What is Fawn? Fawn is a stress response that allows us to imitate a “safe and social” ventral vagal state, even when we are feeling threatened. It happens when it is either not possible, or it would increase danger to ourselves, to Fight or Flee (high sympathetic responses) from the perceived threat. It is also … Continue reading An exploration of the Fawn stress response
Safe and Social
The “safe” ventral vagal dominant state
Some call it “Safe and Social” … Others call it “Calm and Connected” … Whatever we call it, it refers to the "regulated" state we are in when our autonomic nervous system senses safety, and our ventral vagal nerve complex, which helps us to engage socially with other people, is “switched on”. As you can … Continue reading The “safe” ventral vagal dominant state
It’s not (just) what we say, it’s how we say it (which is all about the nervous system)
I first came across Non-Violent Communication (NVC) in Marshall Rosenberg’s book that my then partner had picked up at the book shop. We were needing some support with our communication, and this one jumped out at him for some reason. Needless to say, it was too late for us. I kept the book when we … Continue reading It’s not (just) what we say, it’s how we say it (which is all about the nervous system)
Why it’s easy for our nervous system to get “stuck” in an unsafe state
Did you know that the state of our autonomic nervous system is “self-reinforcing”. 🟢 This means that, if our nervous system is sensing safety, and our "social engagement" system is dominant, then we will continue to perceive more safety cues, keeping us in a “Safe & Social” state. 🔴 But, if our nervous system is … Continue reading Why it’s easy for our nervous system to get “stuck” in an unsafe state
How can we shift from “Fight or Flight” back to a peaceful and loving state?
As parents, there are lots of situations that might trigger us into “Fight or Flight”, ranging from feeling powerless to get our child’s cooperation, to feeling shocked when our child does something that hurts us physically. But we know that interacting with our kids in that state is not going to be helpful. It will … Continue reading How can we shift from “Fight or Flight” back to a peaceful and loving state?
More on co-regulation
I had a few people contact me about my last post on co-regulation, so I'm responding to some of their questions in this post. In case you didn't see that post, I talked about co-regulation, and how it is a child’s repeated experiences with an adult who feels safe and has the "Social Engagement" branch … Continue reading More on co-regulation
What is co-regulation?
You might have heard that kids “co-regulate” off the adults in their lives. But what does it mean? And why is it so important? Our children’s nervous system is wired to automatically pick up on the body language, tone of voice, and facial expression, that accompany our autonomic states, and to detect whether the environment … Continue reading What is co-regulation?
Our autonomic states are “contagious”
Have you noticed that, if we are in a state of Fight or Flight, rushing around feeling, looking and sounding stressed, then our children often start feeling and acting agitated too? And if, in our activated state, we glare at them or speak in a harsher voice to them, they may go into Fight or … Continue reading Our autonomic states are “contagious”
Polyvagal theory and the autonomic states: Safe & Social, Fight or Flight, Shut Down
I find it fascinating learning more about the autonomic nervous system and how the state of it is unconsciously expressed through our face, body and voice. Did you know that, according to Stephen Porge’s Polyvagal theory, the human autonomic (automatic) nervous system has 3 branches that have evolved over time in animals: ➡️ Ventral (Front) Vagal … Continue reading Polyvagal theory and the autonomic states: Safe & Social, Fight or Flight, Shut Down