What Is Body Up! Co-Regulation?
Body Up! Co-Regulation is a set of effective physical practices that can be done online and in-person:
Practices for down regulation when we want to rest, sleep, or dispel anxiety.
Practices for up regulation when we want to wake up, get going, or get things done.
Practices that support connection when we want clear communication and emotional engagement.
What are the Nuts and Bolts of Body Up! Co-Regulation?
Co-Regulation is our birthright. It is a biological imperative. You do not have to be an expert to start co-regulating, nervous system to nervous system, you already do it. Mothers and infants do it. Friends and lovers do it. Co-Regulation means shifting emotional gears in our nervous systems in connection with others. By definition, co-regulation means good for you and good for me, too.
Co-Regulation depends on expression, reflection, and response. Expression is about showing ourselves, our feelings, our vulnerability, our autonomic state. Showing who we are and how we feel is the essential first step in co-regulation. Reflection from others is how we know we are seen. Being present is about seeing the other as they are. Verbal and non-verbal communication lets us know how we are seen and accepted. (The neurological elements of attunement are how we read each other non verbally: eye contact, tone of voice, posture, gesture, movement, rhythm, timing, intensity, words, rhythm, motion). Responses let us know how our self expression affects our communication partner, friend, family member, etc. This is the red or green light for going deeper. To co-regulate, we each need to be able to recognize and to report on how we have been affected by the other. The distinction between reflecting and responding helps us avoid jumping to conclusions and believing our projections.
Think of embodiment as being alive in a body, and sensing that body. Our bodies give us access to our autonomic states, and to Body Up! Co-Regulation.
Four Skills for Embodiment Around Other People
Embodiment skills are fundamental to staying present, embodied and co-regulatory with others. They develop in relational space, with practice, in real time, online or in person.
1. Finding Internal Home Base in Our Core: A solid psychological sense of self is rooted in a solid physical sense of self.
2. Using Boundary Muscles in Relational Space: Feeling safe depends on having our physical boundary muscles available to protect ourselves.
3. Giving the Body a Voice in Relational Space: Who feels safe when nobody can speak up for them? This is about including body-up awareness in social space.
4. Tracking Self and Other in Real Time: If we can’t track self and other in real time, it’s hard to feel connected, and impossible to co-regulate.
Body Up! Co-Regulation online offers a remarkably effective way to create deep connection, and potent opportunities for people to go to their emotional edges, get help and come back.
means starting with our physical, embodied experience. (Top down means starting with our mental experience.)
means good for you and good for me, too. It means using our connecton with each other to shift emotional gears, or to hold steady in challenging situations. It is co-operative and two way. Together, we each regulate our own nervous system.