Use this simple Nervous System Reset to feel grounded and spacious
Autonomic Nervous System Basics
Your Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), that is automatic nervous sytem is co-ordinated by your brain to regulate the unconscious workings of your internal organs. Think heart, lungs, digestion, kidneys, reproduction, immunity, detoxification, wound healing and so on.
Your ANS has three main parts:
- Sympathetic Nervous system (SNS) — Activity, Fight and Flight. Nerves leave your central nervous system (CNS) in the area of your Cervical and Thoracic Spine
- Parasympathetic Nervous System — Rest, Freeze & Dissociate. Nerves leave your CNS from the base of your skull (Vagus nerve) and Sacrum, and
- Enteric Nervous System (ENS) is in the lining of your digestive tract. It interacts with your SNS and PSNS, and can also do many things independently
Your Autonomic Nervous System and how you feel
The SNS and PSNS function on a spectrum. We feel “balanced” and at the same time “grounded”, and “spacious”, and “at ease” in our bodies when these two phases are coherent, or in sync. There is a dynamic state of flux between Action and Rest. As needed, we shift into Fight/Flight or Freeze/Dissociate AND ALSO return to a dynamic balanced phase – without getting stuck in one extreme or the other.
Something simple you can do for your Autonomic Nervous System
In this 15 minute video, I talk through a series of hand placements that help to resynchronise, or “reset” your ANS.
The Full Sequence relates first your Reticular Activating System (RAS) to your Limbic System. Your Limbic system is to do with memory, learning and emotion, and RAS gear shifting smoothly between sleep, awake, alert and vigilant states. (RAS preamble 0:34/practice 1:54 | Limbic System 6:14)
The Basic Sequence follows, relating right and left sides of your brain, including limbic areas, and in turn ANS centres through your body. (preamble 11:06/practice 11:45)
If your nervous system is in a coherent state, it tends to express and discharge its activity in sequence — right brain to left brain, then in turn to heart, solar plexus, belly and pelvis. This nervous system reset helps you to resynchronise that pattern.
How this can help you to feel better
If you have the sense of being “up”, “in your head”, “uptight”, or “stressed out”, then this can help you to feel “calm”, “spacious” and “grounded”.
If you have the sense of being “flat”, “down”, “low energy” or just can’t get going, then this can help you to feel “energised”, “alert” and “clear”.
- Get to know the Basic Sequence. Include with the RAS and Limbic steps as an optional extra.
- Once you are familiar with the sequence, either Basic or Full, you can choose pairs of hand placements “one the go” as you wish.
- You can stand, sit or lie down to do this. It is rather relaxing done lying down.
- Place your hands softly, no need to push. The simple presence of your hands helps bring your nervous system’s awareness to itself and it responds to the attention.
- Leave your hands in place until you feel a “shift” – a softening in your breath or body, a sigh, an energising, or a sense of spaciousness.
- You can step through this briefly, moving from one hand placement to the next at the first “shift” you sense, or stay with it for longer, turning it into a longer more luxurious meditation.