How is it impossible to live joyfully when you feel unsafe?

Your nervous system is there to protect you. Instead of pushing through stressful situations, ask yourself how you can help your nervous system to make it easier for you to feel more at ease and safe in your body.

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You can gain a better understanding about your nervous system and learn how you react to stress. This will help you to manage your emotions better.

A simplified explanation of how your nervous system works

If there is one thing I want you to remember from this article it is this: “It’s impossible for people to be happy and engaged with others when they feel unsafe.”

Your nervous system is how you communicate with the outside world. The nervous system receives information from your senses and processes it to trigger reactions.

There are two major modes in your nervous system: parasympathetic and sympathetic (AKA Flight or Flight and Rest and Digest). You can be either in one or both of these modes at any time.

The nervous system functions calmly when you’re not in stressful situations. You are more comfortable engaging with others, feel more positive, have more control over your emotions, and have a greater curiosity about the world.

Your brain activates the sympathetic nervous systems (Fight or Flight), which signals your body to go into defense mode when it senses danger. You might feel nauseous, rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing and tightening your muscles.

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Survival Mode

In order to give you some context, I want to tell you a story about my recent battle with depression. How my nervous system helped me feel more secure and able to move through stressful times with greater ease.

My world seemed to be spiraling into darkness after I went through a very dark period last year. After 14 years of being together, I moved to South Lake Tahoe and was welcomed into a new world.

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I knew only one person in Tahoe, and I began to have health problems a few months after moving there. I also experienced a few big events that caused an old sexual abuse wound.

I was unable to get out of bed for a few weeks and my crying just wouldn’t stop. My Tahoe lease was due to expire and my niece, the only person I knew in Tahoe, had moved out. I began looking into renting a one-bedroom apartment.

I was undecided about whether it was wise to live alone at a time in my life when I felt like I was sinking. I was also aware that winter was coming and I imagined myself spending much of my time alone in my apartment, during snowstorms, and not being able to enjoy my normal nature fix.

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Although I considered just driving my camper 13′ in length, the thought of travelling alone in my trailer in winter was not something that felt right.