Understanding Your Nervous System with Andrea Edmondson #061

Body and mind work together

The podcast featuring Andrea Edmondson explores the relationship between the body and mind under pressure. Andrea, assists executives in managing stress and boosting energy, shares insights on how our nervous system and brain impact our thoughts and behaviors.

An important takeaway is the need to heed our body’s signals. Andrea starts her coaching sessions with a check-in exercise. Prompting individuals to focus on bodily sensations like heart rate and tension. This awareness helps people understand their physiological responses to stimuli.

She also introduces a new autonomic nervous system model based on Stephen Porges’ polyvagal theory. This model emphasizes three pathways working together rather than in opposition. Aiding in recognizing when the nervous system is regulated or dysregulated.

Understanding body signals and nervous system workings enables self-regulation in pressure situations. This not only enhances performance but also positively influences others at work or home.

In summary, the episode stresses the interconnectedness of body and mind in stress responses. Awareness of body signals and nervous system functioning facilitates self-regulation, leading to better performance and interactions.

Regulate yourself to create safety

The podcast episode underscores the significance of self-regulation for personal and interpersonal safety. They share their journey of realizing the importance of regulating their own nervous system to co-regulate with their sensitive child. Fostering a secure environment for them.

This idea extends to organizational contexts, where the host helps frontline staff, managers, and educators regulate themselves to foster inclusivity and collaboration. They explore the physiological basis of psychological safety. Emphasizing the role of the autonomic nervous system in stress response and self-regulation.

In essence, the episode emphasizes the interconnectedness of body and mind in responding to stress. By understanding and regulating our nervous system, individuals can navigate challenges effectively, leading to improved performance and positive interactions. Prioritizing self-regulation creates a ripple effect, promoting psychological safety and inclusivity in personal and professional settings.

Curate your internal environment daily

Furthermore, the podcast emphasizes the role of leaders, managers, and organizations in creating environments that promote psychological safety. While external factors play a significant role in shaping our experiences, it is also crucial for individuals to take responsibility for curating their internal environment daily. This involves paying attention to internal cues, such as emotions, physical sensations, and thoughts, and actively working towards regulating them in a healthy and constructive manner.

One key aspect of curating our internal environment is understanding the concept of interoception, which refers to the awareness of internal bodily sensations. By tuning into these cues, individuals can gain valuable insights into their emotional state and overall well-being. This self-awareness can help individuals make informed decisions, manage stress more effectively, and cultivate a sense of inner peace and balance.

Moreover, by curating our internal environment daily, we can enhance our ability to engage in meaningful and authentic relationships with others. When we are attuned to our own needs and emotions, we are better equipped to empathize with and support those around us. This can lead to stronger connections, improved communication, and a more collaborative and inclusive work environment.

In conclusion, curating our internal environment daily is a powerful practice that can have far-reaching effects on our well-being, relationships, and overall success. By taking the time to nurture our inner world, we can cultivate resilience, emotional intelligence, and a sense of psychological safety that empowers us to thrive in any situation. As individuals, leaders, and members of organizations, we have the power to shape our experiences and create a positive and supportive environment for ourselves and those around us.

Awareness of autonomic nervous system

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is vital for regulating essential bodily functions like heart rate and digestion, operating automatically without conscious effort. It consists of two main pathways: the sympathetic, triggering the “fight or flight” response in stressful situations, and the parasympathetic, promoting relaxation and recovery afterward.

Understanding ANS inputs allows us to manage stress better through practices like deep breathing, mindfulness, and social connection, balancing sympathetic and parasympathetic activity like adjusting controls in a room.

Leadership-wise, leaders aware of ANS dynamics foster positive environments by modeling self-awareness and emotional regulation. Conversely, organizations led by those resistant to this understanding may face issues of distrust and stress among employees.

In summary, awareness of the ANS is a potent tool for personal and professional growth. Regulating our responses enhances resilience and emotional intelligence, fostering trust and collaboration in teams and organizations. By harnessing ANS power, we create harmonious, thriving environments for ourselves and others.

Self-awareness leads to transformation

Self-awareness is key for growth, as discussed in a podcast where speakers delve into understanding and regulating the autonomic nervous system to manage stress and emotions effectively. This awareness not only aids personal development but also enhances professional and relational aspects.

Polyvagal theory, highlighted in the podcast, shows how our internal state influences our perceptions and interpretations, impacting our behavior and interactions. Leaders fostering self-awareness set a positive example, promoting trust and collaboration within organizations. This leads to increased engagement and a supportive work environment.

Recognizing the need for change is crucial. Self-awareness enables objective assessment, acknowledging limitations, and aligning decisions with values and goals. In one example, teachers demonstrated self-awareness by transitioning a challenging student to a more suitable environment.

In summary, self-awareness of the autonomic nervous system is a potent tool for personal and professional growth. Regulating internal responses enhances emotional intelligence, resilience, and overall well-being. This not only benefits individuals but also fosters trust and collaboration, creating harmonious environments where all can thrive.

Develop mindful self-awareness for change

Developing self-awareness is essential for personal growth and transformation. In a podcast about the autonomic nervous system, it stressed the need to understand and regulate our internal responses for change. This awareness helps shift mindsets, behaviors, and emotions, leading to positive life changes.

Self-awareness means tuning into our thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations and how they affect our actions and interactions. Mindfulness practices like deep breathing and visualization help us understand and regulate our nervous system’s responses.

Creating space between stimuli and reactions allows intentional responses, as Viktor Frankl noted. Awareness of our nervous system helps us manage emotions in tough situations, aiding in self-regulation and constructive reactions.

Recognizing our nervous system’s activation in stress helps us calm down using mindfulness techniques like breathwork and body awareness. This training helps us adapt better to stressors.

Self-awareness not only aids personal growth but also improves relationships and work environments. It fosters empathy, effective communication, and conflict resolution, creating trust and collaboration.

In summary, self-awareness of the autonomic nervous system is crucial for personal and professional growth. It enhances emotional intelligence, resilience, and well-being, benefiting individuals and organizations alike. By embracing self-awareness, individuals cultivate harmonious environments for themselves and others.

Recognize and regulate your state

Understanding and managing our emotional states is vital for our well-being and success, both personally and professionally. The autonomic nervous system influences how we react to stress and daily challenges. By grasping its three main states – ventral vagal, sympathetic, and dorsal vagal – we can identify their signs and regulate our responses effectively.

The ventral vagal state is where we aim to be, marked by calmness, connection, and curiosity. Recognizing this state fosters emotional balance and well-being.

The sympathetic state, triggered by stress or danger, prompts fight or flight reactions like increased heart rate and muscle tension. Being aware of these signs helps us calm down and manage our energy levels.

The dorsal vagal state, associated with shutdown or exhaustion, leads to numbness or feeling lost. Recognizing it allows us to rest and recharge, preventing burnout.

Developing self-awareness of these states involves small moments of mindfulness. Paying attention to physical, emotional, and mental cues helps us regulate our responses.

This self-awareness enhances emotional intelligence, resilience, and overall well-being, benefiting relationships and organizational culture. Creating a culture of self-awareness fosters trust and collaboration, contributing to psychological safety.

In conclusion, cultivating self-awareness of the autonomic nervous system promotes personal and professional growth. Managing internal responses improves emotional intelligence and fosters a positive environment for individuals and organizations alike.

Prepare to regulate your nervous system

The podcast transcript stresses the significance of regulating the nervous system across work, relationships, and personal well-being. It emphasizes tuning into bodily cues to comprehend physiological responses affecting behavior and emotions.

A key takeaway is the necessity of preparing before challenging situations like meetings or presentations to regulate the nervous system effectively. This involves creating a safe and familiar environment through rest, hydration, deep breathing, and relaxation activities.

External cues and support, like eye contact or informal conversations, aid in nervous system regulation during stress. Structured communication spaces, such as monthly check-ins, prepare individuals for difficult conversations and nurture healthy relationships.

The podcast illustrates the impact of inadequate preparation on the nervous system, citing a lawyer’s migraines from unprepared travel with her child. This stresses planning to prevent negative physiological responses to stressful situations.

In summary, the podcast underscores self-awareness and preparation in nervous system regulation. Prioritizing self-care and preparation enhances emotional well-being, resilience, and performance in life, fostering a harmonious environment for oneself and others.

Empathy is key for change

The podcast underscores the pivotal role of empathy in driving change. Empathy enables us to navigate the challenges of motivating individuals entrenched in unhealthy habits or rigid mindsets. By empathetically engaging with them, we can illuminate the potential for growth and transformation.

A central theme is the power of reflection in fostering change. By compassionately holding up a mirror to resistant individuals, we prompt them to assess their current situation and recognize the need for change. This empathetic approach serves as a catalyst for progress.

Moreover, meeting individuals where they are on their journey is crucial. Acknowledging their present circumstances and emotions cultivates receptiveness to the idea of change, even for those not yet contemplating it.

The podcast underscores the significance of self-awareness and envisioning a better future. Encouraging individuals to reflect on their aspirations and the steps needed to achieve them fosters resilience against resistance to change. This process demands a profound level of empathy and support.

In essence, empathy serves as a linchpin in facilitating individual transformation. By fostering understanding, reflection, and encouragement, we can help individuals overcome obstacles to change and chart a path toward fulfillment. Through empathy, we create a nurturing environment conducive to growth and empowerment.

Regulate to thrive and grow

Regulating emotions and stress is vital for well-being and success. Chronic stress harms physical and mental health, impacting relationships and decision-making. By practicing mindfulness and stress management, we foster inner peace and resilience, improving our ability to handle challenges.

Maintaining a “green state” of calm boosts creativity, productivity, and well-being. Emotion regulation enables us to navigate life’s fluctuations and make aligned decisions. It’s not just about avoiding negatives but fostering growth and personal transformation.

Prioritizing emotional well-being through mindfulness and self-care creates a balanced life. Empathy, support, and self-reflection empower us and others to regulate emotions, thrive, and lead fulfilling lives.

Importance of play for health

The podcast transcript highlights the importance of play for health and well-being. Play is described as a hybrid state where individuals have one foot in the green state (safety) and one foot in the yellow state (energy). This balance allows for peak performance and the development of neural pathways that enable individuals to smoothly transition between different states. Play is emphasized as a crucial aspect of performance and the flow state, as it helps individuals maintain a sense of safety while also experiencing challenges and energy.

Furthermore, the podcast discusses how society often discourages play in adults, leading to a lack of healthy fun and ultimately, unhealthy choices. It is noted that social connection is biologically wired, and play is a natural behavior that should be encouraged throughout life. The importance of play for health is highlighted by referencing the Blue Zones, where centenarians incorporate play into their daily lives as a prescription for health.

The conversation also touches on the societal pressure to be serious and adult-like, emphasizing the need for individuals to remember their inner child and prioritize fun and play. Play is described as a natural activity that does not have to serve a specific purpose, and it can take many forms, from physical activities like sports to creative pursuits like art and music.

In conclusion, the podcast underscores the significance of play for overall health and well-being. By incorporating play into our lives, we can improve our mental and physical health, strengthen social connections, and experience joy and fulfillment. It is essential to prioritize play as a vital aspect of self-care and overall wellness, regardless of age or societal expectations. Remembering to have fun and engage in playful activities can lead to a healthier, happier, and more balanced life.

Shift in the moment with play

The podcast delves into the multifaceted benefits of play for adults, highlighting its role in regulating the nervous system and enhancing overall well-being. Through adopting a playful mindset, individuals can approach tasks with curiosity and creativity, easing stress in high-pressure situations like conversations or negotiations.

A key point discussed is how play activates the ventral vagal nerve root, fostering feelings of safety and social connection. Simple actions like singing, eye contact, and smiling signal safety, while touch grounds individuals in their bodies, crucial in today’s virtual work environments where physical interaction is limited.

As remote work rises, maintaining social engagement becomes vital. The podcast stresses the need for companies to prioritize social cues and connection in meetings to mitigate stress and dysregulation.

Moreover, the podcast advocates for self-awareness in recognizing signs of nervous system dysregulation and offers techniques like deep breathing or grounding exercises to restore balance. By integrating play into daily routines and fostering social bonds, individuals can cultivate resilience and joy, effectively managing life’s challenges with grace.

Harness your breath, find peace

The podcast highlights the importance of harnessing the breath as a powerful tool for finding peace and regulating the nervous system. The speaker emphasizes the physiological sigh as a way to slow down and signal safety to the body. By intentionally slowing down our voice, doing simple movements like shoulder rolls, closing our eyes, or tapping our feet. We can reset our nervous system and bring ourselves back to a place of calm.

The host also suggests creating a menu of different techniques, such as breath techniques and body techniques. To practice and find what works best for each individual. By practicing these techniques regularly, we can make them accessible to us in moments of stress or overwhelm. This proactive approach to managing stress can help us build resilience and navigate challenging situations with more ease.

One key practice mentioned in the podcast is the “stop” practice. It involves taking a moment to stop, take a breath, observe, gain perspective, and then proceed. By incorporating this practice into daily routines, such as during traffic lights or while having a cup of tea, we can cultivate mindfulness and regulate our nervous system in a quick and effective way.

By harnessing our breath and incorporating simple techniques into our daily lives, we can find peace, regulate our nervous system, and empower ourselves to navigate life’s challenges with grace and resilience. It is through self-awareness, practice, and a willingness to explore new ways of being that we can truly harness the power of our breath and find peace within ourselves.

Unpack and find healthy ways

The “unpack and find healthy ways” concept revolves around exploring emotions, behaviors, and thoughts to foster a balanced life. It entails delving into past experiences to identify negative patterns, facilitating healing and personal growth.

Play is highlighted as crucial for adults, often overlooked in favor of serious activities. Reconnecting with our inner child fosters joy and creativity, countering the isolation of technology-dominated lives.

The podcast introduces polyvagal theory, linking the nervous system to emotions and behaviors. Understanding stress responses aids in regulating emotions, essential for effective coaching and leadership.

Practical resources and courses are provided to apply polyvagal theory in daily life, enhancing emotional navigation and personal growth.

The journey involves self-awareness, playfulness, and connection, empowering authenticity and purpose. By unpacking past experiences and incorporating simple techniques, individuals can cultivate resilience and harmony within themselves and their relationships.

Hosts Bio

headshot of coach John

John Marshall

The Founder of Humessence, International Coaching Federation Professional Certified Coach (ICF-PCC), National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC), co-host of The Present Professional Podcast, and experienced Yoga and meditation teacher with a highly developed business acumen. John’s ex-corporate career of nearly a decade with ExxonMobil and brief experiences with three other Fortune 100 companies enable him to combine transformational coaching practice with his global enterprise background. He has 5+ years of experience teaching Yoga and meditation and continues to teach weekly, fueling his passion for and commitment to nurturing the mind-body connection.

Tony Holmes

Tony Holmes is a leadership development and diversity professional from Houston, TX. He has managed change and scaled impact across multiple sectors as a consultant, coach, and leader. At the United Way of Greater
Houston, he designs talent programming and leads the organization’s strategy to center equity across all operations and programs. Tony is an Intellectual Contributor and Guest Facilitator for Humessence in the space of Diversity and Inclusion, and a co-host of the Present Professional Podcast. 

Andrea Edmondson

By harnessing the latest research on human potential, I guide you to optimise your energy and brain health to live a life of aliveness, purpose and connection.

By digging deeper to explore the root causes of your energy issues we will find information and solutions in the workings of your nervous system and brain. With this awareness comes the power to take action, to be an effective architect of your health and life.

Remember to subscribe to the podcast to catch this episode. Take a moment to drop us a rating and review. Let’s build a world of authentic connections, one workplace at a time.

Other ways to connect:
The Present Professional | Instagram
Coach John Marshall | Instagram | LinkedIn | Facebook
Coach Tony Holmes | Instagram | LinkedIn

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