The technical side of becoming stressed relates to our sympathetic nervous system. When we are under a perceived physical threat the body reacts by being instructed by the brain to
boost circulation, increase our heart rate, hit the pause button on digestion, increase glucose production, and slow down our immune response and rational thinking…this radical shift in our system gives way to a temporary boost in stamina, strength and focus.
In modern times the reaction to stress is based on the psychological and so rather than physically react we mentally react and our bodies put a halt on self-healing, connectivity and
creativity. We get the same adrenaline surge yet a new and different reaction. Either way, whatever the actual stress or tension is caused by, be it physical or psychological (think deadlines, traffic jams, bills to pay, schedules to meet, relationships to keep, to-do lists mounting), to slow down or switch off the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) we need to activate the parasympathetic nervous system or PNS. PNS is SNS’s calmed collected twin who tranquillises its ‘fight and protect’ sibling once the brain has acknowledged that the surrounding environment is safe and secure. In order to ignite the PNS’s torch we need to, quite simply, relax. This will send a message to the brain that we are no longer under threat
and it is safe to be calm and collected.
So how do we actually make ourselves relax?
Slow, mindful breathing invokes the relaxation response in the body.
This helps you to enter the present moment in your mind, thus allowing you to then find your way to relax.
This helps to enter the present moment by way of the body.
This is a welcomed distraction and can trigger positive memories and emotions.
Taking a moment surrounded by nature can ground us and realise our place in the world.
Relaxes our physical body which in turn allows space for our mind to follow.
So once our PNS kicks in and our SNS is snoozing we open the door to potentially better health, creativity, and overall wellbeing…you may experience any or all of the following.