Nervous System Activation Spectrum and Guide for Sale!

Activation Spectrum - White.jpg

I created a Nervous System Activation Spectrum to help assess where your nervous system activation is, and its companion Guide [see below] which offers clear ways to effectively respondto your needs, emotions, and body’s signals in each state. The color spectrum makes it easy to match inner states and feelings with levels of arousal. 

When our nervous system state changes, our capacity to respond changes. Wouldn’t it be helpful to know where your own or others’ nervous system activation level is, so you can respond appropriately, and stop asking of yourself or others what is impossible to give when our nervous systems aren’t on board? Useful for learning to attune to yourself and regulate your nervous system and emotions, as well as for using with clients, colleagues, couples, families, children, and anyone who communicates!: 

To learn more about the theory behind this, visit:

To purchase both images as a foam board poster or framed poster GO TO: Zazzle [cheaper framing & foam board mounting option (including a double sided option with the spectrum on one side and guide on the other!)]

To purchase both images as a poster, photographic print, card, stickers, or magnet, GO TO: Redbubble [cheaper shipping]

To purchase downloadable versions GO TO:

Nervous System Activation Spectrum:

Nervous System Activation Spectrum Guide:

Please share this with anyone you think might benefit (teachers, parents, therapists, and communicators of all kinds!)

About Me:

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Provisional Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (PSEP) working in a somatic psychotherapy private practice in Portland, Oregon. I first developed the Nervous System Activation Spectrum to help my clients assess their levels of activation visually, and found that having a color spectrum clarified their inner states in a quick and accessible way, and helped them to quickly identify what they needed, when. It also helped them choose how to proceed more effectively when the actions they were trying to accomplish weren’t supported by their particular nervous system state. I then developed the Guide to clarify how to recognize and respond to each state. This lead me to research more deeply the nervous system defensive responses: To learn more about the theory behind these offerings, visit:

Undieting, Body Image, Body Neutrality and Positivity, and Intuitive Eating

Here are some great resources if you are struggling with food, eating, body shame, self-esteem, dieting, binge-restrict cycles, and feeling like your worth or happiness is dependent on your body size. If you would like to find freedom in your relationship with food and develop a loving and supportive and intuitive relationship with your body, scroll down to check out all the amazing resources [books, podcasts, and videos] below:

Check Out “Poodle Science” to Explain Why Health At Every Size Makes Sense:


1. The Body Is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor

Do you apologize for how you look because you are ashamed of your body? If so, read this book.

In this book, the author advocates radical self-love. Radical self-love is much more than having a high self-esteem, self-confidence or self-acceptance. It’s our natural state of being and it’s not just about loving yourself. It operates at both the individual and systemic levels.

When you are judging your body or comparing it with others, you are judging other people’s body too. We unknowingly participate in body shaming due to the conditioning of the social, political and economic systems. Reading this book will open you to new perspectives and set you free.

Print | eBook | Audio

2. Body Positive Power by Megan Jayne Crabbe

If you think you need to reach your ideal weight and shrink yourself in order to be happy, read this book.

Written by an Instagram star (@bodyposipanda), the author advocates that the real path to happiness is loving the body you have. After spending years battling anorexia and weight fluctuations, the author decided to quit dieting and overcome her feelings of body shame and self-hatred.

A believer in fat acceptance and intersectional body positivity, the author shares her struggles and her journey to self-acceptance. She also gives tips on how to see yourself in a different way. People who struggle with eating disorders will relate to this book.

Print | eBook | Audio

3. Health At Every Size by Linda Bacon

Fat isn’t the problem. Dieting is the problem. Weight loss isn’t the benefit. Health is the benefit.

Written by a health professor and researcher, this anti-diet book is scientific-researched and tells you why it is difficult to lose weight biologically. As per the author, dieting is not only ineffective at producing long-term weight loss and satisfaction, but it actually induces weight gain.

If you are obsessed with losing weight and dieting or you are constantly restricting what you eat and feeling guilty for eating something you are not supposed to eat, this book is suitable for you. It helps you to dispel myths with regards to weight.

Print | eBook | Audio

4. Embody by Connie Sobczak

This book emphasizes acceptance and celebration of the unique beauty of individuals regardless of age, size, sexual orientation, gender or ethnicity.

Everyone has the inherent wisdom and ability to make healthy choices and live a balanced life. In this book, the author offers a gentle approach to dealing with appearance and body image. Rather than giving you a set of rigid steps or rules, the author takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery to find what works for them. 

By practicing mindfulness and mastering certain competencies, every person can lead a healthy, positive and fulfilling life. This book is best suited for those who are looking for something beyond a step-by-step guide.

5. Body of Truth: How Science, History, and Culture Drive Our Obsession with Weight — and What We Can Do about It by Harriet Brown

Over the past twenty-five years, our quest for thinness has morphed into a relentless obsession with weight and body image. In our culture, “fat” has become a four-letter word. Or, as Lance Armstrong said to the wife of a former teammate, “I called you crazy. I called you a bitch. But I never called you fat.” How did we get to this place where the worst insult you can hurl at someone is “fat”? Where women and girls (and increasingly men and boys) will diet, purge, overeat, undereat, and berate themselves and others, all in the name of being thin?

As a science journalist, Harriet Brown has explored this collective longing and fixation from an objective perspective; as a mother, wife, and woman with “weight issues,” she has struggled to understand it on a personal level. Now, in Body of Truth, Brown systematically unpacks what’s been offered as “truth” about weight and health.

Starting with the four biggest lies, Brown shows how research has been manipulated; how the medical profession is complicit in keeping us in the dark; how big pharma and big, empty promises equal big, big dollars; how much of what we know (or think we know) about health and weight is wrong. And how all of those affect all of us every day, whether we know it or not.

The quest for health and wellness has never been more urgent, yet most of us continue to buy into fad diets and unattainable body ideals, unaware of the damage we’re doing to ourselves. Through interviews, research, and her own experience, Brown not only gives us the real story on weight, health, and beauty, but also offers concrete suggestions for how each of us can sort through the lies and misconceptions and make peace with and for ourselves.


1) How to Love Your Body

The non-diet, intuitive eating podcast to help you stop dieting and find wellness without the obsession


Behind the Before and After: Intuitive Eating and Body Image Documentary

2) Yes And Body Politics

We are two women who are passionate about body positivity and empowering people. This podcast is an opportunity start the conversation about being fierce. Self Esteem, Image, pressures, fashion, love, sex, feminism and more.

3) Eat The Rules:

Eat the Rules is dedicated to empowering you to break free of societal standards, body shame and live life beyond the scale.

4)  The Body Image Podcast

The Body Image Podcast is a podcast about body image and the many layers that go into making peace with our bodies. Like intuitive eating, self-compassion, mental health, self-care, body and size acceptance, embodiment, rejecting diet culture, and more. Podcast host, registered dietitian, nutrition therapist, and certified intuitive eating counselor, Corinne Dobbas, MS, RD, talks with guests to help unpack these layers while discussing what positive body image means and looks like in real life. The goal of The Body Image Podcast is to help listeners better their understanding of what it means to make peace with food, heal their body image concerns, and reconnect with who they are as a WHOLE person. You can learn more and get full show notes at

5) Food Psych Podcast with Christy Harrison:

ABOUT: Welcome to Food Psych®, a podcast about intuitive eating, Health at Every Size®, and body liberation.

In each episode, I talk with inspiring guests—including health and psychology professionals, anti-diet activists, and leaders in the body-liberation movement—about their relationships with food, paths to body-image healing and fat acceptance, and experiences of recovery from weight stigma and eating disorders. This podcast calls out diet culture for the life thief that it is, and challenges it in all its sneaky forms—including the restrictive behaviors that often masquerade as wellness and fitness. 

6) The Eatfluencer Podcast Maggie Landes MD

You are what you eat, and the quality of your life depends on food. Despite knowing this, when it comes to eating, we fall prey to our own emotions, cunning retail tactics, social convention, and our toxic food environment.

Join Maggie Landes, MD – physician, nutritionist, and foodie – as she and her guests explore ways you can take back control of your health, ditch the dieting culture, navigate the nutritional landscape with confidence, satisfaction, and peace.

Today is when you can love eating again. Let food be food and you be you.


Embrace [on Netflix]

Free Supportive Listening Resource: Eugene Listens

I thought I would share this resource with all of you. In these challenging times, many of us can feel lonely, isolated, or unsupported. Even if we have people in our lives to talk to, often these communications can have complex dynamics, that can make it hard to feel safe to share and know that we will truly be heard. At times just reaching out to a kind person who is trained to reflectively listen can help us feel connected and not alone, as well as help us feel heard and able to express what we’ve been carrying inside, and clarify our own truth (wisdom/needs).
Feel free to try this resource and share it with others you know who may benefit.
Eugene Listens [  ]

Is this a time in your life when you wish you could talk with someone who can just listen? Loneliness, insecurity, and grief are natural human responses to our current times, and not everyone has someone to whom they can reach out.

Eugene Listens is a free service offering support by phone. We provide an accepting and caring space for anyone in need, regardless of their gender, racial, sexual, spiritual, and ethnic identities.

Calls with Eugene Listens are up to 45 minutes long. Our volunteers are trained in active listening, and receive ongoing support to improve our quality of service.

If you or someone you know would like to take advantage of this free service, request an appointment through this website. See our policies page for other important information.

Please Note: This is not a crisis hotline. Our Listeners are not mental health professionals. If you feel you are in crisis you should contact the White Bird crisis hotline at: 541-687-4000

Helpful Shelter at Home/Quarantine Tips for Mental Health

[These were shared by an anonymous soldier who experienced a lockdown situation abroad, and I think there’s some great ideas here for mental and overall health]


Lockdown Strategies


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Guided Self-Compassion Meditations by Dr. Kristin Neff

Guided Self-Compassion Meditations by Dr. Kristin Neff

Audio guided self-compassion meditations:

Transforming Feelings by Thich Nhat Hanh

This is a lovely guide for how to welcome, care, for, and attune to your emotions and what they are signaling. I would say, however, that before letting the feeling release [which is his 4th step below, I would do his 5th step below which is seeing what the feeling is signaling/asking for]. I also think sometimes calming the feeling [his third step below] can be invalidating, and expressing or letting the feeling move through the body is important. Still, there is wisdom in the below, so I thought I’d share:

Transforming Feelings by Thich Nhat Hanh

The first step in dealing with feelings is to recognize each feeling as it arises.  The agent that does this is mindfulness.  In the case of fear, for example, you bring out your mindfulness, look at your fear, and recognize it as fear.  You know that fear springs from yourself and mindfulness also springs from yourself.  They are both in you, not fighting, but one is taking care of the other.

The second step is to become one with the feeling.  It is best not to say, “Go away, Fear.  I don’t like you.  You are not me.”  It is much more effective to say, “Hello, Fear.  How are you today?”  Then you can invite the two aspects of yourself, mindfulness and fear, to shake hands as friends and become one.  Doing this may seem frightening, but because you know that you are more than just your fear, you need not be afraid.  As long as mindfulness is there, it can chaperone your fear.  The fundamental practice is to nourish your mindfulness with conscious breathing, to keep it there, alive and strong.  Although your mindfulness may not be very powerful in the beginning, if you nourish it, it will become stronger.  As long as mindfulness is present, you will not drown in your fear.  In fact, you begin transforming it the very moment you give birth to awareness in yourself.

The third step is to calm the feeling.  As mindfulness is taking good care of your fear, you begin to calm it down.  “Breathing in, I calm the activities of body and mind.”  You calm your feeling just by being with it, like a mother tenderly holding her crying baby.

Feeling his mother’s tenderness, the baby will calm down and stop crying.  The mother is your mindfulness, born from the depth of your consciousness, and it will tend the feeling of pain.  A mother holding her baby is one with her baby.  If the mother is thinking of other things, the baby will not calm down.  The mother has to put aside other things and just hold her baby.  So, don’t avoid your feeling.  Don’t say, “You are not important.  You are only a feeling.”  Come and be one with it.  You can say, “Breathing out, I calm my fear.”

The fourth step is to release the feeling, to let it go.  Because of your calm, you feel at ease, even in the midst of fear, and you know that your fear will not grow into something that will overwhelm you.  When you know that you are capable of taking care of your fear, it is already reduced to the minimum, becoming softer and not so unpleasant.  Now you can smile at it and let it go, but please do not stop yet.  Calming and releasing are just medicines for the symptoms.  You now have an opportunity to go deeper and work on transforming the source of your fear.

The fifth step is to look deeply.  You look deeply into your baby–your feeling of fear–to see what is wrong, even after the baby has already stopped crying, after the fear is gone.  You cannot hold your baby all the time, and therefore you have to look into him or her to see the cause of what is wrong.  By looking, you will see what will help you begin to transform the feeling.  You will realize, for example, that the suffering has many causes, inside and outside of the body.  If something is wrong around the baby, if you put that in order, bringing tenderness and care to the situation, the baby will feel better.  Looking into your baby, you see the elements that are causing him or her to cry, and when you see them, you will know what to do and what not to do to transform the feeling and be free.

This is a process similar to psychotherapy.  Together with the patient, a therapist looks at the nature of the pain.  Often, the therapist can uncover causes of suffering that stem from the way the patient looks at things, the beliefs one holds about oneself, one’s culture, and the world.  The therapist examines these viewpoints and beliefs with the patient, and together they help free the patient from the kind of prison he or she has been in.  But the patient’s efforts are crucial.  A teacher has to give birth to the teacher within his or her student, and a psychotherapist has to give birth to the psychotherapist within the patient.  The patient’s “internal psychotherapist” can then work full-time in a very effective way.

The therapist does not treat the patient by simply giving him another set of beliefs.  She tries to help him see which kinds of ideas and beliefs have led to his suffering.  Many patients want to get rid of their painful feelings, but they do not want to get rid of their beliefs, the viewpoints that are the very roots of their feelings.  So therapist and patient have to work together to help the patient see things as they are.  The same is true when we use mindfulness to transform our feelings.  After recognizing the feeling, becoming one with it, calming it down, and releasing it, we can look deeply into its causes, which are often based on inaccurate perceptions.  As soon as we understand the causes and nature of our feelings, they begin to transform themselves.