Regulate your nervous system by attuning to the here and now.
This brief exercise activates the social engagement system and the vagus nerve for greater calm, centeredness, and presence.
Orienting is a fundamental skill that comes naturally to all mammals, though, sadly, many of us have been trained out of it.
How was this practice for you? Let me know!
Hi. This is Emma Sartwell with Somatic Spiritual Counseling, and today we’re going to talk briefly about orienting. So, what is orienting? It might be easiest to describe by thinking about what is disorientation. A lot of us have been feeling disoriented recently: “What day is it? What time is it? What do I need to do today? Do I need to wear a mask? Where am I? What’s going on?” So, disorientation, we can all tell, is really a state of activation, a state of stress. We don’t feel safe. We don’t feel relaxed. And contributing to this is being on the computer so much of the time. So many of us are spending our whole days on the computer, which really locks our eyes and our head into one position. So, the opposite of that is what’s more natural for a mammal in safety is having soft vision, being able to look around knowing where we exist in time and space.
So, we’re going to do a brief exercise to get oriented and see if it makes any difference in our state. So, to begin, kind of check in with yourself. You might want to close your eyes and just see how you’re doing in this moment. How’s your mental plane doing? What do your thoughts feel like? Are they fast, slow? How’s your body doing? Are there areas of tension or expansion? And how are your emotions doing? And then we’ll start to land here by feeling yourself in your spot, wherever you are. If you’re not sitting down, you probably want to sit down. Feel your feet on the floor. Maybe even push into your feet a little bit. Feeling your seat on the chair.
And then allowing your eyes to come away from the screen and move around your space. Just letting them go at their own pace, looking in all directions. Leading with your eyes, but moving your whole head and letting your neck move. And then landing your eyes on one object that’s either pleasant or neutral. And we’re going to give it its own beat, give it a little punctuation by naming it. For example, I see a white flower. And notice if taking a moment with this object has any impact on your internal state. Taking in this object with your whole system. And then letting your eyes wander again. And this time, we’re going to orient to a sound. So, maybe when your head is in a certain position, you hear a sound. Give it a name. I hear rustling leaves. And allow that sound to impact you.
And then letting your head scan the environment one more time. For this exercise, we’re going to use three objects. So, let the third one be an object of touch. So, that could be touching a table in front of you, touching your hands together, or feeling some sensation on your body, like wind on your face. And allowing that impression in to permeate your whole body. And then letting your eyes wander one more time around the space. And checking in. Maybe closing your eyes. And see if this little bit of orienting to your space has had an effect on your thoughts or your body or your emotional state.
So, I hope this has been helpful. It’s been helpful for me. If you want to go deeper or you have any questions, feel free to email me at emma @ somaticspiritualcounseling.com. Thank you.