Why it’s not enough to THINK it, you need to FEEL it, too.
If you’ve been following along with my blog series, you know that the last time we came together, it was to discuss what I call the “Next Level Devil” – this menace who shows up right when you’re at the cusp of a level-up to try to hold you back, to keep you from taking that next step forward.
In that piece, I shared with you about my most recent encounter with the Next Level Devil while on a luxury vacation with my husband and our friends and how I dealt with it – reaching my desired (and deserved) next level.
One of the things that resonated the most was the idea of the mental and physical connection. That it wasn’t enough for me to do mindset work; I needed to take physical steps to regulate my nervous system response via EFT Tapping, mediation, intentional breathing, movement, etc.
I heard back from so many people whose minds were completely blown because for so long, they’d been trying to attack their roadblocks through mindset work using tools I’d given them (amazing) but were struggling with that last piece. So, I knew we needed to discuss this further!
The reality is that we just aren’t taught about our nervous system and the way it is impacted by our environment and experiences. Often, when discussing trauma, the way the mind retains something is heavily referenced, while the physical response/reaction gets almost no consideration.
I’ve spoken openly about being sexually assaulted and the limiting beliefs I carried with me for years. But the truth is, my body was also stuck in a fight or flight response that was only made worse or heightened when my nervous system felt I was in an unsafe situation.
I had no idea why this was happening to me or what it was. And even when I had returned to a Regulation State, I found myself wondering when the “other shoe was going to drop.”
Years of constant ups and downs – doing the mindset work but failing to align my body, my nervous system, with this thinking, led to adrenal burnout and a diagnosis of Adrenal Disease.
I want to pause here, briefly, to provide a sort of “legend,” if you will, for some of the terms I’ve used above that you may be unfamiliar with!
Freeze, Fight or Flight, and Regulation States.
Freeze: Have you ever seen a possum “play dead?” This is a great analogy for the Freeze State. This feels like having no energy or desire to get out of bed. In a Freeze State, your breathing is likely already shallow, so exercises like slow breathing or meditation actually do more harm than good. In this state, when everything feels heavy and hard and exhausting, you MUST move your body, make your breathing more rapid, go for a walk, essentially move yourself back into Fight or Flight. The reason? Once you begin to move your body, you become primed to take on the problem and thus allow your nervous system to enter Fight or Flight – a necessary step on the road to Regulation.
Fight or Flight: In a Fight or Flight State, you may notice that your heartbeat is rapid, you’ll feel hot and flushed, and have a surge of energy – essentially, you’re either fighting or flighting for your safety. In this state, activities like deep, slow breathing, meditation, and EFT Tapping can help calm the body and slow it down. Being somewhere that feels calming and safe is also a benefit and will help you work your way back into Regulation. Over the last two years, many people have found themselves in a state of constant Fight or Flight, resulting in a shift to Freeze.
Regulated: Your “standard” or “baseline” – the state of Regulation looks different for most of us, but it is essentially your baseline positioning from which all other emotions are encountered/occur.
In a single day, it is entirely possible to move in and out of Fight or Flight 20, 30+ times, but landing in a Freeze requires work to first return to Fight or Flight before you can make it back to a regulated state. Being in a state of Regulation, however, is not the end goal – our nervous system fluctuates between different states, and it’s important to take note of the tools that help you work through a Freeze or Fight or Flight State to get to a point where you can be in a space of Regulation and not retain imprinted negative nervous system responses.
One thing I often see in the women I work with is a desire to be successful, do well in their business, and be financially comfortable. But it doesn’t feel safe for us, as women, to have money. This is a nervous system response.
Whether I had $1000.00, $10,000.00, or $100,000.00 in my account, I still felt anxious about money. And I began to really take note of my nervous system’s response when, during a conversation with my husband, my body physically responded to a situation that it deemed unsafe.
This had nothing to do with him.
This was something that had imprinted in my nervous system in a previous relationship, the idea that it was not safe to talk about money. And as a result, I couldn’t accept that my husband was celebrating me; instead, I went into Fight or Flight.
By doing the necessary work to align my physical nervous system response with the mindset work that I had done, I could tell both the mental and physical parts of me that this was not my old situation. That I was healed and was safe to talk about my success.
These imprints occur in childhood in the messaging we receive and how we see our parents/others reacting. Our nervous systems pick up on the response or “energy” of the people around us. As children, primarily from gestation through age seven, our nervous system is regulated exclusively by our environment.
Aligning the mental and physical isn’t something that has to take a long time. It takes energy, and it takes work, but without alignment, you can’t move forward.
One important note I want to leave you with (for now) is to listen to your body. Recognize its physical responses, stomach bubbles, throat tightness, heaviness in the chest, flushed feeling, and hand tingling. Our bodies imprint feelings and respond in kind in repetitive situations.
It’s not always negative, either. If you’ve ever found yourself in a moment where you could tangibly FEEL yourself in a memory, it is because your mind triggered those feelings, and your body is releasing that imprint for you.
The alignment between mindset work and nervous system work is crucial to success. To eliminate barriers and release limiting beliefs.
I want to help you explore this further. Connect with me to learn how we can do that together!
Believing in you,