Nervous System 101

Nervous system renegotiation is likely a term you may have heard while in a yoga class, discussing challenges such as stress, fear, illness, etc.

Somatic Experiencing is the titration of energy that is held within the nervous system. When we experience trauma of any sort; medical, relational, climate, war, or violence, we react with our mammalian brain by activating the sympathetic nervous system. When we enter these flight, fight or fawn states, a great amount of energy is summoned. If the situation we are faced with does not allow us to act on this energy, we then implement a further survival method of freeze.  Freeze is our last response, in times of life-threatening situations. It is considered “Gods Grace” as in this state we do not feel pain and often do not recall memories or what happened. It protects us from overwhelm and terror (although we may experience terror).

Once the danger passes, we usually package the experience away in our psyche and lock it in our memory bank, preferring that it goes away and doesn’t bother us again. This demands a large amount of energy, and we can live for some time keeping this part of us compartmentalized and on a shelf.

Oftentimes, over time, we start to recognize there is an unintegrated part, a part of ourselves we are not connected to. We notice we say things that we shouldn’t, can’t recall what we said, don’t feel present, a longing or discontent we can’t quite put a finger on. The ice has water running over it but it remains ice.

The nervous system doesn’t flow in an optimal order. We become stuck and act out of reactivity, the past, and behaviours we thought were complete.

Over time we can bring the nervous system back into the flow, so this part of us can flex and bend with life, like a muscle. It can become an integrated part of ourselves again.


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