Co-regulation is where one nervous system calms another. It happens when you have a caregiver who is attuned to you as a child. They can use their body, the tone and pitch of their voice, and their breath to anchor safety for you as a child and calm you down.
Over time, this ability to calm down becomes internalised, and the child can calm themselves down using the parent’s internalised voice. There is a cellular memory of what it feels like to be calm when something scary is happening. When we haven’t received this kind of attunement as a child, it can be difficult to calm ourselves down in any triggering event as an adult.
When a nervous system with little co-regulation starts to receive co-regulation as an adult, that nervous system will learn to regulate itself. This is where we reach the limits of individual personal development work. At this stage, we need to be in relationships with people who love us enough to help us learn co-regulation and eventually self-regulation. Co-regulation in a relationship is deeply healing.
I’ll be following up with co-regulation practices tomorrow.
Much love on your healing journey