The brain is the boss in everything that we do and is essentially the most important muscle we have in our bodies. From a western perspective, consciousness is within the brain, eastern philosophy discusses the universal mind, the underlying intelligence of everything including our bodies and our mind.
Our nervous system is controlled by our brains where the functions of the body are overseen by the nerves, linked with our hormonal system. Neurons are turned on and little electrical impulses travel along our membranes to all the nerve cells, glands, and muscles. Each nerve cell in the brain is connected and communicates with thousands of others and as we age, we create more connections. Thoughts travel along these connections and repeated thoughts develop pathways. This is how we learn!
Our nervous system consists of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The parasympathetic encourages rest, relaxation, sleep, and repair, conserving resources for the future, the sympathetic uses up resources for immediate survival, think fight or flight. The parasympathetic system reduces activities that the sympathetic system increases and stimulates digestion. Repair and healing occur when this happens. A holistic method to increase the parasympathetic state allows the body's innate healing mechanisms to initiate, we need intermittent periods of stress in between periods of relaxation for our health and wellbeing.
This is why when we are stressed it can be detrimental to our bodies as modern-day life can trigger this response multiple times a day, so our body never has a chance to reach the parasympathetic state to enable us to recover.
5 ways to reset your nervous system
1. Simplify! Create a list of everything you currently do in your daily life. Have a look at anything you are able to cut out completely or reduce the frequency of. This may prove difficult but preserver, think, ‘do I really need to do that today, this week, this month?’. Having fewer things to do cleanses our minds.
2. Get physical, get outdoors, walk, run, cycle, dance – Just move your body and see some nature.
3. Encourage your parasympathetic nervous system to kick in. For most of us, we have been running on adrenaline for years, when we finally have that time to relax this is when we often become ill. This is because our sympathetic nerves create a barrier that blocks us from feeling our true energy levels. Taking time to practice relaxing seriously will allow us to reset our bodies into successfully truly slowing down when we actually have the time.
4. Nourish your nerves with food. Try incorporating vitamins, omega-3s, and minerals.
5. Sleep! – try yoga Nidra, yin yoga, sound healing, and put away electronics, to encourage relaxation and promote a healthy sleeping environment.
Tips to turning your parasympathetic nervous system on
Deep slow breaths, humming breaths – try Ommmmm
Pay attention to sensations in the body
Splash cold water on your face
Spend some quality time with your pet
Improve your gut flora
Yoga Nidra Room Spray
100ml/1/2 cup of water
20 drops cedarwood
20 drops Lavender
20 drops of ylang-ylang
Mix in a spray bottle and spray around your room prior to yoga Nidra or meditation
written by Meg Williams-Lucy (Holistic Health Coach living the life in LA)