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Nourish your Nervous System - When triggered

Updated: Mar 11, 2023

10 skills for trauma recovery & building resilience. It is like taking your nervous system to the gym.

When triggered, the nervous system goes into a certain limbic state.

(Fight, flight, freeze or fawn)

These skills will help you shift the nervous system state faster. Trauma normally leaves a big imprint and can make a state very sticky and difficult to shift. Trauma is not about someone hurting your feelings, it is a complete rewiring of the nervous system and needs healing just as much as a broken bone needs healing.

These exercises and skills teaches the nervous system to be more flexible and increase variability or resilience.

In simple terms, this will ease the transition from sympathetic to parasympathetic - from survival/ stress to rest/digest & grow/ heal.

It also stimulates the flow state, which means optimal health on all levels.

Trauma is an injury to the nervous system, thus can benefit from rehabilitation and therapy.

1- Grounding

Notice the weight of your body. Feel the support underneath the body. Notice gravity. Notice the nature of surrender.

2- Tracking

(mindfulness practice: genuinely inquiring while being fully available to what is. Consciously breathe slowly.)

Notice the sensations attentively without going into story. Describe them in raw form, also when they change.

Stay present. Don’t follow distraction labels.

3- Titration

Slow down and sit with it. Bite size portions. Work with 1 sense at a time. Dissolve the observer, until all that is left is sound (or what ever sense you work with).

Observing and reminding yourself of observing brings calm curiosity and a sense of safety.

It is safe to feel.

Who does this sensation refer to? (the mind might try to convince you that the sensation refers to you, but it does not refer to anyone or anything. It just is. Self aware and self evident.)

4- Resourcing / safety

Create an image of a safe space. Bring forward a moment that was calm and comforting or create one from imagination.

*This is not in an avoidant/ dissociative way where you stay there. It is a tactic to harmonise wider fields instead of getting stuck in the painful or uncomfortable one.

5- Pendulation / swing

Be deeply present and feel (specific area highly active or sensitive from trigger), then move to a neutral or positive feeling in the body, mind. I invite you to work first just with physical sensations. Rather than mixing physical, mental and emotional into one, it gets messy. After the physical go to the mental or emotional.

Slowly go back and forth.

Build capacity to stay with the triggered activations (might be perceived as the negative)

Also build capacity to stay in the positively experienced feelings.

6- Effleurage (lightly/ gently touch)

Gently place your hands on a part of your body that is dealing with difficult sensations. Fully accepting. Accept even resistance or non peace.

Notice hand feeling body

Notice body feeling hand.

Notice what is. Sensations are aware of themselves.

7- Community (circle communication)

Reach out and share. Oxytocin invites you to share and hug and listen empathetically. Human resilience builds connection. A great way to offer yourself a wider perspective is to share in 3rd person. Eg. Refrain from using the words I or me. Instead, replace it with your name. So instead of saying: "I am depressed." You would say: "Carla experiences depression."

This helps to separate, sort and bring to awareness the participant, observer and judge/ critic.

8 - Presence

Placing awareness in present moment & sensations and emotions to fully accept and celebrate them, all is welcome here, in the vastness of my being.

Remember yourself as the permission.

Notice how you are always present. All that is is now and here. Sometimes the concepts of the mind just wanders and those wandering thoughts are prioritised. When ever those concepts wander, consciousness was already there to receive them.

Presence is Always present. It can only be present. You don't pull our presence to the present moment and bind it to your chair so it stays here. It is your presence that welcomes and holds space for everything else to arise.

So make your presence priority (above thoughts) and notice the presence you are here and now.

9- Self-acceptance

Allow what is and how long it takes or lasts.

Embrace it until it passes (thoughts might try to convince you that it is difficult or even impossible. Thoughts might invite you to disassociate instead as a protective mechanism, but this simply delays the healing process). You are the freedom in which they arise. Just identify them. No need to identify with them.

*No self nature of reality realisation, there is no separate self, only an illusion of it.

10 - Self-empathy (compassion)

Be kind and gentle with yourself, all aspects. We think we should hate and punish our sins to death, we actually love our sins to death. And by sins I am referring to the things we don't accept about ourselves because we have a concept about how we think it aught to be or things that are difficult to understand and accept for the mind.

This is the physical somatic process. After working with this for a while, there is a mental aspect of it that can be nourished with a process too.

Beliefs, nervous system and the body work together so if the one is affected all 3 are influenced. They feed into each other.

When something traumatic happens or “soul loss” occurs - new beliefs and worldly perceptions are formed instantly and will run and govern your life until conscious intervention takes place. This includes the beliefs your ancestors passed down to you. Genes are a suggestion and can be altered with authoritative intervention.

*Notes and tips on this:

-It’s best if you do this as the trigger arises, but we do store a lot of unprocessed ones, so have a specific one in mind. It will recall and collect the information in the body.

-Work with one trigger at a time.

-Remember you are tapping into your echo

-Always have the sense of perception active - Is this true? What makes it true?

-You are not taking on the role to change anything! Simply loving and accepting it fully.

-The change from fear to loving it will automatically shift what needs to be.

-The ego will offer you what you are not, don’t loose sense of Self by identifying with the ego without question.

-After this, sit and contemplate what you are without the feeling, story, sensation, thought, situation, trigger.

-The breath is important! Keep it smooth, deep and rhythmical. It will reflect shifts happening and you can make shifts happen with your breath.

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