Being a Type-A woman can be both a source of pride and a source of stress. Many of us thrive on the go-getter attitude that propels us forward towards our dreams and goals, but this unrelenting drive can also take a toll on our physical and mental health.
Chronic health conditions, mysterious symptoms that baffle doctors and specialists, and a constant feeling of being overwhelmed are all too common for women who push themselves to the limit.
That’s where understanding nervous system regulation comes in—an empowering tool that can help you take control of your health and well-being.
What is nervous system regulation, exactly?
In simple terms, it’s how your body naturally handles stress and other bodily functions based on what’s happening around and within you.
Think of nervous system regulation like a nozzle on a hose. The nozzle regulates how much water comes out at once, whether that be a drizzle or a large stream, it also helps to direct the stream where you want it to go.
In the case of your body, you’re regulating your energy and your stress response.
Your nervous system is composed of two main parts:
- The sympathetic nervous system, which triggers the “fight or flight” response
- And the parasympathetic nervous system, which activates the “rest and digest” response that calms your body down.
When your nervous system is in harmony, these two systems work together seamlessly to keep you healthy and functioning optimally.
However, chronic stress, mental and physical trauma, and overstimulation can all disrupt this balance and cause your nervous system to become dysregulated.
This can result in a wide range of symptoms, including chronic pain, fatigue, digestive issues, anxiety, depression, and autoimmune conditions.
Fortunately, there are many effective ways to regulate your nervous system and restore balance to your body.
Here are our 5 top recommended modalities to regulate your nervous system and find a sense of balance:
Get into Nature:
Nature bathing is a technique that involves immersing yourself in a natural environment to promote relaxation. This technique has been scientifically proven to lower cortisol levels, a hormone released when you are stressed.
In nature, the sounds, smells, and sights of nature have a soothing effect on the nervous system. Dedicating at least 20 minutes a day to nature bathing can help reduce anxiety and improve overall mental health.
Whether it’s a local park or a hike in the mountains, immersing yourself in nature can be a powerful tool in regulating your nervous system.
Regulate Your Blood Sugar:
When your blood sugar levels are out of whack, your body has to work harder to maintain balance. A taxed body and too much glucose can cause fluctuations in your mood and energy levels.
- Regulate blood sugars with stress levels.
Stress is the biggest hidden culprit when it comes to blood sugar regulation. The body creates a flood of glucose to the muscles to move fast to fight or flee. The tricky part is that we are often stressed while sitting behind a computer or behind the wheel and our body doesn’t use up the flood of hormones that accompany the Alarm Phase.
- Regulate blood sugar with muscle mass.
Muscle uses glucose in the bloodstream first, so it helps to maintain healthy levels of blood sugar. And bonus, with exercise, you’ll use any excess blood sugars before they get stored as fat.
Our recommendation is to build muscle with weight-lifting and push pause on high-cardio and HIIT exercises that stress the body more.
- Regulate blood sugars with food.
Eating a balanced diet full of whole, nutrient-dense foods can provide the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function optimally. An easy way to accomplish this is a protein and fiber forward diet that includes complex carbohydrates. Avoiding processed and sugary foods is also crucial in regulating your blood sugar levels.
Small changes in your diet can have a significant impact on your nervous system regulation. By filling up on protein and fiber, you can minimize your body’s reliance and need for refined sugars.
You can dive more into 10 easy changes you can make today for better blood sugar here.
Don’t let the word exercises fool you—somatic exercises are small, gentle movements that target major muscle groups or the Vagus Nerve for instant relief to a body stuck in fight, flight, or freeze.
These gentle kinetic practices involve a unique series of muscle contractions and releases or stretches. They not only balance the nervous system, they foster mindbody awareness, which is essential for women in burnout who have lost touch with their body.
The beauty of these techniques lies in their versatility—they can be practiced anywhere, anytime. Whether you’re feeling stressed walking down the street, overwhelmed at work, or just unwinding at home, these exercises are subtle enough, while providing huge relief, to add into your daily routine.
However, not all somatic exercises serve the same purpose, and their effectiveness can vary based on your current state of mind and body. An exercise that soothes anxiety might not necessarily alleviate depression.
With this understanding, we’ve crafted the Your Daily Health Coaching App, which recommends exercises tailored to your mood after a daily check-in. You can read more about our daily check-ins and personalization here.
NERVOUS SYSTEM REGULATION MADE SIMPLE
Less than 5 minutes a day to a healthier mind and body.
Get the app that helps you take control of your health and build strong habits with daily check-ins and nervous system regulation tools. You’ll also be able to access our programs and courses designed to heal chronic conditions and burnout.
Journaling is a powerful tool in regulating the nervous system and improving mental health. Writing your thoughts and feelings down can help you acknowledge and process them, reducing their impact on your nervous system.
Journaling can also help you identify patterns in your behavior and emotions. Regular journaling can promote mindfulness and self-awareness, enabling you to be more in tune with your nervous system.
And for those new to journaling and having a tough time getting into the ritual or even expressing your feelings, Rage Journaling can be the best place to start.
Mindfulness practices such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing can activate your parasympathetic nervous system and lower your stress levels. However, we don’t recommend you try this if you’re deep in burnout and overwhelm because that means you’re outside of your window of tolerance, most likely in hyper-arousal. Breathwork can aggravate the system more, and meditation can be very difficult to achieve until you’ve learned to settle the mind and body out of chronic fight or flight.
The Your Daily Health Coaching App also has body-based meditations and breathing exercises for you to find your way back into your window of tolerance.
Nervous system regulation is crucial in maintaining good health, and also in healing a body you’ve hated for a long time. Reducing stress, regulating blood sugar levels, practicing somatic exercises, and journaling are all techniques that can help regulate your nervous system and restore balance to your body, you can change and evolve your health and quality of life.
If you’re stuck not knowing how to do that for yourself, we’ve created programs just for you, come check them out.