Leading with Grit & Gratitude


Jen Guidry

How Your Social Circle Influences your Autonomic Nervous System Regulation

friends nervous system regulation regulation social circle stress success Jun 10, 2024

How Your Social Circle Influences Your Autonomic Nervous System Regulation

Have you ever noticed how certain people can make you feel calm and centered, while others leave you feeling tense and off-balance? It's not just in your head; the company you keep can significantly impact the regulation of your autonomic nervous system (ANS).

Understanding ANS Regulation

The ANS controls our body's involuntary functions, such as heartbeat, breathing, and digestion. It operates in two main modes: the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which triggers the "fight or flight" response, and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which promotes the "rest and digest" state. Effective regulation of the ANS helps maintain a balance between these two states, essential for optimal health and well-being.

The Impact of Social Interactions

Social interactions can directly influence this balance. When you're around people who are calm, supportive, and positive, your PNS is activated, promoting relaxation and healing. Conversely, spending time with individuals who are constantly stressed or negative can trigger your SNS, leading to increased stress levels and even chronic anxiety over time.

Choosing the Right Company

To promote better ANS regulation:

  • Seek out positive interactions: Surround yourself with people who uplift and support you. Positive social interactions can increase your resilience to stress.
  • Limit exposure to negativity: While it's not always possible to avoid stress, try to minimize time spent with those who drain your energy or escalate your stress levels.
  • Engage in group relaxation activities: Activities like yoga, meditation groups, or even simple group walks in nature can help synchronize your stress response with others in a calming setting.


Remember, the goal isn't to only seek out interactions that are calming but to cultivate a social environment that supports your overall well-being. By being mindful of the company you keep, you can better manage your stress and contribute positively to your nervous system's health.

By understanding and applying these principles, you can take active steps towards better mental and physical health, guided by the company you choose to keep.