Everyone has stress. Most of us are cognitively aware of the serious harm it causes our health. While many of us have experienced the effects of stress such as; hypertension, elevated glucose levels, general inflammation, depression, insomnia, anxiety and many digestive disorders…to name a few symptoms .
When stress occurs our Central nervous system(CNS) sounds the alarm. Our bodies kick into sympathetic arousal (fight ,flight or freeze mode) and everything that’s not necessary to survive at that moment shuts down.
Being in survival mode is great if we’re dealing with an emergency. But, when the emergency goes away our body is supposed to bounce back from survival mode to normal. That’s what our parasympathetic nervous system is supposed to do. That’s where things get tricky. Most of us are so stressed out all of the time, we never take our foot off of sympathetic arousal and therefore our bodies and minds are constantly under siege.
There are a multitude of valid reasons we have stress that are both beyond and in our control. It’s HOW we handle stress that we need to focus on. If we can learn to get our foot off the accelerator of fight, flight or freeze mode we can make huge changes for the better in our health and well-being. The first step is becoming aware of what is going on inside of you.
FACT: Our cognitive(intellectual) brain has no idea that our CNS can literally be stuck in sympathetic arousal. Read that again. Soak it in.
Therefore we must slow down and become aware of what is going on inside of us. Especially if you are having one or more of the symptoms listed above and have only had temporary relief. We must start giving the attention we do to our favorite television shows and the time we take to view our emails, into learning how our Central Nervous System is wired for stress. This is what we can control.
We have the power to stop making ourselves sick with a runaway fight or flight response. In this way we treat the root cause of and not just the symptoms of stress.
We need to learn how to activate our parasympathetic nervous system ( rest and digest) as often as possible. Doing this will relieve the harmful effects continual sympathetic arousal has on our bodies and minds. Restorative yoga, breathing techniques and meditation are great tools for this! To ensure lasting changes in how our CNS handles stress daily repetition will be key.
Remember, it is/was the daily pounding of having our foot on the gas pedal of fight, flight or freeze mode that has created havoc on our health. It will take some form of daily restorative actions, done over a period of a few months, to bring us back to perfect health. But this small investment of time can create a life-time of better health and happiness.
Be strong. Be courageous. And keep those around who share your stress-free goals! Otherwise it will become too easy to drop back into old survival patterns if they don’t.
Start working on stress from the inside out. The massage we purchase, the trips we take, the diet we put ourselves on, the person we cut out of our lives, or the thing we buy to make ourselves feel better is working from the outside in. This will generate only a moment of relief. So in addition to putting a band-aid on the wounds of stress, try healing the wounds by working from the inside out if what you desire is to have a more stress free life that lasts!