As the year draws to a close, reflection becomes inevitable. We often find ourselves recounting the moments steeped in despair, the struggles that seemed insurmountable, and the turmoil in the world. It’s easy to become overwhelmed, sometimes leading to a state of emotional numbness.
Pain tends to overshadow the gentle pleasures of life, dominating our attention for understandable reasons. Yet, dwelling in this space is where dysfunction takes root and chronic illness can thrive. Our nervous system, influenced by both our minds and societal inputs, can easily become locked in a cycle that hinders our ability to truly live.
I speak from firsthand experience. I know what it’s like to feel numb.
There have been moments when overwhelming pain, physical discomfort, and intense emotions pushed me to disconnect, to “go somewhere else.”
In that fog, that dissociated state, there was a strange sense of relief. It felt safe—a place where sensations and connections seemed to vanish.
I used to find this place in the most extreme experiences, where one would expect intense feelings. Instead, I felt nothing—a flat affect blanketing my face as I gazed into the distance.
It became too much. Have you been there?
My body moved and functioned, yet I wasn’t present. Disconnected and removed from the moment.
I later learned that this was my nervous system’s innate protective mechanism—a “Freeze response” that often enveloped me during my days of illness.
My journey to healing involved thawing this isolated encapsulation of protection. I needed to find safety and trust, not only within myself but also within the world around me.
Awareness of this response was the first step. Embracing it and acknowledging the organic intelligence behind it helped me accept and understand what was happening.
I sought support from skilled Somatic Experiencing practitioners, worked with plant medicines, and tapped into my higher self to guide me in repatterning this response. To once again feel and be present in the moment.
It wasn’t easy. Initially, it was painful. But with newfound resources, the process became manageable. Slowly, I began to feel, calmly breathing through it all—allowing buried sensations to surface and dissipate, navigating between pain and pleasure.
I was awakened! Each step expanded my resilience, enabling me to fully embrace life’s offerings.
The waves continue like the ocean, BUT now I’m an active participant- even surfing tsunamis sometimes!
The essence of this journey back to myself shapes how I offer support to others. Our delicate human nervous systems require nurturing in all healing endeavors.
Here are some tips to repattern your nervous system from fight, flight, or freeze to a state of peace and presence, integrating Somatic Experiencing and Functional Health perspectives:
- Mindful Breathing: Engage in deep, diaphragmatic breathing to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation.
- Body Awareness and Sensation Tracking: Notice bodily sensations, whether tension, discomfort, or relaxation, while practicing mindful breathing.
- Grounding Techniques: Anchor yourself in the present moment using methods like feeling your feet on the ground or intentionally letting your eyes focus on your environment.
- Movement Practices: Incorporate gentle movements, such as yoga or tai chi, to release stored tension and induce relaxation.
- Self-Regulation Strategies: Develop personalized techniques, like progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, using matras or self-soothing techniques that work specifically for you.
- Nutritional Support: Consume nutrients beneficial to the nervous system, such as omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and B vitamins.
- Prioritize Sleep Hygiene: Establish a calming bedtime routine for quality sleep that profoundly impacts nervous system regulation.
- Start a Gratitude Journaling Practice: Reflect on three things to be grateful for each night, reframing your perspective.
- Seek Professional Support: Consider guidance from a Somatic Experiencing therapist or a Functional Health practitioner like me to support you on this journey of effectively re-pattern your nervous system.
Experiment with these tips, cultivating patience and consistency as you move toward a more peaceful and present state of being.
Remember, each person’s journey is unique and you know your body better than any one!
If something is off despite your best efforts, consider whether hidden stressors in your gut, hormones, or environment might be the underlying issue.
If you’re ready to get your hands on the right functional lab tests, resources, and guidance to resolve annoying symptoms and regain comfort within your body, I’d be honored to assist you!
Coming from someone who wasn’t fully living for so many years of my life due to dysfunctions in my gut and hormones, I’m a firm believer that health is the greatest wealth and the foundation from which the joys of life flourish.
I’m here when you’re ready to receive support!