Calm your limbic system
We all get triggered, but the more we can become aware of our thoughts and slow down our brain in the midst of it, the more you rewire the brain to have that new automatic response.
Here is a tool for you to have when you do get triggered by a stressful situation- the harmful hormones and chemicals that get released when you are in a stressful situation can stay in your body for hours to days to years hours after it happens depending on what you do with it, causing breakdown and imbalance in the body. You can however literally remove that energy and harmful chemicals from the body and calm the limbic system before it does harm. If we do not actively release this residue, it can remain in the body, leading to disease and disorders.
How to Recover from a Limbic System spike: fear, anger, stress
- We need to feel safe in order to remember we can choose to respond rather than react to an experience.
- Slowing down, breathe & become aware heightens our awareness centers into the experience of the moment to detect sensations of tension, constriction or pressure in and around us. Simply by noticing our inner environment, we begin to down-regulate our nervous system.
- Take several slow effortless breaths right now and perhaps you will notice an awareness that is unfolding as you begin to soften into the frame of present moment awareness.
- In slowing down, the nervous system realizes there is nothing urgent in the moment to flee from or fight against. This self-realization takes us out of the flight/fight/freeze pattern reducing resources being sent to the limbic system and re-routing them to the prefrontal cortex area of higher executive functioning like empathy, compassion, patience, and awareness.
- We then begin to allow life to happen through us rather than to us.
- Shak it off! Recalibrate into the Moment: Once we down-regulate our limbic system, we can recalibrate into the present moment experience by shaking off any residue from the spike of our limbic system.
- As we know, the limbic system responds to the seemingly life-threatening situation of self-inflicted urgency or resistance by releasing stress and flight/fight hormones of adrenaline (epinephrine), norepinephrine and cortisol into the body. These hormones are released due to the activation of our alarm centers which begins the process of stinting blood flow from our vital organs and midline and directing it to our extremities and large muscle groups to prepare us to flee or fight.
- If we do not actively release this residue, it can take anywhere from hours to days to years to fully release these unused hormones from our system. Just as you have seen wild animals in nature, or even your favorite pet after an altercation, shake it off, this simple practice helps to release any residue and re-set the nervous system. Jump, shake, dance…just move in some way.
Resilience is the capacity to withstand and adapt to the challenges life throws us. It is a skill anyone can learn, not only to survive, but to thrive. Resilient people fulfill their potential despite, even because of, adversity, and tend to see challenges as opportunities for growth and renewal.
Four steps for building your resilience
Practice Awareness: 3 As
- Awareness: What are you AWARE of in this moment? What do you feel within your body, what are you thinking, what is physically surrounding you?
- Acceptance: Can you unconditionally ACCEPT all that is showing up and moving through your field of attention and awareness? If not, what can you let go of in the moment to self-regulate? Can you REFRAME how you are seeing the situation? What good can come of it?
- Allowing: Are you ALLOWING for the experience to happen through you with Wide Open Wonder (WOW)? “Wow, isn’t this interesting? I wonder how this will turn out?” Ask “Holy Spirit, how do you see this? What should I do next? Focus on what you are grateful for.
- Using your PFC while you are not stressed strengthens it so you react better when a situation does come along
- Take time each day to pray, meditate, and introspect- focused, deep thinking about one thing grows the PFC.
- Multitasking- rapidly shifting from one thing to the next is the worst for your PRC
- Whatever you do throughout the day, focus on that one task alone before moving onto the next.