Chaos or Calm?
* by Serena Franchini
The basis of all of the work I do BEGINS with the nervous system state of each client. The first step in building goals and a healing plan is to first assess and work on regulation of the nervous system state.
Believe it or not, your nervous system is your key to a calm or chaotic existence AND the amazing thing is, we have tools that can shift you from chaotic to calm. I will share some of those tips in this article, and you can also book nervous system regulation sessions with me privately.
Our nervous system regulation controls how we handle all aspects of our life. It is therefore a roadmap for how WELL we enjoy life and experience inner peace in each day.
Your nervous system is directly correlated to your level of self awareness. Awareness is Consciousness, the ability to truly be able to experience life.
3 PRONG APPROACH
We are going to explore our nervous system - specifically, the Vagus nerve, which runs from the base of our skull through our face, chest and gut.
What I have come to know through my work on myself (yes, me too - everything I teach, I have in some way experienced myself) and with others is that we are not fully relaxed or present. Most of us live in intermittent dysregulation. That means that once in a while, we connect to our bodies but our nervous system is usually overactive and under-toned. Even when we think we are relaxed, our nervous system is not, and our bodies show it. We are tight, braced, disconnected and much more.
When was the last time someone cut you off in traffic and you reacted? Or they were going too slow and you said, "Look at this idiot! Move!!" ...? Or maybe you were under stress, and you fell into a deep daydream, then you woke up and didn't know where you were? Or you felt numb to it all?
Believe it or not, these are huge indicators of how regulated or dysregulated our nervous system is.
The GREEN State is our Ventral Vagal State. This is when we are connected to self and others. We can make and maintain eye contact, and reach out to others with ease. We are calm, restful, curious and present.
The YELLOW State is our Sympathetic State of fight or flight, rage, anger, irritation, anxiety, worry and panic.
The RED State is freeze, shutdown, numb, depressed, helplessness, dissociated and disconnected from body/mind.
When in YELLOW or RED, a different part of our brain called the amygdala is activated. Our right brain is in charge. It is larger and has more neural connections than our left brain/prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for logic, reasoning, and memory storage. When the amygdala is activated, which can be short or long term, our logical prefrontal cortex gets knocked offline.
The YELLOW and RED states trigger animal defenses - primitive behaviors that were meant to be used in life or death situations like being attacked or hiding from predators. They were never intended to be used in day to day life. However, trans-generational trauma passed these traits down and we are wired this way, until now. Nervous system regulation is actually being talked about as the root of so many barriers and challenges we face in our culture, relationships and our mental health.
Physical manifestations of the YELLOW and RED states include 1400 biochemical changes, the release of stress hormones, burnout, more errors, health challenges, memory issues, frustration, anger, impatience, decreased mental function, and accelerated aging.
The goal is to get back to GREEN! In fact, it's completely possible to live in GREEN!
Physical attributes of the GREEN state include an ability to focus, positive outlook on life, open mindedness, increased energy, decreased stress, appreciation, tolerance, adventure, increased memory and problem solving, increased creativity and heightened overall performance.
The GREEN state of calm and connectedness promotes healing. On the other hand, the disruption and chaos of the YELLOW and RED states promote disease.
I teach many techniques to regulate the nervous system to keep it in the GREEN state.
The easiest technique is breath work. My favorite breathing technique is the 4-7-8 Breath - which means to inhale for a count of 4; hold the breath for a count of 7; then exhale slowly for a count of 8. The exhale is most important for nervous system regulation/toning.
Most of us do not breathe consistently and consciously. When you have unresolved trauma, you hold your breath without even realizing it. This happens on a subconscious level. Every conscious breath makes more room for healing and connection to self. Let the image of the traffic light be a reminder for conscious breathing! Every time you're stopped at a traffic light, look up and breathe!
The simplest way to shift from a YELLOW or RED state to GREEN is just to make eye contact with someone, smile or laugh. Humming, singing and good posture can also help. (Our diaphragm contracts and pushes air out of our lungs when we slough, or are hunched over our computer. that compresses the Vagus nerve). We can correct our posture by sitting upright, tilting our head up, or laying down with a foam roller between our shoulder blades.
Try it and see what a difference it will make for you!
*** Serena Franchini is the Founder of The Healing Fawn, a Pennsylvania-based provider of healing services and inspirational products. Serena has been a registered nurse for 15 years; she is also a trauma-informed inner child work coach and a certified Somatic Therapy practitioner. She has always had a calling to help and serve others. While going through her own spiritual journey and awakening, Serena connected to and began healing her own inner child. This changed everything for her, and she found her purpose to help others do the same. The Healing Fawn Inner Child Work and Somatic Therapy was formed to help guide one person at a time towards healing and finding their true self.
Find out more - and learn about The Healing Fawn's many special (sometimes free!) programs & services at www.TheHealingFawn.com.