Cues of Safety (4/6)

Presenter: Deb Dana

When we are feeling safe, our body turns on our ventral vagus system. Ventral vagal can look like ease and peace or joy and play.

All systems are online during ventral vagal. Sympathetic nervous system is regulating blood flow and our heart rate. We have the ability to energize to meet the demands on the day, including play. We are digesting and resting well.

When you are in dorsal vagal response you are more able to:

  • be social
  • connected to self, others, the world, spirit
  • communicate
  • be healthy
  • engage in growth and restoration
  • co-regulate and self-regulate
  • tune into the moment and tune out distractions
  • be resourced and resourceful
  • reach out for and offer support
  • explore options
  • feel hope, compassion, and self-compassion
  • be flexible
  • be resilient

We lose all of these abilities when we are responding to danger or life-threat.

Think about a time when you felt safe and social. What happens in your body when you feel this way? What things do you do? How do you feel? What thoughts do you have? What happens to your sleep? Eating? Substance use? Compulsive addictive behaviors? What color would describe this state for you? If you were to call this something else, what would you call it (for example, sunny, stormy, foggy)? Complete the sentences- I am… The world is…

Head here to learn about how I help clients who have had bad shit happen or head here to learn about how I help clients feel safer.


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