What are ‘Zones’
So the welcome video for ‘Cope’ already covered this a little but just to recap —
This part of the course is filled with guided exercises and practices that can help you regulate the nervous system and find support when you need it.
The Cope section is made up of four different ‘zones’ that represent our different nervous system states, and each zone is colour coded so that you can quickly identify where you’re at, and find exercises that are specifically tailored to whatever zone you’re in at that moment.
If you haven’t already, you can also read more about these zones and how the nervous system works in the Learn course here.
For each zone there is also a variety of different exercise types, so that you can find the ones that work for you.
What’s important to keep in mind when using this program is that not all the exercises will be right for you. What works and is calming or stabilising for one person might not work that well or could possibly even be triggering for another person. This is normal and okay - we are all nuanced human beings and we need to find out what works for us.
I recommend trying out some of the exercises when you’re feeling relatively calm and okay first, both to get a feel for them and also so that you can decide whether you liked or disliked particular ones.
Below are a list of the exercise categories with a brief description so that you can get an idea of which ones might work for you:
For me there is a lot of magic in this category. My main passion when working with clients as a counsellor, and now also here in Stabilise, is helping people learn to speak to themselves with more kindness. There are countless studies that show that being treated with kindness, connection and compassion helps to regulate the nervous system, improves your overall health, and even reduces the likelihood of illness and heart disease! But more on that later.
How to use each section
Each zone has a quick introduction below that talks about how you can best use the exercises for that section, which I highly recommend reading before you begin:
Something I want to remind you as you use each section is that the aim of these exercises is not to “get rid” of anything. It’s not to make ourselves suddenly calm and cool by just pushing down or avoiding whatever’s coming up for us, or using breath or movement or whatever to just force our feelings away — the goal is to learn to create space in our nervous system to be able to tolerate our experiences, so that the nervous system can naturally then regulate on its own.
And we do this by leaning in to what we’re feeling — being there for ourselves with kindness and curiosity, and not doing anything without the permission of the parts within us. What I mean by this, is that if you feel this resistance come up — this part that maybe says “no… I don’t want to do this…” we listen to that, and honour it.
Sometimes this might mean ending an exercise early and trying something else, sometimes it might mean that the focus of the practice simply shifts from whatever we started with, to now being there with that feeling of resistance, and making that our new focal point for the exercise. Welcoming it, accepting it, tending to it. This is how we learn to tend to our nervous system. This is what I mean by kindness to self. We’ll touch more on all of this later.
How to choose exercises
I recognise that it can be overwhelming when you start scrolling and you begin to look at the list of options. You might sit there going “how on earth do I choose…”
When starting out, my advice really is just don’t overthink it — simply notice what you’re drawn to. When you were looking at the descriptions just now for each category, which one jumped out at you the most? Start there. Or just flick through the names for each practice and see what grabs you. There’s no right or wrong, we’re just seeing what piques our interest and going from there.
I also want to emphasise that while the exercises are all written specifically for each different zone - there is no right or wrong when choosing exercises for you. If you find that a yellow zone exercise works better for you when you're having a panic attack, of course use it. If a green zone exercise is your favourite when you're feeling shut down or depressed in the red zone, that's great. The structure and colours are simply there for ease of use, but at the end of the day it's about finding what feels right for you.
And by trying things out when you're feeling okay in the green zone first, you can become familiar with how it all works, which will make it that much easier to choose an exercise during times where you're maybe struggling or feeling dysregulated.
Setting up a shortcut for favourites
Once you’ve had a chance to try some exercises out from different zones and categories and you’ve maybe found some ones that work for you, you can then choose to ‘favourite’ these exercises, which can give you a couple go-to ones that you know work for you.
As you make your way through this section, remember to be gentle with yourself. Close the app or the video if you want to, take long breaks, and feel free to skip any exercises that don’t resonate.
I want to remind you — it is not necessary to do every exercise that is on offer here.
It’s simply about trying some things out, learning how to work with your nervous system, and then maybe sticking with the ones that work for you.
Nor is it necessary to do them every day.
While it is of course beneficial to repeat exercises so that nervous system regulation becomes a habit, if that's just going to add additional stress or make you want to avoid the responsibility altogether, please take that pressure off yourself. You can do them as often or as little as you like — they will always be there for you in those moments you need them.
I want this to be a place where you have choice and can find what feels right for you — I hope these exercises can help in whatever way they can. And I'll see you there when you're ready.
The rest of this introduction section is gonna go a bit further and talk about how we can improve our mental health separate from just using the exercises on offer here.
We’ll talk about working with therapists, sleep, nutrition, exercise, medication, other forms of healthcare, and my favourite topic — kindness. This is all optional of course, but the resources are there if you want them.