Mastering the Art of Nervous System Regulation

Apr 16, 2024

Introduction to Nervous System Regulation

In our fast-paced modern world, the nervous system often bears the brunt of our stressors and methods for nervous system regulation (balance) are essential for wellbeing . From work deadlines to personal pressures, our bodies can easily become overwhelmed, leading to a mix of physical and emotional stress responses. But fear not, for there are many effective and practical ways to help your nervous system restore balance. In this blog post, we’ll explore some techniques backed by science to help you master the art of nervous system regulation. Before we start, if you’d like to know a little more about your nervous system, you can read a beginner’s introduction here.

Practical Methods for Nervous System Regulation

1. Mindful Breathing:

One of the simplest yet most powerful ways to regulate the nervous system is through mindful breathing techniques. Deep, diaphragmatic breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system promoting relaxation and reducing stress. Try Coherence or Resonance breathing, which synchronises the heart, brain and other bodily systems and is associated with many physical and mental health benefits. It’s also a fast and effective method for nervous system regulation. Simply set a timer for 5-10 minutes and breathe in for 5 seconds and out for 5 seconds with no pause in between breaths. Breathe gently, quietly and steadily to regulate the airflow and see how after a number of minutes you start to get into a nice calm state as boy and mind settle. If you practice this daily then you will also notice the cumulative effects over time as your stress response becomes more balanced.

2. Practice Mindful Movement:

Here at BodyMindBrain we love Somatic Movement Education because it is easy, relaxing and releases muscular tension and stress like no other movement discipline we’ve encountered. When we are stressed or experiencing stronger emotions, our muscles tense. Its helpful to remember that every emotional response comes with a muscuular counterpart. Releasing muscular tension, therefore, is also a very helpful way to regulate the nervous system and, in addition to releasing stress and muscular tension, you get to avoid the aches and pains that our modern lifestyle (think mobile phones and tablet use) inevitably brings. Avoiding aches and pains also means that you are able to keep up with your physical exercise practices more efficiently for the long term

3. Engage in Regular Movement and Exercise:

Regular physical activity is not only beneficial for your physical health but also plays a crucial role in regulating the nervous system. Exercise increases the production of endorphins, the body’s natural mood elevators, and reduces levels of stress hormones. Whether it’s a brisk walk, a bike ride, or a dance class, find an activity you enjoy and make it a regular part of your routine to keep your nervous system in check.

4. Prioritise Rest and Sleep:

Down time and quality sleep is essential for nervous system regulation and overall well-being. During sleep, the body repairs itself, and the brain processes emotions and memories, helping to reduce stress, improve mood and help us be ready to face a new day. Equally, periods of rest or calm during the day can help to make sure our parasympathetic nervous system keesp us in balance and means that we don’t arrive at bedtime overwhelmed from the day.

Aim for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night and establish a relaxing bedtime routine to signal to your body that it’s time to wind down. Avoid screens and stimulating activities before bed, and create a comfortable sleep environment conducive to restorative sleep.

5. Cultivate Mindfulness and Meditation:

Mindfulness meditation practices involve paying attention to the present moment without judgment, which can help regulate the nervous system and reduce stress. Research has shown that regular meditation practice can increase activity in brain regions associated with emotional regulation and decrease activity in the amygdala, the brain’s fear centre. It s a great way to get out of our heads and just be, when so much of our busy lives revolve around thinking and doing it a great antidote to stress.

6. Connect with Nature:

Spending time in nature has been shown to have a calming effect on the nervous system, reducing stress and promoting feelings of well-being. Whether it’s a hike in the mountains, a stroll on the beach, or simply sitting in a park, immersing yourself in natural surroundings can help restore balance to your mind and body. Make time to disconnect from technology and reconnect with the natural world regularly to recharge your nervous system. Try taking your exercise, breathing or mindfulness practice into nature too!

7. Choose your Company Wisely:

Who we spend time with can profoundly affect our mood. While we cant always control who we spend time with at work, we can make sure that our friendships are on average more positive and nourishing than they are depleting.

8. Biohacking technologies 

We live in an age where technology can now help us regulate the body and brain. Two such technologies are Neurofeedback and IHHT.

Neurofeedback as made famous by the book ‘The Body Keeps The Score‘ has been used for decades by athletes, NASA and in the treatment of certain health conditions such as epilepsy and ADHD. Nowadays it is becoming more widely accepted as helpful in treating many symptoms associated with chronic stress, mental health struggles, trauma as well as helping achieve peak performance levels across many areas. It trains the brain and nervous system how to self regulate at its best and, for many people, gets them the results they haven’t been able to achieve by many of the many other methods described in this blog post.

IHHT or Altitude Training is an Oxygen Therapy also traditionally used by astronauts and elite athletes to improve physiological performance. Nowadays, an overwhelming amount of positive research exists to support its helpfulness in many health conditions and in promotive nervous system regulation.


Regulating the nervous system is essential for maintaining overall health and well-being in today’s fast-paced world. By incorporating mindful breathing, exercise, sleep, mindfulness meditation, time in nature as well as health technologies into your health routine, you can effectively manage stress and cultivate inner balance. Experiment with these techniques to find what works best for you, and remember that even small changes can make a big difference in restoring harmony to your nervous system and living a more fulfilling life.