Have you been doing the hard work of trying to pay attention to the state of your nervous system? Are you being intentional about addressing what you feel? Sometimes, your nervous system is sending you clear signals. But sometimes, it’s difficult to tell the difference between being calm and regulated or if you’ve entered a state of numb disassociation.
It turns out, there’s a fascinating dance between two states in our nervous system – the ventral vagal (regulated) and the dorsal vagal (shut down). And sometimes, it can be a bit tricky to tell the difference.
Imagine it like this: the ventral vagal state is like cruising on a smooth sea, where everything feels under control and regulated. On the other hand, the dorsal vagal state is a bit like going into shutdown mode, where emotions may feel numb, and you might not be experiencing much at all.
Here are 5 questions you can ask yourself to see where you’re at:
- Am I feeling interested in life?
- Am I interested in other people and engaged with those around me? Or am I going through the motions?
- Do I feel like I’m tuned into the sensations of my body?
- Am I noticing my emotions and able to tap into that. Or am I out of touch with my body and numbing out?
- Do I feel ready to participate and engage in the day?
- Do I feel ready to jump in and participate or do I want to withdraw and disassociate?
- Am I feeling social?
- Am I feeling connected to other people? Or do I want to be alone?
- Do I feel present to what is going on within you and around you?
- Have I noticed the sensory input around me like the temperature, the sounds, the smells? Or have you completely zoned out and gone on auto pilot?
Remember, mama, it’s all part of the incredible journey of emotions. The key is to recognize when you might be in a state of numbness and gently guide yourself back to the warmth of the regulated state.
So, the next time you’re sailing the seas of emotions, take a moment to check your emotional compass. Are you cruising on the waves of regulation, or is it time to navigate back from the still waters of shutdown?
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