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How Trauma Lives in the Body and Why You Should Heal it in Your Nervous System

Episode 55

“How can we hear our intuition? How can we know what is good for our body if we can’t hear the signals that it is sending us? How can I be someone who honors and respects and listens to my body to know what’s in alignment for my life if I can’t read the signals that my body is sending me?” -Elisabeth Kristof, founder of Brain-Based Wellness and NeuroSomatic Intelligence Certification 

This week we have an awesome mash-up episode for you that highlights the science that this podcast is rooted in. Season 2 Episodes 1 and 2- Why Heal your Nervous System and How Trauma Lives in the Body. 

As always, we share our personal stories of how healing our nervous systems vastly improved our lives and made us experts of our nervous systems. We love being able to show you what’s possible for your life by sharing our experiences. As Jennifer says, “healing our nervous system is the underbelly of everything”. 

If you’re someone who has a mindfulness practice or/and has been doing “inner work” for a long time, but never seems to make real progress then you have to hear Elisabeth’s story of childhood trauma, addiction and binge eating. She struggled for decades until she started using nervous system tools to create safety in her body.

Jennifer shares that creating safety in the body through the nervous system is vital, because we can’t heal when we don’t feel safe. Safety is at the heart of everything for the brain because its only job is to keep you alive. 


  • How little deficits in our nervous system over time fill up the stress bucket and create negative outputs. 
  • We define trauma and describe protective outputs like dissociation and the four reflexive F trauma responses (fight, flight, fawn, and freeze)
  • Elisabeth shares how the pandemic led her to start the Brain-Based Wellness site. 
  • Detailed explanation of the nervous system- somatic, autonomic, sympathetic and parasympathetic
  • Why you want to intentionally train your nervous system to be more resilient
  • The importance of a daily nervous system regulation practice
  • How unprocessed trauma affects us somatically and psychologically 
  • What happens in your brain and body when you’re triggered
  • The effect that trauma has on your brain, physiology and vagus nerve
  • How stimulating our brain with nervous system tools helps it become more active and function better 
  • Elisabeth describes dissociation in a way that you probably can relate well to
  • Fascinating role the Vagus Nerve plays in your parasympathetic nervous system
  • The damage that chronic stress causes in the Vagus Nerve and how it affects our ability to get out of sympathetic flight and freeze responses  

The most important work we do with clients, privately and on the Brain-Based Wellness site, is teach them how to understand their own nervous system, how to assess and reassess it and develop their own unique toolkit of the stimulus needed to heal their unique deficits and to create the a positive response for them. It’s a truly empowering method of healing. 

Episode 55

Listen to more episodes of Trauma Rewired HERE


[00:00:00] How can we hear our intuition? How can we know what is good for our body? If we can’t hear the signals that it is sending us, how can I be someone who honors and respects and listens to my body to know what’s in alignment for my life if I can’t read the signals that my body is sending me?

[00:00:20] Hello. Welcome to Trauma Rewired, the podcast that teaches you about your nervous system, how trauma lives in the body, and what you can do to heal. Hi, I’m your co-host, Elizabeth Christoff, founder of Neuro Somatic Intelligence Training and I C F accredited course for healers, therapists, coaches to help bring behavior change, trauma resolution, and mindset change from the body to the.

[00:00:44] And I’m your co-host Jennifer Wallace, a neuro somatic psychedelic integration guide, bridging the work of neuro Somatic Intelligence into your plant medicine healing spaces.

[00:00:53] Hello Y’all and welcome to this special edition of trauma rewired.

[00:01:13] This conversation is actually the opening conversation from the beginning of season two. These are episodes one. Why heal your nervous system and two how trauma lives in the body. 

[00:01:26] These conversations you are about to listen to between Elizabeth and I are really the foundation of our work. The foundation of our message in healing, the nervous system. 

[00:01:37] We are going to explain in depth what your nervous system is, how you can train it and heal it. What does that look like? What is applied neurology and how do we use the system to create lasting behavior change? 

[00:01:49] We will define trauma and get into protective outputs like dissociation. The four reflexive F trauma responses, emotional flashbacks. And. Other ways that your brain is always trying to keep you alive. We have recorded a lot of these conversations independently and you will hear them played out again. 

[00:02:11] Throughout the next 12 weeks, but we do hope you enjoy this combination of how trauma lives in the body and why you should heal it. And please, don’t forget to head to rewire for support and training your nervous system today. 

[00:02:31] So let’s dive right in. Why. would we heal our nervous systems? So I think a lot of people just don’t understand that we all have an operating system. That operating system is our nervous system and it controls so much of our life experience. Whether we’re able to connect to people and stay present, whether we feel panic or anxiety.

[00:02:54] Whether we have emotional reactivity, it also controls our digestion, our respiration, all these things, right, that make up our felt sense of the world and also drive our behavior and the behavior patterns that we have in our life. And so without understanding that and knowing how to work with the nervous system, it becomes very difficult to create change in.

[00:03:16] To have a new emotional experience, to feel safety in your body. And so for me, for myself, healing my nervous system has made it possible for me to explore intimacy in my relationships, to grow my business, to be able to manage my finances, and know my numbers without checking out and dissociating. To be stronger athletically, to have more range of motion and to move out of behaviors that were extremely painful for me for my entire life, like binge eating, like migraine, like cycles of exertion and exhaustion.

[00:03:54] Just working myself into the ground, crashing and burning out with a headache and migraine and pain. Really all of those changes at the root of all of that was training my nervous system to heal my deficits and become more resilient. , and what do you mean by deficits? So we all have deficits in our nervous system that are places where it’s not working very well.

[00:04:17] There’s all kinds of things that affect our nervous system. Our lifestyle affects our nervous system. Medication that we take affects our nervous system. Old injuries affect our nervous system. Health, trauma and emotions in the body affect our nervous system, and these create little injuries that are never healed Little.

[00:04:35] Patterns that are never healed in the nervous system, and that could be in your eyes, it could be in the balance system in your inner ear. It could be an issue with your respiration, it could be an issue with your body mapping system. And all of these little deficits that don’t get healed create constant stress to the nervous system.

[00:04:54] And stress is at the root of 90 to 95% of disease. So these deficits over time, if they’re not addressed, are constantly building up stress in the operating system and moving us into protective outputs. Outputs that keep our world smaller, that keep us safe according to our brain, and also create a disease state inside of the.

[00:05:19] So a lot of what we spend our time doing is finding our clients’ unique deficits and healing them so that that constant stress is reduced in the nervous system, and then new outputs become possible. Behavior change becomes possible, resilience becomes possible. 

[00:05:37] Resilience and behavior change are actually two of the, they’re on my list of what I had put of like what has nervous system healing done for me.

[00:05:46] And at the top of that is safety, trust, resiliency, and. . I mean, it’s not so much too about like the end of anxiety, the end of depression. It’s not like it never happens, but I don’t have that daily cycle through of like nervous system responses to things like I can handle it throughout the day if something goes wrong.

[00:06:08] And even getting down to like setting boundaries, deeper pleasure practices, and really. Like I didn’t experience joy in my life because I was under so much threat all the time, and joy was. It wasn’t safe for me. The charge behind joy and trust and self-worth, like I couldn’t even go there for myself. It was so sa unsafe and so unknown.

[00:06:36] It seems like it was easier to play small, to hide in relationships, to hide at work, and being a big over worker, but it was so energy, costly and leaking everywhere. Now that I understand all of that, which would not have been possible had I not trained my nervous system, I wouldn’t even understand that.

[00:06:59] You know, I am a creator that every skill is trainable, that I am the master of my nervous system. And where before I was like, I was barely maintaining status quo. Right. Like that real big pendulum swings in my life and now I really understand what expansion is in my life through real growth and seeing, seeing the trauma as really just kind of for what it is.

[00:07:27] You know, and having a higher level of awareness and acceptance and it’s, it’s been the deepest shift for me through really, and I think both of us are people that like to do all sorts of work. And so it only makes sense if you are into healing yourself that you would train your nervous system. It’s the underbelly of I think everything, yeah, everything of what’s possible in your life.

[00:07:56] Yeah. I mean, that’s the real truth of it, right? Is that we can do all of this work on ourselves. Even therapy mindset work, mindset coaching. You know, I got sober when I was 24 years old. I had a mindfulness practice. I meditated every day. I was a mindful mover. I spent a lot of time moving in a way that was intentional and precise.

[00:08:18] I did all of these things trying to level up my life and. I could not get myself out of certain states of stress that were really harmful to me because I hadn’t dealt with my nervous system. I couldn’t stop binge eating. I couldn’t stop over-training. I couldn’t stop moving myself into states of shutdown with workaholism and overdoing and perfectionism, and I couldn’t stop engaging in harmful trauma bond relationships like these things happened over and over and over again, and cognitively, I.

[00:08:52] Better. I’d been in therapy my whole entire life. I have done 12 step programs for over a decade. I did every freaking 12 step program you can think of, you know, and I read all the books and I worked with coaches, but I was dysregulated. My nervous system was not okay and it was impossible for me to. Be creative for me to change my behavior, to experience pleasure, for me to set boundaries for all of these things were not possible when I was stuck in a survival state at the level of my nervous system with chronic stress hormones pumping through my body.

[00:09:35] And often completely dissociated from my body because I hadn’t learned practices to come back into myself. And so it was really only through applied neurology and working with the operating system to create safety in the body, to create that foundation where the rest of my healing and behavior change could occur, that I was able to change my life and bring true health to.

[00:10:02] Yeah, it’s really miraculous. It really is, and I think, you know, you just said something about safety and nothing happens when we don’t feel safe, and if you have buried trauma that you haven’t dealt with, or maybe so many emotions get repressed. As we move through, we get to uncover that and, and discover what emotion is.

[00:10:25] you can’t do anything if you don’t feel safe, and your brain isn’t gonna allow those repressed emotions, those experiences, whatever happened to you. It’s not gonna let you. Revisit that if it doesn’t feel safe. I mean, safety is at the heart of everything for the brain because its only job is to keep you alive.

[00:10:46] It doesn’t care about anything else. It doesn’t really have a moral compass. Yeah, survival is our brain’s primary concern. Always, always, always, always. And I’m talking about the old brain, the brains Simmons survival. Always at the front of that. And if we don’t have that foundation of safety, not only will we not be able to access those emotions, if we do, if we push through, we will often make ourselves worse.

[00:11:13] And I have seen that happen, and I have experienced that in my life too, where I’ve gone to therapy or I’ve talked about stuff on a podcast, trying to be visible, trying to serve people or TA revisited things in a therapy session. Even in a conversation with a friend, and I didn’t have tools to make that safe in my body and to regulate my nervous system around it.

[00:11:36] And what happened is that I would get pushed into a trauma response, into an emotional flashback, into an episode of binge eating, into pain, into migraine, because trying to process that stuff just in my cognitive brain, just with my intellect, was very damaging to my. . So without the tools to regulate, we can actually create more trauma and more harm by trying to just push through that intellectually.

[00:12:06] I started learning about ACE scores, adverse childhood experience, and how people.

[00:12:11] Childhood trauma are much more likely to not only be addicts and have mental health issues, but to develop disease like autoimmune and cancer. Started looking at my own autoimmune, and I had all of this background in applied neurology and a very deep understanding of how the nervous system worked. And then I had my life experience, which was very intense, a very intense reflection of all of this.

[00:12:34] And then I had all this knowledge and healing work that I was doing on my own in somatics and everything. Started to come together. It was like I was having all these light bulb moments all of the time. I was looking at myself and what my body was showing me before an episode of binging, before an episode of chronic pain.

[00:12:52] And I could see my nervous system sending me signals. I could see the dysregulation in myself, and I knew that there was a much broader application for applied neurology beyond. Athletics into making behavior change possible and into trauma resolution. I, I knew that there was this missing piece of this incredible system applied neurology.

[00:13:17] And so I began the process of working through that system on myself to heal my nervous system, to get me out of binge eating, to get me out of pain, to get me through that time.

[00:13:28] And then the pandemic came and I knew everyone was gonna be facing those same concerns, health concerns, financial concerns, stress. And so that’s really when I created the system and. Brain-based wellness because I believe that applied neurology can be used for so much more and that it makes trauma resolution possible.

[00:13:47] It makes behavior change possible, and it creates a new felt sense experience of the world. 

[00:13:53] I wanna give our listeners a really solid view of what the nervous system is, what we mean when we even say we’re training the nervous system.

[00:14:03] And you did mention like it is, it’s our root, it’s our operating system. What makes up the nervous system and how does it. relate to behaviors. So our nervous system is an electrical system in the body that conveys information from the brain to the body. So we have our central nervous system, which is the brain, and the spinal cord is what brings information from the brain into the body and information from the body up to the brain.

[00:14:36] And it guides everything. It guides our. , our movement patterns, our respiration, our digestion, our heart rate rhythms, our felt sense, our sensory perception, right? So all of that is driven by our nervous system. And you have two parts of your nervous system. You have your somatic, which is your voluntary movement.

[00:14:59] and then you have your autonomic, which is all of the things that happen without your conscious awareness like breathing and digesting, and your heart rate. So all of this is happening all of the time without you having to think about it, and it’s being driven by your nervous system. Within that automatic nervous system.

[00:15:17] You have two parts, sympathetic and parasympathetic. Sympathetic is what prepares you for action. It’s your arousal network. So you hear people talk about this a lot, right? Fight and fight. And then if you get too pushed into sympathetic, you can go into freeze, which is a shutdown. Your body prepares to take action because it senses a certain amount of stress, right?

[00:15:39] It it’s preparing you to run away from a predator or to fight a predator, or to play. To escape the threat. And then you have your parasympathetic system, which is calm and respond, rest and digest, and that is the part of your nervous system that brings you down out of that arousal straight and brings you back into homeostasis where you can digest your food, where you can recover.

[00:16:02] You can. Repair. All of those things happen during parasympathetic, and these two parts of the nervous system need to be modulated. Well, so that kind of sounds complicated, but what I mean is that we’re never meant to stay stuck in either one of those states. It’s really important that our body transition from sympathetic to parasympathetic easily, and that we don’t go too high in one or the other, and that we can just kind of flow between them.

[00:16:31] So if I’m gonna work out, I want more sympathetic nervous system stay. I wanna have more energy, I want my muscles. To have contractile strength. If I want to rest at the end of the day and repair and digest my food, I need more parasympathetic upregulation. So that’s what it means to regulate your nervous system.

[00:16:49] People throw that word around a lot and it’s like, what? What does that mean? It’s about having the appropriate amount of nervous system stimulus and response for the given task at hand. So we don’t wanna never. Move into activation. We wanna have the right amount of activation for what we’re about to do, and we wanna be able to come down out of that and be able to rest.

[00:17:13] And the problem comes when we get stuck. When we get stuck in a high stress state and we stay in that sympathetic fight and flight. Part of our nervous system. And then there are chemicals being pumped out that are preparing our body for action, but they’re not getting turned off chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol.

[00:17:34] And those can be damaging over time if we don’t regulate and pull back on that. So, That is an overview of the nervous system, and that’s why it’s important to be able to regulate our nervous system so that we can move between those different states so that we don’t cause problems to our digestion. We don’t have problems with inflammation.

[00:17:55] We don’t create a disease state inside of the body because our operating system has gone kind of haywire with too much stress. It’s. . Yeah, it is harmful and we’ve got episodes on chronic stress, but the brilliant thing about applied neurology is that we can take just really small moments throughout the day and.

[00:18:18] Train the nervous system. 

[00:18:19] And when we’re talking about training the nervous system and you, you talked earlier about like visual proprioceptive, like all day long, all your brain is doing is taking in information and we want it to be the safest information that can come in so that you can live the life that you really wanna create for yourself.

[00:18:39] So not only are you able to be more in that performance mode, whatever you do and move through your life, it just gives you the ability to do that. Yes. With trust and safety, with resiliency. One of the beautiful things I’ve really loved about Applied Neurology is the way that it has brought me back into my body.

[00:19:01] I’ve never been more in my body than I am. and that would not be possible without training my nervous system. 

[00:19:08] And that’s really important. How can we hear our intuition? How can we know what is good for our body if we can’t hear the. That it is sending us, how can I be someone who honors and respects and listens to my body to know what’s in alignment for my life if I can’t read the signals that my body is sending me?

[00:19:27] And so applied neurology really made that possible. And you know, as you were talking, I was thinking there’s really two main uses of applied neurology. And I’ll again, explain a little bit more about what it is. But the first is finding really practical neural exercise. That you can use to regulate your nervous system.

[00:19:46] So really simple in the moment exercises, when you feel signs of dysregulation, when you feel stressed out, when you feel dissociated, when your heart is racing or your palms are sweating or your mouth dries out, having one or two, we call them neural drills, neural exercises. That you can do in that moment to give your brain the stimulus that it needs to regulate the nervous system.

[00:20:08] And that’s important for behavior change because all of our behaviors are our brain’s best bet to get the stimulus that it needs to regulate itself. So if I don’t have these tools, I’m going to go into another behavior that my brain is using to help me regulat. I’m gonna eat a bunch of food to calm down and move into rest and digest.

[00:20:29] I’m going to drink alcohol. So if I want to change my behavior, I have to have tools for regulation rather than just trying to take the behavior away from myself, cuz my body and my brain have been using that for a long time. To give me the regulation that they need. My binge eating was my brain’s best way to give me the stimulus and the regulation that I needed to move out of that state of chronic stress.

[00:20:56] So we use applied neurology to regulate our nervous system in the moment of stress so that behavior change becomes possible. Let’s take a few minutes and explain to people what is applied neurology like, how can we train these systems and how simple it is, because we’re talking about minutes out of the day that create huge lasting effects.

[00:21:17] Yeah. So the second use of applied neurology would be to intentionally train the nervous system. To become more resilient. And the best way to explain this is to think of your nervous system as a bucket. Imagine that your nervous system is this big bucket. All of your life. Stress goes into that bucket.

[00:21:37] Financial stress, relational stress. The stress of change, the stress of working out, the stress of movement, all the things that create stress in the body, and we are resilient. We’re made to handle a certain amount of stress, and stress is needed for adaptation, but too much stress again, for too long, getting stuck in that state of chronic stress that is damaging and dangerous in addition to all of your life.

[00:22:00] There is also stress coming from all of those little deficits in your nervous system. Maybe you have a vision problem in your right eye or a balance problem in your inner ear, or maybe your brain’s map of where your hand is in space is a little bit blurry because you have an old injury that’s never been rehabbed, right?

[00:22:17] So all of those things are giving low quality information to your. And that’s a problem that’s stressful for your brain because our brain’s primary purpose and the whole point of our nervous system is to take in all this information from the world around us to integrate it and to produce an output.

[00:22:38] And so your brain’s getting information from your skin, from your sensory receptors, from your mechanical receptors, which are your movement receptor. From inside you, from your organs, from your eyes, from your inner ear. It’s pulling in all of this information. It’s putting it together. It’s making a picture of you and the world around you.

[00:22:58] Remember, our brain lives in a little black box. It can’t actually see anything, right? So it relies on all of these receptors and our visual system to relay this inform. Then it generates an output based on the prediction that it makes from that information and that output is intended to, at the end of the day, keep you alive for your survival.

[00:23:22] And so if the information coming in from our eyes coming in from our balance system in our inner ear, if every single breath we take is a little bit inefficient, that is adding stress to that. every single second, and the water level in that bucket is just rising, rising, rising, rising. Well, again, our brain and our nervous system does not want the water in the bucket to overflow.

[00:23:46] That is dangerous. That’s too much stress. When the water level gets up to the top of the bucket, signals go off. Protective mode turns on. Suddenly you’re experiencing pain. You’re binge eating, you’re exhausted, you’re doing, your brain is. Protective outputs to get you to reduce the amount of stimulus, so the water level in the bucket goes back.

[00:24:08] We don’t have the capacity to change if our water level is at the top of the bucket. We don’t have the capacity to grow our business or to be present in relationships. We’re just trying to survive. So if by intentionally training these systems, these parts of the nervous system that provide information to your brain, your eyes, your inner ear, your body mapping system, if that information is clearer and more, , our brains have an easier time doing their primary.

[00:24:41] which is making predictions to keep you alive. And so the water level in the bucket goes down, goes down, goes down. My respiration’s more efficient, water level drops, my body map is clearer, water level drops, my eyes function better, water level drops, and now all of a sudden you have a new baseline level of stress that you’re under all of the time, and now you have more capacity, more bandwidth to handle your life because you’re right, life is gonna keep coming.

[00:25:11] So if we intentionally train every day to bring that water level down, we can handle it without moving into behaviors, outputs, experiences, states of being that we don’t want. 

[00:25:23] There’s a lot more to that episode. If you want to head back to episode one at the beginning of the season, and to begin training your nervous system, please go to rewire Now we’re going to expand into how trauma lives in the body now that you understand why you would want to start this journey in working with your nervous system. And you have a deeper understanding of the nervous system. We can learn more about these protective outputs and here are real life accounts with dysregulated nervous system states. 

[00:25:54] Like always, we love to mix science with real life experience. 

[00:26:09] we say a lot, uh, on this podcast and in our work with clients like trauma is not the event, it’s the physiological response that occurs in the body over and over again after the event.

[00:26:22] It’s the learned. Pattern inside of the body and the nervous system that gets retriggered, the body’s response is the trauma. And so we say like, trauma’s not the event. Trauma’s what happens in the body. And I think that is very true, but I think it’s also really abstract for people. Like they kind of understand it and it’s like, yeah, yeah, I get it.

[00:26:42] Trauma lives in my body and not in my thinking Mind. I, I think that it is one thing to say it and another to really think about how that presents in your life and how it can actually drive you into behaviors, into emotional experiences, into relationship patterns, because it’s your body and your subconscious mind reacting in this.

[00:27:11] Way this protective response over and over and over again.

[00:27:15] I think it’s important to say like, let’s talk about some of the really effective survival strategies that our brain has. to regulate us. Uh, you mentioned food.

[00:27:26] Food is a great one for me. Um, alcohol at some time was a really great one for me. I really love that one. Sometimes numbing out because I go into all four of the trauma responses, fight, flight, freeze, and fawn. It really kind of depends on what. I will do to self soothe, but food definitely is a good one for me.

[00:27:48] All of our outputs are protective, and when we are experiencing something that reminds us of a past event, a past something that was harmful to us because it dysregulated us, or it actually threatened our physical safety, our brain goes back into these survival. And it also gets dysregulated. So when we move into a state of flight or fight, we have all of this adrenaline and cortisol pumping through the body.

[00:28:20] Our heart rate increases, our muscles get tense, and we get moved into this high stress. State to get ready to take action, to defend ourselves or to flee the situation. But we have to be able to do something to reregulate out of that. And if we’ve experienced chronic stress for a long time, we’ve probably lost a lot of those skills of regulation.

[00:28:40] And we’ve developed other coping mechanisms to help us regulate, like binge cheating or drinking alcohol. Cannabis use, and all of these things are just ways that our brain uses to bring us out of that state of chronic stress. And so it’s really important to understand that these behaviors are protective and that our brain is always wired for survival first.

[00:29:03] And that trauma when it’s left unprocessed or trauma that has occurred over a long period of time, like complex trauma can. Stuck in these really dysregulated states where we’re constantly then engaging in these behaviors to try to bring our system back into order, back into regulations so that we’re safe and we’re not experiencing all these harmful chemicals and hormones and reactions inside of our body.

[00:29:31] Yeah, it’s crazy interesting the way that it affects us somatically and it affects us psychologically because psychologically, I mean, you know anyone here you can imagine any, you can remember anything right now, good or bad, and your brain is gonna play that memory in your body through the use of hormone.

[00:29:51] Yes. And then you have, yeah, like this altered perception also of the world around you, right? That can lead you to this belief that like the world around you isn’t safe. Other people are dangerous. Or in extreme cases, people would create altered personalities to help them cope with trauma, but that day-to-day survival output of like anxiety, depression, fear, well, emotional flashbacks is not that.

[00:30:19] That’s very smart. , the brain does want you to survive. So maybe in that case it’s looking for another way out. Yep. Yeah. So I think there’s a couple really important things that you just touched on. So, big picture, right? Trauma is not the event, it’s the long-term dysregulation and physical response that occurs over and over again because of the event or with complex trauma because of the many little.

[00:30:45] Over time. And then neural traces get left behind when previous trauma takes place. And these can be activated and they cause a trauma response like fight, flight, fraud or freeze. And they also affect our perception of reality. So how you respond to that trigger feels comparable to how you would respond to the trauma.

[00:31:07] So a trigger is really when our survival brain activates neurotransmitters and hormone. So a neurotransmitter is a chemical substance that’s released at the end of a nerve fiber, um, through a, through an impulse. And it causes the activation of that nerve fiber. It, it activates that neural pathway, right?

[00:31:28] So when we get triggered, our old brain, our survival brain activates these neurotransmitters and it activates these hormones that cause a strong physical sensation in the body, like. Anger, agitation, or anxiety. And this can also trigger shame or helplessness, like all of these are physiological events, emotions moving through the body, and then we can get pushed into what’s called an emotional flashback.

[00:31:55] And from a brain-based perspective, an emotional flashback is a response to a trigger. Any trigger in the outside world that reminds you of this past thing that creates an emotional reaction. Inside of the body that occurred frequently during your development, during your childhood. And this internal state then actually creates an external perception of reality so that the world matches the felt sense inside, right?

[00:32:23] So if you feel like despair or distrust or hopelessness or shame, your external world actually starts to reflect that and it. Real, and it seems permanent because our brains find information that match the internal felt sense inside. So the world around us starts to actually change to reflect that flashback state because we are taking in so much stimulus all the time, like.

[00:32:53] Thousands of data, points of stimulus from our eyes, from our inner ears, from our body mapping system, from our felt sense. And all that information is filtered through, and only about 10% of it makes it up to our frontal lobe, which is what we are cognitively aware of. But that filtering system is always looking to let through information that.

[00:33:15] The way we feel inside and that matches our beliefs. So as we start to change into that emotional landscape of the flashback, the way we perceive the external world actually changes as well. And then it just becomes a big old loop that we get stuck in. 

[00:33:31] We often lovingly referred to this podcast. Now, as of healing vortex, And just before we sat down to record this Elizabeth and I found ourselves in, in a combined emotional flashback together here in Austin, in our green belt. And you can hear that story in its entirety. If you. Go back to episode two, and you’ll also hear how we got ourselves out of it. In real time. Our emotional bodies can not be forgotten as we talk about the nervous system. And as we talk about regulating the nervous system, if your emotional body is dysregulated, then you are dysregulated. 

[00:34:08] Rewire We’ll teach you some of the same tools that we used in episode two. 

[00:34:17] Because the survival brain was fully activated, the prefrontal cortex wasn’t online. Wasn’t even online. Yeah. The part of you that makes you human, that front part of your brain was all completely offline at that moment. . Yep. And I think that is important to talk just a little bit about some of the science of what happens with trauma in our brain so that people can have a little understanding.

[00:34:40] Like this really has an effect on your brain, your physiology, and your vagus nerve. Mm-hmm. . And so there’s. Three parts of the brain that are really affected with high stress. Basically, that’s what trauma is. It’s a really high stress situation where your survival is threatened or it’s a chronic stress situation where you’re under chronic stress for a long period of time.

[00:35:00] Both are traumatic and both affect the system the same way. The three areas of the brain that are really affected are your prefrontal cortex, especially the the medial prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus, which is a brain structure that’s in your temporal lobe, and it has a big role in learning and memory.

[00:35:17] And then your amygdala, which is the region of the brain, primarily associated with emotional processing and processing of fear or threatening stimuli. And so with chronic stress or with a traumatic event, there are actually. Changes in these structures of the brain, the amygdala actually becomes larger and the prefrontal cortex actually gets shut down more.

[00:35:41] And remember, in neurology what we do, we get better at, right? So if we’re not getting enough fuel and activation to the prefrontal cortex, it’s actually becoming less able to do its job. And so not only. Do, do these structures change, but the relationships between them do, and one of the main roles of your prefrontal cortex is to suppress that threat response from your survival brain and from your amygdala.

[00:36:11] Like our, our prefrontal cortex inhibits our back brain and it inhibits. The threat and the fear response when it’s inappropriate, right? But if our prefrontal cortex is constantly getting, for lack of a better word, damaged or shut down by chronic stress and trauma, it can’t do that job of inhibiting our fear response as well.

[00:36:33] And so we become more reactionary. We experience this fear more regularly. And then that becomes a more well worn pathway, a more go-to response for our body. And then we find ourself in these loops of anxiety, a fight, a flight, a freeze more frequently, because that’s the pattern that’s getting repeated.

[00:36:53] And those are the areas of the brain that are getting fed. Okay. So I think some of what I’m hearing you say that I wanna move, uh, into is that traumatic experie. Disrupt the connectivity in parts of your brain that are supposed to be connecting with each other. And then so are there ways to heal the connection of those two parts of the brains, it sounds like.

[00:37:16] They need to be online and be online together to heal effectively. Yep.

[00:37:22] I believe that neuroplasticity means that our brains are changing all the time in response to the stimulus that we.

[00:37:30] And our brains can be re patterned and we can get fuel and activation to the areas of the brain that need it. By deciding to provide our brain and our nervous system with stimulus that’s gonna give it the activation that it needs to re-pattern. So we can intentionally choose to do neural exercises, eye exercises, respiration.

[00:37:54] Sensory exercises that give the brain the stimulation that it needs to help these systems become more active and to function better. And so if we make time every day to work with the nervous system and to reactivate these brain structures and to help this relationship, Come into a healthier, more balanced state of being.

[00:38:15] When we’re in a safe environment, when we’re in a safe container and we practice giving it that stimulus over and over and over again, then we can change that. We can change that. I can tell you from a personal experience to the listeners I was in, oscillating patterns of fight, flight, freeze, and fun. You really didn’t know what you were gonna get when I showed up.

[00:38:37] And then when I added alcohol to the fire of that dysregulated nervous system, then it just became way crazy. And learning to regulate my nervous system healed my social anxiety, my regular anxiety, um, my depression. Like I’m a pretty balanced person now. I mean, you kind of know what you’re gonna get when I show up.

[00:38:55] I’m, I have boundaries. I can speak my truth. I feel comfortable in my body. I understand my food relationship now. Like I actually love my body and that has to do through applied neurology. Yeah, it’s, it’s the most incredible, like I always tell people, do anything you want in your healing modalities, do all of it, but train your nervous system.

[00:39:19] Like you need to train the foundational aspect of your operating system that you are carrying all day because our bodies go through so. Much and they’ve been holding onto so much. Some of it you know and some of it you don’t know, and it’s affecting everything in your world. The world that you are creating, the relationships, the way that you present to the world, your income, everything of expansion and growth lives in your nervous system.

[00:39:45] And if you have unresolved trauma, you are likely not showing up to your life as who you truly.

[00:39:52] In this conversation, we begin to open the doors of understanding dissociation, which we later record on independently and bring into many, many more conversations on trauma rewired. I think by now too, you’re probably understanding that there’s a lot to your nervous system and 

[00:40:09] You know, the Vegas nerve. It gets a lot of play out there, but. You are learning, hopefully that there’s a lot to your nervous system. And, you know, we talked earlier also about how important it is to be in our bodies. 

[00:40:22] And the Vegas nerve is really an important tool for being in our bodies. And listening and understanding the way that our bodies are speaking to us. And. 

[00:40:35] Your Vegas nerve may need to be up-regulated or down-regulated. And to learn more about that, go to rewire 

[00:40:51] ‘ I think it’s important to discuss, and that’s the ability to be in your body. and to hear the signals that your body is sending you.

[00:40:58] Because I really lived most of my life in a state of living, entirely in my head, and disconnected from my body. I dissociated from my body at a very early age, and I spent a lot of my life in that state, and it really didn’t feel safe to drop into my body and feel the signals. So then I, I didn’t have intuition.

[00:41:18] I didn’t have the ability to read the signals that my body was sending me, and I never. Safe because it wasn’t safe in my own body. And there’s a really important nerve, your vagus nerve that gets damaged with chronic stress over time, and that’s the nerve that helps you hear the signals from your body and also interpret those signals.

[00:41:38] With accuracy, not interpret too much threat where there isn’t any. And so a lot of this ability to create safety and come back into my body has come with intentionally training my vagus nerve, and that’s the foundation of safety that allowed me to change a lot of other stuff. and I wanna clarify something that you said before we move on to a little bit of vagus nerve.

[00:42:00] When you talk about dissociating from your body at a really early age, I wanna clarify for people, because this is something that happened for me too. We’re talking about the potential of losing years from your life. Like not even remembering what your room look like, where you were, who you were with.

[00:42:16] Like we are talking about completely leaving your. . I think it’s really important that people, cuz people can probably maybe relate to that, like not remembering. I, I would often remember things only because we had family pictures to prove that I was there. I know I was at that lake when I was eight years old because there’s pictures there.

[00:42:36] I don’t remember one thing about it. It’s only in the past few years that my childhood has started to come back to me, and it’s only in the past few years that I’ve started to feel okay. Feeling what it feels like in my body hearing. Mm-hmm. and feeling, what does it feel like in my chest? What does it feel like in my stomach?

[00:42:56] Much less trying to describe the sensation of different emotions, like that took a whole, that’s a whole nother ballgame. First, I just had to come in and be able to feel my breath, to feel my heartbeat, to feel my skin without that being threaten. And it’s beautiful. It is beautiful to be in your body and to know that, you know, getting to the vagus nerve, that there is this component in our bodies to bring us back.

[00:43:23] We have a tool that lives in us that will connect our heart rates back, that will turn our digestion back on from it being cut off from one of those four Fs.

[00:43:36] Just really quickly, for people who don’t know, the vagus nerve is a cranial nerve that runs from your brainstem all the way down into your pelvis, and it has a lot of different roles, but two of the most important ones are that it carries signals from your organs, from your.

[00:43:53] Heart from all of these things inside of your body up to your brain, and it tells your brain, Hey, this is what’s going on inside of my body. So that’s a really important function. And then it also is a key player in your parasympathetic nervous system response, which is the part of your nervous system that brings you down out of threat.

[00:44:11] It calms you down. It’s your rest and digest your calm and respond part of your nervous system and the health of your vagus nerve. Is really impactful on the ability to move into that parasympathetic state and with chronic stress over time and with trauma, our vagus nerve can get damaged and it can get impinged, so it can get damaged by the hormones that are pumping out.

[00:44:35] Especially cortisol can damage the vagus nerve when you have too much cortisol over time because of too much glucose in the blood, glu glucose toxicity. And then it can also get impinged because a lot of. Horizontal muscle fibers lock up when you’re in trauma because your brain is trying to create stability in your core so that you can generate more force to run or to hit something really hard, right?

[00:45:01] You need a stable core to have something to push against, to generate more force, and then you have more speed or more force when you hit, right? So all these muscle fibers in our trunk get really locked. like our, our diaphragm, our, the muscles at the base of our skull so that we lose mobility in our spine.

[00:45:21] But what happens when those fibers get really locked up, our vagus nerve runs through all of those fibers and it can impinge the vagus nerve, and then the signal, the conductivity that runs through that nerve is interrupted. And so your vagus nerve gets damaged by trauma for those two. Gluco toxicity and the impingement, and so we start to lose the ability to read the signals inside of our body.

[00:45:47] and we start to lose the ability to get out of our sympathetic fight, flight, freeze nervous system response.

[00:45:55] As I was saying earlier, both of these conversations when they were recorded independently were about 40 to 45 minutes. And so there really is a lot more to this conversation for you to explore. And then as you’ll see, we have thoughtfully laid out the conversations from here that represents season two and complex trauma. 

[00:46:15] And understanding the nervous system. As it relates to complex trauma, how trauma lives in the body. And what this can look like for you.

[00:46:24] Everybody responds different to different stimulus. So the most important thing that you and I do when we work with clients and that we do on the brain-based wellness site is.

[00:46:33] Teach people how to understand their own nervous system, how to assess and reassess and develop their own unique toolkit of the stimulus that they need to heal their unique deficits, to address their unique neuromatrix and to create the a positive response for them. It’s very empower. . It’s a very empowering method of healing.

[00:46:56] The thing with trauma is you can have a big T trauma or lots of little T traumas, but also most importantly, you don’t have to know your traumas at all, Because most of us live in a pretty high stress state and to work with your nervous system, you don’t have to identify any of your traumas at all because of the world we live in, you are going to experience these states in your body. 

[00:47:20] And they are inherently dysregulating to your nervous system. 

[00:47:23] You may be experiencing some of the protective outputs from dysregulation that we’ve talked about, like pain, chronic fatigue, overwhelm, anxiety, binge eating. As we mentioned before, these are all things that our bodies and nervous systems are employing to manage our stress load. Go to rewire to start today. 

[00:47:47] We really, we wanted to rerelease these conversations for our new listeners. And for those of you who have been listening, sometimes we kind of forget what it’s like to go back to the beginning. And sometimes it’s just even hard to start back at the beginning of a season, but we intentionally laid it out for you to learn about your nervous system and these protective outputs. 

[00:48:09] And this is just the beginning rewire trial. We’ll get you started. And we hope to see you onsite today. Much love y’all.