As you start to become more conscious, more aware, you’ll notice what happens in your body as you have that tense conversation with your partner.
Defensiveness, shutting down, yelling, deflecting. All a response to an nervous system that cannot regulate under stress. Few of us have regulated nervous systems due to unresolved trauma + the expected lifestyle that doesn’t match human evolution.
The same thing can happen with complete strangers. Traffic, someone cutting you off in line, or a co-workers remark, send the body into a state where we cannot take in new information. All the body seeks to do is escape the situation.
I get asked often what it is to “hold space.” Holding space is the practice of just witnessing. Listening. It’s sitting in the presence of another while being truly present. In this space we can listen, learn, + engage (if we are asked.) Holding space cannot be done if we do not work to heal the nervous system.
Instead we will unconsciously attempt to change the other persons perspective “that didn’t happen” or “just think positive”, minimize their feelings “it wasn’t that bad”, or avoid engaging at all. Sometimes we might lash out, in a fear driven attempt to escape a situation. Sending ourselves into shame cycles.
Listening + learning require access to higher states of nervous system regulation. Curiosity, playfulness, mental flexibility, are all beyond our reactive ego states. And we must do work to get back there. Daily work. Daily practice.
WAYS TO BEGIN REGULATING THE NERVOUS SYSTEM:
1. Deep belly breathing (parasympathetic activation)
2. Connection: laughing, storytelling, engaging with another trusted human
3. Physical exercise/movement
4. Play + creativity
7. Disconnection from content consumption
8. Nature walks, grounding, hiking #selfhealers