The Link Between a Dysregulated Nervous System and Chronic Health Issues

Chronic Stress Can Affect Your Health


Chronic stress and trauma can lead to emotional and physiological dysregulation which can have a profound effect on your mood and your health. Physiological dysregulation effects your entire organism, including your immune, endocrine and digestive systems. This can lead to chronic illness and health problems like food sensitives or allergies, gut issues including the inability to properly absorb nutrients, chronic pain and insomnia. 

Unfortunately trauma is associated with long term health problems. Trauma survivors are three times more likely to deal with:

          Irritable bowel syndrome

          Chronic pain


          Chronic fatigue syndrome

          Type 2 diabetes

          Heart disease and

          Rheumatoid arthritis


Emotional dysregulation can lead to anxiety, irritability, overwhelm, depression, shutting down when you need to speak up, saying things you don’t mean, relationship difficulties and struggles with effective decision making.


Building a Resilient Nervous System

Exercising your nervous system is an important part of the healing process. Building resilience within your nervous system, so that it does not always move into fight-flight or freeze when you’re challenged or under stress, will over time improve your emotional and physical health. A regulated nervous system can also help you make better decisions while improving your social connections. Decreasing time spent in dysregulation can dramatically improve the quality of your life when living with chronic health conditions.


Until recently, the body has been largely left out of the healing process but with the advancements in neuroscience scientists agree that stress weakens your immune system. Befriending and regulating your nervous system can accelerate healing from the physical manifestations of trauma and chronic stress.


Tools that Help Regulate your Nervous System

There are many tools available that can help relieve stress and release tension from your body. While this is not an exhaustive list, it is my go-to list when I am feeling dysregulated:

1. Engaging in moderate to intense forms of movement: this may be jogging, dancing, yoga, tai chi. 

2. Taking a break from social media: your nervous system can become hyper-aroused due to constant notifications, doom scrolling and comparing yourself to others. 

3. Deep breathing: taking deep, full belly breaths can quickly trigger the relaxation response and calm your nervous system

4. Vagus nerve stimulation: stimulating your vagus nerve through somatic exercises can help improve your vagal tone and rewire your brain away from anxiety. 

5. Practicing Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises: TRE is an effective healing modality that helps release stored tension from the body for deep relaxation

6. Engage in Meditation or Mindfulness: with regular use meditation and mindfulness can reduce self-reported stress

7. Seek out nature: calming nature sounds and even outdoor silence can lower blood pressure and levels of stress hormone cortisol, which calms the body’s fight-or-flight response


To find out more about how to regulate your nervous system through Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises, breathwork and somatic experiencing you may want to consider joining our next Stress Release Program which teaches you how to harness these techniques for yourself. Starting on 7 April, we will meet once a week online and learn more about how to embrace the body’s own natural healing power to improve your overall experience of life. Email for the application form or download the brochure