Podcast Episode 8 - Nervous System Regulation and Wealth Embodiment

We are going to be discussing nervous system regulation and embodying abundance. In order to have this conversation, I think that we need to talk about trauma a little bit, and what nervous system regulation and dysregulation is. What are the signs? What are the symptoms? What happens? Essentially what we're looking at is your nervous system. Specifically, we're looking at primarily the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for your fight or flight responses. It's the automatic things that are happening in your body to respond to your outside stimuli, and it will keep you safe. 

What happens when we have trauma is that our threshold for nervous system regulations or threshold for what will trigger us to go into a fight or flight or a freeze or a fawn response becomes much lower. It actually kind of deteriorates because your body is preemptively responding to something that it thinks is going to lead to trauma. Even though it's not actually the trauma itself, it's something that could potentially lead to trauma. I think that a great example of this is classical conditioning. 

According to the Russian psychologist, Ivan Pavlov, we learned about classical conditioning, and he did an experiment specifically with dogs. There was, I believe it was like a bell or a whistle or something, some sort of noise, before they were given food. What happened was the dogs would learn to salivate and they would learn to get those hunger signals, their body would respond and say, "Yes, I'm ready for food," just at the sound of the bell because they associate the bell with the food coming. This is classical conditioning. I think that's such a great thing to remind everyone of, because we talk about conditioning a lot. You associate this bell equals food. Your body learns that; that's unconscious learning. That's something that your conscious mind doesn't have to be present for. It's not cognitive learning. Your body learns this equals that; this equals that.  

I would say most of the population probably has some sort of trauma around money. I know that I do. I think I've been worried about money since I was 12. That's when my parents went through a bankruptcy and a foreclosure on our home, and we moved from Connecticut to Washington state. We completely restarted, and then they divorced shortly after that. Then we were living with a single mom of eight kids, and it was rough for the majority of my teenage years until I moved out. Then my husband and I were both in school, and then he got a job in the military. I was in school full time, and money has been tight my entire life. 

Going from that experience, 11 years of really worrying and consciously fearing money and consciously worrying if there's going to be enough and really paying attention to it, I jumped from inconsistent $3K months in my business to $40K+ consistently, never drop below that, in the span of three months. Things shifted really, really quickly. What happens when your body gets out of the environment where the trauma is, once the environment changes, those physiological responses are still there.  

Even though there isn't a negative response, there isn't something to genuinely fear, there is no physical threat to me, there is no financial threat really at this point, my body still feels like there is. Things like swiping my card at the grocery store would still make me anxious. What I realized was after I was out of that environment, my body was almost more hyper-aware, because you become conditioned to the entire cycle. When your body is aware of something, but it doesn't have the outlet, and if you are experiencing trauma, you worry about it, but then there's this resolution. 

Let's use an example of some big expense happens, and you don't know how you're going to pay for it, and something unexpected comes up and you have to take some money from here. 'I need to find some quarters from under the couch,' and there's this frantic energy, but it's put towards something. Because it's put towards something, there's a resolution. There's this relief. There's this feeling of I'm out of the trauma. I can relax now, after you've solved that problem. When you change environments and your body is still responding to, there could be something wrong, there's no release for that energy in your body. This is where nervous system dysregulation happens is because your body is generating this energy because its capacity for responsiveness is so much higher than the average person, and it's anticipating that something bad is going to happen. Therefore, it's putting energy into needing to be ready for this to happen. 

Because you're always ready for something that never comes, your body doesn't know what to do with that energy. It's going to start showing up in really strange places. For me, it started with my appetite. I completely lost my appetite, and it was anxiety related. I was so anxious that I was nauseous constantly. I couldn't eat. My sleeping started getting really weird. I stopped being able to tolerate coffee. I've been someone who, all through college, has had one to two cups of coffee a day. I've been drinking coffee regularly, and it's had no issue. Every once in a while, if I don't eat with it, it'll get a little jittery, but it's always been something that I tolerate just fine. Suddenly, I could not tolerate this. I was waking up super nauseous. I was anxious. 

One of the big things was I started getting really anxious, a lot of like social anxiety. I didn't want to go anywhere. I didn't want to leave my house. I've always loved traveling. I've always felt safe traveling, and then all of a sudden traveling, especially traveling alone, made me so nervous that all of that nausea comes up. If I'm traveling for a full day, it's almost impossible to eat anything on those days. So, I started losing weight. I had no energy. I was fatigued. I was having anxiety about everything, and I was exhausted constantly.  

I've been working with a shaman. I worked with a shaman for, as of today, our year long container is officially over, but we'll work together again on the future. I know it. I was working with her, and she had suggested a couple of things like TRE; that was a really amazing thing. Now that you know what nervous system regulation and dysregulation is, and how it works, I want to dive into some of the things that have really helped me work through this trauma and work through what's going on in my body and regulate my nervous system, so that I'm not having this amount of anxiety and having this heightened nervous system response to nothing. 

Let's start with the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is a really big nerve in your body and it helps to regulate most of the body's systems. The first thing I did was I educated myself. I've been researching the vagus nerve. I've been researching nervous system regulation. I've been researching trauma in the body. My favorite thing is I just like to Google things, and I like to find the peer reviewed articles. Did you know that if you can't get access to a research paper, if you email the person who actually did the research, they will send you the paper? I thought that was helpful when I was researching. I've just been learning about nervous system dysregulation and nervous system regulation. The vagus nerve is a really powerful place to treat this nerve from. 

One of the things that's really impactful for the vagus nerve specifically is temperature fluctuations and temperature changes, specifically cold temperature. I found this one method of essentially icing your vagus nerve. What you do is you get just some random things in the freezer, a bag of peas, or whatever it is, and you can wrap it in a hand towel if that helps, and you place it on your chest for 10, maybe 15 minutes. This is really, really powerful because ice has the anti-inflammatory properties. What it's going to do is it's going to constrict the blood vessels in the area. It's going to bring less blood flow, less nerve flow to the area of your chest, which is a really close access to that vagus nerve. It's essentially like you're icing your core nerves. It has a really amazing effect.  

When I started, I could barely make it five minutes. I was able to work up to 15 minutes. Occasionally, I would just grab it and put it on my chest, and then wait until I felt better. I would just lay on the couch and read, or just breathe. I did a lot of breathing exercises with it. I might close my eyes for a little bit, whatever I needed to do to just kind of calm my body down. I did it for a couple of weeks regularly. That was helpful for me to do it regularly. I think it was three weeks of doing it every day, I just started doing it when I felt like it. That's usually how I like to do things. I will get into a habit, I'll do something consistently to really just get into the habit, and then once I'm ready to switch over to my process, it's a little bit less rigid. 

I stopped drinking coffee. That was a really big one. I switched to mint tea because green tea still has a little bit of caffeine. Mint tea has very little of that awakening effect. Specifically, the Jade citrus mint tea from Starbucks was my favorite. I found some organic mint teas, but they just weren't the same, so that Jade citrus mint was my absolute favorite, and then the store near us stopped carrying it, so I switched over and tried a couple of different ones. Once I was able to tolerate a little bit more caffeine, I did start bringing in an Earl gray tea. Right now, that's pretty much my morning routine is an Earl grey tea or a black tea or something like that, just because it's not quite as stimulating as coffee, but it still has a little bit of caffeine. That was a great way to work with it.  

Cold showers can be really helpful as well. I think I mentioned TRE earlier, and EFT were also really helpful. I've done a ton of tapping. I've done so much yoga. When I do yoga, it's a little less yoga and it's a little bit more just intuitive stretching. What I realized was I was carrying so much, I had so much tightness in my hips and in my back, and so I've been in happy baby pose for probably hours and hours and hours over the past couple of months, just because it's so good at opening up the hips. I would really just lay on the ground, roll around, stretch what felt painful, and occasionally I would need to massage out some knots, and a lot of times that led to crying. There's just pain in my body or a little bit of discomfort, and so I'd stretch it. I would breathe into it, and just rubbing it out. Right now, my hips are really flexible again. I've always had a little bit of hypermobility, but I've opened up so much in that area. In astrology, the hips are related to Sagittarius energy, I'm a Sagittarius sun, but they're also related to the root center and the sacral.  

I was working through a lot of conditioning around the sacral center and the root center. I think that I mentioned in the last podcast episode, I pretty much did a whole episode on the deconditioning that I've done with the sacral center, but let's talk about the root center. Root center conditioning deals with stress. It deals with adrenaline, and it deals a lot with timing. Pushing yourself to evolve, pushing yourself to grow, pushing yourself to move faster. I have a defined root in my chart. I have a specific way of generating this energy, but specifically this channel, it's a projected channel, and it's the 18-58 channel. It connects to the splenic center, which deals with your sense of your physical intuition, your physical safety; it deals with fear a lot as well. The 18-58 channel, it wants to correct things, but it also has this eye for perfection, and it wants to get the most out of things. 

Because of this, I constantly have this pressure to get the most out of a situation. When I was exhausted and working through burnout, and not working nearly as much as I could, and my income dropped a little bit in the beginning of 2021, and I felt like I was wasting an opportunity, I wasn't showing up enough, and so I had to really let myself see that I am getting the most out of the situation. I am making the most out of this opportunity to be able to work from home, be able to run my team from home, be able to serve lots and lots of people from the comfort of my own home, and I had to recognize that me showing up for me and me taking care of me was the most productive thing for me to do. It was me getting the most out of the situation because if I let that play in my head that I'm not getting the most out of the situation, I would just feel guilty, and that guilt and those emotions build energy in your body. The whole point was my body had so much energy that it didn't have an outlet for. 

There have been a few outlets that have been amazing for me. Stretching was a big outlet, and so was biking. We got a Peloton and that was really amazing to have an at-home bike to just bike. I could get on when I was feeling stressed, get on when I was feeling like I had a lot of energy. It is an outlet to push this energy into, and so that was a great way as well. I've also done some breath work and embodiment walks. I think embodiment walks are something that I get asked about a lot. When I walk my dogs, and currently we try and walk our dogs most days, I like to put on some vibey music and essentially pretend that I've just hit a big goal, or the version of me who just did whatever it is that I'm trying to do, or the version of me in this case, and what I did a lot, was the version of me who felt safe relaxing. The whole goal was I was embodying the frequency of peace. I was embodying the frequency and what it felt like physically in my body to not have to work. Anytime that guilt would come up, I was able to switch that guilt into a sense of pride in me saying that I know that there's a part of me that still prioritizes and values success over my physical health, but success no longer equals safety. Right now, what my body really needs to feel healthy and vital in order to continue to create sustainable success is actually resting, relaxing, and healing my body.  

Something that I learned that made me very frustrated was that trauma doesn't make sense. I have a lot of logical circuitry. I have a south node in Aries. I have a Saturn in Aries. I have a lot of fiery energy in my chart. I'm very stubborn. I wanted to understand my trauma, and I wanted to think it through, and I wanted to logically process it, and no matter how much journaling, no matter how much logical processing, no matter how much I talked myself into knowing I was safe, you can't think yourself out of a physiological response. You can't think yourself out of your body's reaction to something. 

When I learned that trauma doesn't make sense, I was really frustrated. That made me really mad because I wanted it to make sense. I wanted to have some sort of control over it because just rolling around on my yoga mat and crying because my hips hurt didn't seem productive to me. It didn't seem like I was learning anything. It didn't seem like there were any tangible results from the work that I was being called to do. I felt like I was wasting my time. That story again of not making the most out of the situation. I really had to let go of that, and I really had to surrender to the process, and I had to surrender to my body. I feel like I've worked so much with my unconscious and with my body this year, and that's exactly what I needed.  

It's been a journey. I think that I'm finally switching out of my two line hermit energy, and I'm finally seeing and understanding. I'm seeing the long-term effects. I'm seeing the benefits of the work that I have done up to this point. 

I want to talk about the deconditioning work and the actual behavioral work that I've done here. I’ve used a lot of exposure therapy. I had to work on all of the things that were triggering my responses. I had to walk myself through those, choosing a new state every step of the way. One of my favorite examples is buying groceries. Buying groceries made me frustrated. Buying groceries made me anxious, especially if I was getting things that I wanted or getting things that weren't planned for a specific recipe. I had a lot of guilt around purchasing too much and not being able to eat everything. With just me and my husband in the house, we don't need a lot of food. If you get a bag of broccoli or a whole thing of avocados, sometimes they go bad, even if I put them in the fridge, if I'm not eating it every single day. I go through phases; I'm not a consistent person. Sometimes food went bad, and there was this guilt, especially at the grocery store of wasting money, wasting food. I felt like I was being excessive. It was hitting my physiological upper limit when it came to spending money. Spending without a budget was really terrifying, because I was afraid that I was going to make bad decisions and all of the money was going to go away.  

Every single time I went to the grocery store, my body's response was: you buying groceries equals losing all of the money and being broke again. What was happening here was previously I've had my card declined at grocery stores. We were on food stamps growing up, especially in my teenage years, and I think we experienced some food scarcity, and so there was a lot of pressure put on we have to be smart with our resources. We have to be smart with our money. We have to be smart with food. We can't waste things. I had to be really conscious of it, and there was always a limit. There was always a budget. 

Because I didn't have a limit, because I didn't have a budget, it was triggering my nervous system because my nervous system says that buying groceries could potentially mean bad things, and that was a triggering response for me. Buying groceries does not mean that I'm going to lose all of my money and I'm going to go broke. Buying groceries means that I am feeding myself. Buying groceries is just a normal part of life. I had to walk myself through going to the grocery store, and I had to walk myself through it. I had affirmations for beforehand. Standing at checkout, I would remind myself that there’s more than enough. I'm not looking at the budget at all. I just had to talk myself through being safe, being fine, and there was nothing to freak out about there. I would spend money, swiping it and tell myself that there’s more where that came from. Just being in this energy of consciously choosing to be in this energy of gratitude and this energy of abundance, even though my body wanted to freak out. Because it doesn't need to freak out, and I had to train my body to stop responding and stop creating that nervous system response to things that do not actually lead to threats. 

I had to essentially ring the bell and say, "There's no food here." Ring the bell, there's no food here. It's like the opposite, but you know that in the example with Pavlov he was trying to trigger them to respond, to get hungry. I don't need to get anxious when there's the bell, essentially. If we're going to flip that, it'd be grocery shopping equals anxious, grocery shopping equals anxious. Grocery shopping does not have to equal anxious. It can equal safe. It can equal joy. Anxiety, that heightened response, can also be very easily transformed into excitement because they're both this energy of anticipation of the future. The difference is anxiety is anticipating a bad outcome, and excitement is anticipating a good outcome or a positive outcome or something that you enjoy. 

I had to physiologically respond in getting excited about the groceries that I was buying and getting excited about the food that I was going to eat and the meals that I was going to prepare. I had to get excited about it. I had to turn that anxiety into excitement, because excitement was an energy that I could redirect. If I was excited about a meal, if I was excited to make something, once I make it there's that *huh*. There's that moment where like, "Okay, this response is done". It's like completion almost; there's the thing that you were anticipating. Being in this energy of always anticipating something bad might happen, something bad might happen, something bad might happen, that's building energy in your body, and you don't have anywhere to direct it. Switching it to excitement gives you that breaking point. You're waiting for something, you're waiting for something, it happens, and that's the climax. That's your energy being able to release, and that's regulating. That's going to bring back down that nervous system response, bring you back to a space of baseline.  

I had to do that with a lot of things. I had to take PayPal and Stripe off my phone because when I was not getting notifications constantly, I would freak out. If a day went by and I didn't get any notifications, then I would freak out, so I took them off my phone. If I want to check my accounts or check sales, I have to intentionally choose to do that. Because I gave myself control, I wasn't waiting for a notification to pop up because it was popping up, and it was causing anxiety. No matter if it was popping up or not, it was just causing anxiety. I realized that the most abundant version of myself doesn't need to know about every single transaction, doesn't need to know about every single detail, because I don't want to be micromanaging it. I need to learn how to let go and need to learn how to trust it's just there, it's something that supports me. Since that is part of the work that I've been doing, I took the payment processors off my phone, and I'm very intentional about when I'm logging on to my website. When I'm logging onto my accounts, I'm in the right energy. I'm not checking out of scarcity. I'm not checking out of fear.  

The last point that I really want to make is I want to teach you how to switch from the energy of scarcity to abundance. With the frequency of abundance, something that I remind myself, and this is kind of how I made the energetic shift that allowed me to really quantum leap and jump from the $3K to the $40K months, you have to suspend your disbelief, and you have to be a little bit delusional essentially. How I would logically show myself that I was doing the right thing was I was reminding myself that everything is temporary. Everything is temporary. Everything is temporary. The good things are temporary. The bad things are temporary. The feelings are temporary. The situations are temporary. Every single day is a new day. Every single moment is a new moment, which means everything is temporary. If everything is temporary and my current situation is one that I don't want to be in, my current situation is one where I don't want to be like this forever, the story that played in my head a lot was “I can't live like this forever. What if I live like this forever,” and that was anxiety and fear. Fear and anxiety, those heightened nervous system responses, can easily be transmuted into and relabeled as the energy of excitement and anticipation. 

As I was trying to create a situation where I felt safer financially, because I was trying to make that switch and it wasn't happening, there was a lot of blame. Instead of telling myself that I must not be doing it right, I switched that to everything is temporary, which means this is temporary, and I know that I'm doing the work that I need to do right now. If you're reading this, you're doing the work. If you've made it to this point, you're doing the work, so you can reassure yourself of that as well. 

Everything is temporary. You are doing the work that is necessary, and you can move that energy into anticipation for a bigger and better future. It's up and up. You're going to improve. You're changing your energetic state. You can feel the energy of abundance in this moment. That was the only way that I could get myself to feel abundant was reminding myself that everything is temporary, and therefore I don't have to be worried or judgmental or angry that this is not the situation that I want to be in. I can move that into this energy of excitement and anticipation of creating something new. It's going to get better.  

That little energetic shift puts me in the energetic state where excitement is easier to play with. It's easier to put into things, and there's scientific and medical proof and research that says if you're joyful and if you're excited, the work that you do is more sustainable, and the work that you do is better quality. Instead of being judgmental and telling myself that I must be doing these things wrong, so there's no point in trying, I'm just a failure, I was able to remind myself that it is temporary. I'm doing what I need to do, and it's going to get better from here.  

From that energetic state, I was excited to show up, and very mani gen of me, because that's my defined sacral center, but undefined sacral centers as well, working in frustration isn't going to work for you. Just because that energy is inconsistent, doesn't mean that it's never there. You still want to be in the energy of success, of peace, of surprise, or satisfaction when you're doing work. That simple switch of this is temporary, I'm doing what I need to do, and it's going to get better gave me the energy to show up. It gave me the confidence to show up, and it switched my self-image. I started seeing myself in a more positive light.  

That was what got me to where I am, and then I have done a lot of nervous system regulation to feel safe in this new reality and to let my identity catch up to how quickly things shifted for me. It's been a really fun journey. 

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