This is part II of, “Intensity: Lost in Sensation” with considerations on how to change a pattern where a shut down response in the nervous system is used to modulate intensity.
One thing that is important to know about the nervous system, in it’s most basic form, is that there is a constant back and forth between excitement and settling.
This is in both play, and threat response; pleasure, and pain. Excitement happens by way of a physiological event. There is a charge in the system to make that happen. Settling, or down regulating, happens by way of a physiological event. There is a turning down of the charge to make that happen.
When a nervous system is stuck in a pattern related to trauma, there can be too much excitement, and not enough settling. Or just the opposite, too much settling, not enough excitement.
With that in mind, it is possible to notice when the excitement has superseded the system’s capacity to settle naturally. Body/mindfulness practices can help catch that. Body/mindfulness practices are also a doorway into changing the nervous system pattern by reconditioning the system to settle on it’s own on a more moment to moment basis.
One key here to helping the nervous system find it’s own innate capacity for healing is by implementing smaller amounts of input when doing nervous system work, with more time in-between practices.
Think less is more here. When the nervous system is struggling to achieve a normal flow of excitement and settling cycles, it’s capacity to regulate intensity of experience is limited. This is why I believe a shut down experience was employed in the previous blog post. Working with less in the beginning is a way to access the natural, biological healing powers in the nervous system within the limited capacity that is already present. To reawaken the system to settle on it’s own.