top of page

Top 5 Ways to Self-Regulate

Here are my top 5 ways to self-regulate and bring some calm to your nervous system.

 

1 - BREATHING EXERCISES

Deep breathing techniques, such as diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing, can activate the body's relaxation response. It stimulates the vagus nerve, which helps calm the nervous system and reduce stress. Focus on taking slow, deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.

2 - BRAIN RETRAINING (NEUROPLASTICITY)

Retraining a brain that's wired into a maladaptive stress response is fundamental for regulating your whole nervous system, as they're all connected. The limbic part of the brain sends signals through a connection of neural networks to the rest of the body, either of safety or of danger. Visualization and interrupting habitual stressful thoughts with uplifting imagery have been proven to regulate various physiological and behavioral responses.

3 - SOMATIC AWARENESS PRACTICES 

Somatic practices such as somatic tracking emphasize increasing body awareness to track and regulate sensations, movements, and bodily experiences. By paying attention to physical sensations and bodily cues, individuals can develop a better understanding of their body's responses to stress and trauma. This awareness is crucial for initiating the body's natural self-regulation mechanisms.

4 - NATURE

Experiences in nature, especially in green environments, have been linked to increased parasympathetic activity and heart rate variability, which are indicators of the body's ability to self-regulate and recover from stress. This activation of the parasympathetic nervous system helps with cellular rest and repair, and counterbalances the effects of the sympathetic nervous system (responsible for the body's stress response).

5 - ACTIVITIES THAT BRING YOU JOY

Chronic stress can disrupt the nervous system, so counteract this as much as possible with activities that make you feel like you, and that you really enjoy. If you are chronically ill, you may have to make modifications, but some suggestions are listening to music, taking a warm bath, or spending time with pets. Additionally, incorporating stress reduction practices such as yoga, qigong, or progressive muscle relaxation can have a positive impact on the nervous system.

Image by Michele Guan
bottom of page