Episode 14: Understanding your Nervous System to Feel Better

Discover the inner workings of our complex nervous system and how a better understanding of it can help you build confidence, resilience, and improve your emotional well-being. Listen in as we break down the fascinating science behind our brain’s response to stress and emotions, using simplified, actionable information that you can apply to your daily life. This knowledge is crucial for anyone looking to foster a deeper connection with themselves and others, especially when it comes to understanding our children’s behavior as they grow and navigate the world independently.

In this episode, we unravel the mysteries behind the window of tolerance and explore the concept of neuroception, our nervous system’s ability to gauge safety or danger in various situations. By grasping these essential concepts, you can gain invaluable insights into why we may have strong reactions to seemingly trivial events. We also dive into the world of the polyvagal theory, shedding light on the three primary emotional states (ventral vagal, sympathetic, and dorsal vagal) and how they affect our emotional regulation.

As we journey through the intricacies of fight or flight and shutdown modes, we’ll discuss how past traumas can make our nervous system hypersensitive and prone to depression. Find solace in knowing that these responses are normal, and learn how to recognize them in order to better manage and soothe your emotions. We’ll also introduce the concept of a “connection menu” as an antidote to emotional dysregulation – a personalized list of calming activities that help you stay grounded and connected. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to enhance your emotional resilience and embrace a more confident, joyful life.

What you will learn on this episode:

– The importance of understanding our nervous system and its role in emotional well-being and resilience.

– The concept of the window of tolerance and how it helps us understand our reactions to various situations.

– The idea of neuroception, which is our nervous system’s ability to determine whether a situation or person is safe or dangerous.

– The polyvagal theory and its three primary emotional states: ventral vagal, sympathetic, and dorsal vagal, and how they affect our emotional regulation.

– The role of connection in regulating our emotions and navigating the fight or flight response and shutdown modes.

– Strategies for grounding and calming our nervous system, such as deep breathing, mindfulness, and self-care.

– The importance of self-awareness, self-care, and creating a nurturing environment to foster emotional stability and resilience.


Let’s Connect!

I absolutely love to hear your thoughts and get your questions. 

You can email me at:  Leighagermann@gmail.com

I can’t wait to hear from you!


*This transcription below was provided for you or your convenience; please excuse any mistakes that the automated service made in translation.

Everyone has a nervous system, and knowing how yours works can be a game changer in building confidence and resilience. This is Leadership Parenting, episode number 14, understanding Your Nervous System. 


Did you know that resilience is the key to confidence and joy? As moms, it’s what we want for our kids, but it’s also what we need for ourselves. My name is Leigh Germann,  I’m a therapist and I’m a mom. Join me as we explore the skills you need to know to be confident and joyful. Then get ready to teach these skills to your kids. This is Leadership Parenting, where you learn how to lead your family by showing them the way. Hi, friends, and welcome to Leadership Parenting. 


As we talked last week in Understanding the Power of Connection, i mentioned that I wanted to spend some time explaining to you about the science around, why we feel, how we feel and how connection is a really big part of that. So today we’re going to be talking about how our nervous system works, and it’s not just a biology lesson that we’re going to attack today, though I will say it’s going to be kind of an educational episode, and I guess maybe all of our episodes have that educational piece to it because I really want you to have this information and this knowledge at your fingertips, so it’s familiar to you and you understand kind of the. You know what you need to be healthy and resilient, and today we’re definitely going to be using that educational piece in understanding this model. So I hope you bear with me as we kind of go to school today and hopefully I’m going to simplify something that is quite complex and I’ve worked really hard to get it simplified in a kind of actionable way for me to use in my own life and also for me to use with clients. So hopefully I’ll be able to translate that for you as well, so that you’ve kind of got the cliff notes to knowing about how you and your body and your nervous system works. And before I get into the details of it, let me explain why it’s even important for us to know this stuff. 


Every day we’re walking around as quite complex human beings complex and how our mind and our body and nervous system work and usually completely and totally clueless about it. And for the most part that’s probably not a bad thing, because what we really want to be able to do is go through our life with ease and not constantly be thinking about everything that’s happening underneath our awareness And I’ve spoken before about how a computer works and how awesome it is that we just kind of flip open our laptop and everything just lights up and kind of populates and we click a button and we get email, and we type a question in the search bar and we get data, and so I just think we love that. I really don’t want to see the code underneath everything and like, when you do see the code it’s a little overwhelming for me and I love the idea that we could just use this amazing technology and not have to think about it. Super user friendly, and I’m going to compare that to how your body works and how your brain works. And when it works well, you just get up and you do your thing and you feel good and you don’t have to understand why. 


The problem comes when we’re not getting the results that we want, when our body’s doing something that goes against how we want to feel. For instance, it helps me to understand how to work with my computer if it freezes to be able to do that little kind of shutdown thing so that you can get your computer to reboot and like, sometimes code comes up on the screen And I don’t know if you’ve ever had that happen and you know you kind of get some blinking lights and some instructions as to what to do to reset your computer And like, if that doesn’t work, i’m taking my computer to an expert because that’s the extent of what I know how to do And I feel like sometimes that’s us right. I’m showing up in my day and I’m having these feelings and I’m maybe feeling in that fight or flight we talked about, where I feel out of control and I don’t feel good, i feel angry or something, and maybe it’s that I’m overwhelmingly sad and I’m going the opposite direction. Like I’m, i want to shut down, i’m curled up, i don’t want to get out of bed, something. When we start to have those problems with how our functioning is happening, it really is helpful to understand the code beneath our systems. Now, i’m not expecting it to be that expert that knows how to kind of rewrite every code, but what’s powerful, probably more powerful and what I’ve learned to do as a therapist is to just understand the workings of the brain and body, to understand that there’s code running beneath your surface. 


And when we have these experiences where you know we do get overwhelmed, there cues about something happening in our nervous system. These feelings of overwhelm mean we have exceeded our feeling of safety and our ability to cope in that given moment. And the way researchers describe this is with the term window of tolerance. Like you have this window and as long as the stresses and the threats and everything stays within your ability to cope with it, you stay in your window where it’s safe and clear and you can handle it. But if you get overwhelmed you can find that you’re outside your window of tolerance. We can either get hyper response that’s the fight or flight thing with lots of kind of energy, stressful energy, and we might have that push to fight or to yell or kind of explode right or or run away. Or you can get the hypo response, that’s the very low energy that means like not enough energy and that’s when our nervous system shuts down, it hides or feels like it needs to disconnect or dissociate or just go away. 


And you can probably see this happening with your children. They have a window of tolerance. Like they can only handle so much stress, only so much lack of sleep or even sometimes even so much sharing right, if you have a toddler, they can handle only so much sharing and then something tips them over the scale and they either get hyper aroused and have a tantrum and you’ll see like a lot of big feelings and yelling and hitting, or they’ll shut down and they’ll go into that kind of pull back. Maybe cry pout won’t make eye contact, that kind of hiding. These aren’t willful choices, they’re nervous system choices and your nervous system has an ability to help you survive by protecting you and whether it doesn’t always feel this way, but that’s your nervous system protecting moving you into hyper mobilization or hypo mobilization, which means not mobilizing, shutting down. 


Your nervous system has a big threat detector and scientists call this ability neuroception, to describe how your nervous system determines whether situations or people are safe, whether they’re dangerous and sometimes how dangerous, maybe even life-threatening. Neuroception explains why a baby smiles at a parent but cries at a stranger. And that’s hard for us sometimes, right, because we’re like, hey, that’s not a stranger, that’s grandma, you don’t need to be afraid of grandma. But a baby is not used to grandma yet and so her nervous system is going to possibly be wary or careful. It also explains why your toddler absolutely can fall apart when the banana you hand them breaks and they can’t handle not getting the whole banana. That’s not a willful choice they’re making, it’s their nervous system reading the cues of danger and I know a banana is hardly dangerous, but neither really is much of what gets us all upset. 


Our nervous system has only two settings, kind of this, very simplified of course. But Your nervous system does a quick check and it says I have two settings, good and not good. So the younger and less developed we are like a toddler, the more narrow our window of tolerance or our ability to have a wider range of good and not good. So the choices on the menu for a toddler are very small because they’re not completely developed yet and their window of tolerance is small. As humans mature their window gets larger, their upper brain gets bigger and their experience expands and they hopefully mature to being able to deal with a broken banana the way that we do, calmly and flexibly. But that toddler doesn’t have that skill yet. So the more they try to do independently as a toddler, which is their job as toddlers and, by the way it’s you know, teenagers mirror toddlers in that stage So teenagers and toddlers are both trying to do things very independently. The more they try to do independently, the more frustrated and upset they get when their neuroception gives them messages of not good. Okay, very simplified but helpful right. 


When dealing with a toddler melting down on the floor, it helps to know that they aren’t doing it on purpose. It’s their nervous system happening, it’s the code beneath their awareness, and they’re kind of as helpless to it as we are. And our job is to help them see it in a different way, in a safer way, by staying calm, by not yelling at them, even though our own nervous system might be getting a little hyper focused, hyper aroused. Knowing about our own nervous system getting triggered by something as silly as a broken banana Like I can’t make my baby happy right now and I can’t glue this banana back together again And if there was such thing as banana glue we would make a bazillion dollars, because I think when I use this example most parents nod their head and go, yeah, totally been there before. 


Our nervous systems get frustrated when we see our little ones having overwhelm and being hyper aroused and kind of shutting down. So knowing about this underworking of your nervous system can actually help you regulate yourself, use your higher brain to make sense of your own frustration and kind of re-tag it as not dangerous or, in the language we’re using today, tag it as good instead of not good. And you’ll hear me say this just expect tantrums. See them as innocent and as expected, as what’s supposed to happen on your watch as a parent, because kids have nervous systems that get easily overwhelmed. That’s what a tantrum is. In a way, it makes tantrums good air quote as opposed to not good, and you can tell your nervous system to kind of figuratively stand down when you learn to interpret this. 


So this neuroception is constantly on the lookout for signals of danger and safety And it tells your body how to act, depending on what it thinks is safe or unsafe, or good or not good. Okay, so we’ve laid out the nervous system as a protector and we know it’s automated, which means you don’t have to spend any energy in your upper brain to get it to work. It’s just automatically running beneath your consciousness. And we know it has a job to detect safety and danger by using its power called neuroception. And we have described what it feels like to have a calm nervous system, because your neuroception has told you that everything happening is okay, like. Even if it’s not quite okay, you have the skills and resources to handle it. That’s your window, what you can tolerate. And then when it senses something is too much, too dangerous or threatening, it responds by getting aroused, which means it wakes up, it responds, and it either responds in a hyper way, a lot of adrenaline flooding the sympathetic nervous system, or it shuts down and it overcompensates with chemicals that make you get quiet, drops your energy and may even cause you to kind of check out or withdraw. 


So the theory of the nervous system that describes what happens inside this window of tolerance is called polyvacal theory, and the theory centers around your vagus nerve. That’s vagus, v-a-g-u-s. Not like vagus in Las Vegas, and the word vagus has a Latin root, meaning wandering. Your vagus nerve starts in your brainstem and literally wanders down through your neck and chest and abdomen, branching off to various organs along the way. And one of the key roles of the vagus nerve is to communicate messages between your brain and different organs in your body. It carries signals in both directions, allowing your brain to control and regulate those bodily functions, while also sending important information right back up to your brain about what’s happening in your body. So it’s this really great feedback loop And it’s part of the parasympathetic nervous system. 


Now I know we’re throwing a lot of these kind of technical words around, but I want you to just remember we’ve talked about the sympathetic nervous system And hopefully you’ll remember from an earlier episode that we have these kind of two parts of our nervous systems where the sympathetic nervous system turns everything on when we face threat And the parasympathetic turns everything off in the fight or flight so that we can rest and get back to normal. They call it sometimes rest and digest, which means your body can get back to doing the normal functions that it does when you’re not in threat mode, and both of these help you stay safe. So the vagus nerve helps with the parasympathetic response. When it’s stimulated it can slow down your heart rate, decrease your blood pressure and help with digestion, and it also does a lot of other things like it helps regulate inflammation and your immune response, which is why when you’re really activated and your threat response is not turning off, we have trouble with inflammation and we have trouble with our immune system. So the vagus nerve really influences all those wellness pieces in our body that we need to get back to when we’re finished with threat. 


So according to polyvagal theory, our nervous system is divided into three main branches or states The ventral vagal state, the sympathetic state and the dorsal vagal state. The ventral vagal state is associated with feelings of safety and connection And when we’re in this state our nervous system is calm, we feel relaxed, connected and capable of responding to the world around us in a pretty healthy way, in what we might call an adaptive way. The sympathetic state is that second state. It’s often referred to as fight or flight, and we’ve talked about this when we went through the safe model. It activates when we perceive a threat or danger And, i like to add, it gets triggered when we feel disconnected from others or even disconnected from that safety, and in this state our body prepares to fight off the threat or run away from it. And finally, in the last state, the dorsal vagal state, it’s associated with immobilization and shutdown And it activates when our nervous system perceives an overwhelming threat that we cannot fight or escape from. In this state we experience feelings of freeze, of dissociation or collapse And we may feel that disconnected feeling from ourselves and from the situation. 


So this polyvagal theory is often depicted as a ladder, where at the top of the ladder you feel safe and connected so you can think and act in the way you choose And we say then that the ventral vagal state that’s that top of the ladder is dominant, enabling us to engage with the world the way we want to. And as disconnection increases, the nervous system responds by going down the ladder to cope. So when we perceive stress and remember that’s our perception, so we could be in a very normal kind of nobody else sees the stress. But if we’re experiencing it, as in our perception, or our safety is actually threatened, our nervous system will become dysregulated and we may drop into that fight or flight And one step lower is that dorsal mode or that shutdown mode. Okay, this was a really quick overview of the polyvagal theory. 


Now what I want you to take away for yourself and for your kids is this You have a nervous system that controls your sense of feeling okay And this kind of bypasses in an automatic way your thinking brain. When you’re connected, things feel pretty good and safe and you know what to do and how you want to show up, because you can think through things and you’re regulated and you can use all your resources. So when you’re disconnected, things don’t feel so good. You’re dysregulated, you go into fight or flight mode, your threat system turns on and you get all that adrenaline and stress hormones we talked about in those earlier episodes. When you’re disconnected and the fighting and the fleeing is not restoring your safety, your nervous system drops into even lower gear where you shut down, withdraw and sometimes feel like giving up. It’s another way your body and mind try to protect you when fighting through it isn’t working. So the common factor in dropping out of ventral, that common happy place to threat and shut down, it’s disconnection And the thing that gets you back up the ladder from shut down or fight and flight threat mode, it’s connection Connection to self, connection to others and connection to something bigger than you, like God or nature. 


Okay, i’m not talking about one off, random people who have a hard time keeping their nervous systems working well. I’m talking about every single one of us. Each of us go up and down this polyvagal ladder frequently, maybe even a couple times a day. Heck, i was up and down the ladder a couple times on my travel last week. The traffic on the way to the airport threatened to make me late and I started to think about missing my flight and not being okay with that. My sympathetic nervous system turned on and I got dysregulated. My heart raced, my breathing went faster, i started to feel angry at the driver in front of me that wasn’t going the speed limit and when the traffic completely stopped because of a construction zone up ahead, i had one final ah. And then I slumped back in my seat and felt defeated. Whatever I said, kind of throwing up my hands, i’m going to miss this flight. I’m stuck. For that little moment I kind of gave up and sunk into a helpless place. It felt so bad, so low energy, and my thoughts matched it. Why am I always getting thwarted? I should just stop trying. Okay, that was a very overdramatized reenactment of my drive to the airport, but I want to show you how this polyvagal thing works. It was actually adaptive for me to kind of give up the fight when I was in standstill traffic, but I couldn’t quite get connected to myself right away to regulate my emotions. So my nervous system downgraded into that door solar, that lower reaction where I kind of gave up. 


Now think about how this happens in our relationships. I was working with a husband the other day who got so upset at his spouse that he was literally boiling inside, so angry and disconnected from his spouse and dysregulated, which means he also felt disconnected from himself. He thought he might explode and he thought he might say or do something that did not match what he valued. So what did he do? Well, his nervous system did it for him. It let go of the fight and dropped into give up and shut down mode and he walked out of the room with all those thoughts that felt helpless and hopeless. 


What I did in the car on the way to the airport is what I asked this husband to do Invite regulation by connecting. As I sat in standstill traffic I recognized that my nervous system was in shutdown mode. I could tell because I was not feeling great. I knew I needed some connection to feel better, to restore that safety we talk about. So I did the safe model. I slowed things down, i looked to connect with myself And just noticing your dysregulated helps you start connecting and every little drop of connection begins to move you up the ladder in your nervous system. Remember from our safe episodes even just labeling what you are feeling starts to regulate your emotions. This is because you’re connecting to yourself. That connection calms your brain, it regulates your nervous system And when you’re regulated you’re also able to think and reason and plan and act how you want to All those good things that come with being connected. So that’s what that husband needed to do. His nervous system had dropped him into fight or flight and then down into that dorsal shutdown mode And it was communicating a message like he didn’t care and it was hopeless. And he walked out of the room and it panicked his wife And what he really just was experiencing was that polyvagal response to feelings of disconnection being misunderstood and that painful conflict he was having. 


So one takeaway about this polyvagal model is that there isn’t a bad state to be in. Each of the three states serve a purpose And there may be a time you need to be in threat mode. You may need to run away from a dangerous situation or stay and fight. There may be a time that you need to shut down and stop fighting and kind of give in. Your body is deciding what you need to do to survive. But when these things are happening and they do not serve you, you can help your nervous system feel better and be more soothed by connecting. 


Practices such as deep breathing, mindfulness and self-care can help shift us into the ventral vagal state and promote healing, and all of these happen within you, your connection You to you, so we can also reach out and be in connection with someone else, you to another. And this is why kids run to their moms and dads when they’re afraid, hurt or upset. And what does a mama do? She opens her arms and her child connects And this soothes the nervous system. The vagal pathway actually sinks and regulates with those around you. So when you are connected like this mom is connected, her system recognizes it and sends messages of safety to her child And vice versa. 


When you’re disconnected and dysregulated within yourself, it is hard to calm and soothe your child, because disconnection creates feelings of alarm in our bodies. And what’s even more interesting is that if you’re feeling disconnected and I am feeling safe and regulated, i can help to regulate you by reaching out and connecting to you, almost transferring my emotional safety to you through what we call co-regulation. And that’s what that mom does when she opens her arms to her upset child, and what my friend does when I’m upset and I call her and talk a little bit. And this is what I try to do when I meet with a woman who’s having a hard time Every day. I do my best to ready my own nervous system so I can stand on solid emotional ground and reach out a hand to my client and hold that safe space to help co-regulate. And that doesn’t mean I do anything for her that she needs to do for herself, but it means that biology helps us out Your mirror neurons see my mirror neurons and sense that it’s okay And your body begins to soothe. And this is why we reach for and need each other. 


When you have a bad day, you want to tell someone. When you feel embarrassed, it’s good to tell the story and see acceptance and support in a person’s eyes. And when you’re sad, angry or afraid, being with someone or having your hand held or given a hug, it actually helps soothe, settle and regulate your body so you can think and problem solve and just be more of yourself. I watched this in action several months ago with my daughter-in-law and my granddaughter. Gracie was crying about something that upset her. Her mama reached out her arms to an absolutely distraught and almost hysterical four-year-old and kind of smiled at me over her little head. Big feelings she mouthed to me And then she wrapped her arms around Gracie and held her tight. It’s okay, i’m here. You’re so sad right now I can tell She stopped everything she was doing and kind of rocked side to side Just breathe, breathe with me, she said quietly. I watched Gracie as she took a couple of choppy breaths amid some very dramatic cries And miraculously, in a few minutes she’d calmed. Nothing had changed outwardly. Her little nervous system had been soothed and regulated by her mom And she’d also experienced that little trick to breathe slowly and in sync with her mom, which later Gracie’s actually learned to use on her own when her mom isn’t around. 


You know, as parents we want to do our best to be regulated so we can be on that solid ground emotionally and offer that co-regulation to the kids we’re parenting. And I just want to say this is not going to happen perfectly all the time, because there are going to be many times that your child is not regulated and you are not regulated either, and you’re not going to have that beautiful, perfect little moment that I watched Gracie have. Does it ever look perfect? Never. No one is always regulated. So just give up that measuring stick right now And just notice what happens when you are regulated and connected And then when you aren’t, and remember that you can help yourself back up the ladder of your nervous system to feeling better and being able to help your kids feel better. 


Okay, so I’ve kind of mapped out the three states on a ladder And now I want you to be able to think about what these might feel like to you. I want you to think about what Ventral Vehicle feels like That feeling of kind of being in your window of tolerance, being grounded, being calm, being peaceful, being at ease And I want you to see if maybe you can glimpse where that feeling of connection comes in. I’m in that place where I kind of have access to everything in my body, working calmly and not hijacking my brain, and ideally we’re really hoping to kind of be there frequently. It’s not normal to be there all the time because your nervous system is going to ebb and flow and go up and down the ladder depending upon the things that you’re experiencing, and we’ve talked about this right, there’s a lot we don’t have control over And we’re constantly looking at this stabilizing. I need to stabilize myself, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t get thrown out of the window every so often, or even frequently. So I also want you to be thinking about what that feels like when you’re stable in Ventral. And then I want you to think about what it feels like for you when you’re in that sympathetic, fight or flight mode. And I would think, unless you live some really amazing Zen life that I want to come and learn how to do from you. 


Unless you live that kind of life, you’re not going to get through a day without at least some point having a little something trigger your fight or flight. It could be that someone dropped something in the kitchen and startles you and your body responds with that, you know. It could be that your child kind of leans back too far off the couch and it looks like they’re going to fall over and you get that oh no, i’ve got to catch them feeling, and it just doesn’t even have to be like you’re losing your temper or you’re overly upset or that something’s doing something to hurt you. It could even be the smallest of things that trigger that sympathetic nervous system And you know we don’t get it so upset about that, right, like we’re kind of used to feeling what that feels like when our nervous system causes us to gasp and catch our breath and be like, oh my gosh, oh gosh. That car almost you know, almost turned in my lane. 


It’s your nervous system, with neuroception kind of taking control and moving you down the ladder to fight something or to be prepared for it, and the way that that works is that it usually goes right back to normal. And as soon as the problem or the worry is past, the danger is past, it goes back to normal. But I want you to just notice what that feels like. And then I want you to think about has there ever been a time when you’ve dropped down lower on that ladder where you have that feeling of just you know, i give up, i just want to shut down? I want you to think about what that feels like And hopefully these aren’t too triggering for you, because if you’ve had some trauma, i want you to be really careful and not kind of turn your mind to the most traumatic experience. You don’t need to do that. I just want you to really be able to have the freedom to think about some of these things and how we can kind of normalize them and learn to work with them. 


Remember, these aren’t signs of illness. I mean, certainly if we get stuck in these patterns, we can call these, you know, the diagnoses of depression, and I’ve been caught in this cycle myself at different times in my life, but for the most part we’re all going up and down the ladder in a normal way, and so do you remember what it feels like And if you can kind of grasp the idea that these are not terrible things, that they’re just places, that our nervous system are on the ladder and that we’re mapping ourselves so that we can start to identify what we need and how to help ourselves. You know, it’s interesting because when we experience trauma, especially childhood trauma, even as an adult, it can make our nervous system overly sensitive to threat, to reading cues of danger, and it can kind of get stuck in the fight or flight state or be so overwhelmed that a person gets kind of stuck in that shutdown mode and that low energy mode. And so even knowing that this is a thing can help us identify when we need to seek professional help to heal trauma. But I still just want to be really clear This is also a nervous system thing that all of us have, and our goal is to be able to move quite easily through the three stages as life happens and not really get too freaked out about it When we find ourselves having a hard time, when we’re getting stuck, when we understand that we can kind of look at that ladder and say, ah, i think I know what’s going on here, i think I have an idea of something maybe I can do to help me feel better and help my nervous system and my body feel safer. 


And when you can map it, when you’re able to see, ah, i can see where I am on the ladder. That gives you great information. It helps you be able to say you know. The next question what do I need? What do I need to move up the ladder, to feel better right now and be able to have access to more of what can help me? And the thing that can help us, kind of the antidote or the tool that we can use, is connection. And then we want to have a menu available and I call it a connection menu And I use it with clients to help them find something that will help them move up the ladder. And you can create your own menu of the things that calm you and soothe you and help you feel connected. 


We talked about it in the last episode ways to connect to yourself through your breathing, through labeling your emotions, working with your self-talk And we talked about it also in how to connect with others and getting some co-regulation from a friend or your spouse or, you know, a family member, maybe connecting with nature, with God. And you know, you can even just use your five senses. It could be a hot shower, a cool drink, it could be a specific scripture or a poem or a song that speaks safety and peace to you. We can prepare our menu ahead of time And as we go, as we try things out, you’re going to find what works for you and it’s going to be a little bit of a trial and error. 


But if your goal is to find something that connects you to yourself, connects you to others or connects you to something bigger than you, really all you have to think of is one word connect. How can I connect and move myself up the ladder When you just accept that it’s normal to have a nervous system that moves up and down the ladder? it’s not going to be so freaky, right, it’s not going to be so upsetting, and then, if you have a word to use to help you remember what you need to do, we’ve got a shortcut now And as you start to play with and build out and explore ways to connect that come and soothe you. Now you’re really building the skills. Now you’re starting to tailor your own resilient toolkit for what works for you. I think that is real power. 


And, as parents, i think you know the whole concept of leadership parenting that we’re focusing on is being able to do this for ourselves first, being able to have a sense of how to regulate ourselves and to understand how our nervous system works, so that we can have access to the upper part, that higher brain that we have, and then kind of lead our family and show them how to do it by doing it ourselves. So I’m going to invite you to think of that word connect and put it in your mind, put it in your back pocket. It’s kind of a magic key card to help you move up the ladder when you’re feeling dysregulated and help you restore that sense of safety. And connect can mean a lot of different things. This is your homework to figure out ways that you can connect with yourself or with others or something bigger than you, and play with it and try to kind of be curious about it. This is so exciting, isn’t it, to have this information, to have this connection to yourself, to get better and better at it and to kind of be this master leader to yourself so that you can take that on and apply it to your families. So fun to be here with you doing it together, and I’ll talk to you next week. Take care. 


The leadership parenting podcast is for general information purposes only. It is not therapy and should not take the place of meeting with a qualified mental health professional. The information on this podcast is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition, illness or disease. It’s also not intended to be legal, medical or therapeutic advice. Please consult your doctor or mental health professional for your individual circumstances. Thanks again and take care. You, you, you, you, you. 


This podcast is not intended to provide mental health treatment.  Leigh Germann is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and not a doctor, psychiatrist or psychologist.  She does not provide diagnosis nor offer therapy through the LeighGermann.com website or in the information offered on the website. It is important that you do not disregard professional medical or mental health advice or delay seeking professional medical or mental health treatment because of any information on the LeighGermann.com website including but not limited to blogs, newsletter, videos, podcasts, e-books, programs, webinars, courses and other services. Leigh Germann and offerings on LeighGermann.com are not providing legal or financial advice, business advice, psychotherapy, supervision, religious advice, or medical advice. The information contained on this Website has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

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