Fix your nervous system
First, identify the problem
In order to heal our nervous system, we need to first, identify that it is dysregulated.
If we have difficult relationships with partners, colleagues, friends and family, and find that our interactions are often tense and dissatisfying or shut-down and distant, it could be that our nervous system is dysregulated.
By working with a functional medicine and/or qualified trauma therapist, and looking in depth at our lifestyle factors, psycho-spiritual factors, and biochemical factors, we should be able to ascertain whether our nervous system is dysregulated.
In a second instance, we need to identify what may be contributing to its dysregulation.
It is usually a rather complex exercise to get to the root cause of what may be dysregulating our nervous system.
For instance, childhood trauma can leave the person who has been traumatised in a state of chronic neuroendocrine vulnerability, with chronically high cortisol levels, which in turn, over the years, could cause gut dysbiosis and leaky gut, inflammation, etc. They may also be more susceptible to the inflammatory effects of toxins such as mould, and infections such as Lyme. So the root cause may be trauma, but then the physiological footprint of this trauma continues to affect the nervous system in a detrimental way, creating a vicious circle.
Once we have identified the factors that may be contributing to a dysregulated nervous system, we can work on fixing them.
How to rebalance the nervous system
Firstly, whatever is causing the current stress, needs to stop. So if it’s an abusive relationship, difficult life circumstances, toxic mould, etc, it needs to be ended, or at least contained, as much as possible.
A dysregulated nervous system, however, usually means that we are reacting on the basis of past stressors rather than current ones. If, for instance, you are in a very stressful situation, with financial worries or difficult life circumstances, and are feeling extremely stressed and anxious, then your nervous system is responding appropriately to your external circumstances. Go to manage your stress in order to find out how to deal with your current stress.
In order to diagnose and rebalance a dysregulated nervous system, we need to work with a functional medicine practitioner and/or trauma therapist (and often both) in order to heal our dysregulated nervous system, its root causes, and its downstream effects.
One thing to note is that when the nervous system is dysregulated, it affects both the mind and the body, the psycho-spiritual and the biochemical, which is why mind-body therapies are the best practices for healing.
Furthermore, if the dysregulated nervous system is caused by trauma, working through the body and its physiology, rather than on a cognitive level, can help avoid re-traumatising through reliving the trauma by talking about it for instance. This can sometimes happen with more cognitive therapies, and can explain why some cognitive therapies can go on for years without much real progress.
Below are different modalities that can help with healing and rebalancing the nervous system:
- Somatic Experiencing
- DNRS limbic system retraining
- Sensorimotor psychotherapy
- Qi gong
Manage your thoughts and feelings
There are many ways that we can better manage our thoughts and feelings.
- A regular (daily) meditation practice
- Manage our thought patterns and beliefs
- Practicing relaxation techniques
Rebalance your biochemistry
On the biochemical side, if toxins and infections are contributing to dysregulating the nervous system, a good detoxification programme and nutritional programme for detoxification and anti-inflammation can be helpful to address systemic inflammation and hormonal balance.
Any dysregulation of the nervous system will be accompanied by a dysregulated neuroendocrine system, and should be addressed by rebalancing hormones and neurotransmitters.
Long term nervous system dysregulation will also impact your nutritional status and gut, and any imbalances will need to be corrected to enable full healing.
Change your lifestyle habits
Healthy lifestyle habits and behaviours will be helpful in terms of regulating the nervous system.
- Sleep better
- Exercise right
- Breathe better
- Connect with nature and natural light
- Detoxify from addictive substances and behaviours
Healing a dysregulated nervous system can take time, effort and patience, but the rewards of being able to live a healthier, happier, more productive and more harmonious life are priceless.