How hiking helped me to regulate my nervous system

hiking and wild camping snowdonia

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about edges and about how my perspective to them has changed over the last couple of years.

I used to be very reactive, so an edge would immediately take me to catastrophic thoughts of falling and ultimately death. Often the situation that I was in when I got these thoughts was manageable and safe. Yes, maybe there was an edge there, and yes, maybe there was a big drop next to that edge, but ultimately, my feet were on solid ground.

The thoughts that I was having did not match the situation that I was in.

By gradually exposing myself to more edges I am now able to manage these thoughts. I am able to remind myself when I am safe, that I am safe. I feel my feet on the ground. I remind myself that I can walk normally, that I won’t fall.

I focus on my breathing, relax my body and stay calm as I move forward.

This lesson first became apparent to me while hiking in the Welsh mountains. But more recently I was able to see the similarities to perceived threat in everyday life. An off-hand comment from someone, something going wrong at work, dealing with your children’s difficulties at school….these things all have the potential to cause catastrophic thinking…to set your imagination into overdrive for all of the worst case scenarios.

So I have started to remember that these incidents are edges too. They feel scary, but ultimately, my feet are on solid ground, and I can move through them using the same tools that I do on the mountain.

I focus on my breathing, relax my body and stay calm as I move forward.

It is interesting how this relates to the work that I share in my new Trauma informed coaching programme – Calmer You.

The programme teaches nervous system flexibility, the ability to regulate the nervous system and ultimately be able to lead from a place of calm confidence.

So if you want to increase your tolerance to metaphorical edges, to manage stress, and to lead from a place of calm confidence then fill out this short application form and I will get straight back to you

And if you want to join me in the mountains this year you can find the dates of all trips here.

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