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Getting Us Into The Right Zone – Liz Genever

I am taking part in the CREATE UK course run by Nicole Master and Integrity Soils - for more details. The course introduced me to the Polyvagal Theory, which is summarised in the diagram below.

So when someone is in a ventral vagal state, they are open to social engagement, experience joy, calmness and curiosity. This is the state that we will be making effective decisions and being open to people and new experiences.

If our body perceives threats from the environment, then we can move into the flight and fight state, which is ruled by the sympathetic nervous system. In this state, we can experience panic, fear, anxiety, worry and concern, which is trying to get you away from the perceived danger. We can also experience rage, anger, irritation and frustration, which is when we are trying to fight the danger.

If our body perceived a life threat, then we move into freeze state, which is part of the dorsal vagal complex. In this state, we may experience helplessness, depression and dissociation. In the threat continues, we move into shame, hopelessness and feeling trapped, and head back down towards the green zone as our body prepares for death and wants us to do it blissed out.

Information from the RABI big farming survey ( suggests around 50% of people working in the farming sector in the UK are experiencing anxiety and nearly 30% feeling depressed.

Part of what Carbon Calling will focus on is to get more people in the green zone (parasympathetic nervous system, ventral vagal complex) and to help them learn tools and techniques to keep them there.

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