Updated: Mar 25
Imagine a highly sophisticated sensing system that scans the body continuously. It can sense both you and your surroundings at the same time and alert you to any danger.
Our nervous system does exactly that. It is a sensory organ with receptors that receive and transmit signals autonomously, automatically, and frequently.
The Autonomic Nervous System
The autonomic nervous system works automatically, without our intervention.
It is responsible for all the daily functions of our body.
Scientifically, the nervous system is composed of a collection of structures and branches. The longest branch is the vagus nerve, also called the wondering nerve. It passes through the back and front of the body and reaches every region and organ, from the brain stem along the length and width of the entire body.
The nervous system is also responsible for:
Scanning the body at any moment for the absence of danger.
Its physiological purpose is to ensure our survival.
Regulating between mobilizing and relaxation.
Maintaining a healthy environment of homeostasis.
Transporting information up-down and bottom-up as a response to external impulses.
The nervous system, like a radar, scans and senses for danger or safety.
It reacts autonomously according to 3 main mechanisms.
We may begin to recognise and understand our responses by familiarising ourselves with these there main mechanisms
When the system detects danger or the absence of safety, it motivates and mobilises us for movement and action: fight or flight.
- Fight mode: Disgruntlement, aggressiveness, defensive, blame, aversion, attack mode.
Flight mode: Emotional overwhelm, panic, anxiety, avoidance, procrastination and running away.
If the danger is acute or a threat on our survival, it will shut us down and freeze our body.
Freeze: Numbness, fatigue and exhaustion, aloneness, an inability to concentrate and think, withdrawal, shame, disconnection, depression, disassociation, feeling stuck.
It can be said that as these main survival mechanisms exist in all mammals since the initial stages of our evolution, we may therefore identify these actions as animalistic.
Thanks to polyvagal theory, (Steven Porges) another more developed mechanism was studied.
The social engagement system is a two-way interaction system receptive and expressive. This system is open, connected, calm, creative, social, and curious.
Let's take a simple example from everyday life. Mom or dad comes back from work tired and exhausted, and the child comes and jumps up and presents her needs. At this moment, the nervous system operates autonomously from a fight-flight mode, freeze, social engagement, or in a combination of more than one mode.This is very much determined by our young childhood development and traumas.
It is important to note that we all move, all the time, between the different states. All of them are important and protect us and are part of the evolution and intelligence of life.
The important thing is resilience: the manner and speed in which we return to being in connection and in an open, relaxed way.
The polyvagal theory teaches us and contributes greatly to our understanding of how traumas are experienced in our body and mind, and how they directly affect the nervous system, and thus inform us in healing traumas.
Trauma and connection to the nervous system
Today we know that trauma is not the event but our internal reaction to the event.
Meaning; it is not what happens to us, but what happens inside us as a reaction to what happens outside, either consciously or often unconsciously.
For children, the main importance is the attachment process to their parents or / and caregivers. When the people responsible for the child's safety do not provide an experience of safety and autonomy, or an ambivalent experience, the wiring of the nervous system becomes hurt.
The child does not learn how to regulate. A chronic stress of not feeling safe develops. The way we relate to the world and our sense of belonging is damaged. Intimacy and connection become difficult.
A disruption is created in the part of the nervous system that judges whether there is danger or not.
In other words, when the body experiences throughout our initial years of development situations in which the experience of safety and attachment is undermined, the nervous system can no longer differentiate between the unsafe past, and the safe present. It cannot release the need to protect even if safety now exists.
The nervous system replaces the healthy need for connection and intimacy with the need for protection.
The question is not whether I experienced trauma! Trauma is a fact;
it is a part of life.
We all experience events and situations that shake us.
The question is;
Did we have a healthy example, did we feel safe, where we listened to?
Where we supported by a responsible adult?
Did we learn, from a young age, the skill to regulate the system, to be in touch with our emotions, to recognize them, to take responsibility for them and to process them?
The trauma that we hold as adults can be traced back to an incident in childhood when we didn’t feel safe talking to our parents or caregivers. It’s less about the incident and more about that fact that we didn’t feel safe talking to our parents or caregivers.- Dr. Gabor Mate
Resilience is measured by how quickly the nervous system can regulate itself, or in other words, how quickly we return to a state of engagement, relaxation, openness, and connection.
The understanding that this is an evolutionary system, means that it is constantly being upgraded and is emergent. In addition, it is not only personal, but a collective system built on millions of years, thousands of years of life’s intelligence, as Thomas Hubl teaches. He refers to it as the disc-on-key of life.
Trauma happens within a connection or in its absence, and thus healing also lies and happens in the connection.
In the healing processes of OneBody approach, we focus on healing the nervous system and rewiring it, developing skills to regulate the system, and returning to a state of connection, regenerating a sense of safety.
We learn through a direct experience of sensing and feeling the body versa thinking.
How to listen, connect and communicate with the nervous system.
How to synchronise our body dimensions (physical, emotional, cognitive, energetic & spiritual ) so we can create coherence and relate precisely to the authentic movement. In this way, we teach the system safety & trust through choice.
We learn how to be with and follow our inner movement. Distinguish between story and sensations.
How to dissolve movements and traumas that have frozen in the body and nervous system through conscious and attuned relation.
We identify and meet emotional chains that hold us in the past and through the process to release the origin of the pattern underneath them.
These tools and skills help us to regain a sense of safety, to build resilience and open us to new possibilities and choice. We learn to land back in our bodies, with a deep sense of belonging and purpose.
If you feel a resonance with these words, or perhaps, you have questions or want to know more about the approach and the tools, I'm here for you.
Why be alone when we can be together.
We are all OneBody