Stress can actually be good or bad. But more often than not, too much negative stress can be overwhelming. And that’s when you need a nervous system reset.
What is it exactly? Well, we’ll talk about it in this post.
But first, a short background on how our nervous system works.
How Our Nervous System Works
Our nervous system is a complex and intricate network of specialized cells called neurons that pass electrical messages all over our body.
Don’t worry, we won’t have an anatomy lesson here. But we’ll mainly focus on the autonomic nervous system which is out of your control and reacts whenever you’re stressed. This part of your nervous system controls your blood pressure, heart rate, digestion, respiration, and even sexual arousal.
Your autonomic nervous system has 3 main branches:
Sympathetic Nervous System
This part is responsible for the “fight or flight response. Whenever you’re in dangerous or stressful situations, it’s responsible for bodily changes such as:
- Enlarging your pupils to help you see better
- Making your heart beat faster, so your cells get more oxygen they need
- Relaxing your airway muscles for better oxygen delivery
- Slowing down digestion to focus your energy on dealing with the threat
Parasympathetic Nervous System
On the other hand, this nervous system branch is responsible for the “rest and digest” mode. It does the opposite of the sympathetic nervous system and keeps your body going after stressful episodes.
Enteric Nervous System
This division of the autonomic nervous system is located in the gastrointestinal tract. Sometimes called the “second brain,” it has more neurotransmitters than your actual brain. Its primary function is regulating the various aspects of the digestive process such as motility, blood flow, secretions, and hormone release.
Interestingly, stress even affects the microbes living in your gut as shown in the 2019 study. When you’re stressed, hormones called catecholamines increase the number of pathogenic bacteria and strengthen their infectiousness in as little as 14 hours. Moreover, the increase in pathogenic vs. beneficial bacteria (dysbiosis) increases your risk of infection and autoimmune disease.
By the way, if you’re constantly stressed and struggling with inflammatory gastrointestinal disorders, you might want to consider gut-directed hypnotherapy to get a handle on your stress level.
What is a Nervous System Reset?
It’s so important to take a break and rebalance your nervous system.
Nervous System Reset teaches people how to identify their stress reactions by tuning into the bodily cues, markers, and feelings that indicate whether or not their nervous system is activating or settling in.
With this body (somatic) awareness, people can start tracking their internal sense of safety and use methods that can regulate them back into balance.
What calls for a reset?
You need a reset, especially when you’re very angry, terrified, overthinking, or feel like you’re shutting down.
How to Reset Your Nervous System
When it feels like your nervous system has been out of whack, we’re sharing some easy ways you can calm it down and give it a break.
You’ve probably read this somewhere but it’s really one of the quickest ways to lower your stress level. You see, when we’re stressed our breathing becomes shallow and focused on the upper chest.
But when you breathe in and out with your abdomen (diaphragmatic breathing), you’ll lower your heart rate and encourage relaxation. Moreover, making your exhalation longer than inhalation can help your body go on the rest and digest mode.
You can try doing yoga or if you’re feeling more adventurous, reiki yoga. Also, there
Sometimes a cool splash of water on the face or a quick shower can do the trick. Exposure to cold temperature can calm your vagus nerve, one of your parasympathetic nervous system’s main lines.
Yes, shake the stress off. Put on some music and dance or even just take a walk outside. Getting on your feet and moving can lower stress hormones and release endorphins for relaxation.
Put on some weight
Sometimes instead of carrying the weight on your shoulders, you might want to weigh your stress down.
You might have noticed weighted blankets gaining popularity right? This product is based on deep pressure stimulation which is gentle pressure on your whole body. A 2015 study backs up its use and showed that 60% of people suffering from a mental health disorder in an institution felt less anxious after using a weighted blanket.
If everything’s abuzz, sometimes you just need a quiet moment for yourself and recharge.
The good news is there’s an array of wellness services and technology you can use to do this. You can try our Somadome meditation pod, Ajna light therapy or Crystal Bed therapy. Or maybe go for a Reiki session?
No matter which of these you choose, what matters is you devote time to help yourself relax. And that’s the first step!
Hope to see you at Everybody in Mind Wellness Center soon.