- EMDR or EFT Tapping- Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing. This is a style of therapy that works with bilateral stimulation. Essentially, you recall memories and experiences, while using bilateral stimulation to desensitize the memory in the nervous system and the brain. EMDR does not erase the memory, it makes the memory manageable for the client. This is a good option if you have trauma or PTSD. Any kind of bilateral stimulation is helpful! If you are into music, checkout binaural beats. These are songs or meditations that stimulate sound between each ear. It is best to use headphones when you listen because the sound will need to cycle from ear to ear.
EFT tapping is called the emotional freedom technique. This style of therapy calls in Chinese meridian techniques, tapping, and acceptance. I love this option because you continue the tapping until you aren’t feeling the emotion anymore.
2. Breathwork- Breathwork of any kind is powerful for our nervous systems. Two of my favorite breath techniques are breath of fire and cooling breath.
If you are experiencing depression or anxiety, I would recommend doing breath of fire. This breath will retrain your brain to know quick breathing can be safe. If you have experienced a panic attack recently I would not recommend this exercise until your nervous system is a little more regulated. It may bring up similar emotions similar to a panic attack which is part of the reason it is so powerful. I linked a video. tutorial below.
If you are looking for a grounding breath, I recommend cooling breath. This style of breathing will instantly bring cool and calm energy. It is a perfect way to ground and move some head chatter out. This breath can be done by forming an O with your tongue or your mouth.
3. Cold Shower- This is probably one of the quickest ways to retrain your nervous system. A cold shower will instantly channel your nervous system which gives you a great opportunity to take control of it. I recommend starting out with 30 seconds a day and gently increasing until you are at 5 mins. Your main focus should be on deep belly breathing. If you notice your breath is shallow, gently deepen it with each inhale and exhale.
I am a huge fan of The Wim Hoff Method. This is a technique that combines breathwork and cold exposure therapy. He has a free app that consists of his meditations and extra resources.
4. Dancing and Singing– Dancing not only helps move stuck energy but also provides bilateral stimulation as well. I sing while I dance because it feels primal and organic for me. You don’t even have to sing a song, you can just let any noise out that wants to come through. Below is a guided dance journey to try!
5. Get outside- Being in nature is great for our mental health. My favorite way to connect is walking barefoot on the earth. This not only makes me feel grounded but it forces me to slow down. This could be a simple walk in the mornings, a hike, drinking your morning tea outside, walking your dog, doing yoga outside, touching a tree, meditation on the grass, anything that puts you into the rhythm of the earth.
6. Yoga- Yoga literally saved my life. It was during a savasana that I found my first moment of true awareness, it was almost like an out-of-the-body experience. I like to do hip-opening sequences as my hips carry the most emotions.
My favorite pose for my nervous system is the pigeon pose. This pose is very intense for me, I’ve even cried in this pose. If you can sit in a pose without reacting then you are retraining the nervous system. Try and relax into this pose. Notice when the mind is telling you to get out, and just breathe. Be present with whatever is coming up. It is now safe to be in this activated state. Let it be.
Bonus Tip: Cuddles! Cuddling can be an amazing way to regulate. I like to cuddle with my animals (two dogs and two cats). However, you can cuddle with anything (stuffed animal/pillow) or anyone (children/spouse.) I like to place one hand on my heart and one on my womb and take three deep breaths. This breath reminds me of my true nature and is comforting.
Please reach out if you have any questions or other ideas for nervous system regulation.