Do you have a fast paced mind? Do you often feel stressed or in a rush?
The autonomic nervous system has two branches, the fight or flight state (sympathetic) and the rest and digest state (parasympathetic).
It is normal to have a healthy balance of both responses, however due to modern day life we often find ourselves living in the fight or flight response. This response is meant to be triggered when a tiger is chasing us or when we we are in danger. These days, this response can be triggered by something such as a confronting email, a never ending to-do list or a stressful meeting.
When we are in fight or flight, our heart beats faster, the mind begins to spiral, our pupils dilate, we may feel tense or on edge and the blood goes straight to our legs and hands for survival mode. Our body starts pumping cortisol (the stress hormone) through our body to keep up alert. All of these physical responses take a lot of energy and can cause us to feel chronically fatigued and exhausted. Cortisol also increases inflammation in the body which can lead to us getting sick and not digesting the proper minerals and vitamins from our food.
So, how do we calm the nervous system? How we get ourselves into a rest and digest state?
1. Breathwork (Deep Belly Breathes)
Diaphragmatic breathing is an extremely useful tool which stimulates the vagus nerve and shifts our nervous system into the parasympathetic response.
You can do a 5 minute breath work routine on Youtube, or if you're feeling stressed at work just doing 5 deep belly breathes (hands on your belly to feel it expand and contract) will slow down the mind and calm the nervous system.
2. Get into nature
Grounding / earthing has been shown to stimulate the vagus nerve and calm down the body. Putting your feet in the grass for 5-10 minutes a day draws the negative ions from your body and helps you to feel grounded and stable.
Writing 1-2 pages on whatever you're thinking and feeling as soon as you wake up can be an incredible tool to slow down the mind. Get pen to paper and write however you're feeling, the good, bad and ugly. I promise you will feel better afterwards.
4. Investing in regular Reiki sessions
Studies have shown that Reiki stimulates the vagus nerve and shifts the body into a parasympathetic state. Reiki is deeply relaxing and calming. It signals to the body that it is safe, so it can begin to heal itself naturally. Regular Reiki sessions have had a huge impact on my clients that come to me with a dysregulated nervous system, noting that they feel calmer and more peaceful with every session.
I hope these are helpful. If you have any questions or would like more tips, please feel free to reach out to me on Instagram or via email.