Cultivating a Calm Nervous System
by Carri Blees
For many years now one of my personal mantras has been, “calm nervous system”.
I began this practice when I was going through an extremely traumatic and stressful time in my life, and I needed all the help I could get to keep myself calm, self-soothed and self-regulated. Whenever I felt myself getting stressed or overwhelmed, I would take a deep breath and say this mantra to myself and it would remind me of my commitment of keeping a calm nervous system as my first priority.
I call it my personal mantra because like a mantra, it is a repetitive internal chant for me which creates an intentional focus that resets my body, mind and soul to a place of inner calm.
Back during that difficult period of my life I had committed fully to this intention as a daily focus, but over time the commitment has evolved into an integrated and practical daily rhythm of self care; one which now includes consistent daily practices.
Here is one of the daily practices I do to help calm my nervous system.
Guardianship of Sleep
When we experience overwhelming stress or trauma our brains hyper-arousal function is essentially left “on” resulting in a chronic state of high alert. This “on state” severely impacts our ability to calm our nervous system and it also disrupts the quality of our sleep. Understanding that sleep is when our body heals and when our sympathetic nervous system (which controls our fight/flight response) restores and repairs itself (during REM deep sleep states) is key to an ongoing practice of self care.
Having a calm nervous system is also an important shakti key in our commitment to feminine embodiment practices.
Become the sacred guardian of your sleep, and do what is necessary in order to ensure that you get enough sleep every night. Some of the ways that can help are:
- Going to bed and waking up on the same schedule every day.
- Making your bedroom a quiet and calm place.
- Before going to bed spending some time unwinding and away from all of the stimulus (especially electronics).
- Sleeping with noise cancelling earbuds or a weighted pillow over part of my head (I use a small buckwheat hull pillow for this. (Weighted pillows and blankets are known to have a calming effect on the nervous system by “earthing” or “grounding” the body).
- Setting a blessing over yourself for deep relaxation and restoration of body, heart and mind before you sleep.
- Making sure your bedroom is completely dark and that your bedding is soothing and comfortable!
Carri serves as a Project Assistant on the Awakening Women team. She is a passionate yogini devoted to feminine embodiment practices. Her greatest honor as well as her joy is to assist the AWI team with its online and in-person retreats and to provide sister support for the global yogini sisterhood. AwakeningWomen.com