Oh hey my WILD sister Queens!
Let’s hit the topic of nervous system regulation. It’s so hot right now (in spite of the boring name) that it’s taking center stage, not only in the health, wellness & mindset space but also in entrepreneur land.
Why? Because we seem to be finally working out that stress isn’t as sexy as it was in the 80’s and we probs need to do something about it, which is awesome because our poor nervous systems are still taking a beating!
Talk to anyone who’s been to a ½ day yoga retreat and they’ll be an expert by now with a myriad of techniques on how to regulate our nervous systems; from breathwork, cutting-edge mindfulness modalities and Tremoring to scientifically proven 20 second+ hugs.
Yet, there is one thing that I rarely hear about is in the space is how different nervous systems work differently and need different things.
Even less known, is that what determines different nervous system responses AND needs are the hormones that are dominant in a person’s body and I’m not talking about your cortisol panel.
Here’s the hop tip of the year where your nervous system is concerned: how you are hormonally “wired” dictates how you respond to stress AND what you need to regulate your stress levels.
What do I mean about being hormonally “wired”? Simply this, as we gestate and develop in our early lives different hormones become more and less dominant based on our Epigenetics. Epigenetics is the science of how our genes process information and are expressed. Our epigenetics are influenced by… EVERYTHING. The stress your mother was under, the food she ate, the environment she lived in and more, all created a certain environment that you as a developing child were also exposed to.
Once we are born, we experience these factors directly ourselves. Food, lighting, relationship dynamics, thoughts and how we are shown love all wire us hormonally in certain ways. We “lean” into certain ways of being that help keep us safe and give us the best chance of not only physical safety but also emotional safety.
Dopamine for example wires us to achieve, giving us the drive to stay unbelievably focused on succeeding at a task, project, or mission for long periods of time. Prolactin on the other hand wires us to nurture others.
Oxytocin wires us to connect, creating group harmony wherever we go whereas adrenaline and testosterone wire us to act in the moment and to initiate things.
Vasopressin wires us for mental awareness, giving us the ability to process huge amounts of data and serotonin wires for pleasure, deep consideration and seeing patterns.
When we are highly stressed and our nervous systems are not happy, we will all default to autonomic responses like fight, flight, freeze or fawn. How this looks will again depend on our dominant hormones.
People with high levels of adrenaline and testosterone can become instantly angry and not hold back in their expression of it. For them to regulate their nervous system in the heat of the moment having a chance to verbally and physically express helps dramatically but can be threatening for others so finding ways to do this in a safe way is vital. Doing an explosive workout, finding somewhere safe to violently spew out a stream of colorful language helps to move the intensity of the stress through and out of their body.
On the other hand, people with high levels of serotonin can go into freeze and overwhelm. They might feel mentally foggy, unclear, unable to make decisions and totally exhausted. If this state isn’t supported with alone time, a spacious environment and ideally some time in nature, this feeling will continue eventually leading to depression, gut issues and chronic fatigue.
And so, it goes on. Finding out how you are hormonally wired, via cutting-edge Epigenetic & Hormonal Profiling, is one of the biggest nervous system and indeed life “hacks” you can do. Going one step further and finding out how your business colleagues, kids and romantic partners are wired is a total game-changer for improving relationship dynamics, work efficiency and group harmony.