Do you ever get that knot in your stomach when you have a big decision to make? That gut feeling is your nervous system sounding the alarm that something is off. But often we ignore those signals and plow ahead anyway.
Learning to regulate your nervous system is key to tuning into your intuition and making decisions that feel right. Here’s why:
When your nervous system is balanced, your body and mind are calm, relaxed and centred. This allows your intuition to come through clearly, without being drowned out by anxiety, stress or fear. You’re able to tap into your inner wisdom.
However, when your nervous system is overloaded and frazzled, critical thinking shuts down. You’re more likely to make impulsive choices that don’t serve you.
By taking time to consciously calm your body through deep breathing, meditation, exercise, and other relaxation techniques, you can create the inner quiet you need to hear your own inner voice.
The next time you have a challenging decision, first focus on relaxing your nervous system through whatever method works for you. Then check in with how your body feels about each option. See if the answers arise intuitively when you create space to listen.
Learning to listen to your gut instead of just powering through anxiety is a skill that will help you make choices that optimise health, happiness and overall well-being. Try it out and see how much better decisions feel when they come from your inner wisdom instead of stress!
How can you regulate your nervous system:
- Practice deep breathing. Taking slow, deep breaths activates the parasympathetic nervous system which calms the body down. Try breathing in through your nose for a count of 4, holding for 2, and exhaling through your mouth for a count of 6. Repeat for a few minutes.
- Try progressive muscle relaxation. Tense and relax each muscle group in your body, starting from your toes to your head. This helps relieve tension and stress.
- Get regular exercise. Physical activity, especially cardio, helps burn off excess stress hormones and calm the nervous system. Aim for 30-60 minutes per day.
- Practice mindfulness meditation. Sitting quietly, bringing your attention to your breath, and gently returning your focus when your mind wanders trains your brain to get better at regulating your nervous system. Start with 5-10 mins a day.
- Spend time in nature. Being outdoors, especially surrounded by greenery, has a profoundly calming effect on the nervous system. Even looking at photos of nature can help.
- Listen to calming music. Soothing natural sounds like ocean waves, rainfall or calming instrumental music can relax both your mind and body.
- Unplug from technology. Take regular breaks from screens, devices, and social media to give your senses a rest from overstimulation.
- Get enough sleep. Adequate rest is essential for a balanced nervous system. Aim for 7-9 hours per night.
- Consider supplements. Herbs like ashwagandha, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids may help support nervous system health. Check with your doctor first.
The key is to find practices that help activate your parasympathetic “rest and digest” nervous system regularly to balance out the stresses of everyday life. Be patient and consistent with your chosen techniques.