She told me the title and I knew I had to read it.
Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Those three words inspired a spontaneous deep inhale and, upon Rha Godess’s recommendation, I ordered it right away.
I inhaled the book. Dr. Valarie Rein had put words to what my body had been experiencing my whole life.
I’m not going to explain the entire premise of the book because you MUST simply get a copy for yourself and read it.
But, I will say that it helped solidify something I already knew but that my mind needed more evidence of to prioritize practicing it every day:
The body is everything.
Emotions are stored in the body. No amount of thinking or talking can get them out.
We have to use our bodies to get unstuck, not our minds.
I started studying the nervous system and how it relates to our ability to do our best work as business owners.
I started experimenting on myself and working with a professional.
And here’s what I found:
Investing in healing my nervous system has made things that used to be so hard feel so much easier.
A few examples:
Having hard conversations.
Receiving negative feedback.
Making mistakes in public.
Being present with my kids.
While I highly recommend working with someone who specializes in trauma and the nervous system when you do this work, I wanted to share some of the nervous system healing techniques that I turn to over and over:
Breathing into the back lower ribs
How to do it: Simply put your attention on your back lower ribs and send the breath there. Stay aware of your breath for 5-10 breaths and notice how your body feels afterward.
How to do it: You may want to start small and just shake your hand and see how that feels and then move through and add other parts of your body until you’re shaking your whole body. Shake for as long and as hard as it feels good. (Injuring ourselves is not the goal, nor is getting a workout, though you’ll likely get winded.) Notice how your body feels afterward.
How to do it: Notice your feet on the floor or your bum in your seat. Feel the way that you’re being held to the surface of the earth by gravity. Feel the weight. Just notice how it feels to have your body being held by gravity. Spend 3 or more minutes noticing.
How to do it: Sing a song that you feel emotionally connected to really loudly. Allow it to bring up any feelings (laughter, crying, anger) and let those out as you sing. Or add in other noises to move the emotion through. You can sing along to a recording of a song or sing it from memory. Up to you.
Note: I’ve never read a nervous system healing book or had a practitioner tell me about this one, but I find it really helps me so give it a go!
How to do it: Go outside barefoot and stand on the earth. Lay down in your yard or in the park or at the beach. Hug a tree with your whole body. Notice how this contact with the earth shifts your physiology. Cement or pavement works, but grass or dirt are optimal. Shoot for 5-10 minutes a day.
How to do it: Hugging is based on co-regulation where you can regulate your nervous system with someone else’s regulated nervous system. Find someone who is calm. Hug them until you feel your body relax (around 20 seconds). The oxytocin burst will heal you and make you feel euphoric. Repeat often because people who are hugged often are less likely to get sick.
There are two things we know for sure:
- We’re going to die.
- Until we do, we’re only getting this one body.
Taking really beautiful care of this one body we have is one of the greatest investments of our lives.
Practicing the nervous system healing techniques I outlined above has been a game-changer for me in terms of being able to show up and do the work I’m meant to do in this lifetime (among other things in my life).
Now I’d love to hear from you: Which one of these tips are you going to try? What techniques do you already practice to calm your nervous system? What other questions do you have about the nervous system? I LOVE talking about this, and I can’t wait to hear from you! Leave a comment!
Kate Northrup is an entrepreneur, bestselling author, and mother who supports ambitious, motivated and successful women to light up the world without burning themselves out in the process. Committed to empowering women entrepreneurs to create their most successful businesses while navigating motherhood, Kate is the founder and CEO of Origin Collective, a monthly membership site where women all over the world gather to achieve more while doing less. Her first book, Money: A Love Story, has been published in 5 languages. Kate’s work has been featured by The Today Show, Yahoo! Finance, Women’s Health, Glamour, and The Huffington Post, and she’s spoken to audiences of thousands with Hay House, Wanderlust, USANA Health Sciences, and more. Kate lives with her husband and business partner, Mike, and their daughter Penelope in Maine. Find out more and receive your free copy of the 5 Simple and effective ways to get the results you want in your business at katenorthrup.com.
Image courtesy of Edward Eyer.