resources and reads for understanding the nervous system

I’ve seen a few posts in my feeds recently about platforms that offer summaries of resources, and it struck me how this desire to learn everything - and to learn it at speed - goes against the way our human brains naturally learn.

It takes a while to read, to sift through, to consolidate, to apply. And by not giving ourselves that time and that depth, we’re depriving ourselves of truly impactful learning.
Yes, it can be helpful to have a short mantra to remind and refocus our brains, but we need that foundation if we want to gain knowledge and grow.

When talking about the nervous system, it can feel like a mysterious aspect of the science of our bodies.
As a society, we’ve grown comfortable talking about body changes we can definitively measure - my blood pressure is high, which is backed up by the blood pressure cuff or my blood sugar is low, which is backed up by the urine sample - but it feels harder and more nebulous to consider the things that happen in our bodies that we can't conclusively measure. 

At the basic level, we know that the nervous system is our body's command center. It helps us detect, process and act on the millions of data points our bodies receive, but while our fight-or-flight responses have kept us - and our ancestors - alive, we also need the balance from rest-and-digest systems to be healthy.
When our nervous systems get overstimulated, the result is a maxed-out, exhausted feeling that feels hard to come back from. 

There are lots of resources out there that you can explore solo - and I’ve listed some of my favorite ones below - but if you need more help to understand and learn how to heal your nervous system, I’ve combined more than two decades of knowledge and experience into one-on-one sessions and my unique, supportive groups.

  • Bessel van der Kolk - "The Body Keeps the Score"
    A well written and highly popular book on traumatic stress, and its effects on the mind and body.
  • Staci Haines - "Healing Sex: A Mind-Body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma"
    An encouraging, sex-positive guide for survivors of sexual assault.
  • Resmaa Menakem - "My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies"
    This important book dives deep into the complex effects of racism and white privilege.
  • Gabor Maté - "In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction"
    A compassionate book that looks at the roots and ramifications of all addiction, not just to illegal substances.
  • "The Wisdom of Trauma"
    A movie about the interconnected epidemics of anxiety, chronic illness and substance abuse.
  • Peter Levine - "Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma"
    This book explains in a clear way how trauma becomes lodged in the body and how it gets released.
  • Kimberly Ann Johnson - "Call of the Wild: How We Heal Trauma, Awaken Our Own Power, and Use It For Good"
    A practical book that explores tapping into the wisdom and resilience of the body to rewire the nervous system.
  • Kelly MacDaniel - "Mother Hunger: How Adult Daughters Can Understand and Heal from Lost Nurturance, Protection and Guidance"
    This book offers a fresh look at an attachment injury, and helps women break cycles of destructive behavior.
  • David Treleaven - "The Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness Podcast"
    A podcast about the intersection of mindfulness, meditation, and trauma.
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Irina emits a healing energy that just feels good to be with. Each time we've met, I've relaxed into her presence, openness, authenticity and ability to offer support. She has helped me gain the perspective I needed to be more compassionate and gentle with myself. If you're ready to do the hard work of personal growth, I'd highly recommend partnering with Irina.

- April