Mind by Design



4 Simple Nervous System Regulation Techniques

By understanding the key mechanisms of nervous system regulation, you can boost your well-being and improve your response to stress & everyday challenges.

Understanding the Nervous System

The nervous system is the body’s control center, managing everything from our movements to our reactions to the environment. It’s a complex network of nerves and cells that work together to make sure our bodies function properly. The nervous system has several key parts, each with a specific role in keeping the body in check.

Sympathetic, Parasympathetic, & Central Nervous System

The sympathetic and parasympathetic systems are parts of the autonomic nervous system, which handles involuntary bodily functions. The sympathetic system gets the body ready for action, while the parasympathetic system helps the body rest. The central nervous system, made up of the brain and spinal cord, processes information and sends out instructions.

progressive muscle relaxation for nervous system regulation techniques in NJ

Mental Health & the Nervous System

Mental health and the nervous system are closely linked, with each affecting the other in significant ways.

Trauma’s Impact on the Nervous System

Trauma can disrupt the nervous system, leading to issues like anxiety and chronic stress. This makes it crucial to address and manage trauma to maintain a healthy nervous system.

The Impact of  Childhood Experiences 

Childhood experiences shape the nervous system. Positive experiences can build resilience, while negative experiences can leave lasting effects, highlighting the importance of a supportive environment during childhood.

Nervous System Regulation Techniques

Mental health and the nervous system are closely linked, with each affecting the other in significant ways.

1. Polyvagal Exercises

The Polyvagal Theory, developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, emphasizes the role of the vagus nerve in emotion regulation, social connection, and fear response.  These exercises target the vagus nerve, helping to balance the autonomic nervous system. Activities like singing and deep breathing can be particularly effective. Here are two exercises based on this theory to help stimulate the vagus nerve and promote a state of calm:

Humming or Chanting



To stimulate the vagus nerve through vocalization and resonance.



  • Find a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down.
  • Take a few deep breaths to center yourself.
  • On your next exhale, begin to hum or chant a word like “Om” or “Aum,” feeling the vibration in your chest and throat.
  • Continue to hum or chant for 3-5 minutes, focusing on the sensation of vibration and the sound of your voice.
  • Pay attention to the calming effect this has on your mind and body.

Tips: Try to maintain a steady and comfortable pitch and volume. The goal is to create a resonant sound that you can feel in your chest and throat, as this helps to stimulate the vagus nerve.


Safe & Soothing Touch:



To activate the vagus nerve and promote a sense of safety and calm through gentle, soothing touch.


  • Find a quiet and comfortable space where you can sit or lie down undisturbed.
  • Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.
  • Take a moment to feel the warmth of your hands and the gentle pressure they provide.
  • Begin to breathe slowly and deeply, focusing on the rise and fall of your chest and abdomen under your hands.
  • As you breathe, imagine a sense of warmth and calm spreading from your hands to the rest of your body.
  • If comfortable, you can gently stroke your arms, face, or neck with your hands, using a soft and soothing touch.
  • Continue this practice for 3-5 minutes, allowing yourself to sink into a state of relaxation and calm.

Tips: The key to this exercise is to maintain a gentle and soothing touch, as this helps to activate the vagus nerve and promote a sense of safety and well-being. Ensure that your breathing is slow and deep, as this enhances the calming effect of the exercise.

2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation

PMR involves tensing and then slowly releasing each muscle group in the body, helping to reduce physical tension and stress.

3. Repetitive Patterns in Art

Creating art with repetitive patterns can have a calming effect, providing a simple way to relax and de-stress.

4. Diaphragmatic Breathing

Also known as deep breathing, this practice encourages full oxygen exchange and activates the body’s relaxation response.

Nervous System Regulation techniques in a nutshell

Understanding and regulating the nervous system is a vital part of maintaining mental and physical health. With the information and techniques provided in this article, you’re now equipped to support your nervous system and enhance your overall well-being. Embrace these practices, and find your path to a balanced and healthy life.

Contact Us

Leave Your Info

We’ll respond within 24 hours
Updated New Client Request

Check out these popular pages

See What Clients Are Saying About Online Therapy at Mind b y Design Counseling

How do I get started as a new client?

Do you offer traditional talk therapy?

of course! though we have some unconventional therapy approaches, we are rooted in evidenced based practices. Talk therapy is a major player in the therapy room! See What we Treat and Integrative Services for more information

Does my insurance cover my visits?

Uur goal it to decrease stress and anxiety, so we understand that the financial commitment to therapy is something to consider! We provide OON billing for clients who decide to bill their insurance for services. A “Superbill” can be provided to you for potential reimbursement of services. To know if you have to OON benefits, you can call your insurance company and ask about the process of receiving these benefits. 

Our Insurance Page shares a small blurb about Why We Left Insurance Panels

What is the difference between associate therapists & fully licensed therapists?

See our “Affordable Therapy” Page for info on licensing and costs of therapy.

 LAC/LSW are therapists who may practice clinical work under the supervision of a fully licensed therapist.

LPC/LCSW are therapists who have completed the necessary clinical hours post-graduation under supervision and can practice clinical work independently.

What is your cancellation policy?

We ask that clients provide at least 24 hours notice in the event that they need to cancel to avoid the 50% cancellation fee. we understand that life happens and do our best to be flexible & reschedule.

What is Virtual Reality Therapy (VRT)?

VRT is an immersive tool that helps clients to explore environments that can not be traditionally explored in therapy. Visit our VR page for more info and to watch our infomercial 

What is VRT used for?

we use VRT to support Exposure Therapy, a long standing traditional therapy modality to treat phobias, anxiety and stress. we send a headset directly to your home so you can access VRT from anywhere.

VRT not only helps with exposure therapy for phobias, but is great for ADHD, mindfulness, PTSD and social anxiety.

How does the process work?

  • Fill out a consult request below or reach out to us directly.
  • our phone number is 609-300-6481, call or text
  • MBD will respond within 24 business hours
  • You will get access to the patient portal to complete the intake paperwork
  • Once the paperwork is submitted and reviewed we confirm your intake appointment
  • Prior to your intake, you will receive a link to access the telehealth session.

Do You Offer Free or Reduced Therapy?

Yes! We offer a sliding scale as well as reduced fee therapy for clients working with out graduate interns. To learn more visit: Reduced Fee Therapy