“I spent more time than normal in a state of dysregulation last week – and holy hell, do I feel it.”

Episode 298

How Chronic Dysregulation Is Affecting Your Life

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Hello, Gorgeous Soul.

So, if you listened to last week’s episode you know that I was in the hospital with my daughter last week. And I think it’s safe to say that my nervous system was working overtime and I was having to manage it more mindfully than usual. Reminding myself that, while talking to a doctor, it was ok to be frustrated but that it wasn’t an emergency. I found myself going back and forth, like in a 5 minute conversation of being present and having to remind myself to be present. Being regulated and having to remind myself to come back to calm AF energy. Which is totally normal. I tell my clients all the time that becoming calm AF is, at first, a lot like trying to keep puppies in a box. They keep jumping out, you keep putting them back in.

My nervous system today is used to spending more time in the box, regulated, than dysregulated. Not because I’m special or wired differently or lucky or whatever. Because I’ve spent years training it to stay regulated. I’ve spent years practicing the skill of moving into that calm af energy, spending as much time doing things, thinking thoughts, so that now, it is used to it. The puppies are used to staying in the box.

But it’s still a nervous system that does what a nervous system is supposed to do and when things feel particularly off or uncertain, it will do it’s job. So I spent more time dysregulated than normal last week and holy hell, do I feel it.

It’s like if you spent years not taking care of your body and you don’t realize how bad your body feels until you start taking care of it? I remember when I started drinking more water, I was like “Omg I was just walking around feeling like garbage thinking it was normal!”

This was kind of what is happening this week. My nervous system spends more time regulated, but last week it didn’t and this week, my body is like, “This is how you used to feel all the time. And you thought it was normal. It wasn’t normal, YOu were USED to it.” My body actually feels SORE, like my legs feel like I am recovering from running a marathon. My arms hurt. My body feels like it’s tight and I have to keep reminding myself to breathe, to move that trapped, residual dysregulated energy out of my body.

And it got me thinking about how many people are simply walking around the world in a chronic state of dysregulation. I feel pretty comfortable guessing that the majority of people are. YOU probably are. Because unless you are actively, purposefully, consistently practicing being Calm AF, in the same way you might practice learning any new skill, like learning an instrument or a new language, then you are most likely chronically dysregulated.

Not because there’s anything wrong with you. It’s because this is how nervous systems are actually designed, to be scanning the world for danger, looking for what coud go wrong, is going wrong. It’s just the things that our nervous systems perceive as “going wrong”, aren’t actually real.

Also the world around you is absolutely triggering your sympathetic nervous system all day every day. Social media, the news, tv, movies, podcasts, books, magazines…you are bombarded all day with the narrative that you aren’t doing what you’re supposed to be doing, your body, your house, your face, your bank account, your kids, your relationship is wrong because THIS is what it should look like. Your house should always look like it’s ready for a magazine shoot, your body shouldn’t have any extra fat or cellulite or wrinkles or imperfections, your kids should always be happy and well behaved and brilliant, you should be in a happy relationship by now, your work should be your passion, you should have a perfect credit score, make 6 figures, workout every day, be happy all the time and if you’re NOT, you better hypervigilantly try to fix it. Or just shut down it’s hopeless. And let’s not even start with the actual shitshow of the world, the atrocities happening everywhere are being SHOVED in our faces 24/7. We can’t escape.

Which is why if you aren’t purposefully, actively, consistently prioritizing retraining your nervous system every day at least a little bit, you are probably chronically dysreguated, you’re just used to how it feels.

ANd i promise promise promise, especially after feeling how I’ve felt since we left the hospital, the best gift you could EVER give yourself is to retrain your nervous system, so it spends MORE time in Calm AF energy than in hyper or hypovigilant dysregulation.

Today I want to talk about the implications a chronically dysregulated nervous system is causing. I don’t share all this to scare you, I’m not trying to add to your fear even more. I’m sharing it because i think, because we’re so familiar with how it feels to be in this state, that we are really good at disconnecting from it. Like, oh, this constant stress is just in my head, it’s not actually a problem.

But constant stress, chronic dysregulation is absolutely affecting your body, every single organ of your body. Some of you might have heard about the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is a cranial nerve that runs from the brain ALL through your body. It wanders all over and it connects with every organ in your body. It is responsible for things like digestion, heart rate, automatic functions like breathing and swallowing. It is also the, like LEADER, the NERVE LEADER of the parasympathatic nervous system, aka the Calm AF nervous system. It’s supposed to tell your body when the danger has passed and it’s safe to slwo down. This constant stress, this chronic dysregulation, though, keeps it from knowing when to activate, to return to a regulated state. It gets used to being overruled by the sympathetic nervous system.

The good news, the BEST news is that you can retrain it. That’s what wer’e doing in Calm AF Life. That’s what I’m teaching my clients to do, retrain their nervous system so they can move out of the chronic dysregulation, so they can feel significantly better, so they can manage their thoughts, all the things.

So let me share a bunch of way a chronically dysregulated nervous system manifests so you can kind of do a check of how it’s impacting YOUR life.

5 Ways Your Dysregulation is Fucking with Affecting Your Life

1. Digestive issues. If you deal with pretty frequent painful or troubled digestive issues, like bloating, nausea, constipation, general tummy troubles, is an absolute red flag of chronic nervous system dysregulation. That vagus nerve is the major player in that gut-brain connection.

2. Inflammation. Again, that vagus nerve , the parasympathetic nervous system, when stimulated, when it knows it’s safe, when the danger or emergency is over releases natural anti-inflammatories. Guess what happens when it’s not activated? That inflammation gets angrier, stronger.

3. Poor sleep. I think this is common sense, right? If your nervous system doesn’t regulate, if you’re always in a state of heightened arousal, even low level…of course you’re not going to sleep. If you knew you were in real danger, would you be like, You know? I’m pretty pooped, I think I’ll take a nap. No. You either keep one eye open or you sleep very lightly. And tell me how lack of sleep is helpful for how you feel physically, emotionally, mentally? It’s not. EVERYTHING is harder when you’re tired.

4. Hormonal imbalance. Again common sense, the hormones that are released when the body is in a state of dysregulation, cortisol, adrenaline, are meant to be quickly shot into the body to activate the sympathetic nervous system and then, when the danger has passed, the parasympathetic nervous system is meant to stop them, release the feel good hormones. But with a chronically dysregulated system, there is no putting on the brakes. Hormone disruption and imbalance.

5. Weaker immune system. I want to geek out here, but I don’t want this episode to last forever, so here’s how you can think about it. If your body believes it’s in danger, in an emergency, is it going to prioritize getting over this virus or is it going to prioritize making sure your blood is flowing to your heart and your legs so you can fight the danger or run away? Listen, that is a VERY simplified explanation, like the most basic of basics, but it’s the one that when I think it, I’m like “Oh. Yeah. That makes sense.”

So that’s enough for today. Next week we’ll go into the mental implications, the emotional, social, psychological toll a chronically dysregulated nervous system is having on your body and your life.

– Kristen

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