Uh Oh! Here it comes again, that wave of dread, that sinking feeling in your tummy, the dry mouth, the short breath, and the cold sweat. You contract, and withdraw. It sweeps over you and you want to curl up in a ball in your room. Oh the wretched fear!
There’s one thing that you may have suffered at some point in our life…and that’s anxiety. Most of us will pass through intense periods in our lives where the demand of that situation is so intense or prolonged that it builds up and the stress response in the body switches into anxiety. It’s at this point that you feel the waves of fear, the dread, the short breath, the dry mouth and the knot in the stomach.
Why does this happen and what can you do to alleviate it?
The body is a remarkable piece of equipment and designed wonderfully well. It was given this fascinating nervous system that would interpret events and switch accordingly from the sympathetic nervous system (known as fight/flight) to the parasympathetic nervous system (known as rest and digest) depending on what the needs were.
If you are in a life and death situation like running from a sabre tooth tiger or fighting a marauding tribe, the body prepares for this intense moment by switching into the sympathetic nervous system.
At this point many changes occur in your body. It would start to produce cortisol, adrenalin, norepinephrine, and reduce production of melatonin, serotonin and oxytocin. It would take in short gasps of oxygen, increase blood sugar levels, coagulate the blood to stop it gushing if you were bitten or stabbed, store fat cells in case you couldn’t eat while on the run and shut down your digestive system to conserve energy and function from a very limited region of our brain.
When this dangerous moment is over it switches back into the parasympathetic nervous system where the body repairs from this moment and reverses into a restorative state.
The dilemma we face is that the lifestyles we are living have become so hectic that our nervous systems are interpreting many situations to be life and death even when we are sitting in our expensive cars running late for a meeting, have a deadline at work, about to go on the field each week before our sports game or presenting to 10 people at Uni or in our office.
Our nervous systems are coming under more pressure and have less ability to cope with the demands. So the intensity of daily events becomes magnified and our stress responses increase.
Over time this exacerbates to the point of overwhelm and we remain for long periods in fight or flight mode.
Some simple tips to maintain a more balanced state where your restful parasympathetic nervous system is engaged are:
- Get to bed early. It’s been proven that 8 hours sleep from 10pm to 6am is far healthier than 8 hours sleep from 1am to 9am
- Put aside time to be in nature each week. Even in large cities it’s possible to find parks, riverbanks and beaches to unwind and relax. This has a very therapeutic effect on the nervous system
- Self soothe. Try a warm bath with lavender oil which is very soothing for the body. If you are suffering from anxiety, give yourself a massage with organic sesame oil first, which is very pacifying for your nervous system
- Take Bach Flower Rescue remedy drops to help alleviate nervous tension
- Take herbal supplements like Brahmi, Vit B, magnesium and fish oils
- Practice yoga regularly. This will help dissolve tension in the body, regulate the breath, and calm the mind
- Twice daily meditation. Above all, the key to restoring balance in the body is through the mind. Twice daily meditations will enable you to live life calmly, happily and effortlessly.
There you have 7 simple tips to alleviating the body’s anxious response that you may have to daily demands. Following these 7 tips will help you live a life that is calmer, happier and certainly healthier
Try implementing these and I’d love to hear how you went with it.