You can’t think your way to calm

John Wood, Founder of Rageheart

by John Wood

I’m editing this week’s podcast episode with psychedelic embodiment coach Kat Courtney (from The Plant Medicine People) and she said something fascinating:

“We can’t think our way to a calmer nervous system.”

That is…

Going from fight-or-flight mode (where most people live) to rest-and-digest mode (the promised land) isn’t about thinking 🤨

Sure, thinking helps you orient to your nervous system since you’re using your “mind” to read this email (and learn about your nervous system)…

…but the real work of “dropping in” (to calm, joy, purpose, healthy aggression) happens outside of the mind.

Instead of thinking, it’s about feeling.

For example…

Can you feel the ground right now?

What about your breath?

Do you know what safety looks and feels like, both internally and externally?

Can you weave these different “threads” of awareness together?

In other words, can you feel the ground AND see what’s happening around you at the same time?

Can you feel the ground AND see what’s happening around you AND notice your breath (all at the same time)?

Can you do it while moving your body?

What about while making sounds (talking, singing, “sounding)?

How about during your day when shit happens?

This is what it takes to cultivate a calmer, more regulated nervous system.

Not thinking…


If you struggle with exercises like these (ie. you can’t feel anything at all), know that rebuilding the connection to your body takes time (like any good relationship) ⏰

If we’ve been through serious shit in our lives (parents leaving, divorce, bullies, all kinds of abuse and of course, wifi dropping out at the local cafe AM I RIGHT!??!), one of our default survival mechanisms is to disconnect from feeling.


It’s simple really.

The terror or rage or grief is too much for us to feel at the time… so we simply stop feeling it (without realizing it).

As a result, we become effectively “estranged” from our body (sensations, feelings, emotions).

That’s why sometimes we might not feel anything.

No sensation.

No emotion.

No purpose or meaning.

Even no sense of love (even if intellectually we know we love this or that person).

In a word…

We’re numb.

It’s a hallmark of the freeze function of the nervous system. In technical terms, we’re in high-tone dorsal vagal. The brakes are on and they are stuck.

It sucks… but it’s also a beautiful thing because it’s kept us alive and sane despite the pain and heartache 😍🎉🥳

I talk about this and more with Kat Courtney in this week’s episode of the Rageheart podcast (it’ll be live Thursday morning).

If you can’t wait until Thursday and want to cultivate your ability to feel NOW (so you can welcome more calm into your life), join me inside Rageheart here:



John Wood

P.S. Know anyone who complains that they can’t feel anything?

Or that they don’t know how to get or stay calm?

Refer them to The Daily Growl (this email newsletter) and give them better tools for feeling calm (and for feeling in general).

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