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A State of Overwhelm

Over the past couple of months, I have taken some time to learn more about polyvagal theory and nervous system regulation, which can help to address states of shut-down and burn-out, triggered by chronic stress or PTSD.
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And the more I learned, the more I could sense the deep feeling of overwhelm that seems to paralyse and frighten so many of us, sending us into anxiety and shut-down, or anger and burn-out, when it comes to the current developments on this planet. Some call it a “trauma-spell”, and it affects individuals as well as the collective.
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We feel overwhelmed when it comes to the current crash of our natural environment, we feel overwhelmed when we observe the current political shifts towards far-right extremism, and on top of it all, there’s the overwhelm that shows up when we face difficulties in our personal lives – in our relationships with others, and in our relationship with ourselves.
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And the more I learned about the physiological and energetic expressions of that overwhelm, the more I could also sense that working towards establishing a sense of self-trust, equilibrium and solution-orientedness can seem utterly impossible, when you’re in the thick of it.
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Which is why, in every one of my client Sessions, I consciously apply Yogic tools at the beginning of each Session (and sometimes throughout) to help my client get into a state of balance and ease, in order to help them tune into their intuitive guidance system.
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Because in that state of balance, where we have access to our #innerwisdomsystem – that’s where we can sense-see solutions to what is keeping us shut down, or burned out. That’s where clarity lives.

Some simple self-regulating tools

When you find yourself in such a state of overwhelm, there are two quite simple things you can try: Singing, and dancing. Both singing and dancing can help to regulate anxiety and shut-down (i.e. hypoarousal), as well as anger and burn-out (i.e. hyperarousal).*
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When you’re in a state of hypoarousal (i.e. when your autonomic nervous system feels frozen and shut down), your mind may be thinking thoughts like “I don’t know what to do, I don’t know where to start, it’s all too much”. Your body may feel paralysed and your head is probably quite foggy, eyelids heavy, focus: gone. Try dancing. It’s the simplest way to bring some warmth into your frozenness. If dancing seems to be too much of a stretch, start by wiggling your toes to a piece of music. HipHop or R&B are perfect for this. Get one part of your body to move to the music, then another. If you can, stand up and rhythmically shift your weight from one leg to the other, and back again. Left and right, left and right. Keep your knees slightly bent, and let your body become one with the rhythm. Keep moving, even if it’s difficult at first. Left, and right. Move for 10 minutes at a time, and see how you feel.
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When you’re in a hyperaroused state (i.e. when your autonomous nervous system is in fight-or-flight mode, racing towards burnout), you may be thinking thoughts like “There’s so much I need to do, I haven’t done enough, I can’t stop working, I have to do more”, and your body probably feels antsy and restless. Your eyes are wide open (too wide, actually), and your whole system feels stressed. Which is not the kind of mood that would usually have you burst into song. But that’s exactly what can help you get back into a state of equilibrium: When you start to sing, you start to regulate your autonomic nervous system – if the style you’re singing in elongates your outward breath. So, find a slow, gentle song that has you singing long phrases on long outward breaths. The mantra Ra Ma Da Sa by Snatam Kaur is perfect for this. Sing along for 10 minutes and see how you feel.
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*Obviously, these tips do not replace medical care nor therapy or healing modalities. Please contact your medical doctor, your mental healthcare specialist or your spiritual healer if your symptoms persist. 
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#innerwisdomsystem

Photo: hybrid via Unsplash

Lilly

Lilly Mackuth offers private, customised coaching Sessions (online, or in person) to help you to heal and improve your relationship life.

Learn more at LillyMackuth.com

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