Mindful Living: Our Nervous Systems
“When everything feels like an uphill struggle just think of the view from the top” Anon. This quote reminds me of our very ‘British’ weather, especially at this time of the year, feeling the final push to the top of the hill of winter, so we can then sit back and absorb the springtime sunshine.
Metaphorically the outside world can also feel like a great big whirlwind at times, but our bodies have an incredible system which acts like a weather gauge so that we can adjust the atmosphere and find the calm amongst the storms. This place is called Homeostasis where our body’s heartbeat, breathing and digestion are at their optimal function and sustained by the autonomic nervous system (ANS) which is subdivided into the sympathetic nervous system (SNS); fight or flight or parasympathetic nervous system (PNS); rest and digest. Literally, if our bodies had a fire brigade, it would the PNS.
This clever system works independently but the SNS gets triggered a lot, every day, by life, stress and overdoing it, living in the stormy gale of fight or flight. Although this systemic reaction has its uses, such as turning up the heat and running away from danger. If we spend too much of our time in this zone, we become hyper-stressed, anxious and more vulnerable to illness.
The good news is there are ways to put out the fires within by tapping into the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), “Hello, 911, I’m on fire”, without having to turn into Samantha Jones, from Sex and the City, huh hum, although that might be fun?!
These (PNS) cooling strategies will involve yoga, breath work and regular meditation to reduce systemic stress and bring our beautifully clever nervous system back into a much happier, healthier place to live, where the sun shines on the inside as well as the out.
In April’s edition, we will look at one of these cooling techniques…
With love, Becky x