When it comes to our natural, innate stress response symptoms, the current climate in our world has done nothing to support the rest and digest flip that SHOULD be a normal state of shift throughout our day as we move through stressors and relaxation. Or, has it brought us the best way possible to learn a new way, to remind us about regulating and maintaining our own state of balance and equilibrium...a state absolutely necessary for every human functioning system from digestive, to hormonal, and on to immune.
What are the systems I'm talking about? What structure in the body is responsible for them? How can we use our current situations as a classroom for learning how to "maintain peace through all understanding"? What can you do to support this for yourself?
What I'm talking about is the Autonomic Nervous System and it's two parts: the Sympathetic Nervous System and the Parasympathetic Nervous System, and the structure that communicates it all....the Vagus Nerve.
Let's do a quick break down. The sympathetic is your "fight of flight" system. It's readies your body for battle or confrontation in facing a stressor. It causes your lungs to breathe more shallowly so you can breathe faster and take in more oxygen. It moves more blood and oxygen to your extremities so you can run or fight if you need to. It causes the heart to work harder, and it shuts down the digestive system. Hey, you don't need to think about breaking down food at a time like this! This is a normal part of your human structure. You NEED to be able to fight or run if you need to. The problem arises when WE STAY THERE. Many people are stuck in this ready for action state due to multi-tasking, and jumping from one fire to the next, or meeting the demands of the lives they've created.
The Parasympathetic, on the other end of the teeter totter, cannot possibly engage when the sympathetic is dominating. Have you had issues with bowel habits? feel acid reflux, belly pains, don't digest food well, weight issues, hormonal issues, mood swings? You might notice that YOU might be one having a hard time engaging the Parasympathetic. If this happens, you can never get into that restful place where the body is now putting it's attention on digestion, or detoxification, or breathe. The adrenals get over taxed, we feel tired, exhausted, overwhelmed, overburdened. Some people call this "anxiety" and it truly is a body being in an overwhelmed state. So are anxiety meds the right way to go? I don't happen to believe so, and created instruction on the real outlook on feelings and symptoms of anxiety.
The communication highway between the body and the nerves of the brain and the Autonomic Nervous System is called the Vagus Nerve. It's the longest nerve in the body and helps to communicate every need from the body to the brain and bring orders from the brain to the body. A dysfunctional vagus nerve is responsible in large part for many conditions of the immune system, auto immune diseases like MS, Parkinson's Crohn's and Colitis and more. If the messages aren't getting through, it's hard to have an expression of health! The body needs to be able to communicate messages, so the Vagus nerve has to be in tact, it has to be able to contribute chemicals to neurons, and there has to be receptors on the cell linings to receive the messages.
In order for all this to happen, we have to be able to "prove" to our bodies we are NOT in stress. The easiest way to show our bodies we're okay is through out breathe. If we are breathing, deeply and calmly, it tells our body that we do not warrant a stress response at this time.
Here are some of my favorite free resources for stimulating the Vagus Nerve through breath:
The greatest thing we can do is pay attention to telling our body that we are not in stress. Allow stressful times to do their job, but for the most part our day to day activities should not keep us in a state of stressed out dysfunction. If it is, then we might need to re-evaluate our lives and where changes can be made. We created our Concepting Course just for this, so we could begin to understand how we are perceiving our stressors and how we can make change.
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Amanda Plevell, PhD, CNHP is a Natural Medicine Practitioner, researching Cellular Biochemistry, and the effects that food, disease, experiences, emotions, and beliefs play into the programming of the cells, along with the resulting health expression. She is the founder of the Natural Source Companies including community WellClinics, Health Rocks Cafe online education hangout and, as a Personal and Business Transformation Expert, The Success Conditioning Academy. Author of over 28 natural health and self development books, her bestselling books include such titles as "The Genesis Code", "UnBound: Kicking Anxiety From Your Bucket List", "The Energy of Divorce", "The Real Heal", "Clean Your Plate", and "Beyond the Plate". When she's not serving at her Minnesota-based practice, she spends her time homeschooling her children along with her husband, growing her food forest.
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