We are currently living through new challenges and uncertainties, and the Covid-19 crisis that we are facing together is bringing increased levels of stress, notably, on our nervous system. Income sources are uncertain. We can’t be sure of our sources of food and necessities in the ways we may have been several weeks ago. The next opportunity we get to spend time with our friends and loved ones is one big question mark. All of these factors are not only reactivating cravings, but also fear, anxiety, depression, and trauma responses. As a result, there is a huge new strain on our nervous system, often leading to chronic stress or fight/flight/freeze mode.
We are here to provide tools that can help!
The Effects of a ‘Dysregulated Nervous System’
The foundation of the Kiloby Inquiries is to be ‘present’ and oriented in awareness. When our nervous system is stuck in a ‘chronic stress’ or ‘chronic freeze’ mode, we can’t rest in awareness or look from awareness. As a result, it becomes very challenging to practice deep self-inquiry. It makes it harder to clear the ‘velcro’ between words, pictures, and bodily sensations that keep us trapped in the suffering loop. It’s become increasingly difficult to just feel into our bodies and let the energies we find there move freely.
When it is more difficult to control emotional responses, other body systems also go on hold (such as our immune system- and our body’s ability to heal, digest, think rationally, connect and experience deep rejuvenating sleep to name a few). If we want to support our long-term health, it is vital to re-engage the ventral vagal branch of our parasympathetic nervous system.
What can I do?
Here are some simple exercises you can do to shift your nervous system state. (There are many ways to do this, these are just a few that are super simple and easy to do any time). You can do these standing or sitting upright.
- Practice full-body bouncing and shaking while exhaling with a sigh or a “zzzzz” sound. Continue 1 to 3 min.
- Try long slow exhalations (to do so, breathe deep, hold a moment, then exhale slowly like you are blowing through a straw). Do this 2 or 3 times, then breathe normally a couple of times. Repeat this set several more times.
- Twist/turn side to side from the waist while letting your arms swing out and back to tap the body gently. Repeat in a relaxed rhythm while noticing how it feels.
- Assume the welcoming posture (standing or sitting). Hold the arms wide open as if to welcome someone into a hug. Become still and keep breathing. Come into the stillness with awareness in the spaces around and between everything. Watch what arises and welcome everything as it is.
Do these in any order. Do them for any amount of time – approx. 30 sec. up to 3 minutes each. Experiment and listen to how your body wants to move. There may be a version that works better for you.
We are also offering FREE daily Facebook Live meditations hosted by the Kiloby Cooperative at 11 am PDT. To view these, follow us on Facebook.
by Kiloby Inquiries Facilitator Angela MacLeod
Edited by Jessica Pounds