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You Care For Your Car, So What Is Your Nervous System Maintenance Plan?

Written by: Abigail Stason, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Abigail Stason

What happens if you don’t put gas and oil in your car? It breaks down. It won’t function. You know this; therefore, you take your vehicle to the shop so the mechanic can check it. Your car will operate well for years with regular maintenance. The human body is a vessel, too. Just like your car, when you don’t care for your nervous system, it, too, will break down. It won’t function.

3d rendered image of a human

There is much discussion about trauma and triggers – these experiences are the daily miles of “bumps, gravel, potholes, fender benders, and accidents” that erode your strength as a human being and leader. Furthermore, if you are a human being of a marginalized or underrepresented group, discrimination is constant, which undermines your well-being. Being excluded is terrible for your health.


Navigating the human condition in this modern world requires skill and agility. This is easily said, yet not so quickly done. What’s lacking is a nervous system maintenance plan. Unlike being able to take your car to a mechanic, you are the mechanic for your body. With a robust nervous system, you will be a strong leader, spouse, colleague, friend, parent, and human being.


Below are skills for being a human being and leader with high vitality. Here is your nervous system maintenance plan:


1. Cultivate a disciplined breathing practice


Breathing is ALWAYS number one on all lists for humans to thrive. Oxygen is to your body what gas is to your car. When you aren’t getting enough oxygen, your body will not be able to perform, and you will not be satisfied with how you are showing up. Unlike your car, however, instead of shutting down immediately, your body is like the “slow boiling frog,” before you know it, it’s too late. Your first line of offense is to breathe. Check it out right now: Are you breathing into your belly or high up in your chest? Exhale, inhale, and keep reading.


2. Know when you are following your thoughts


My teacher, Gangaji, says, “The mind is at war, and the body is the battlefield.” Now that we know the mind/body connection, you can cultivate a strong mind that relies on direct experience for wisdom instead of thoughts. You can “hack your mental chatter” with disciplined practice.


3. Recognize when you are “triggered” into fear


Fear is pervasive in society. It is essential to understand and be knowledgeable about the physiology of fear. Fortunately for us, brand-new neuroscience points to the biology of our experience – and with knowledge comes the opportunity for more evolved behavior. A massive neurological and physiological – and very real – event occurs in the body when we’re in fear. Learning how to navigate fear is essential for a healthy nervous system. It includes:

  • Knowing when you are hijacked by fear.

  • Recognizing your fear pattern: flight/fight/freeze/faint.

  • Shifting from your sympathetic to the parasympathetic nervous system

  • Calming your nervous system


4. Feel your emotions


We know scientifically that our immune system doesn’t function properly when you repress your emotions. We also know emotional fluency is non-negotiable for resilience. Despite this scientific evidence, people still refuse to feel their feelings. Let your emotions SUPPORT your body to create a healthy nervous system despite societal pressures to repress feelings.


5. Make self-care non-negotiable


To be a strong human being and leader, you must prioritize self-care. Unfortunately, there isn’t much support or encouragement in the world for prioritizing self-care. We see the individual and collective results of “running ourselves ragged.” Diseases, mental health issues, and other ailments result from not taking good care of our bodies. How you treat your body matters: what you consume, how hard you push it, and whether you integrate/rest. It all matters. There is an acknowledgment that self-care can be challenging. Make it easy – get a spouse, friend, or colleague to step into conscious thriving together. Don’t go it alone.


6. Know your capacity and how you recharge


You won’t thrive unless you know your capacity and how you prefer to recharge. We all come out of the factory differently, yet we try to “keep up with the Joneses” on multiple levels. We all have some level of capacity for situations, interactions, and experiences. It’s essential to recognize when you’ve hit your max so that you can integrate. (The topic of integration is covered in Chapter 21 of Evolution Revolution).

  • What’s your capacity for social interactions, workload, and mental awareness? How do you know when you’ve hit your limit?

  • How do you recharge? Do you recharge by being around people, events, and experiences, or alone, with self-reflection and quiet time?


7. Consider preventative physical therapy


I wish someone had recommended that I enroll in proactive physical therapy. Unfortunately, I was the “boiling frog” when, years ago, I experienced an excruciating sciatica problem. As part of my recovery, I was sent to physical therapy. The physical therapist showed me how to support my back, my skeletal structure and how to support my body to be stronger. I enroll in preventative physical therapy every other year, which takes care of any pain I encounter. I am over 50 years old and wish someone had told this to me in my 30s. Implement a regular physical therapy routine recommended by a professional.


8. Dive into and educate yourself about advances in science


Today, thanks to advances in science, we know precisely how our brains and biology affect our ability to thrive. And yet, most people get into a mental debate or drama about vitality instead of educating themselves and checking it against their direct experience. As we know, two plus two equals four; we understand what supports or doesn’t support our nervous system. Humans are a mixture of biochemical events. That is why all of the skills I teach are grounded in neuroscience.


9. Carve out time, space, and discipline to pay attention


You may say, “Wow, Abby, that’s a lot to pay attention to”. It’s my experience that maintaining a healthy nervous system requires discipline. At first, it can seem like quite a bit; however, by engaging the plan and making it your daily routine, maintaining your body gets easier. Remember, your car will break down if you don’t care for it. It’s precisely the same with your body. You WILL be required to redirect some of your time and energy each day to this cause – the cause of being a healthy YOU. What’s more important than that?


10. Master the practice of presence


Your mastery of the practice of presence will support you. When you are present, you exist in a paradigm of truth and reality. You are honest about everything necessary to cultivate a robust nervous system. What is required of us is great courage to overcome the pressures from society to push our bodies beyond their limits. How can you examine your nervous system baseline if you aren’t present with yourself?


11. Cultivate a support system


To implement the plan, it’s essential to ask for support. Here are some of the members of my support system:

  • Doctor / Dentist

  • Physical therapist

  • My spiritual teacher, including retreats.

  • My personal board of advisors

  • Various coaches at various intervals

  • Bodyworker

  • Tai Chi instructor


Some of the above are constant. Others come in and out of my nervous system maintenance plan, depending on what support I need. There is no right/wrong formula for a support group. Professionals, friends, family, and colleagues can join your maintenance plan. Again, don’t be alone on your journey. Who are members of your support system? Seek professional support!



Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, and visit my website for more information!

Abigail Stason Brainz Magazine
 

Abigail Stason, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

More Master Teacher than coach, Abigail “Abby” Stason is a social activist and skill builder with 20+ years of professional experience as a leader, organizational consultant, and group facilitator. As a disrupter, Abby is committed to a new social awareness in favor of exposing outdated structures that are no longer of service, giving way to the experience of peace, freedom, and truth in the world. She is a catalyst for societal evolution. In short, she helps human beings, leaders, teams, and organizations wake up by equipping them with behavioral skills for a modern world. Abby created a conscious leadership curriculum, a series of practices that are easily accessible to everyone.


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