You may have heard us mention the terms; Fight, Flight, Freeze before with talking about our nervous system and fascia. In the animal world we have seen it happen, depending on what kind of animal it is; they have a natural instinct to respond to a perceived danger/threat/fear like a larger animal trying to chase them down to eat them. The smaller animal may respond to that fear with fighting back, fleeing the scene as fast as possible, pretend to play dead, or stop moving in case it can’t see you if you aren’t moving or making noise. Then they shake it off and run off.
What we don’t always realize is as humans, we are animals as well and we very much so have these same nervous system responses to what we perceive as dangers/threats/fears to us, as a way to protect our body, even if that threat is real or not. This can happen when you get startled by a close call on the road where you almost got in a car accident, or maybe actually was in a car accident. Maybe you have noticed you feel inferior to someone, and you notice you feel anxious when they are around or when they speak to you, you feel your heart rate go up, a rush of warmth in your body and you can’t seem to find any words to respond back to them. Have you ever been in a situation where you felt overwhelmed with fear in your body where you couldn’t move a muscle?
Fight – the response to take action to eliminate the danger
Flight – the response to escape the danger
Freeze – the response to become immobile in fear of the danger
Those responses are some examples of how our autonomic nervous system takes over in times of fear/danger. It’s automatic, involuntary, so unfortunately it’s not so simple to say that we have a “choice” in our responses sometimes. Sometimes it does take over for us, to PROTECT us. It is trying to help us! But sometimes our body is exposed to this threat happening several times over and over again continuously (constant stress), or it sometimes doesn’t realize that it’s ok for it to stop that response to help us, even after that perceived threat is gone, our body may not be able to tell the difference and responds just as strongly, to things that may not be a threat anymore, and it can be a little tiring to our system since we are not only releasing stress hormones and depleting our electrolytes we use to help with stress every time there is a threat perceived. Our fascia system is also intertwined with our nervous system, and during the Freeze response.
In nature, animals “shake it off” after this response to sort of release this from our system and they move on…. As humans, we sometimes don’t always do this because of how our body chose to protect us at that time and our fascia can sort of lock down, going from gel like spiderweb that helps our tissue layers glide over each other – to almost like hardened/dried glue sometimes from this freeze response, but also sometimes from an injury from the trauma/event that happened as a way to also literally protect almost as to form a bandage/support….which is why we quite literally feel stuck in parts of our body!
But what is amazing about our bodies is there are simple ways we can help regulate our nervous system to bring it out of a response and you will eventually be able to learn what this feels like in your body and how to respond to it quicker. I will share a few tips with you today because if you are a human, especially a human that has lived through the past couple crazy years…..you need this, I need this. We literally all need it. I don’t care who you are.
• Breath – when we are feeling anxious and have any of these responses going, you likely aren’t thinking clearly. If you can only remember one thing – slow your breath, lengthen your exhale. That’s it. But you can also always do Hum and Swallow Breath that Amy discussed in the previous Wellness Wednesday.
• Rebounding – this can help with calming the nervous system and helps encourage more fluidity in our fascia. Self-Rebounding Pro tip: Actually, just a Courtney tip – I like to put on the Footloose station for this. 🙂
• Tapping – great tool to speak out your fears and replace with affirmation and calm the nervous system at the same time! Try Tapping/Emotional Freedom Technique
• Go for a walk.
• Yoga – yoga encompasses many of the things we need to help calm the nervous system; breath, movement, stretch, stillness. Visit our class schedule here.
• Bodywork – myofascial release and massage have all been proven to calm and heal the nervous system, we got you covered! <3
• Stay hydrated!
How will you help show your nervous system some love today?