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Feeling Out Of Body? Here's What Experts Recommend To Come Back To It

Sarah Regan
July 24, 2023
Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor
By Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, and a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.
Image by rawpixel / iStock
July 24, 2023
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Whether you're feeling dissociative, anxious, or depressed, a dysregulated nervous system can leave you feeling out of body—and out of touch with yourself. But oftentimes, when we can incorporate practices that engage our bodies, our minds and nervous systems catch up, allowing us to feel more centered and present.

If that sounds like something you could use right about now, here's what experts recommend.

What does "coming back to the body" really mean?

Simply put, "coming back to the body" just means getting your nervous system to a relaxed place where you feel present and calm as opposed to frazzled and out of body.

And as associate director of the Modern Sex Therapy Institute and somatic psychotherapist Holly Richmond, Ph.D., tells mindbodygreen, the first step to coming back to your body is figuring out where your nervous system is at.

As she explains, you can use a simple scale to assess your current state, with 1 being very depressed, and 10 being panic mode. "We're aiming for that four-to-six range, that flexibility and elasticity—so when we talk about regulating, are we upregulating, or are we downregulating?" she explains.

For instance, if you were feeling depressed and low, you'd want to upregulate. On the other hand, if you're feeling anxious, you'd want to downregulate.

25 ways to come back to your body

If you want to upregulate

Upregulating involves amping up your energy to elevate your nervous system from a lower, depressive state. The following options, from both Richmond and licensed psychotherapist Babita Spinelli, L.P., are great for getting your energy up and feeling more alive:

  1. Take a cold bath or shower.
  2. Engage in your surroundings using different senses such as touch, smell, and taste.
  3. Take a brisk walk or run.
  4. Hit a punching bag or pillow.
  5. Stand up and shake it out.
  6. Dance.
  7. Jog in place.
  8. Jump up and down.

If you want to downregulate

If you're feeling more anxious or stressed and would rather bring your energy down, that's when downregulating techniques come in. As Spinelli tells mindbodygreen, "Grounding and mindfulness techniques help your body to reconnect and return to being fully present."

  1. Place your feet on the floor and feel the ground beneath you, noticing its stability.
  2. Try the 5-4-3 technique: Name five things you can see, four things you can hear, and three things you can smell.
  3. Practice mindful movement such as slow stretching or any gentle movement you prefer.
  4. Take a meditative walk.
  5. Connect with nature.
  6. Stand on the grass with bare feet.
  7. Do some deep breathing.
  8. Practice a guided meditation.
  9. Make a cup of tea.
  10. Take a warm bath.
  11. Spend time with your pets.
  12. Spend time with your loved ones.
  13. Do a body scan.

Other ways to connect to yourself

These last four options could be either up- or downregulating, depending on your response to them. For instance, Richmond explains, orgasming in the morning can be very upregulating, while orgasming before bed is more downregulating.

Similarly, journaling or doing inner-child work may actually help to get your energy up, but if you are doing it in a calm and quiet way, it might feel more relaxing.

Certain breathwork sequences are also either calming or energizing, so choose one that suits what you need right now:

  1. Do some inner-child work.
  2. Practice breathwork.
  3. Grab a journal and write out your thoughts and feelings without worrying about grammar or spelling.
  4. Orgasm.

The takeaway

As Richmond tells mindbodygreen, "A healthy nervous system is a flexible nervous system." And with these practices, you can help encourage your nervous system to learn how to come back to equilibrium while simultaneously connecting to your body and mind and feeling more present.

Sarah Regan author page.
Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor

Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.