Regulated and Activated

As you go through your day, notice when you are regulated and when you feel activated. Think about those words for a minute. They make sense in your body, so don’t tune out because they are new or sound clinical; they are actually incredibly functional. You know when you feel regulated - you’re fairly calm and relaxed. You probably try to achieve this when you hold a crying baby who doesn’t belong to you (because let’s be honest, when it’s your child crying you may tend to instantly get stressed. We’ll walk through that later. 😉) You calm yourself so you can co-regulate the baby. There’s that word again! You calm your nervous system so the baby will feel and sense your calm. Ask God to show you throughout your day when you are regulated. If you are stuck in a stress response – which I was for decades – these instances may be few and far between. Be gentle on yourself…those threat responses have helped you survive, and God has brought you to this time and this place to bring more freedom and wholeness into your everyday life!

Identifying when your nervous system is activated is incredibly helpful in experiencing an embodied walk of faith. The truth and value of renewing your mind is vital (Romans 12:2). Jesus said you will know the truth, “and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32 NIV). He also said that HE is the Truth (see John 14:6 NIV). Knowing the truth, setting your mind on the truth, and living out the truth are instructions for every Christ follower. So how does that connect with when you feel activated? I’m glad you asked! In my own life, I often experienced frustration and a sense of failure that I couldn’t think my way out of feeling activated. I would feel stressed, tense, and on edge. This was often due to walking on eggshells and being hypervigilant. I wanted to be prepared for the next round of abusive words or behaviors because that seemed like it might buffer their impact. I needed to stay on balance to keep raising kids, cooking meals, running kids to events, keeping all the plates spinning. I didn’t realize how much energy that was taking and honestly, even I had identified this as the cause of my exhaustion, it would not have helped…because kids still needed to get to sports practice, meals still needed to be cooked, and errands still needed to be run. I can feel all that in my body as I write this. Thank God I recognize that now and have new resources and skills to embody my faith and freedom.

One resource you can easily try today when you feel activated is to breathe intentionally. Breathe in through your nose for four seconds and out through your mouth for six seconds. Do this a few times and see if your body settles a little. You can do this breathing throughout your day - while you’re driving, when you’re cooking, when you’re in a meeting – whenever you feel activated. Notice if this helps your body release and reset for even just a few minutes. It may not stay that way for as long as you’d like, but you can always breathe again! Resetting your nervous system is a way of life. Be kind to yourself, pace yourself, and celebrate any progress and growth you experience.

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