Autonomic Pie Chart Check-In

The following reflection activity is meant to help us map our autonomic state over time. It’s a training tool to help us look back, not so much to judge the day or the week, but to observe the patterns that unfolded from the lens of our nervous system. A writer is someone who notices. Paying attention to ourselves is a challenge and an opportunity.

It is a simple practice to be done in your notebooks. Date each entry. I suggest keeping these together in the same place in the notebook. Give yourself at least ten pages to do this activity for the extent of our course.


  • Date your entry.
  • Begin by drawing a blank circle on your page.
  • Then divide the circle proportionally based on how you sense your day was in terms of your autonomic state.
  • Shade each area and label it.
  • Write a short description of your day next to the pie chart.
  • Each week look back at your collection of charts. Look for patterns.
    • What was the overall sense of your week?
    • Are there days that you find yourself moving down the autonomic ladder toward more of a dorsal vagal state?
    • Is there a day of the week that is particularly challenging or easier?
  • Do a pie chart for the week based on your data. Do your review at the end of the week. Use this activity to keep you befriending your autonomic states. Explore ways you can shape.

Inspiration: Deb Dana’s Polyvagal Exercises for Safety and Connection