Why You Should Regulate Your Autonomic Nervous System

How Smart Content Creators Stop Paralysis, Procrastination AND Burnout

In 10 years in business, I've encountered my share of external and internal threats. Lots of things we can't control. That's why I like to be pragmatic and focus on the things we can meddle with: the internal threats.

Your business success relies on you. It depends on how well you manage internal threats. 

One of these threats can be your emotions. Do you let your emotions chuck you about or do you generally get on with things? You may have said this yourself: ‘my own worst enemy’

Let's change this shall we?

Learn the tools to regulate your nervous system in a healthy way. You'll be ready to tackle any emotional onslaught coming your way. A regulated nervous system means that your mind, body and emotions are in balance.


The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)


Ever wonder what's silently steering your body's functions under the hood? Enter the autonomic nervous system (ANS). It's like the backstage crew of your body, managing all the automatic functions so you can shine on stage without even thinking about it.

Let's break it down.

The ANS is a personal autopilot, keeping your heart beating, digestion churning, and your breath flowing. All without you having to lift a finger.

But guess what? It doesn't stop there. This powerhouse system also has a say in your mental state.

Yes, you heard that right! In addition to controlling your body, this system also orchestrates your mind.

Think about it: Have you ever felt butterflies in your stomach before an important presentation? Body and mind reinforce each other. Or maybe you've experienced that blissful calmness during a meditation session? That's your ANS at work, my friend!

And here's where it gets interesting.


Your Activated Vs Calm State Got A Sociable Addition


We picture our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system as a tug-of-war between activation and calming. More activation meant less calming and vice versa.

These two modes are designed to help us deal with life's more intense moments. You know them well: the sympathetic fight-or-flight response and the parasympathetic relaxation-shutdown continuum. These are like our bodyguards in the face of danger, kicking into action when things get hairy.

Stephen Porges developed the polyvagal theory. His theory claims another strand in our nervous system. The social engagement system.


Why is this social engagement system so important?


It's our compass for navigating relationships. We tap into it when we feel safe, connected to others, sharing and relating from the heart. This part of our experience is not just about surviving; it's about thriving in our relationships to others. A no-brainer to build an audience of genuinely like minded folks on social media.

Strive to spend time in this socially engaged stat, especially if you're in the business of helping others. It's a crucial concept when we want to develop healthy and rewarding social media habits.


How the ANS Influences Emotions


Your autonomic nervous system doesn't just react to external stimuli; it's also influenced by your thoughts, emotions, and beliefs.

Ever notice how your mood can shift your body's response? Or how your body's activity level can shift your mood? I bet you have.

For example, if you're ever been out on a brisk walk after vegetating on the sofa for too long. It's all connected.

Thoughts, emotions, and beliefs all influence your autonomic nervous system. It can interact with those brain centres involved in processing emotions and thinking.


The Merry Go Round Of Thoughts, Emotions, Sensations


The state of your mind, including your thoughts, emotions, and beliefs, can influence your autonomic nervous system's response.

Whether you're revving up for action or settling in for some well-deserved R&R or going underground. Your ANS holds the controls when you're feeling unbalanced.


1 - Fight – Flight: The Sympathetic Nervous System


Imagine experiencing stress. It doesn't matter whether this stress is caused by a real or imagined threat. Your thoughts and emotions trigger a response in your system. Your heart races, your palms get sweaty and your mind races a mile a minute.

Your sympathetic nervous system kicks into high gear. Flipping the switch to high alert mode. It's the classic fight or flight response to acute stress, designed to keep you safe from danger.

You're ready to fight your corner – or dash off through the emergency exit.


2 - Relax: The Parasympathetic Nervous System


On the flip side, when your parasympathetic nervous system takes the reins, chill mode comes online.

Positive emotions and beliefs bring the parasympathetic nervous system to life, promoting relaxation and a sense of well-being.

Your heart rate slows down, your muscles relax, and you enter a state of peaceful rest n' digest. The perfect conditions for unwinding after a long day and slipping into a state of relaxation.


3 - Freeze: Immobilised Shutdown


The freeze response is like hitting the OFF switch in our parasympathetic nervous system. Your system has decided that running away or fighting isn't an option.

This is when our body can switch gears from activated sympathetic mode to full-on shutdown.

It's when everything just... stops. You’re disconnected, dissolving, gone.


How Your Nervous System Affects The Way You Work.


These three behaviours harm your sales and marketing game, your mental health...and income!

Your business suffers if you can't regulate your nervous system states:


1 - You rant and push (fight)


You're hyper-activated (30-day posting challenges, anyone? Over-offering your product or service?) Hyper-activation leads to burn out and it gives you desperate vibes when selling and marketing. You’re literally chasing down your ideal clients and hunting them to the sale. 


2 - You procrastinate (flight)


You're indulging shiny object syndrome. Working hard but never shipping. Perfectionism is a popular procrastination tactic that allows you to take flight. You’re never ready to show up.


3 - You disconnect (freeze) 


Avoiding the camera altogether? Complete freeze and shutdown is counter productive. The action element is completely missing. No progress is made.

Don’t worry. We’ve all done it. You're not alone.


How To Overcome Fear And Get Out Of Procrastination


Consider these. Are you…

  • showing up on video OR are you hiding?
  • sharing your authentic self OR presenting a facade?
  • posting way too much OR posting infrequently?
  • oversharing OR on a forever break from social media?
  • wearing yourself out completely OR are you intentional with your energy?
  • coming from a place of lack and fear OR a place of sharing and connection?

Let's dive into how different styles of content creation align with the autonomic nervous system's states. Understanding this connection can help you improve your content game.


1 - Fight Mode: The Hyperactive Poster (Hopefully Not Churning Out Low Value Posts!)


Are you constantly hustling, pumping out content like there's no tomorrow? All in the name of keeping up with the algorithm? Yep, you're in the thick of it.

But here's the thing: that relentless drive to produce can leave us feeling burnt out and our content suffering. We get so caught up in the hustle that we forget about the heart and soul of what we're putting out there.

So, how do we find balance with our content marketing in the midst of this chaotic whirlwind?

First off, let's prioritise quality over quantity. Sure, the algorithm loves consistency, but your audience? They crave authenticity and value. So, take a step back, enjoy the creative process, and focus on delivering real, meaningful content, long term.

Next up, give yourself permission to take breaks. Seriously, it's okay to step away from the screen and recharge. Whether it's a weekend getaway or just a quick breather, listen to your body and prioritise self-care.

And remember, consistency is important, but never at the expense of your well-being. It's better to take a step back and regroup than to push yourself to the brink. So, find your centre, find your balance, and let's keep creating from a place of joy and authenticity. You've got this!


2 - Flight Mode: The Perfectionist Avoider


Let's talk about something that might hit close to home: flight mode. Ever found yourself stuck in a loop of refining and tweaking your content, but never quite hitting that publish button? Yep, you're in flight mode territory.

Fear of failure or judgement sends our system into overdrive; flight mode kicks in.

You're constantly chasing perfection, every detail meticulously planned, every shot flawlessly executed, and every word scripted to precision.

But here's the thing: chasing perfection is like chasing a unicorn – it's just not gonna happen. Deep down, we know this. Yet we keep at it, believing that if we just make it flawless enough, we'll finally be worthy of recognition and acceptance.

Spoiler alert: it doesn't work like that. Perfectionism is a sneaky little devil that robs us of growth, experimentation, and genuine connection with our audience. So, how do we break free from this endless cycle?

First off, let's get real with ourselves. Perfectionism is rooted in fear, not in a genuine desire for excellence.

It's time to embrace imperfection with courage and compassion. Shift your focus from perfection to progress. Done is better than perfect!

Allow yourself to make mistakes along the way. Seriously, it's okay to embrace the messy middle of creation. Your worth as a creator isn't defined by flawlessness but by the authenticity and passion you bring to your work.

So, next time you're caught up in endless tweaking, pause for a moment. Ask yourself: Am I procrastinating out of fear, or am I driven by genuine passion and creativity? Choose courage over perfection. You've got this!


3. Freeze Mode: The 'Taking A Social Media Break' Type (Perhaps Consumed By Crippling Visibility Fears?)


Let's tackle something that might be holding you back: freeze mode. Are you avoiding social media like the plague, paralyzed with fear every time you think about creating (video) content? Yep, you're in freeze mode territory.

Freeze mode kicks in when our nervous system goes into shutdown mode, leaving us feeling stuck and paralyzed. It's fueled by a whole bunch of things like fear of judgement, insecurity, or just feeling totally out of your element.

Here's how to thaw out that freeze and show up on social media with enjoyment and confidence.


Example: Speaking To Camera (An Activity Many Entrepreneurs Avoid)


  1. Start small Ease yourself into it by practising in front of the camera for just a few minutes each day. Talk to yourself, record short videos, or even chat into a mirror. The more you do it, the more comfortable you'll become.
  2. Next up, embrace realness. Your audience connects with you when you're vulnerable and authentic. Share your story, your passions, and your unique perspective with sincerity. It's all about being genuine and relatable.
  3. Now, let's tackle those negative beliefs head-on. Challenge those thoughts that tell you you're not good enough. Focus on your strengths and celebrate what makes you unique as a creator.
  4. And don't forget to lean on your support squad. Seek guidance and encouragement from friends, mentors, or fellow creators who believe in you. Share your fears openly and let them cheer you on as you step out of your comfort zone.
  5. Lastly, be patient with yourself. Overcoming freeze mode takes time and persistence. Celebrate every step at a time. Every small victory along the way, and remember, you're making progress every step of the way.

With courage, patience, and a little rewiring of those limiting beliefs, you'll roll with your content strategy in no time and start enjoying it.


Have a great week

xoxo Gwen

P.S. Now I'd love to hear from you. What's your go-to state? Get in touch [email protected]



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