How to Regulate Nervous System & Help Reduce Stress


Stress is an inevitable part of our lives, and leaving it unchecked can result in serious negative health conditions both mentally and physically. Just because you encounter stress doesn’t mean it has to become overwhelming. One of the ways to manage stress levels is by understanding and regulating nervous system responses.

Today, we’re discussing symptoms to look for and how to regulate nervous system responses to reduce stress levels. Following these tips for regulating your nervous system will support your mind and body as you process stress more effectively.

Signs to Start Regulating Nervous System Responses

There are times when your body’s response to different situations becomes misaligned. This misalignment of your nervous system is called a dysregulated nervous system, which can lead to a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms. If you’ve become attuned to recognizing these signs, you can implement ways to regulate your nervous system to help get back into alignment and reduce stress levels.

Some signs that you need to learn how to regulate nervous system responses include:

  • Ongoing anxiety: Feeling anxious or worried most of the time, even if you can’t identify a specific cause.
  • Chronic fatigue: Experiencing ongoing feelings of being worn out that don’t improve with sleep or rest. Fatigue isn’t just physical, however. Learn more about how to fix mental exhaustion after this.
  • Sleep issues: Having problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting more restorative sleep.
  • Digestive problems: Stomach or digestive issues like bloating, constipation, or diarrhea.
  • Emotion control problems: Mood swings, irritability, or feeling overwhelmed by your emotions.
  • Physical ailments: Physical manifestations of stress like muscle tension, headaches, or body aches.
  • Difficulty concentrating: Having a hard time focusing on anything, experiencing memory lapses, or needing brain fog treatment.

Causes of Nervous System Dysregulation

Identifying symptoms is important, but what is causing the need for how to regulate your nervous system in the first place? Identifying the root cause of your body’s reaction and misalignment can help get you back on track.

Factors that may cause the dysregulation of your nervous system are:

  • Chronic stress: Untreated stress levels can overload your nervous system. Regulating nervous system responses may serve as a potentially effective chronic stress treatment.
  • Trauma: Past traumatic experiences can leave a lasting impact on your nervous system.
  • Unhealthy lifestyle choices: Unhealthy choices like a nutrition-deficient diet, lack of exercise, and sleep deprivation can all negatively affect your nervous system.
  • Environmental factors: Environmental stressors may result in needing to learn how to regulate nervous system responses. This is especially true for those who might be in areas where they can’t control things like exposure to toxins or noise pollution (such as in certain work environments).
  • Genetic predisposition: Like with many health conditions, there is a genetic predisposition component that could more easily cause nervous system dysregulation in some. Learning how to regulate your nervous system with specific actions can help.

How to Regulate Nervous System Responses

If you previously thought your body’s reaction to stressors was out of your control, it’s time to rethink that mindset. Regulating nervous system responses is essential for managing stress and improving your overall well-being. The key is learning how to regulate nervous system responses in a mindful, purposeful way.

To help, consider ways to regulate nervous system such as:

  1. Practicing mindfulness activities
  2. Doing progressive muscle relaxation exercises
  3. Staying active
  4. Choosing a healthy diet
  5. Getting enough sleep
  6. Managing your time well
  7. Using stress-reducing tools

1. Practicing Mindfulness Activities

First up as we explore how to regulate nervous system responses is practicing mindfulness activities. These kinds of activities teach you how to relax and recharge, giving your mind and body what they need to process stress more efficiently and get your nervous system back in alignment.

Consider options like mindfulness meditation, which involves focusing your attention on the present moment and acknowledging your thoughts without judgment. It’s helpful as it allows you to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings without becoming overwhelmed by them. Other mindfulness practices like guided imagery, visualization techniques, or calming breathing exercises are beneficial, too.

Find which works well for you and you can integrate it into your efforts toward how to regulate your nervous system.

2. Doing Progressive Muscle Relaxation Exercises

Another method for how to regulate nervous system responses that may work for you is progressive muscle relaxation. This technique involves tensing and then gradually relaxing different muscle groups in your body.

Start with your toes and work your way up to your head. Engage each muscle group for a few seconds then release and feel the tension start to melt away. This kind of progressive muscle relaxation practice also helps reduce physical tension and stress, helping you relax more easily.

3. Staying Active

Does stress make you feel jittery? Like you need to get out and work off some excess energy? There’s a reason for that. Physical activity is a powerful stress reliever.

Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural stress-relieving hormones that lift your spirits and elevate your mood. It also helps regulate your body’s stress response and improve sleep. It’s best to try and get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 5 days a week.

This doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym every day and push yourself too hard. In fact, low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, or jogging can be just as effective and help with how to regulate nervous system responses.

4. Choosing a Healthy Diet

You may have already known that what you eat impacts how your body handles stress and other emotions. Choosing a diet full of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains provides the nutrients your body needs to function optimally. Avoid excessive caffeine, sugar, and processed foods because they contribute to added anxiety and energy crashes. Also, make sure you’re drinking enough water as it’s crucial for helping with how to regulate your nervous system.

5. Getting Enough Sleep

Sleep has a huge impact on every aspect of our lives. It’s no surprise that sleep quality and quantity are part of learning how to regulate nervous system responses, too. For most adults, getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night is ideal.

Establish a relaxing nighttime routine that includes winding down activities like reading, taking a warm bath, or using a zero gravity recliner to relax. Avoid blue light exposure from screens as well as other stimulating activities before bed.

Consistent sleep patterns can improve your mood, boost cognitive function, and reduce stress levels.

6. Managing Time Well

Organizing your time effectively is another one of the easiest ways to regulate nervous system responses. Proper time management can keep you from feeling stressed or otherwise overwhelmed.

Break large tasks into manageable steps, prioritize what’s important, and set realistic deadlines. You can also use tools like planners or digital calendars to keep track of your schedule. Making time for relaxation and self-care is also essential for maintaining a balanced life.

7. Using Stress-Reducing Tools

Perhaps one of the most effective methods for how to regulate nervous system responses is with stress-reducing tools. These kinds of tools can range from weighted blankets and aromatherapy to zero gravity chairs for everyday use. It’s all about finding what helps keep you the most calm and stress-free.

Weighted blankets, for example, provide gentle and even pressure across your body. This pressure, known as deep pressure stimulation, can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality. Aromatherapy techniques may use essential oils like lavender, chamomile, and bergamot that can have calming effects on the nervous system.

One of the best stress-reducing tools for how to regulate your nervous system responses is a zero gravity chair. Reclining into the zero gravity position elevates your legs above your heart level and reduces excess pressure on your lower spine. This neutral body position serves as the catalyst for better blood circulation, faster bodily healing, deeper relation, pain relief, and so many more zero gravity chair benefits.

Depending on which model you choose, you can heated zero gravity chairs or options with a massage function to elevate your experience even further.

Learning how to regulate nervous system responses is great for managing stress and improving your overall health. By incorporating relaxation techniques, making lifestyle changes, and utilizing stress-reducing tools like zero gravity chairs, you can effectively calm your nervous system and get it back into alignment. These practices will help you to handle life’s challenges more easily.

Disclaimer: This content is not medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare professional when considering implementing changes to your health or workout routines to ensure it’s compatible with your needs.