, how would you feel?
Would you feel happy, content, satisfied, safe, victorious, empowered?
Or something else?
What is your heart’s deepest desire?
By asking the deeper questions, you are seeking a deeper response.
You will discover your deeper motivations.
You will discover your core values.
There was a time in my life that I felt very conflicted and confused. I was unhappy in my situation. I was in an abusive environment. After connecting with a deeper part of myself, I adopted the statement:
And I strove to do that. Not always successful, but it changed my life. I discovered that by staying in the situation, I was not being loving to myself. I also was able to disengage and move away from where I was. I was also very respectful as possible to others as I did this. It simply felt good to me. I was able to leave with my head held high and knew I did the best I could. It gave me a sense of Inner Peace.
Consider it an act of self-love and self-care.
Honestly, that is a very vague question. So, let me clarify.
The real question is, where are you in regard to your nervous system and how does that impact your life experience and fibromyalgia? And what can you do about it?
Our Autonomic Nervous System controls much of the activity in the body. It has two branches, the Sympathetic Nervous System and the Parasympathetic Nervous System and the Enteric Nervous System.
Today we will focus on the Sympathetic Nervous System and the Parasympathetic Nervous System. Both have a direct connection to the organ systems in your body.
In a healthy person, these two nervous systems balance each other. The Sympathetic gets us up in the morning and keeps us moving during the day so we can function in the world. The Parasympathetic nervous system slows us down so we can sleep, and the body can rest and repair. They both are connected to the organ systems in the body to make sure they function properly and can rest, repair and rejuvenate.
The two naturally work in harmony with each other to keep us healthy.
When we have experienced trauma, negative life experiences and ongoing stress, the automatic nervous system becomes disregulated. We can become stuck in either the sympathetic or parasympathetic or take wild swings from one to the other.
For women with fibromyalgia, this is important because a dysregulated nervous system can be a contributing factor to our fibro symptoms and/or can block healing and recovery from fibromyalgia.
If you know “where you are” meaning “where is your nervous system”, you can take steps to regulate your nervous system and bring it back into balance. That is a big step in fibromyalgia recovery.
Your nervous system can be in a state of Sympathetic Dominance, or Parasympathetic Dominance, or swing wildly from one to the other. Or sometimes both are activated. Or it can be in a balanced or regulated state.
The lists below for each state will provide information for you to consider as you observe your experience. This will help you to understand where your nervous system is.
If your sympathetic nervous system is dominate, you will be in a state of hyper-arousal or fight or flight. Some of the signs of being in Sympathetic Dominance are:
Signs of hyper arousal:
If your parasympathetic nervous system is dominate, you will be in a state of hypo-arousal aka Shutdown or Immobilization. Some of the signs of being in Parasympathetic Dominance are:
Signs of Hypo-Activation
What you may not know is what it feels like to have a normal balanced nervous system, that easily flows from one to the other as needed as your move through your day. If you have had trauma, ongoing stress, or negative life experiences in early childhood, you might have never experienced a balanced nervous system. I certainly didn’t.
What is the experience of a balanced nervous system?
As you read over the lists, what resonates with you? Which state or states do you experience frequently. Here are some questions to consider:
Keep in mind that you will naturally have ups and downs in life. The nervous system will keep moving from parasympathetic to sympathetic naturally. And that both are needed to navigate the normal, natural ups and downs of life. The problem is when one or the other dominates and we get stuck or have wild swings from parasympathetic to sympathetic.
Take sometime this coming week to become more aware of “where you are” in relation to your nervous system as you go through your day. Print out the lists and post them where you can see them or carry one with you.
Awareness is the first step in creating change. Simply by being aware of where your nervous system is will begin to create change. Over the last several blogs and newsletters, I have provided some simple practices that can bring you to a balanced nervous system. The change can be subtle, and it can take some consistent practice over a period of time.
Also in my upcoming programs, Reconnect with Your Calm Inner Presence and An Introduction to the Integrative Wholeness Experience, we will go more deeply into how to create and maintain a balanced health nervous system.
May your nervous system be balanced and healthy, 💕Bindu
Our body was designed to survive. Part of our inner survival mechanisms is to constantly be scanning our inner and outer environment and even other people. This is called neuroception.
It is the way our nervous system listens to the world within our self and outside of our self. Your nervous system is constantly perceiving the world inside and outside.
It is listening to what is happening in your body, heart, lungs, digestive system, your muscles. Also, your emotional state and your mental state.
It also perceives what is going on around you. Sights, sounds, smells, movement, and sensations.
Your nervous system also perceives other people and what is going on inside of them.
There is way more going on inside and outside than our mind can capture, understand, and integrate.
Especially when it comes to our health and happiness.
When your nervous system perceives a threat, it automatically responds to that threat. Your fight or flight or freeze or shut down kicks in automatically. Your body is preprogrammed to keep you safe and alive.
When your nervous system perceives safety, it relaxes and allows the body to relax.
When we have been traumatized, the neuroception can perceive potential threats based on your past experience.
For example, a big burly man with red hair and a yellow shirt hurt you or traumatized you when you were young. Your nervous system may send you into fight or flight or shut down any time you see a big burly man or a man with red hair, or the color yellow.
Even if there is no real threat in your current environment. This leads to anxiety and stress even when there is no real threat.
This neuroception is also listening to what is going on in your body, so if you have suppressed emotions your nervous system will activate fight or flight or freeze or shut down almost continuously.
This is a factor in anxiety disorders and severe depression.
This is where mindfulness and practices that calm and balance your nervous system can be helpful.
Mindfulness is the practice of being present with what is really happening in the moment, in our environment and in our body.
So, if you are being mindful, you will notice your anxiety level rise. You will also notice what is happening in the environment outside of you. And you can evaluate your environment to see if there is a true threat or only a perceived threat that doesn’t exist.
If you have an ongoing mindfulness practice, your nervous system will be more grounded in the present and less likely to overreact. If your nervous system is overreacting, the next step is to apply one of the practices that calm and balance the nervous system. See my recent posts for simple and easy mindfulness practices. And here are some other suggestions that may be helpful.
My preferred practice is to slow down and deepen my breath. That will take the edge off anxiety and bring you into the present moment.
Other simple practices include:
Be creative. Ask your heart what it needs to feel safe.
Enjoy exploring ways that you can self soothe and calm your nervous system. Self-care is essential in today’s busy world.
May you soothe and calm your inner experience, 💕Bindu
Symptoms from trauma can be caused by chronic dysregulation of our nervous system. This can impact us in two areas, physical/somatic and psychological. In this post, I will talk about the physical. Next week we will look at psychological impact.
Chronic dysregulation of the nervous system affects hormonal processes, metabolism and pain perception. Which in turn can contribute to physical symptoms such as.
There’s more, but this is an overview to give you a sense of how far-reaching these symptoms can be. Symptoms are different for different people depending on their lifestyle, genetics, the type of trauma, and other factors.
Keep in mind that there can also be physical causes for symptoms, so it is good to explore that possibility also with a competent health care provider.
As we release our trauma, our nervous system becomes more regulated. That allows the body to rebuild your health from the inside out. Sometimes the dysregulation becomes a habit that the body naturally defaults to.
I have experienced great improvement in my physical and emotional health from my focus on healthy my trauma. One of the greatest blessings is that I sleep really well which also has reduced my pain and fatigue.
You can begin now. Here are some simple tools that can begin to regulate your nervous system.
Notice your breath. Breath in for 2 counts and out for 4 counts. Or in for 3 counts and out for 6 counts. The idea here is to have the exhalation be twice as long as the inhalation. it’s ok if the exhalation isn’t twice as long. Just let it be longer than the inhalation.
Simply placing your hand on your heart and feel the connection between your hand and your heart. You can increase the effectiveness of this by saying something kind to yourself. Even something as simple as “I hear you.”
Place you right hand under your left armpit. And your right hand on your left upper arm. Gently squeeze . . . giving yourself a hug.
Can you commit to 10 minutes per day to use these simple tools? Play around with them and notice how your body responds. Which works for you? You can combine them as well, using the Breath with the Heart and the Hug.
You can begin to bring your nervous system back into balance. The results may be subtle or obvious. With consistent practice over a period of months you will notice a difference. What have you got to lose?
May you regulate your nervous system. 💗Bindu