Building Capacity
With Chaos


Do you ever get overwhelmed or overstimulated in busy spaces?

This practice tip encourages you to find ways to challenge your system to a little more noise and chaos than per usual so you can build greater capacity to be in complex and less than ideal situations.

Here’s a vignette for you.

As you learned in the Biology of Stress video training, how our nervous system responds to a stressful environment isn’t only about the actual stress in the environment – it has to do with how much stress is already stored up in our body (remember all the toxic stress and various traumas we’ve encountered? – MOST IMPORTANTLY, how much capacity our body has to process and recycle the stress as it comes in.

For example, not all kids who go shopping at a busy department store end up on the floor in a complete fit of rage. But some do, even when the environment is exactly the same.

The difference between the kid that is totally content and happy and the kid that is having a tantrum has to do with how well regulated their nervous systems are and how well attuned the parents are (because if the parents are attuned they will see the early signs of distress which will alert them to slow down, connect with their child and maybe play a bit which will help to self-sooth and re-regulate their system so it doesn’t go out of control).

As you learned in Biology of Stress Video three, Vagus Nerve 101: Why You Can Blame Your Parents For All Your Shortcomings, how well a kid can handle a noisy shopping store is determined by how well formed their vagus nerve was early on, how healthy their parent’s vagus nerves are, and so the story goes…

I tell this simple story because it proves the point that it isn’t the chaos of the store that is stressful but in fact it is the internal system that is either frayed and ready to fall apart, or the flipside – an internal system that is adaptable, resilient and can meet a challenging and changing world.


This really doesn’t have to do department and shopping stores it has to do with how YOU can begin to put these practices into place while in busy, loud and obnoxious spaces. Because let’s face they are part of our world and when we start to avoid them we start to limit our capacity (and opportunities) in general.

Because as we all know, most of us aren’t all living in the high alpine healing getaways of Austria, free from civilization, cars, people and the rest of it.

And sure, we can make our homes peaceful and all zen, but if we can’t hack the noise outside of our homes and have the resiliency to be challenged when the times are tough, it will be very tricky to forge ahead with health.

So seriously, head out to a busy and stressful spot and practice the orientation skills that you’ve learned, as well as staying connected to the contact between yourself and your environment.

You might be surprised at what happens when you bring this awareness to the chaos and get real good at it!

REMEMBER THIS: We are capable of growing incredible nervous system capacity that is infinite and can navigate this chaotic, and I might add often crazy, world with health. It is all about choice and action in this direction.