#522. What Science and Buddhism Say About How to Regulate Your Own Nervous System | Deb Dana & Kaira Jewel Lingo

Ten Percent Happier
November 14, 2022
#522. What Science and Buddhism Say About How to Regulate Your Own Nervous System | Deb Dana & Kaira Jewel Lingo
Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris

Is it possible to learn to spot which state your nervous system is in and move from suboptimal states to much better ones? The subject of how to work with your own nervous system is called Polyvagal Theory and today’s guests Deb Dana & Kaira Jewel Lingo will give us a primer on what that exactly means. They will also talk about how our nervous systems are connected to the nervous systems of other people, and how we can learn to co-regulate our systems for the betterment of others. 

Deb Dana is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, who is a clinician, consultant and author specializing in complex trauma.  Her work is focused on using the lens of Polyvagal Theory to understand and resolve the impact of trauma, and creating ways of working that honor the role of the autonomic nervous system. She has written several books, including Anchored: How to Befriend Your Nervous System Using Polyvagal Theory

Kaira Jewel Lingo is a Dharma teacher with a lifelong interest in spirituality and social justice. After living as an ordained nun for 15 years in Thich Nhat Hanh’s monastic community, Kaira Jewel now teaches internationally in the Zen lineage and the Vipassana tradition, as well as in secular mindfulness, with a focus on activists, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, artists, educators, families, and youth. She is author of We Were Made for These Times: Ten Lessons for Moving Through Change, Loss, and Disruption


This is the third installment of our series called, The Art and Science of Keeping Your Sh*t Together. In each episode we bring together a meditative adept or Buddhist scholar and a respected scientist. The idea is to give you the best of both worlds to arm you with both modern and ancient tools for regulating your emotions.

In this episode we talk about:

  • The basics of Polyvagal Theory
  • A fascinating and easily graspable concept from Buddhist psychology called, “store consciousness”
  • The interconnectedness of our nervous systems and the responsibility that creates for all of us
  • How to handle being annoyed
  • What happens when we beat ourselves up with “shoulds,” and how to stop doing that
  • The value of simply knowing, in the moments when you’re stuck, that those moments are impermanent
  • How to allow your suffering to inform your life
  • The value of “micro-moments”
  • Two ways of caring for painful states without suppressing them
  • And the power of action and service in overcoming anxiety

Where to find Deb Dana & Kaira Jewel Lingo online: 

Website: www.kairajewel.com and www.rhythmofregulation.com 

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