A healthy nervous system allows our body to do everything from regulating the temperature of our extremities to digesting our food to beating our hearts, and it’s made up of two branches called the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, which help us adjust our bodies’ responses in different situations. The sympathetic nervous system helps us react quickly in stressful situations, but it’s not always helpful when we need to relax and lower stress levels. That’s where the parasympathetic nervous system comes in; learn more about how it works below!
1) The fight or flight response and how it affects us
The fight or flight response is a natural and important part of how our bodies work. When we sense danger, our brain activates a series of physical changes that help us to either fight off an attacker or run away from them. These physical changes include: – Increased heart rate – Blood pressure – Adrenaline production – Dilation of blood vessels near muscles, which provides them with more oxygenated blood in order to produce more energy for muscle contractions If these changes were to persist on a regular basis, they could be very damaging to our health. Fortunately, the body has an ingenious way of maintaining balance between excitatory (stimulating) and inhibitory (inhibiting) responses.
2) The importance of being able to calm down
The importance of being able to calm down cannot be overstated. The parasympathetic nervous system helps us lower stress by slowing down our heart rate and relaxing our muscles. When we are in a state of high arousal, it is difficult for our body to both fight or flee, so this system can help us take a deep breath and relax before we act. If you find yourself feeling tense or stressed, try taking some time for yourself and engaging in activities that help you feel calm. You can also practice an exercise called progressive muscle relaxation which will have similar effects on your body as long as you do it correctly. In order to do this exercise, start by getting comfortable and closing your eyes.
3) Deep breathing, muscle relaxation techniques, taking slow walks
Deep breathing is one way to stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system and lower stress. This deep breathing technique can be done anywhere, anytime and has even been shown to be effective in high-stress situations. Simply breathe in deeply for five seconds, hold your breath for ten seconds, then exhale slowly over the next five seconds. Repeat this cycle four times to start feeling calmer.
Another way you can stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system is through muscle relaxation techniques. Research has found that there are many different ways to do this: taking slow walks, doing yoga, stretching or massages. You might also want to try out a guided meditation app like Headspace or Calm because these apps will walk you through various exercises designed specifically for muscle relaxation and inner peace.