HOW TO CALM DOWN A STRESSED NERVOUS SYSTEM?
If you work with me or have been following me for a long time, you may have heard me talk about the large number of external stimuli, millions of kilobytes, that our neuro system has to process per second. And how the amount of stimuli has increased over the past years due to all the changes globally and in technology. I often make the connection with training your brain muscles to be able to deal better with this large amount of stimuli that can stress the brain.
One of the ways of doing that is to use the positive influence of the breath.
Because ... .. "The Mind follows the breath".
There are many different ways to calm our nervous system. In this blog, I will elaborate on this and explain more about it. If you still have questions, feel free to email me!
What is the nervous system?
Our nervous system is the organ in our body that ensures that we can perceive internal and external stimuli. We notice all these stimuli through our senses. We hear, feel, see, smell and taste, then I leave out the 6th sense.
All of these stimuli, millions, pass through our bodies at a speed of up to 180 km per hour. The nervous system ensures that stimuli from the brain are sent to the right places in our body and vice versa.
These messages then go to muscles and organs, usually through the spinal cord. It ensures that we can walk, read, move. And it also takes care of our breathing and the rate of our heart.
The autonomic nervous system
This is the part of our nervous system that we have no control over. This part controls our organs, such as our heart. This part is involved with the automatic processes, such as breathing, and with the reflexes that our body has.
We can subdivide this into the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic nervous system.
The Sympathetic Nervous System
Fight, Flight, Freeze
The sympathetic nervous system has everything to do with physical activity. This can be for example sports and emergency situations. In the past, the role of this nervous system was to warn us of danger.
When we encountered a wild, dangerous animal, this part of our nervous system caused us to flee, fight, or freeze. That way we could respond to what was needed in that situation.
The nervous system guided us here so that our bodies became active and then we could act in the right way to survive. We saw a "threat" and our nervous system caused an urge to survive.
Nowadays, wild animals are no longer a danger, they are replaced by all technological means, such as the mobile phone, tablet or iPad, the many emails, and social media.
In our body, we can recognize our response to this, through many physical phenomena. Our heartbeat speeds up, breathing takes place in the chest or higher and goes faster. Widening our pupils, our mucus and saliva production is declining. Our body produces adrenaline and other stress hormones so that we can act quickly. Our muscles exert themselves to put strength and you can start to sweat.
They also call this the gas pedal. You are ready for action!
The Parasympathetic Nervous System
Relax and Recharge
This part of the nervous system affects the organs so that the body can enter a state of rest and recovery. If our body is in a state of rest, our body can recover. Our intuition gets space and we can think more clearly.
This is the brake pedal of our body.
We stop, stand still and come to rest. There is no danger anymore and our body does not have to be ready for action. The body can relax, recover and recharge.
In this condition we physically notice that our pupils are narrowing, our heart rate is decreasing. Our breathing slows and sinks back to the abdomen. Our saliva and mucus production is increasing again. Our muscles relax, the organs relax and the body returns to its normal routine. Enough oxygen comes in and it circulates within our body.
How can you calm down an over-stimulated nervous system?
We are very busy nowadays. There are many changes going on, both in terms of climate, technology, nature, and organizations. Nothing is as constant as change.
We work hard, we have high expectations or a lot is expected of us and that causes stress. Our sympathetic nervous system is therefore very active and ensures that we remain active. Our parasympathetic nervous system is not very active. Because of this, we find little relaxation. We can keep this up for a while, but sooner or later you'll come to a point where it just gets too much.
Because the sympathetic nervous system has been too active for too long, the parasympathetic nervous system can no longer intervene.
Luckily there are a lot of ways to relax. You want to have these two nervous systems in balance. You need them both. You need the action, but also the recovery. Yin and Yang. Your accelerator pedal and the brake pedal will therefore both be allowed to work as hard.
7 ways to balance your nervous systems
Breathing is number 1 when it comes to relaxing the nervous system. Your body can relax with a deep belly breath. So place your hands on the lower abdomen, the point 3 fingers below your navel (your hara or chi, ki) and consciously breathe towards it.
2. Attention training or Meditation
You have also heard about this or seen this one before. Attention training or also called Meditation helps to calm our mind. You can train your attention in many different ways. Sometimes guided meditation can be very nice if you are very busy. Another time it helps to bring your attention in and scan your body from head to toe. A simple start is to focus on breathing slow and deep.
You have probably already read or heard that Yoga helps enormously. It helps you to come back into your body and feel. Yoga helps you to feel how your body feels and where you feel the tension. By being present with the breath, you can consciously let the body relax. You can experience this in all different forms of Yoga, because you are connected to your breathing. Yoga means "Union, Unite". It provides a unity of body and mind.
4. Sports and Movement
Active forms of sports also work well for your nervous system. After a good session in the gym for example, the substance Serotine is released. This is the substance that makes you feel good, it helps to relax your muscles and helps with releasing stress. You can also just dance in your living room!
Sleep is easy to get into. We then go to bed too late and we wake up tired in the morning. With a good night's sleep, we calm our nervous system. We calm our mind and body.
Gratitude has been scientifically researched and proven that gratitude has a positive effect on your nervous system. It establishes a connection with your heart and ensures that the love hormone oxytocin is produced. Did you know that you also make this hormone with a good, long hug of 10 seconds? This substance also provides relaxation in the body and nervous system. So just hug!
Nature has a relaxing effect. The energy of the earth and trees work very grounding and brings our body to rest. A walk or a run through the forest works wonders!
In addition to these options, there are of course many more. Often also much more personal.
Listening to soothing music or singing a mantra can also let your nervous system relax. For someone else that is doing something creative. And for another, it's a long, hot bath with a cup of tea next to it.
I hope that you benefit from the above ideas and that you yourself discover what works for you to really really relax!
Love and light,
MuriëlPrevious item Next item