783: How Your Nervous System Can Help Create the Life You Want With Veronica Rottman

Katie Wells Avatar

Reading Time: 2 minutes

This post contains affiliate links.

Click here to read my affiliate policy.

How Your Nervous System Can Help Create the Life You Want With Veronica Rottman
Wellness Mama » Episode » 783: How Your Nervous System Can Help Create the Life You Want With Veronica Rottman
The Wellness Mama podcast logo
The Wellness Mama Podcast
783: How Your Nervous System Can Help Create the Life You Want With Veronica Rottman

I’m here for round two with Veronica Rottman to talk about how your nervous system can help you create the life you want. Veronica is a somatic practitioner and educator. She’s also the founder of Waking Womb, a somatic practice that centers on healing trauma through the nervous system, with a special area of focus on women and relational and emotional trauma, boundary ruptures, motherhood, and so much more.

This episode builds on our first conversation about somatic and nervous system healing. So, if you missed it, make sure to check it out; it’s linked below. Somatic and nervous system healing were both very helpful to me in my recovery journey from Hashimoto’s and past trauma. And I think this topic is especially important for women as Veronica explains in this episode.

I hope you learn a lot from this conversation!

Episode Highlights With Veronica

  • How we can befriend our bodies and nervous systems to help create the life we want
  • The pitfalls that women especially can fall into when it comes to nervous system health
  • How this relates to reproductive health, especially for women
  • Deeper nervous system healing that goes beyond just affirmations and talking
  • How to make amends with your body and start to signal safety
  • Ways to build a nervous system healthy environment in our homes and teach our kids good nervous system habits from a young age
  • How to integrate nervous system health into your whole day
  • What co-regulation is and how to create it with your partner and kids

Resources We Mention

More From Wellness Mama

Read Transcript

Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.

Hello and welcome to the Wellness Mama podcast. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com and I’m so grateful you’re here with me today. I’m here for round two with Veronica Rottman to talk about how your nervous system can help you create the life that you want. And this builds on our first conversation about somatic and nervous system healing. So if you missed that one, I will link to it in the show notes. But this is something that was very helpful to me in my recovery journey from Hashimoto’s and from trauma in my past and so many things. And I’m very excited to have Veronica’s voice here today to share her expertise in this area. She is a somatic practitioner and educator and the founder of Waking Womb, a somatic practice that centers on healing trauma through the nervous system with a special area of focus on women and relational and emotional trauma, boundary ruptures, motherhood, and so much more. And I think this topic is especially important for women as Veronica explains in this episode today. So without further ado, let’s jump in and learn from Veronica. Veronica, welcome back.

Veronica: Yeah, so good to be here again, Katie. Thank you.

Katie: Well, I am excited to go deeper in this conversation. For any of you who missed it, we had an amazing episode about what somatics are, what nervous system healing looks like. And in this episode, I’m really excited to dive deeper onto that and especially how to use your nervous system to help create the life that you want because you explained so well in the first episode how intricately tied our nervous system is to so many aspects of our lives. And I think this can be like a learning process and a friendship with our body that we create over our whole lifetime. But I want to go deep on this topic that you talk about online so well. How do we make friends with our nervous system and use our bodies and our nervous systems to help create the life we want?

Veronica: Yeah. I really want to highlight and underline what you said about befriending our body, because especially as women, we’re taught two things. We’re taught that either our body is a nuisance, something to put up with, that it’s a source of suffering and pain as women, like we’re just meant to put up with all sorts of different symptoms and pain and suffering, or we’re taught that our body is an object. Our body is an object, and it can cause others to sin. It’s meant to be valued by how it looks. And these are just two examples, but I think they’re the major ones of how we completely disconnect from our body. And over time, when we disconnect from our body, we disconnect from ourselves. When we are living a disembodied life, it’s going to feel really disorienting and symptoms of all sorts of psycho-emotional, mental, and physical issues are going to get loud because our body is always talking to us.

Right now, as I talk to you, Katie, I feel a spaciousness in my belly. I feel grounded through my pelvic bowl. There’s like a little bit of fluttering in my chest because I’m excited. But these are all messages from my body about what’s going on. And the more I’m able to be with what my body is saying to me without resisting it, without pushing it away or numbing it out, the more my body knows I’m safe, the more psychologically my mind can register the ability to thrive, right. So it’s really about befriending our body and dismantling the systems that we have internalized from our culture around, yeah, what it means to be in a body.

Katie: That makes so much sense. And I love that you touched on for women, especially, and how sort of our programming can affect our nervous system state, even if we don’t realize it. In fact, it seems like for a lot of women, this is sort of a silent track that’s always running. And I know from following you online that there is a link here to women, especially for reproductive health. And I would love for you to elaborate on this because even if we’re not trying to have babies, I know being in an optimal state of fertility is also really important for physical health and for so many things, for our hormones. So can you talk about the link between trauma or nervous system dysregulation and reproductive issues?

Veronica: Yeah, I would love to. So in my own trauma healing journey, my trauma very much manifested in symptoms in my menstrual cycle. I had premenstrual dysphoric disorder, which is basically like PMS’s evil twin sister. It’s like all your PMS symptoms on blast. I had really painful menstrual cramps, really heavy bleeding, and no one could really tell me why.

So fast forward to like my early 20s, I decide I’m just going to go on the pill, even though my mom has told me you’re going to hate it. And I hated the pill. And I know it helps a lot of women, but it really is just masking a lot of symptoms instead of healing them at the root. And it wasn’t until I only lasted about three months on the pill. I was like, I feel like a crazy person. I cannot do this. It was healing my nervous system and syncing with my cycle that gave me the life I always dreamed of living, not just because it was symptom-free, but because I was able to harness the capacity of my nervous system and my cyclicality to really put my dreams into fruition.

And I think there’s this missing link between the nervous system and its impact on our fertility, on our reproductive health. We are finally starting to see more research being done on how trauma, because it lives in the nervous system and the nervous system drives our hormonal health, really can cause a lot of issues with our reproductive health. So I’m really passionate about teaching people, teaching women and men, about how our nervous system really opens up more communication between our endocrine glands, our hormonal health really flourishes when we heal the trauma and dysregulation that causes our hormones to be thrown out of balance. Yeah, I’ll start there.

Katie: That makes sense. And it seems like this is a very important thing to look at and to work with your body on. Also, this is the work I wish I could have done pre-having kids. I have quite a long list of if I could go back and tell my young self things, a lot of them would relate to this. I feel like also there’s a misconception. There’s a whole lot of talk online right now about manifesting and people wanting to sort of use this to their advantage. But the approaches I see don’t seem like they really get to the root of it or the heart of it, like the things you’re talking about. Like not saying affirmations aren’t awesome or that those things aren’t great as well. But I know you explained this much better than I could online. But you explained how these things can only get us so far, that there’s actually like a much deeper part of that. So can you speak to what you mean by that?

Veronica: Yeah, I would love to. And, you know, I think it’s important to really leave space for whatever healing practices you love, go for it. I’m not here to slam any of them. But I am here to say there’s a deeper source to work with that is in your nervous system, in your body, that actually gets to the root. So when it comes to affirmations or talking about our problems, our trauma, our stress, there is a certain point that we will hit on that journey where it feels like I’m doing all the things, I’m talking about all the things, I’m manifesting, I’m saying the right things, but nothing is really changing. And I just want to normalize that it’s not you. It’s not that you’re failing at affirmations or talk therapy or any of these more mind-centered modalities. It’s that only 20% of the information moving between body and brain is coming from the brain down. So there is that 20%. It does matter, but it only takes us so far.

And I know our last talk, we talked about this percentage. 80% of the information moving from body to brain is moving from the body up. So if our nervous system is perceiving that we are still under threat, that we need to stay in those survival states, it’s going to be sending messages to our brain that reflect that, that feel like anxiety, like chronic stress, like depression, like shame, like self-criticism. And so we might be trying to reprogram our thinking like, oh, I’ll just say this one thing that I read online over and over again. But if our body is still sending all of that information up to the brain of we’re not safe, causing us to feel very different from the affirmations that we’re saying, then the affirmations can’t work, right? The talk therapy can only take us so far. And I love talk therapy, by the way. But, if we get into the body, feel our emotions, our sensations that want to be digested from our past, or our present, it clears up more space for the communication to be, I can thrive. I am achieving what I want to achieve. I am magnetic. Whatever the affirmation is, we need our body to be in alignment with that. If it’s not, we’re going to bump up into some feelings of, why can’t I get this to work? Why won’t it work? That was me for a long time.

Katie: Definitely was me too. And I know we went through some of the basics in our first episode on ways to signal the body that it’s safe. And I think another part of this that you just touched on is also learning to listen to the body and to have that two-way communication. Because like you said, 80% of those messages come from the body. And at least speaking for myself, I know I was hugely disconnected from my body for a long time. And doctors would even say like, oh, wow, you have such a high pain tolerance, which looking back, I’m like, that’s not always a great thing. I was not in my body. And when I learned how to be more in tune with my body, that doesn’t mean I can’t handle pain now, but it means I’m able to hear the signals that my body’s telling me, which is a healthy response.

So I know we talked about some of the basic modalities in the first episode, but can you walk us through some of these ways that we can really signal that safety, the modalities? I know from having been through it, at least for me, it was a learning process and a slow one. It wasn’t an overnight switch, and I didn’t just decide to be nervous system healthy, and it happened. But it was building a friendship with my body. So can you walk us through some of the ways we can do that?

Veronica: Yeah, you know, and I think that really becoming your body’s friend is such a great way to say it. So reflecting on how you relate to your body is huge. If I’m dissociated, disconnected from what my body is saying and I can’t hear it, there’s going to be a lack of relationship there. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t rebuild that. So approaching your relationship with your body like you would any relationship. If we’ve been disconnected for a long time, if I’ve been really hard on my body, I know this was me for a while. I had disordered eating. I could really think and say some mean things about my body. It was really easy for me to fall into shame and self-criticism. And so we do want to reprogram our language and how we dialogue with our body.

And like I said, with any relationship, how do you make amends? How do you make repair with someone you have hurt or ignored for a long time? We want to start by listening, by having compassion, by showing our body that we care. So for example, my dad recently passed away, and I was about to share his eulogy and I felt my heart start to race before I went on the stage. And in the past, even in the, you know, in the last, like before 10 years ago, I would have gone, oh, I don’t want to feel this. Oh, I don’t want to feel this. I’m going to ground my feet. I’m going to breathe deeply. I’m going to make it go away. Only to feel my heart racing louder because it wants, it’s doing its job. It’s trying to protect me. It perceives that going up on the stage to share my dad’s eulogy is going to be scary. So instead, I put my hand on my heart, and I said, I believe you. I believe you, body. Of course, you’re trying to help me stay safe right now. Of course you are. You are bracing against what’s happening because it’s a lot. There’s a lot to feel here. And, you know, I’m saying this to myself internally, right? And I just, my heart just slowly calmed down. And I got to share the eulogy without it racing the whole time.

So I think when you feel those sensations of tension, of bracing, of contraction, of that sympathetic charge that speeds up our heart rate and gives us all those racing thoughts, right? Instead of getting stuck in the story of, oh my God, I’m about to go on stage. I’m going to mess up. I can tell I’m too anxious. I can’t do this, right? We get stuck in the story and the meaning-making in our mind when our body is like, hey, hey, I’m trying to get you to feel this. Just come down here and be with this experience. The more we can be with the experience instead of resisting it or going into some story around it, the more our body knows we are present with it, those sensations get to downregulate, instead of the body having to scream to get our attention, right?

Katie: That makes sense. And I know a pitfall that I also ran into when I started trying to focus on healing was feeling guilty or selfish, especially as a mom to take time to do these things. And so I wanted to speak to that a little bit because I do feel like often, and maybe always, women and mothers are sort of, we sort of set the nervous system tone of the house. And so if we’re dysregulated, that ripples into our kids. But the flip side is also true. If we are more regulated, there seems to be a pervasive sense of calm that can exist in our homes. And it kind of also makes me think of all of these lessons I wish I had learned younger. How can I help my kids build a solid foundation for this and let that learning experience for me turn into a blessing for them? So can you speak to if people feel guilty or selfish when they start making time for this? And in tandem with that, how can we create a nervous system healthy lifestyle for our kids from the beginning so that maybe they aren’t at my age, trying to figure out how to regulate their nervous system for the first time?

Veronica: Yeah. Oh, this is so near and dear to my heart as a mother. And I share that same sentiment, Katie, like there’s so much I didn’t know before I had my first son and I see it. I do see it in his nervous system and, you know, we’re doing a lot and working together, and he’s made a lot of progress, but to anyone who’s like, oh, wow, I didn’t know this. And I can see how it’s impacted my kids. I just want to say that I have a lot of compassion and you’re not alone. And, you know, when we don’t know what we don’t know and what matters is right now, you are learning and taking steps.

So I think that the guilt thing is so real for mothers. We’ve internalized this sense of like, if I am not self-sacrificing and modeling constant productivity, then I’m somehow not worthy. I’m not going to get my medal for being the best mom ever. What we know now is that without enough nervous system capacity, we actually cannot meet the needs of those around us without burning out, lashing out, feeling like we are disconnected from ourselves, from our body, feeling symptoms of, you know, anxiety, depression. You have to fill your cup first, right?

And we don’t, this doesn’t have to look like I’m going to ignore everything around me. I’m doing this from the time I wake up till I go to bed as I move through my day. Like I loved your example of like going out and getting some sunshine. I think oftentimes we see like, oh, this is my time for the practice I do to feel better. And then the rest of the day, I’m just going to go, go, go. How would it be to slow down and have little micro-moments of slowness, of ease, of connection with your body? And that is where it starts. Little digestible bits add up to a full day of regulation. And that is going to ripple out into your family, with your partner, with your loved ones, your kids. It’s going to create what’s called co-regulation. So co-regulation is when two or more nervous systems find safety together, find that ventral vagal state where there’s ease, there’s calm, there’s playfulness. There’s joy.

And if we are in a dysregulated state, we cannot offer our kids that co-regulation. Co-regulation is a nervous system dialogue. It’s not what we’re saying. It’s how we’re saying it. It’s our body language. It’s the body posture we exhibit, the gestures we use when we talk. Over 90% of communication is happening through our body. So we might memorize all the right lines to say as a mom, like, oh, well, you know, this child, this whole like parenting solution told me to say this at this time. It’s not that that’s bad. It’s like we could be saying all the right things, but communicating something completely different through our body to our kids that can cause them. And they’re highly perceptive little creatures, they’re like, you said that, you know, it’s OK, but I felt something completely different from you. So just thinking about how you can become more embodied and how that will really ripple out into your whole family and invite them to be in their bodies and feel regulated as well.

Katie: Yeah, such a great perspective. And like I said, I know that shift can be a slow building process, but absolutely worth doing. And I know also it seems that nervous system health can be a little different for each person. So this is a little bit about finding the things that are going to be the biggest needle movers for each of us. But could you share maybe what a great nervous system day looks like for you or like when everything is in line and you feel awesome, maybe some of the things that help to give people a springboard into figuring out their own practices?

Veronica: Yeah, I love that. For me, having a slower morning is always great. Having some time to, yeah, get outside with my tea, get my feet in the grass, sun on my skin. It’s really cold in Chicago right now. So I’m just daydreaming about that. And then connection. So I’m connecting to my body. I can feel and hear the messages, the stories my nervous system is saying on that day. And my body is communicating ease and calm and capacity to get things done, but capacity to rest.

And so ideally, there’s waves throughout our day of productivity followed by rest. Upregulation followed by downregulation. We want to create that rhythm in order to recalibrate our nervous system. So I’m taking breaks. I’m not seeing my clients back-to-back with no time to eat. I have done this before. I don’t recommend it. Right? There’s breaks. Even if they’re tiny breaks, they really add up. And that creates a sense of safety and connection with others. So being around people who you know radiate safety, radiate playfulness. They give you that sense of ease just by being them. Those are the people or the animals or the trees that you want to spend time with to really receive that co-regulatory experience, and then noticing like, who are the people when I’m with them that my body braces and tenses and doesn’t feel safe? Just something to get curious about, right? So if I could summarize my ideal nervous system day, it would be just that rhythm of we get stuff done and we rest. We activate, we deactivate, right?

Katie: Yes, absolutely. And learning that rhythm. And like all these practices that you mentioned, it’s that slow friendship with our body, learning that rhythm, finding more grace, ease, and joy in our daily lives and letting that stress slowly disarm. I know also for me, it was helpful if you have a very specific trauma like you, I don’t discount talk therapy, but I did find it was helpful to work with practitioners who could go beyond talk therapy into addressing that trauma. And that’s obviously something too nuanced for us to really solve in a podcast episode, but I know you have a tremendous amount of resources available for this. And I’m personally very excited to get to keep learning from you. So for anybody who wants to learn along with me from you, where can they find you online and where would you recommend that they start?

Veronica: Yeah, so I have a website, waking-womb.com. You can find all my offerings there. And I do offer a lot of education on my Instagram. So my Instagram is wakingwomb. And I have a free resource, a free pop-up podcast for everybody at thetruthabouttriggers.com. And It’s a pop-up podcast, a three-part podcast where you’re going to learn all about triggers and how to heal them through your nervous system designed specifically for women.

Katie: And that link will be in the show notes as well for all of you guys who are listening on the go or driving kids. I know that’s how I often consume podcasts. I’ll make sure you guys can find it. Please come learn along with me. But for now, Veronica, thank you so much. Like I said in the beginning, I think this topic is so important. And as you explained so well, especially for women. So to all the women and moms listening, I hope this is an amazing starting point to begin this journey. Thank you for sharing and for your wisdom today.

Veronica: Thank you so much, Katie.

Katie: And thank you, as always, for listening and sharing your most valuable resources, your time, your energy, and your attention with us today. We’re both so grateful that you did. And I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of The Wellness Mama Podcast.

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


2 responses to “783: How Your Nervous System Can Help Create the Life You Want With Veronica Rottman”

  1. Jenni Avatar

    Both of these podcasts with Veronica have been so educational and encouraging to me. I’m another mom who wishes she had learned to regulate before having kids. I’ve not cared for myself well and have a lot to learn about how to listen to my body. I am on my way now. I’m sharing this with many friends. Thank you so much to both of you!

  2. Jessica Wolfe Avatar
    Jessica Wolfe

    thetruthabouttriggers.com is not a working website. I can’t find it anywhere.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *