How to Start Regulating Your Nervous System with Anna Bohnengel, RDN

Whether it's due to increased stress levels, health problems, financial struggles, or fertility challenges, a dysregulated nervous system can take a toll on your overall well-being. In this episode of Dear (In)Fertility, Kristyn sits down with Registered Dietitian Anna Bohnengel to discuss how your nervous system can become unbalanced, signs to look out for, and actionable tips to help reinstate a feeling of "safety" within your body. Labcorp OnDemand™ puts your health in your hands by making trusted lab tests available directly to you. Choose from over 50 different health tests and get answers to a healthier you today at ?ondemand.labcorp.com?.

Published on September 5, 2023

Dear Infertility_S5_Ep 8 - Anna Bohnengel: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

Dear Infertility_S5_Ep 8 - Anna Bohnengel: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Kristyn Hogdon:
Hi, I'm Kristyn Hodgdon, an IVF mom, proud women's health advocate, and co-founder of Rescripted. Welcome to Dear (In)fertility. This season, join me along with a variety of women's health experts as we explore holistic approaches to our reproductive, hormonal, sexual, mental, and overall health and wellness. From the practice of cycle syncing to the importance of pelvic floor therapy, we'll address some of the many questions women have about their bodies and share practical tips for improving your day-to-day life. Now, let's dive in and work towards ending the shame and stigma surrounding women's bodies once and for all, from first period to last period.

Kristyn Hogdon:
Hi, everyone, and welcome back to Dear Infertility. I'm your host, Kristyn, and I'm here with Anna Bohnengel. Hi, Anna!

Anna Bohnengel:
Hi, Kristyn. Thanks for having me.

Kristyn Hogdon:
Absolutely. I'm so excited to chat with you. So, for those of you who don't know, Anna Bohnengel is the founder of Fertility Nutritionist. She's a registered dietitian with over a decade of experience empowering women to take control of their health and fertility. Welcome!

Anna Bohnengel:
Thank you, Kristyn. I'm really excited to be here talking to you.

Kristyn Hogdon:
I'm so interested in today's topic. As I've mentioned on previous episodes, I'm on my own holistic fertility journey, and today, we will be talking about nervous system regulation, and I think a lot of people listening might not even know what that is. I certainly didn't before a couple of months ago. So I guess just to dive right in, for those who may not be familiar with the term, what is nervous system regulation exactly?

Anna Bohnengel:
Yeah, okay, yeah, I'm happy to, and actually, maybe just go way, five steps back, and like to preface the conversation because I'm a dietitian, and you're asking me about nervous system regulation, and so I love that you framed it as a holistic perspective because I have found time and time again in my own health and fertility journeys and with all of my clients that if we just focus on the physical, just the nutrition, just the supplements, just the exercise, it's like you need the mental, emotional, nervous system piece to package all of the work that you're doing physically and bring it all home, if that makes sense. I think when people hear that I'm a dietitian, they don't necessarily automatically think, Oh, she works on nervous system health, but it is actually something that is woven too like into almost every conversation I have with every client because it's such a key piece of this puzzle. So, to answer your question, like what is nervous system regulation? And I guess one more sort of preface before fully answering that question is that I think it's really important to remember that like nervous system regulation, and when we're talking about all of this, we're not talking about never getting stressed out. I think that's really important. Like, nobody's saying like, you're never getting stressed, you're never getting anxious or worried, or you're never getting your feathers all ruffled, right? Nervous system regulation is talking about just not getting stuck in that fight or flight state and having the agility and the resilience to move in and out of the stress response. So, on a more sort of technical, physiological explanation, within our nervous system, there's what's called the autonomic nervous system, and this is what happens totally involuntarily. You don't have to put any thought into it, right? Your heart's going to beat, your lungs are going to breathe, synapses in your brain are going to fire. Within that autonomic nervous system, there's what's called the sympathetic, that's what we associate with fight or flight, but there's also freeze or fawn or other sort of states within that. And then there's the parasympathetic, which is a mouthful, but that's what we think of as rest and digest; that's when your nervous system is calm. So when we're talking about nervous system regulation, we're talking about you can get into fight or flight, but you can get yourself out of it, and you can calm the nerves. Does that all make sense?

Kristyn Hogdon:
Yes, and I love that explanation because, I actually woke up with a little bit of anxiety today, and I'm like, oh, no, wait, that's not good, that's not good for me. But I went for a 45-minute walk and was able to breathe, and listen to a podcast, and calm down, and so I feel way more accomplished after you described it, because reality is, especially with infertility, like there's no way you're not going to ever get stressed or ruffled.

Anna Bohnengel:
100%, yeah. Like, I think as humans, our most basic instinct is survival, and that means it's stress, and worry, and anxiety is our brain's way of protecting us. I've heard it described as like your brain is, it's your security system or like your security guard. I like to think of it as like my bodyguard, like my personal Kevin Costner, but it's like your brain trying to protect you. So when you wake up feeling a little nervous or anxious, you can notice those thoughts, oh, there's something wrong with me, or, oh, I got to get rid of this stress, and instead reframe that with, oh, hey, thank you, brain, for looking out and taking care of me, but actually, I'm safe, and things are okay.

Kristyn Hogdon:
I love that. So how do you know if it's just regular stress or if it's fight or flight?

Anna Bohnengel:
That's an interesting question. So I don't know that there's a difference between regular stress, or fight or flight, like stress is fight or flight. I think probably what you're trying to get at is like, when is it like okay and manageable versus when is it causing chronic issues? And I think, like I said a few minutes ago, like when it's chronic is when it's getting in the way of our life, and we are feeling stuck in it, and this can show up in a lot of different areas. So like, in terms of your mental emotional state, you can assign that you're stuck in fight or flight as if you're extremely irritable, if you're just like everything makes you snap, if you're feeling really overwhelmed, like decision fatigue or like information overload, and you're like I just can't handle another thing, I just can't learn another thing, or I can't handle more news, you know that like your nervous system is tapped out basically. Sleep disorders are a big one, right? If you're having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep or if you're waking up tired, that's a huge clue that your nervous system is dysregulated, or a lot of people describe it as wired and tired. It's like you're tired, but then you go through days, times during the day where you feel like really wired and jacked up, especially at night when you should be tired. But then there's also like really key physical cues, and I think that's important too, of when you're like in chronic fight or flight and that can show up as pain, like tight shoulders, stomach pain, joint pain, but it can also show up as like indigestion, like chronic constipation and bloat, like you're just holding on to everything really tightly. It can show up in some people as like skin issues like acne, rashes, eczema, like a flare-up of autoimmune things. So I know that's a laundry list, and, but I think it's important to go through all of that because it does show up a little bit differently for everybody. And a key piece of this is learning, like for you, what are the red flags? What are the clues that your nervous system is in overdrive?

Kristyn Hogdon:
Yeah, absolutely. So, can you explain the connection between nervous system dysregulation and women's health and fertility? Can you be doing everything right physically, so to speak, like with your diet and exercise and all that stuff, and have your nervous system still impede on your reproductive menstrual cycle, etc.?

Anna Bohnengel:
Yeah, and I think the most like, intuitive way of understanding this is that your body needs to feel a sense of safety to be able to reproduce, and if you're in a fight or flight or freeze state, it's basically like sounding alarms in your brain to the hypothalamus, in your brain, like, hey, things are not safe. And so basically, like on a hormonal level, that's going to have a cascade of effects, right? So the hypothalamus, there's these axes that go from your hypothalamus to your pituitary gland, which is like the master hormone producer, which goes to your thyroid, your ovaries, and your adrenal glands, right? And it all works on these feedback loops, there's like positive and negative feedback loops. Positive feedback loops, meaning it increases hormone production. For instance, when estrogen levels start to drop, your hypothalamus notices that, and it says, okay, pituitary gland produce more FSH, follicle-stimulating hormone, to get your follicles to grow to start producing more estrogen. But it also works on a negative feedback loop, meaning if there's high cortisol coming from your adrenal glands, your hypothalamus also notices that, and it says, hey, pituitary, let's slow down hormone production. So high cortisol can then be a signal in your brain to be like, actually, let's slow down thyroid hormone production, let's slow down LH and FSH. So hopefully, that gave an explanation of like intuitively like your body needs to feel safe, but hormonally, there is a very direct like measurable physiological cascade of events that happens when we're in fight or flight that can slow down reproduction.

Kristyn Hogdon:
Love that, just love that explanation. Are there any lifestyle habits that can help with that feedback loop?

Anna Bohnengel:
Yeah. Where should we start? You mean the feedback loop specifically around the high cortisol?

Kristyn Hogdon:
Yeah, that's what I was getting at, the first thing in the morning to avoid that cortisol spike, or for me, it's been eating breakfast every day, but that's more on the physical side, and I'm still working on the mental side like we discussed, so.

Anna Bohnengel:
Okay, yeah. Okay, let's first explain that cortisol in and of itself, even though it's coined as the stress hormone is not quote-unquote bad. You actually, your cortisol is supposed to go on what's called a diurnal rhythm where you want it to spike first thing in the morning and that actually gets your blood sugar going, it wakes you up, it revs up your immune system for the day. The thing is, we don't want it to get too high and we don't want it to stay too high. I love the description of a ski slope. You want it to go up, but then go down in like a nice steady line throughout the day. So in my practice with women, I do a lot of cortisol testing and I'll see a lot of times with women who are high stress, either their cortisol is like so high, it stays. I'm using my hands a lot. Your listeners can't see me, but like it either stays really high and doesn't drop down or they've been stressed for so long that their cortisol is bottomed out and they're not getting that spike at all. It is really interesting because it helps really explain like your personal stress response.

Kristyn Hogdon:
Is that the Dutch test?

Anna Bohnengel:
Yeah, yeah. Have you done that?

Kristyn Hogdon:
I have not yet. I'm currently waiting to ovulate so that I can take it this cycle. So fingers crossed that actually happens.

Anna Bohnengel:
Yeah, I love the Dutch test for like, because stress is one of those things that's thrown around out there, like we talked about at the beginning of this call was like, bad. But it can be so helpful to see some actual numbers of your cortisol levels, to see to what extent your stress response is actually out of whack or not. Like maybe some people are stressing about stress and they don't even need to be, because I do find that sometimes too, oh, your cortisol levels look normal. Anyway, so let's get back to your question about like how to manage them or what.

Kristyn Hogdon:
You're so right about stressing about stress. I actually was a big fan of your Instagram post the other day about how you said at one point you were trying to do everything perfectly and yes, you might have been eating perfectly and moving perfectly, but your body was actually in fight or flight because you were so focused on being perfect. And I feel like that's, I don't know if that's where I'm at, but I feel that way. I'm almost trying to control the situation so much that it's probably not great for my nerves.

Anna Bohnengel:
I know, yeah. But I think that you can trust on some level that all of the things that you are doing to quote-unquote be in control are serving you. Because when you were going to, you were asking me about what you can do to help make your cortisol or stress hormone levels like in the optimal range, that does start with taking care of your physical health, right? If you're not eating enough, if you're not eating enough at regular intervals, that's going to put your body in a state of stress. If your blood sugar is all dysregulated, that's extremely stressful to your system. If you're not getting good sleep, if you're exercise is like draining you rather than rejuvenating you, if you've got like some sort of like clinical stealth gut infection, all of that is also stressing your system. So you can't, it's, I really love when people talk about this work is like mind and body because that's really what we're doing here is marrying them and not trying to separate them so much, because those all these physical things that you're doing are a huge key, essential piece of the puzzle. And then comes, okay, are we noticing clues that we're like in constant fight or flight? If so, what tools do we have to work with that? Where I recommend starting is with your mindset. Where I started this call with, first of all, am I viewing stress as a bad thing and how can I reframe that? There's a researcher out of Stanford, her name is Kelly McGonigal, and she's got a fabulous Ted Talk and a book called The Upside of Stress, but she frames stress as, you stress because you care. Like we, if you didn't give an S H I T, you wouldn't stress, right? We have a meaningful life, like you care about doing good at work, you care about growing your family, you care about your health. And so they've done actual research where they have set people up for things like taking tests or doing public speaking, and beforehand, they had two groups where they compared like telling people that stress is bad versus telling people that stress is advantageous and it's going to help them perform better, and your mentality about the stress makes a huge difference in terms of how your body physically responds to stress. So going back to using, oh, I woke up feeling anxious, I'm feeling like, well, I shouldn't feel that way. But if you can reframe that to like, oh, I'm stressing and anxious because I care, right? Because this is, this stress response can be helpful to me, then what happens is actually like the hormones change. You produce more oxytocin, which is the hormone that we think of around, it's called the cuddle hormone or the tend and befriend hormone. But essentially it gives us courage and it encourages us to reach out to others and connect to others. And we produce more DHEA, which is helpful for follicle growth, but also for general growth and like adaptation. All of this say, to say that when we view stress as more positive, we actually have a hormonal response that is more positive.

Kristyn Hogdon:
Wow, I love that. Think about it in scientific terms versus, I have such an aversion to like the word manifestation because it almost feels accusatory, in the world of fertility, it almost feels like accusatory because it's, oh, do I just not want it enough, or have I not been like visualizing it enough? But I love thinking about it as just thinking about stress in a different way. That's so powerful.

Anna Bohnengel:
It, for me, it's been really transformative to just, to not view the stress as something that's wrong with me or I'm broken or like I'm a problem that needs to be fixed, but oh, hey, my body is like taking care of me here. And I love that you said that about manifestation, because I've run into that too a lot where like the, just choose joy thing, I feel like.

Kristyn Hogdon:
Yes!

Anna Bohnengel:
It's not that easy. And so that's the second layer to the mindset piece is, what do you actually like believe in? What are you actually telling yourself, and is it true? Working with your thoughts around what's causing the stress and anxiety. This is, I told you at the beginning of, before we hit record, that I'm working with the somatic coach, and this is something that she's helping me work on is, okay, so I'm waking up with anxiety, and my personal thought process behind that is, oh, there's something wrong with me that I'm so anxious. And then taking, just like peeling back the layers, being like, what is the evidence for that, that there's something wrong with me? Is this true? Is this what I really believe? And so for me, journaling has been really powerful, and something that I often recommend to clients, to help get through those layers of your thoughts and not just sticking with the first knee-jerk reaction thought that you have, but actually getting underneath it and questioning it and being like, what do I really believe?

Kristyn Hogdon:
Yes, I'm a big fan of cognitive behavioral therapy. I actually literally just got off the phone with my therapist and she focuses on that, and it's not, it's different than somatic coaching, but just like identifying the black-and-white thinking and all of those different, you can Google all the different ones that you could possibly have, but find those and then saying, is there actual truth to this or not?

Anna Bohnengel:
Exactly, yeah, it's totally cognitive behavioral therapy. The only difference with the somatic piece is that it also, then they say, where do you feel it in your body? And so you're connecting those thoughts with the physical piece.

Kristyn Hogdon:
I've always wondered about that in relation to trauma, like videos on TikTok and Instagram about how like you can hold trauma in your body, and I think, I too have been through IVF and miscarriages, have been through trauma. So how does that all fit in?

Anna Bohnengel:
Yeah, there's a fabulous book called The Body Keeps the Score, which is a pretty dense read, but if you really want to dive into it, he goes into the like science of how a lot of it goes back to like our hormones and our neurotransmitters, but basically, when you're in a trauma response, it keeps you stuck in that fight or flight. I think maybe this would be a good time, I know one of the questions you had for me was about the vagus nerve. So this might be a good time to tackle that because it helps explain the trauma response.

Kristyn Hogdon:
Yeah, absolutely.

Anna Bohnengel:
So the vagus nerve is, it's not actually a singular thing, it's a bundle of nerves that goes from the base of your skull, the base of your brain, down through your body, down along your spinal cord, but it connects every major organ, and it's this like major conduit, a highway of information sending signals back and forth from your brain to your body. This is a weird analogy, but the way I think of it is like an octopus with tentacles, where instead of using their eyes, it's like the nerves are using tentacles to feel out for danger in your internal and external environment and send signals back to your brain, and send signals back to your brain that things are safe; and that puts you back into the parasympathetic or the rest and digest calm state. Often when people have experienced trauma, and I think it's important to, just take a side note here, that trauma is not defined by the event, trauma is defined by how you emotionally react to the event. And that's what people talk about capital T or little t trauma, because it's not that you have to have survived a disaster or, heaven forbid, been raped or something, really, that we think of as, oh, my life has been fine, I have enough food to eat, I've got a roof over my head, I don't have trauma, but our nervous system doesn't classify things that way. Our nervous system picks up, that vagus nerve picks up if things feel dangerous, right? And if you're worried about is this IVF cycle going to work? That is like triggering your nervous system, and so that could definitely be something like a lowercase t trauma. And so what it can do is it, basically, your vagus nerve picks up the signals that things aren't safe and it can keep you stuck in that fight or flight state. And so that's why like all over TikTok and Instagram right now, there's all these videos about toning your vagal nerve, which is about basically just helping you get unstuck and be able to find some relaxation.

Kristyn Hogdon:
Oh, yeah. So tell us how we can do that. What are some practical tips for a nervous system regulation and what was it calming the vagus nerve or toning?

Anna Bohnengel:
Yeah, people say toning the vagus nerve, which I guess it just basically means when you stimulate that nerve, it triggers the parasympathetic.

Kristyn Hogdon:
Awesome.

Anna Bohnengel:
Yeah. Okay, I feel like I would be remiss if I didn't reiterate the importance of the things that I talked about a few minutes ago. You just can't, I feel like a lot of people are like, oh, I'm going to take a cold water plunge or I'm going to do a red light sauna, but you can't skip the foundations that I talked about a few minutes ago of making sure you're nourishing yourself and eating enough and getting good sleep. And then once you have the foundations in place and you have the mindset stuff in place that we talked about, then these practices for toning your vagus nerve, I think of them as like the cherry on top. It's not like they're going to work to calm your nervous system if you don't have those foundations first. So that said, there's all kinds of things that can work to stimulate your vagus nerve because it has those like tentacles, if you will, those branches all throughout your body. Actually, this is really interesting, but from your eyes, you can hold your eyes all the way to one side for a few minutes and then all the way to the other side. I'm actually doing it, I wish ...

Kristyn Hogdon:
... that was my natural reaction to it.

Anna Bohnengel:
But if you think about hypnotherapy, you think about that like sort of cliche or stereotypical, like your eyes going back and forth, that helps stimulate the vagus nerve, which can help calm you down. There's like an entry point in your ears and there's all kinds of devices right now that will send electrical stimulation through your ear lobes into your inner ear that calms your, there's one device called the Zen. I, full disclosure, haven't tried it yet, but I've heard amazing, amazing things about it.

Kristyn Hogdon:
... that they give you during acupuncture.

Anna Bohnengel:
Yeah, cool. And then if you go, so I'm like moving down the body here, ways to stimulate the vagus nerve from head to throat, but throat is a big one. So in the back of your throat, things that you can do are gargling, like gargling water, but also humming. And I love this one because it was something that, like you intuitively do, I'm sure when you had your twins were first born, like you hummed them, which is soothing both to mom and to baby, but just humming to yourself, especially like in low tones, like low deep tones is supposed to be really soothing to the vagus nerve. So these are all things that you can do anytime, anywhere. Nobody will know that you're doing it. Let's see, okay, so deep breathing, of course, is something that's going to help stimulate the vagus nerve. This is something that for me, I've personally really struggled with when I first started doing therapy and CBT like two decades ago. And I remember them being like, just take a deep breath, and I was like, I don't feel like I can just take a deep breath and relax. Like, it made me more stressed out. But I have since learned there's more to it than just having a big belly breath. One of the key things that I learned is extending the exhale. When you are on the exhale, it triggers the parasympathetic versus when you inhale, it's more stimulating. So if you're working on breathing to help calm your nervous system, one sort of hack, if you will, is to start on the exhale instead of the inhale, and exhale for a count of eight, and then inhale for a count of four, and repeat that at least three times.

Kristyn Hogdon:
Okay.

Anna Bohnengel:
Should I keep going?

Kristyn Hogdon:
I'm loving this.

Anna Bohnengel:
... vagus nerve stimulation.

Kristyn Hogdon:
Yeah, I'm, any practical tips you can share, I'm loving it. Breathing helps me, like when I can't fall asleep. ... thinking, let me just breathe, and then that does the trick. But I hadn't thought of exhaling first, that's a good tip.

Anna Bohnengel:
And another piece that I think can be helpful is, instead of just, they say belly breathe, but instead of just like forcefully pushing your belly out, I actually find it more helpful to think of your diaphragm as like a balloon that's expanding. So you expand your ribcage to the side and to the back so you feel like your whole torso expanding instead of just forcefully pushing your belly out and then exhaling slowly. I think one thing I should say, or take a pause to mention is like, when I'm working with clients, so I have a 12-week program, and I give them all kinds of different tools from breathing, to tapping, to yoga nidra, because everybody's a little bit different and everybody's nervous system is wired a little bit different. So I think it's like about trying all of these different things and see what works for you, and don't give yourself too hard of a time if you're like, What? I don't feel anything. What is that? Just move on, try something else.

Kristyn Hogdon:
Yeah, I love, I feel like whenever I'm, I don't know, I'm leaned into the napping recently where instead of forcing myself to get up and do the dishes while the kids are watching TV or something, it's just close your eyes if you're that tired, and you'll feel better when you wake up.

Anna Bohnengel:
Yeah, I love it. I personally love a nap and I feel like the key is like, I set an alarm for 20 minutes so that I don't get into such deep sleep because so many people say it makes them too groggy. But there's this whole concept of non-sleep deep rest, and I think for people who can't nap, which I hear this a lot, I think it's important that you still get the benefits of resting even if you're not falling asleep. So that's where maybe, when I said yoga nidra you thought about that because that's basically, like you just lie on the floor and you have somebody guide you through deep, full-body relaxation.

Kristyn Hogdon:
Oh, wow, I didn't realize that's what that meant. Oh yeah. I actually did a yoga by Adrian once, and she was literally just laying there, and I was like, what's going on? Like.

Anna Bohnengel:
Maybe it was yoga nidra because you literally just laid there.

Kristyn Hogdon:
Yeah, no, I would definitely puzzled at the time, but it all makes sense now. Yeah, I think for me, I've been trying to just listen to my body's cues, and that seems so obvious, but I've historically loved to do strength workouts and like kind of high-intensity stuff and almost forced myself, even if I don't feel like it at the time. And now, if my body's not feeling it, I'm trying to just go for a long walk in the sunshine or maybe do some stretching, or because I don't know, like I've really become in tune with my body through IVF and this whole holistic journey. And at the end of the day, it's like your body is intuitive, and it's telling you what it wants sometimes. And all of these practices can help, of course, but that's just been a big one for me. It's like, rest when your body's telling you to rest, like rest is productive, and that is not what I wanted to hear six months ago. Don't feel like you should just be making the most of your time and stay busy and, but if you can't, you're going to be in a constant state of just fight or flight if you're just always doing, right?

Anna Bohnengel:
And isn't that wild that it's like a revolutionary thing to do to rest when your body needs rest? We're so like hardwired to go and be productive, and we're like lazy if we're resting.

Kristyn Hogdon:
Totally, and I think like diet culture, that could be a whole podcast episode, but like diet culture plays into that and like how we from a young age, oh, we need to exercise to stay fit or, but really it's like any movement is beneficial, right? But the mental health component is so big on top of that. So what are your thoughts on the cold showers and all of those other supplemental?

Anna Bohnengel:
Yeah, yeah, I know people who swear by the Polar Plunge. To me, it sounds like torture.

Kristyn Hogdon:
That is the one thing I can't do. I'm like, look.

Anna Bohnengel:
It's hot for the summertime, so I'm like, okay, I can jump into a cold shower and like, squeal and then jump out, but the idea is actually that you're putting your body under a state of stress and teaching your nervous system to relax with that stress. So it's very similar to exercise, that's why exercise is good for you too. Like, I know you're a strength trainer, right? And so the idea is like when you're lifting the heavy weights, you're tearing down the muscles, but you actually grow back stronger muscle in the rest period, like when you're asleep and when you're not lifting the weights, so it's back to that, like being able to be resilient and agile and go in and out of it. And so that's what's really like useful about those cold water plunges as you stay in it long enough that you have to calm your breathing down and you make yourself relax while your body is in this like extreme stress state.

Kristyn Hogdon:
Absolutely, that's such great advice. So what would your one piece of advice be to someone that might be in a stage of stress on their fertility journey or just in life? And if there's one thing that they could start with today, when it comes to nervous system regulation, how would you rescript the way they think about it?

Anna Bohnengel:
In terms of rescripting it, I would reiterate what we talked about at the beginning as not getting down on yourself about the stress or pathologizing yourself because you're stressed, or you're anxious, and instead recognizing that is your body and brain's way of taking care of you, and say thank you brain for stepping in to take care of me, but I'm safe, and I got this. So that rescript for a really ... do, that I would recommend as a place to start is I actually recommend taking three deep breaths in whatever way is most soothing and calming to your nervous system before each meal. Because here's a huge thing is that when you're in the fight or flight or like you're anxious, you're overworked, it's going to impair your digestion, and that's going to mean not only digestive issues like bloating, constipation, gas, whatever, but also you're not going to get the, reap the full benefit of all that amazing organic food you're eating and all those expensive supplements because you're not absorbing them as well. And so, for the purpose, and it also is helpful in terms of habit stacking, right, because you're eating meals anyway. You don't need to like work in a 10 to 20-minute meditation, that's not where you necessarily need to start. But breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you're eating those meals anyway, before you start, take three deep breaths, calm your nervous system, and then enjoy your meal.

Kristyn Hogdon:
That's right. It's just like having to remember, but once you get into the habit, I'm sure it's.

Anna Bohnengel:
Yeah, that's why I say habit stacking, right? Tack it to a habit that you've already formed, it makes it a lot easier to remember.

Kristyn Hogdon:
Totally, love it. This is wonderful. I feel like nothing feels overwhelming about any of the tips that you provided, it's gargling. It's less overwhelming than having to go to EMDR therapy or something like that ... add up, and I think that's a good takeaway.

Anna Bohnengel:
I'm not anti EMDR, it was like super helpful for me, but I think that the little things that fit into your life that you can do throughout the day can be just as impactful, if not more so, than trying to carve out another appointment with some other specialist.

Kristyn Hogdon:
Thank you so much, Anna. This was wonderful.

Anna Bohnengel:
Yeah, thank you.

Kristyn Hogdon:
I'm gonna go take three deep breaths and have lunch. Where can everyone find you?

Anna Bohnengel:
I am at Fertility-Nutritionist.com or on Instagram at @MyFertilityNutritionist.

Kristyn Hogdon:
Perfect! Thank you again, and enjoy the rest of your day.

Anna Bohnengel:
Okay, thanks!

Kristyn Hogdon:
If this podcast means something to you, be sure to hit follow or subscribe. This helps you because you'll never miss an episode and it helps us because you'll never miss an episode. For everything you need to know about women's health and fertility, head to Rescripted.com or follow us on social at Fertility.Rescripted.

Sonix is the world’s most advanced automated transcription, translation, and subtitling platform. Fast, accurate, and affordable.

Automatically convert your mp3 files to text (txt file), Microsoft Word (docx file), and SubRip Subtitle (srt file) in minutes.

Sonix has many features that you'd love including share transcripts, world-class support, advanced search, automated translation, and easily transcribe your Zoom meetings. Try Sonix for free today.

The State of Sex Ed, Unleashed 🔥

Enter your email address to get exclusive access to our full State of Sex Ed Report and accompanying newsletter. You’ll automatically be entered to win a prize bundle worth $16K+, including a FREE (and transferrable!) egg freezing cycle!

Prize bundle includes: