Co-regulation is the practice of soothing the nervous system of another person with your own system.
Co-regulation strategies for your partner when they get stressed + dysregulated:
Holding eye gaze
Synchronizing breath, taking slow + deep breaths together
Touch, hugs, + cuddling
Validation: letting them know what part of their experience makes sense given what you know about them + their history
Calming your own nervous system to affect another’s by your presence
We as humans are social creatures + thrive when we work together in support of one another. Imagine all the times you were so stressed + overwhelmed. The moment a loved one held you in their arms, your system was able to relax enough to move through the stressor, or at least to go on.
That’s because we are not designed to do everything by ourselves, as much as many of us are lead to believe.
We need each other.
Not in the sense of needing someone to come + save us, define us, or do everything for us.
But in the sense that the comfort + soothing from others can help us more readily handle the inevitable stressors of the world as we go forth + explore.
Yes, it’s important to learn how to self-regulate so that you aren’t over reliant on another for your survival, but we also need to develop the ability to let someone else in + soothe us, too.
It’s a balance we seek, here.
Co-regulation is simply one resource or tool for us we can use.