Rest and Digest: Developing the Green Zone

Rest and Digest: Developing the Green Zone
What do we think about, when we think about bees? Apart from honey, I mean.
The saying 'busy as a bee' is what comes to my mind. And when we look at bees, its easy to see why - they are usually buzzing around, visiting flowers, collecting pollen, and they never seem to take a break!

This image, created by from the American training centre, NICAMB*, is called an Infographic. It provides useful theoretical information in an clear visual format.

The aim of this particular infographic is to show and explain the three circles or 'zones' of emotional regulation, coloured red, blue and green. These zones help us to understand our 'normal' physical and emotional modes of being, and also which ones we may find more challenging. These preferences are partly determined by genetics, and partly by our past experiences. 

Surprisingly, the green zone, or 'Soothing system' is the one many people struggle with, however it is very important for recovery and recuperation, whether from daily living, emotional stress, chronic illness, or major trauma.

While we are on holidays or at weekends, this 'struggle with the green zone' can be more noticeable than it is in our everyday lives, where being busy is the norm, and is in fact, often unavoidable. If you have active young children, then the green zone may sometimes seem like an unachievable dream. But what if you have the time to relax, and yet you still find it hard?

On holidays, some people find it easy to chill, whilst others feel uncomfortable 'doing nothing', and prefer to fill their days with activity. 

Both things are important, and it may be a good idea to try to find a balance between the two. Ways of 'doing nothing' can include: reading (or listening to) a book, drawing, colouring in, listening to music, pursuing an enjoyable hobby or interest, watching a movie, or even going for a slow walk.

Being mindful in our chosen activities can also be helpful, as this encourages us to focus on what we are doing in this moment, rather than getting caught up in unhelpful thoughts about what we really should be doing, how we could be doing it better, etc. 

Simple ideas, but not always easy to put into practice. But now may be a good time to try.

 *or National Institute for Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine

Instagram bee tattoo design by artist Henrietta Harris