Life is a lot, always but especially now. It feels like things are moving so slow + so fast + so mundanely + so chaotically all at once. Which can make parcing out how we actually feel really difficult, and clarity with how to respond wisely nearly impossible.

One of the first things we learn in SE is how to track and feel into our own nervous system through its various states and stages.

Even as I’m writing this post, I’m following my system through so many shifts:

Collapse (Parasympathetic Dorsal Vagal Response) – feeling like what’s the point, my voice doesn’t matter, it’s not gonna make a difference anyhow : I physically slump down and drop my head, breathing becomes almost imperceptible and the body goes limp.

Freeze (Parasympathetic) – I have no idea what to do or say or how to take the next step, my mind is blank and I feel completely stuck : entire body becomes tense + stiff, literally frozen, I might notice I’m holding my breath or that I feel cold.

Flight (Sympathetic) – Forget it I don’t wanna do this : I get super fidgety and my eyes start to dart around until I either physically get up and leave what I’m doing or I emotionally check out by scrolling through instagram or checking my email or daydreaming or I “leave” in some other way, breath becomes short and fast.

Fight (Sympathetic) – I start to say some nasty shit to and about myself or others : jaw clenches maybe teeth gnash, my front body activates (chest, arms, abdomen) and I may make fists or feel hot tingling through my arms and legs.

Social Engagement – (Parasympathetic Ventral Vagal) feeling like my work is meaningful and can be shared, that who i am is welcomed and valued by my community, I fit in and have a place in things : body feels alert but relaxed, breath flows naturally, I can reach out to and connect with people, I can see options/possibilities and feel a general sense of openness + curiosity about life.

By learning to track and differentiate the movements of our system, we are introduced to an entire terrain of new information that we can begin to dialogue with rather than feel overwhelmed by.

What did you notice in your own system as you read this?