Please remember with these tools they are to help in the moments when we feel particularly anxious, stressed and uncomfortable. They are best practiced in between these uncomfortable moments, while the iron is cold so to speak, so our body gets used to these being our go to instead of food or alcohol etc!
Please also remember that biologically they work immediately even if we don't immediately feel better. I often get told 'its just not working' - it will! We now know breathing and our senses are instrimental on our nervous systems.
Learn to deep belly Breathe
Breathing calms us, turns on our rest and digest part of our nervous system on the out breath. This helps us be present in the moment. Here are some breathing techniques. Breathe in through nose and out through mouth and breathe deep into tummy. You can put your hand on your tummy to feel where the breath is rising and falling.
Four Square Breathing
Breathe in for 4, hold for 4, out for 4 and hold for 4.
Make your out breath longer than your inbreath
Breath in for 4, hold for 5, out for 6
Get your senses on line immediately and get back into your body
What are 5 things I can see?
What are 4 things I can hear?
What are 3 things I can touch?
What are 2 things I can smell?
What is 1 thing is I can taste?
These can be in any order - see what works for you. The quickest one is smell! So having something with a scent you like on you at times you know you will be more stressed like a job interview (!) can really help ground us in the moment. For some of us we have an impaired sense of smell so we can choose which works best for us.
Improve Your Vagal Tone - My What?
Our vagus nerve is a group of nerves running through our body and runs from the base of our brain to every organ in the body. It regulates our parasympathatic nervous system (rest and digest, heart rate, unconsious processes in the body including breathing etc). This is why its so important to our grounding as it can calm us and heal us.
Traumas live in the body so we need to help the body heal. We have the ability deal with anxiety, we have fight and flight naturally built into our systems to protect us but what happens is we are often caught or trapped in a perpetual state of anxiety in our nervous sytems, even when out of the stressful situation, which leads to our system being in a perpertual state of stress.
Chronic ongoing stress, just in the way we live in the modern world, keeps our nervous system on high alert. It was never supposed to be in a constant hyper aroused state. With time, relationship stresses, traumas, stressful environments, our vagus nerve looses tone so here are some ways we can help or stimulate our vagus nerve regain ground and heal.
Daily Practices to cultivate over time to retrain selves from stuck in nervous system activation (hyper vigilance) and into deactivation (rest).
Perhaps you would like to talk, find out more, explore if individual therapy or couples counselling is for you, please contact me confidentially and without obligation.
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