I deeply believe that before we begin to process the trauma that lives within our minds, bodies, and being that we need to learn how to self-soothe and self-regulate in ways that are beneficial to our process and Self.
And so, in 2015 I began compiling a list of easy and practical ways for us to help calm our sympathetic nervous system and activate our parasympathetic nervous system (where the polyvagal nerve system lives) that I had learned in school or in my own therapy or found on the internet (and tested myself of course!) Then in 2016, during a very stressful election season, I began sharing them on Facebook and Google+ because I understand that not all persons are able to enter into therapy and I want to make as many of these self-soothing and self-regulating tools available to as many persons as possible. In 2018 I began also sharing them on Instagram, again to help widen the reach of these tools and give even more people access to them,
I currently have over two dozen of these practical exercises that I share and am adding to the repertoire almost weekly. When you work with me individually or participate in either the TIE™ Basics or Trauma Informed Embodiment (TIE)™ Level 1 programs you receive a pdf of all the exercises I have gathered together to date.
If you’d like to learn more about me and the work I do you can go to my about page here.
If you’d like to sign up for my weekly love letter were I explore trauma, grief, embodiment, and their intersections and tie that all together to both our personal and cultural experience, you can subscribe here. (I also share a different nervous system soothing exercise each week in it!)
I also facilitate a free Facebook Group where we focus on exploring trauma, grief, embodiment and their intersections. You can ask to join here. (I share a different nervous system soothing exercise in there about every other day along with articles written by others and myself on trauma, grief, embodiment, and their intersections. I also share these exercises on Instagram here.)
And here’s a quick and easy way to start soothing your nervous system right now:
Place your right hand over your heart so that the heel of your hand is at your heart and your fingertips are at your collarbone. Apply as much pressure with your hand as you need/want. You can also put your left hand over the top of your right to apply more pressure. Alternatively place your left hand on your abdomen so that your pinky finger is just above your belly button. Apply pressure at your belly and heart at the same time.
Why this works
Your right hand is applying pressure to your polyvagal nerve, which is main parasympathetic system nerve. It is the nerve system that is responsible for our “resting” functions, like digestion, salivation, relaxation. By activative this nerve you are sending a message to your body system that you are safe and allows your entire body to begin to relax. (Note your sympathetic nervous system – responsible for fight, flight, & freeze – cannot be active at the same time as the parasympathetic, so by activating the parasympathetic system you help to “de-activate” your sympathetic system.
You can do this at anytime. It also can help to relax you at bedtime and help to quiet your mind.