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:

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


Lockdown strategies 2








































































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.

Resources for Support (Warm Lines and Crisis Intervention)

Resources for Support

If you are having a crisis, or just feeling overwhelmed and need someone to talk to, please reach out for support. A little support can go a long way. Often we need someone else’s perspective to shine light where we can’t see it on our own, or simply to provide company in our difficult time, so we know we’re not alone. Below are phone numbers and chat rooms ranging from crisis intervention to warm lines, which simply provide emotional support.

 Suicidal Ideation Hotlines

24-Hour Crisis Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK [online chat]

Multnomah County Crisis Line: 503.988.4888 & Toll-free: 800.716.9769;

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 ; 911

Walk-In Clinics in Portland, OR

Urgent Walk-In Clinic (Multnomah County)

Need to meet face to face? Stop by our Urgent Walk-In Clinic.

The clinic can help anyone experiencing a mental health crisis at no cost.

  • Receive immediate care during a mental health crisis
  • Speak to a psychiatrist or a mental health nurse practitioner
  • Get help with medication and treatment

Location: 4212 SE Division St, Portland (MAP (link is external))

Hours: 7 am – 10:30 pm, seven days a week

Unity Mental Health Emergency Services

Every aspect of our mental health emergency services facility––from the soothing architectural flow to the colors on the walls––is designed to maximize comfort, care and recovery. Most behavioral and mental health emergencies are resolved quickly, so we created 50 comfortable short-term spaces for patients to use during their stay. For those who need longer-term solutions, we also offer inpatient care.

Our patients are treated by a dedicated team of psychiatric physicians and care providers. We have care navigators on site to help coordinate ongoing support for all of our patients. They work with community mental health, behavioral health and social service organizations to create and set up continued care plans, with the goal that everyone leaves Unity with a path to recovery in place.

1225 NE 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97232; 503-988-4888

 Self-Harm Hot Lines

National Self-Injury Help Line: 1-800-DON’T-CUT (366-8288)

Self-Injury Foundation: 1-800-334-HELP

 Bodies Under Siege: [online chat] [online chat]

 Warm Lines [Emotional Support without a crisis]

 1) Call for Emotional Support:  [1-855-845-7415]:
Monday-Wednesday, 7am-7pm
Thursday-Friday, 7am-11pm
Saturday-Sunday, 11am-7pm

2) David Romprey Oregon Warmline – Community Counseling Solutions

(800) 698-2392

Hours: Monday 10 a.m to 8 p.m.; Tuesday Noon to 8 p.m.; Wednesday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.;

Thursday 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday Noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday/Sunday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

3) Friends Helping Friends Warm Line is a peer run warm line in Connecticut that accepts national referrals. Callers may talk for fifteen minutes then wait a half hour to call again.
6PM-10PM (local time) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
Not toll free 860-681-5555

4) The Hartford Warm Line is a peer run warm line based in Connecticut but open to national callers. There is one Spanish speaking counselor (limited hours) and there are no call limits. There are no chat or text capabilities. Hours are 1:00pm-3:00pm Monday-Friday (EST/EDT).
Weekday Number Not toll free – 860-297-0844
Weekend Number Not toll free – 860-297-0920

5) Louisiana Warm Line
National peer run warm line based in Louisiana. No strict call limits, however repeat callers during one day may be limited. Hours of operation are Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday from 5:00pm-10:00pm (EST).
Toll free 800-730-8375

6) Montana Warm Line and Virtual Drop-In Center
The Montana Warmline is a peer run warm line based in Montana but accepting national callers. There are no translation services available, but they do have a chat feature available. Chat is through Yahoo, AIM, GoogleTalk, and MSN (username “montanawarmline”). Calls are limited to 15-20 minutes (unless a caller is in crisis, then they can have more time). Callers may call once per three hour shift, or twice per day on weekdays and four times per day on weekends.
4PM-10PM (MST/MDT) M-F and 10AM-10PM Sat and Sun
Toll free 877-688-3377

7) Reach Center (Washington State)
Reach Center (formerly CVAB) Warm Line is a pager based, peer run warm line out of Vancouver, WA accepting national calls. They are open from 5:00-10:00pm (PST) every day. There are no major call limits, though callers are usually restricted to one call per night. Usually it takes up to 15-20 minutes to receive a callback.
Not toll free 360-903-2853

8) Sacramento Consumer-Operated Warm Line
Sacramento Consumer-Operated Warm Line is a program of the NorCal Mental Health Association. The Warm Line is peer run and is available to all US residents. Calls are limited to two per day and about 20-25 minutes per call. At this time, due to budget cuts, calls are only available in English. Referrals to Sacramento area resources can be made.
9AM-4:30PM (PST) Mon-Fri
Toll free 855-642-6222

9) TLC Warm Line – Community Counseling Center
The TLC Warm Line is an entirely peer-run, non-crisis phone support line focused on southeastern Missouri but open to callers from anywhere in the United States. Peer counselors can provide empathy and emotional support, as well as local referrals if additional assistance is needed.
24/7/365 English language only.
Toll free Out-of-area calls 877-626-0638
Hotline Local calls 573-651-3642

10) Vision of Hope Warm Line (Arizona)
Vision of Hope is a national warm line based in Arizona. Calls are taken in English only, and calls are limited to 15 minutes every hour. Hours are Monday-Friday 12:00pm-12:00am, and Saturday/Sunday 4:00pm-12:00am Local time
Not toll free 602-347-1100

11) Washington Warm Line (Washington State)
The Washington Warm Line is a non-crisis, peer-staffed helpline available to anyone in the United States in need of emotional or mental health-related support. This line does not emphasize providing referrals. There are no official call limits, but callers are encouraged to call no more than once per hour.
Hours are limited but expanding, so please call to verify current hours.
Toll free Out-of-area calls 1-877-500-9276
For local calls 206-933-7001

12) The Cincinnati WARMLINE
The Cincinnati Warm Line is a non-crisis, entirely peer-staffed warmline open to callers from anywhere in the United States, 24-hours a day every day of the year. Peer counselors offer empathy and active listening, but do not offer advice or directives to callers. There are no texting or chatting capabilities. Referrals and information focus on the greater Cincinnati area, including Northern Kentucky. Calls are limited to one 20 minute call per counselor per shift (i.e. two calls per eight hours if two people on shift).
********Call volume is high, so multiple attempts or waiting on hold may be necessary to get through. No toll-free number is available, call the local number.
Not toll free 513-931-9276

13) MHASF’s Peer-Run Warm Line (San Francisco)
MHASF’s Peer-Run Warm Line provides emotional support and information about mental health resources. As peers, we have also had our own mental health challenges and use that experience to help others who may be struggling now. Referrals for San Francisco available.
At this time calls/chats from outside of the local area are subject to being limited to 2 per week.
7AM-11PM Weekdays and 11AM-7PM Weekends (PST)
Toll free 1-855-845-7415 or chat at:

14) [online chat]

If you’re struggling with an issue and need someone to talk to please click the “chat with a SoulMedic” button at the top of the page. By keeping your issue a secret you are giving it power to destroy your life while it spreads as a cancer into your thoughts, actions, and relationships. Isolation is the worst way to live a full life, because it convinces a person that no one needs to know, that no one really understands, and ultimately, that no one really cares. When we spend all our energies protecting our secret from the world this mindset can create an independence foothold that feels right but eats away from the inside out. Let us help – we have private chat 24/7 with SoulMedics who care.