We think of exercising our muscles and eating a healthy diet but are maybe not aware that our nervous system needs care too. If we are under constant stress or are living with some unresolved trauma, our responses to the world may include exaggerated emotions or responses that are not really about the present situation. When we are always on the go and living with stress, it is as if we are programming the nervous system to be activated and ready for danger. When an unresolved trauma is triggered, we can spend hours or days drowning in terror and nervousness. Just as your muscles need to practice exercise, our nervous system needs to practice slowing down.
Practicing these skills can build more resilience in our responses to life.
Feel your feet on the ground.
Feel the pressure of your body on what is supporting it.
Feel the texture of objects with your fingers.
Name details of what you touch, see, hear, smell and taste.
- Tracking / Felt Sense
Place your attention on sensations in the body and monitor them for a period of time.
Describe them and notice when they change.
Stay with yourself even if something very uncomfortable comes up
Challenge yourself not to dissociate.
- Slowing / Titration
Deliberately slow down your emotions and disturbing body sensations, like slowing down the tempo of music.
Separate out and work on only a small bit of the emotions or sensations and leave the rest for later, like taking only one bite of the pie.
Bring to mind an experience that gives you a sense of well being. This could be a place, an activity you do, a person or even an animal.
Take a moment to really evoke the experience.
Then notice the sensations that are present in your body right now.
Name the sensations and take some time to deepen and expand those sensations.
Be deeply present with an area of your body feeling activation, such as terror, anger, panic, tension. Then move your attention to a place of neutrality or calm in your body. Very slowly go back and forth. Build your capacity to stay with the negative. Also build your capacity to feel positive things again and to stay with the positive.
- Contact / Self-Holding Exercises
Put your hands on the parts of your body that feel difficult sensations (tension, discomfort). Notice how the hands feel when on the body. Notice how the body feels under the hands. Notice how the space in the body located between the hands feels.
Socialize and participate in your community. Human connection builds resilience.
Practice placing your awareness on any emotion or sensation coming up inside you. Say towards it, “You are welcome here.” Stay with it in a loving, compassionate way.
Work on reducing “should” thoughts about yourself. Allow yourself the space and time for your body, emotions and mind to embrace and pass through the processes they need to.
Practice being gentle with yourself. Practice self-empathy.
These are the skills we use as biodynamic practitioners, for ourselves and when working with clients. Your biodynamic practitioner is like your personal trainer for your nervous system. Be patient. Building muscles takes time and consistency. So does building resilience in the nervous system. It is a practice.