Beyond Calm: The Deep Healing Essence of True Self-RegulationJan 25, 2024
In the realm of well-being and healing, the term "self-regulation" often conjures images of calm and serenity. However, the depth of self-regulation extends far beyond the tranquil surface it might suggest. In this exploration, we delve into the profound layers of self-regulation, dismantling misconceptions and uncovering the true essence that lies beneath the still waters.
Defining Self-Regulation: Unveiling its Multifaceted Nature
At its core, self-regulation is not merely about achieving a state of calm. It is a dynamic, sometimes complex and multifaceted process that involves the unconscious and the conscious management of one's thoughts, sensations, emotions, and behaviors. True self-regulation goes beyond the surface-level appearance of serenity; it encompasses the art of navigating the ebbs and flows of internal experiences with awareness, intention, adaptability supported by flexibility within the autonomic nervous system.
The Misconception of 'Calm' in Self-Regulation:
Often, self-regulation is misinterpreted as maintaining a constant state of calmness, as if life's turbulence should leave us untouched. While a serene exterior may be a part of the self-regulation spectrum, it is not the sole indicator of a well-regulated internal world. True self-regulation acknowledges and engages with the full mind body connection and full spectrum of emotions, embracing them as valuable messengers rather than obstacles to be overcome.
'Body work and the nervous system became the screen through which I could understand how to transition from unconscious to conscious. I was conscious of being calm, but for years it was build upon a battle with a sensitive stress responses resulting in avoidance, people pleasing and increasing anxiety. How I came to realize I was living life in unconscious steered by survival mode, masked by a calm exterior was when I was training as a Craniosacral Therapist.'
'I will never forget lying on the practice table, with no understanding as to why I couldn’t speak as tears rolled uncontrollable from the corner of my eyes. There were 4 pairs of hands on me and I felt completely overwhelmed by all I felt and sensed and I couldn’t open my mouth. I felt I lost control of my voice and my body, when in truth now I understand it as my body beginning to reconnect with me.'
'Although in some ways it was re-traumatizing and handled very poorly. The realization that I had been living under the guise of survival mode up to that point was a profound awakening. I learned to speak, integrate and release through the power of feeling my body again.'
"Our body speaks through sensations, to encourage us to listen inwards, to help us heal and integrate what lies trapped beneath the surface"
The Depth of Self-Regulation: A body of wise inner knowing
- True self-regulation involves developing nervous system flexibility and somato emotional fluency—an intimate understanding of one's emotions and how they speak through sensations within our body-. It's about recognizing the nuances of joy, sadness, anger, fear, and everything in between. Rather than suppressing or dismissing the sensations associated with emotions and experiences we move in the direction of self-expression. Co-regulating with a trained practitioner who can help connect you with a nurturing inner dialogue between you and your body using the Nervous System Framework, Somato Emotional Release and Breath Facilitation can dramatically change our relationship with feeling our feelings and healing.
It teaches us we are ‘safe to feel whatever is arising’ and invites us to navigate and integrate what is unconscious into our conscious awareness finally integrating the experience and setting your energy and spirit free. Other tools may not fundamentally connect us to a wiser inner knowing, they may not change and rewire how we perceive or experience the world and our inner landscape at a deeper level. They may not provide a new way of relating, resulting in cycles of upheaval draining our energy, vitality and immunity.
Adaptability and Flexibility:
- Life is ever-changing, and genuine self-regulation requires adaptability. The Autonomic Nervous System operates predominately in unconscious ways. It receives information from the world around us and within us. It is the system that keeps us safe and focuses on survival. It provides split second perceptions of what's happening and is heavily involved in how we respond or react. Without effective integration of what lies beneath the surface of our responses we lose the ability to flow with the ever changing currents of life and states. For example ‘I am calm but still have all these processes going on in the background.’ The ability to adjust our responses based on the context and our internal landscape is a hallmark of deep self-regulation, stored suppressed feelings, thoughts and experiences can integrate and free the polarities of hyper and hypo arousal states and can tone down the sensitivity of our survival system including our amygdala out brains threat center.
A Ventral Vagal State and a true state of embodied calmness becomes available. This aligns with an embodied felt sense of safety, which is a by produced of self-trust and the ability to live life from this para sympathetic dominance, courtesy of your vagus nerve.
- The journey of self-regulation entails the willingness to attend to discomfort while feeling grounded and connected to what is arising in the body. Maintaining a tender embrace, allowing challenging emotions to feel held, acknowledging them, and learning from their wisdom. In these moments, true self-regulation manifests as a compassionate companion, guiding us through the ripples dissipating the internal storms with intelligent resilience. A Ventral Vagal State, is the part of our nervous system that is activated when we use the word ‘regulated’.
- Presence including the feeling we have choices available to us in any moment, is the heartbeat of self-regulation. It involves being fully engaged in the present moment, irrespective of its emotional tone. Whether in joy, sorrow, or uncertainty, fear or the onset of panic, a regulated self remains anchored in the now and tethered to the Ventral State, creating space for conscious responses rather than over powering reactive patterns. When ventral is available so to is safety, connection, openness and emotional flexibility.
The Healing Essence of True Self-Regulation:
In embracing the depth of self-regulation, we discover a wellspring of healing potential. It's a journey into the richness of our internal landscape, where every emotion, every experience, becomes a thread in the tapestry of our growth. True self-regulation is an act of self-love—an acknowledgment of our humanity and a commitment to our evolving well-being. Your nervous system cannot tell time, it needs regular updates - it reflects what is happening in a moment while also reflecting our entire life experience- from conception, to birth, to now.
Let us redefine self-regulation not as the pursuit of perpetual calmness but as a profound dance with the symphony of our inner world. In its true essence, self-regulation invites us to return to balance and become artisans of our physical, emotional, energetic and spiritual experiences, embracing the full spectrum of our humanness with grace, compassion, and deep healing wisdom connected to ‘Tones of Inner Ease and Empathy.’
Post Image, Creator: wingmar | Credit: Getty Images
In the realm of healing, there lies a challenge—a journey into the depths of the unseen. The nervous system, a complex web of intricacies, often harbors uncharted territories that when managed in informed ways help release what is unprocessed yet remembered by the body. It takes immense courage to turn our gaze inward. Attend to the shadows and ease the fear of feeling.
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