Home » My Top 5 Tips to Regulate Your Nervous System – When You’re Feeling Stressed & Overwhelmed

woman splashed with water

How to Regulate your Nervous System in the middle of being triggered

1. Shake

For at least 30 seconds, shake your body quickly, like a shudder down your spine and tremor around your body. This is a quick and easy decompression technique that can help to regulate your nervous system.

Why it works woman shaking

When an animal is scared or after it’s been chased (and survived) it needs to discharge the response in the nervous system, so it tremors. As human mammals, we can do the same. When our stress response is triggered, shaking can help us to discharge and bring the nervous system back towards homeostasis.

2. Hum

Breathe in deeply and as you exhale, hum your breath out.

Why it works

Humming can tone your Vagus nerve which runs through your brain stem at the back of your neck. The Vagus nerve rules your parasympathetic nervous system which controls your relaxation, rest and digest response. Toning this nerve can increase resilience to stress and soothe the stress response through the breath and the vibration and sound of humming.

3. Cold Water woman splashed with water, regulate your nervous system

Splash your face with very cold water a few times.

Why it works

Cold water immersion or splashing gives your nervous system a little shock which can bring you out of your mid brain where the stress response is, back to the front brain where you are more conscious and where all your best self hangs out. Regular cold water immersion can also increase the bandwidth of your reaction to stress, building resilience. For more info, check out https://www.wimhofmethod.com/blog/cold-showers-for-anxiety-relief

4. Breathe

There are many breath techniques (for access to some, join The Flo Club for a free month to check them out — info below). I like to use an activating 10–20–30 technique when I feel dysregulated. Breathe in through the mouth into the upper chest quite fast and blow it out through the mouth (like a panting dog). Do this 10 times, on the 10th exhale, hold the breath out for 10 seconds. Repeat for 20 breaths and 20 second hold out and 30 breaths and 30 second hold out.

Why it works

Interrupting the natural breath stimulates/shocks the sympathetic nervous system and can bring it back into balance, reducing the feeling of stress and overwhelm.

5. Think

man riding a cartoon brain like a horse into the skyThink of something novel or weird, something that will make you curious or laugh, use your wild imagination. If you find this difficult right in the middle of a stress response, watch a funny video or cute animal photos or anything that will stimulate your front brain instead.

Why it works

Your brain only has a certain amount of nutrients available to it, those nutrients, i.e. blood, glucose and oxygen are shared by the whole brain. When the mid brain/stress response is triggered, the nutrients go to that part and the front brain goes quiet. We want to get back into our front brain, that’s where all the best stuff is, so stimulating your curiosity which is part of your front brain activity, will help to get your brain back to homeostasis.

These are my top tips for managing nervous system dysregulation but there are many more techniques and tools. You can check out more at https://www.theflocoach.com/the-flo-club/ (join for free, to try it out) or email me claire@theflocoach.com to find out how I can help you manage your stress and overwhelm.

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