Wendy Sinclair

Artist and Facilitator

Art, Writing, Movement & Your Nervous System

Investigate the body.

Create the necessary conditions for safety and connection.

This is polyvagal theory.

Our nervous system is a thread of nerves that comprises of three main systems related to the vagus nerve (“Polyvagal”).

Polyvagal theory is an approach to therapy that acknowledges the autonomic nervous system is shaped by our early experiences and reshaped with on-going experiences.

I incorporate polyvagal theory in the work that I do and it is foundational for the principles of “Bodyfulness” and “Grounding Grief®“.

First we investigate the body.

We use art, writing, and movement to communicate our findings.

Then we acknowledge what early experiences have shaped us.

We use art, writing, and movement to communicate those experiences.

Then we begin generative practices that reshape our autonomic nervous system.

These generative practices are typically art, writing, and movement exercises.

Art is, of course, a tool of self-expression and communication that supports experiences and emotions in a safe way. Writing brings together cognitive, emotion, theory, imagination, and systems.

“Making visual art has been shown to have an impact on resilience and is a way to play with the inner world, and share experiences of self.” (Polyvagal Exercises for Safety and Connection: 50 client-facing practices, Deb Dana, 2020).

Movement supports self-awareness and body acquaintance. When movement is done barefoot in nature, the nervous system can co-regulate with its surroundings.

I have discovered that there are amazing benefits to using a mirror as the body can use its own reflection to co-regulate.

And why do we need to investigate the state of our nervous system, anyway?

  • Consider what you reach for to soothe yourself in times of stress, conflict, or anxiety.
  • Consider the level of trust you have that your body can keep you safe.
  • Consider what part of your body hold the stories of your past.

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