MindAlign teaches you how to get in charge of your life with self-regulation.
Self = one’s own person; oneself
Regulate = from the Latin regulatus, indicating “to control by rule, direct” or, “state of being reduced to order”
So to self-regulate is to voluntarily bring yourself back into balance by your own natural abilities. It’s about restoring order within yourself when you fall into disorder, or imbalance.
Which brings us to the question, What causes people to fall out of balance in the first place?
Reactivity is the innate, biological instinct to respond automatically to input. Reactivity comes in many shapes and sizes, but one type that you’re probably already familiar with is the fight or flight response.
(Note: In MindAlign language, a “reaction” is different from a “response,” but because the popular phrase is “fight or flight response” we will be using this term in this post. Look out for a future post on “responsiveness” in the MindAlign sense.)
The self-protective fight or flight survival mechanism is active in all of us. Let’s bring it to life with an example: Say you’re relaxing at home, reading a book, when all of a sudden you hear a loud, unexpected bang. You react to the noise with a startle. This is a reaction: an automatic, uncontrolled response to input.
We could represent this reaction in this way:
Bang → Startle
When you receive input - the stimulus - that signals some potential threat or danger, your body has an automatic physiological reaction that prepares your body to confront the threat (“fight”) or run away (“flight”). In this example, the loud bang is the input, to which you react with a startle. Your body has an automatic physiological reaction to the stressful input that takes you out of a balanced resting state, into a reactive state of physiological stress.
Bang → Startle
Stimulus → Response
Or to get even more detailed:
Baseline Resting State + Stimulus → Stress Response
[Relaxed + Bang → Stress Response]
Such automatic reactivity is totally normal. More than likely you’ve been in a situation where you’ve had a similar reaction yourself. And in fact, there are countless other forms of reactivity that you’ve probably experienced at one time or another.
You can roughly group reactions into three basic categories: physical, emotional, and mental. Physical reactions are the kind described in the example above - automatic body-based reactions. Emotional reactions have an additional layer of feeling states, or emotions - such as happy, sad, anxious, hopeful, etc. Mental reactions include mental, thought-based activity - for example, judgments of being right or wrong.
With all that being said, all types of reactivity share one thing in common: they pull you out of your baseline state of calm relaxation. In other words, they take you out of balance.
This is a good place to point out that reactions in and of themselves are not inherently good or bad. This basic instinct has allowed humans (and other animals with nervous systems) to survive throughout our evolutionary history by reacting to input to stay alive, just in case that thing ended up being dangerous after all.
But after the threat passes, your body naturally returns to a resting state because there’s no longer anything to fight or run away from. Your body has evolved an innate, finely tuned regulatory system that restores you to baseline after you’re done stressing out over whatever triggered you in the first place.
Returning to our example from earlier, let’s say it turns out the sound was just your roommate dropping a pot on the floor. You relax and your heart rate slows back to normal.
What happens is something like this:
Baseline + Stimulus → Stress - Stimulus → Baseline
[Relaxed + Bang → Stress - Bang (i.e., no danger) → Relaxed]
Your body has this innate regulatory ability to return to a state of relaxation after reacting to stressors. However, sometimes that return to baseline is difficult.
Mental and emotional factors can suspend you in a state of stress. Such factors can include anger, fear, judgment, rumination, and thousands of other things. Trauma is another powerful factor that impacts the body’s nervous system, making it extremely challenging to return to a state of relaxation. So many of us are controlled by our innate reactivity, without even realizing it.
But you don't have to let reactivity run the show.
This is where self-regulation comes in. By learning to self-regulate your body, emotions, and mind, you can get in charge of yourself. You can learn how to create a more stress-free life, where you are in control of your reactivity. And you can learn how to do all of this at MindAlign.
MindAlign empowers you with the mindfulness-based tools and techniques to bring yourself out of stress and reactivity, back into a state of relaxation and self-connection. With the education and determination to stick to it, anyone can learn how to self-regulate.
Keep checking back here on our blog for more information on self-regulation and how to make mindfulness practical for more ease, function, and peace in everyday life.
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