Your Childhood Designed Your Nervous System

Photo by  Kelly Sikkema  on  Unsplash

We all know it intuitively. When we have a traumatic experience in childhood, we can become scared for life.  The first impression is the hardest to overcome, especially for our nervous system. Childhood events make a deep impression that define our adult lives. The good news is that we can change and overcome these negative impressions. And to a degree, we can redesign our nervous system and unlock available energy within us that we never knew existed.

Collectively as a society, we tend to ignore the implications of all our first impressions, save for the biggest (the traumas we repeat to doctors, friends and life coaches). We tend to focus on these big events alone, especially when we have a feeling that something in our past is the reason for a chronic pain or our anxiety. We tend to forget the small events (first impressions) that dramatically affect the development of our nervous system. It’s the small event, often forgotten or downplayed, that shapes us the most.  


“We don't know where our first impressions come from or precisely what they mean, so we don't always appreciate their fragility.” -Malcom Gladwell


Questions to Uncover the Variables Shape First Impressions.


Think of a significant childhood event and ask yourself the following questions:

What energy state was I in?

Was I perceiving scarcity or feelings of being small?

Was I empowered?

Was I looking into the eyes of others for approval and was I acknowledged?

Were my expectations met or were they drastically under or over estimated?

Was I ready for what happened next?


Codes of Our Nervous System

The factors coding our nervous system are two fold– one, the available energy in our system (our energy state); two, our perception of the event and how new the experience was.

When a novel event occurs, like magic, the window is opened and our nervous system is suddenly wired for survival or thrival. The amount of energy in our system determines the impact, our perception determines our relationship to the event and our emotion we have and whether or not we are under threat (safety) . The newness of an experience tells our central nervous system that we do not have a method of approaching this scenario and we will need to establish one. NOW.

As a child, we don’t usually have control over what we encounter or what our perception is and so we become wired through the decision making process of our childhood self. Of course, this happens throughout our lives, but never do we have such a dense period of neurogenesis as childhood.

Our childhood is made up of new experiences, complex emotions and a barrage of raging emotions. As an adult, these effects manifest as habits lifestyle choices, emotional reactions, dependencies, vices and our relationship to safety and risk.

When there is a difference between what you want to be, do, and have, and what you actually do, when there is an incongruence, often you can thank your childhood.

Try this–imagine your sweet little 5 year old self, look that person in the eyes and say thank you from the bottom of your heart.  "Thank yourself for trying so hard, for facing fears and new experiences the best that you could."

This is the beginning of healing.

Your greatest gifts are in your traumas. These interferences are often the way for finding the fuel to be, do, and have what you want in your life. Gift-wrapped inside your childhood misconceptions, misdirections, traumas and habits is the significant fuel that will catapult you into your personal authentic greatness.

When we acknowledge what made us, without judgement, without trying to realize the experiences, just by simply acknowledging our pain, our discomfort, our frustration, we begin to heal. When you do this, take notice of how your body feels; the quality of your breath, your consciousness, your emotions, where tension resides, where goodness resides. Observe what changes in this process, reconnect where the breathe moves you. Reconnect with how our body feels.

Your nervous system is opening– this is the basis for Somato Respiratory Integration. And it is a powerful technique that we use at The Tonal Spine. We offer workshops and free consultations. To learn more or just start a conversation about your care, please contact us.