Most have heard about how chronic stress is damaging and you here people complain about being stressed all the time because of work, kids, traffic, life etc, etc.

 

So What Is Stress?

 

Our autonomic nervous system is a control system that regulates bodily functions like heart rate, respiratory rate, digestion, etc. in an unconscious way and it has two branches and they are: -

Sympathetic Nervous System – Fight or flight

Parasympathetic Nervous System – Rest and digest.

 

The sympathetic nervous system isn’t a bad thing, it’s there to help us and prepare us for survival, for instance you get into a fist fight or you are being chased by a big dog, your body automatically responds and puts you into a survival mode, blood gets diverted to skeletal muscle tissues to increase oxygen readying them for heightened activity, cortisol and adrenalin are raised by the adrenal glands to boost strength and numb any pain that may be felt, heart rate is increased, digestion is slowed, vision narrowed, etc.

The parasympathetic nervous system controls functions such as digestion, reproduction, metabolism, endocrine (hormone production) etc, all the functions that promote good health, new life and homeostasis (balance) in the body.

 

But I don’t fight and I avoid big dogs!

Well our sympathetic nervous system isn’t too smart when it comes to recognising the difference between being chased by an attacker or big dog and someone cutting you in traffic or meeting a deadline at work, it stressed workerresponds in the same. Stressful incidents happen to most people day after day after day, resulting in a chronic low level sympathetic state which stops the parasympathetic side working, thus driving down our metabolism, hormone, digestion, reproductive and adrenal systems to the point where we are left overweight, medicated, constantly tired insomniacs…………… Hey, does that sound familiar??

 

So what can I do?

Shooting the boss and having a private traffic lane to work is one plan, but highly improbable!

The main focus should be on stopping the sympathetic system from being activated too much (although a little stress is a good thing and is needed as a balance) and activating the parasympathetic system more. Like its description says, rest and digest is the key.

yoga classEat in a relaxed atmosphere, away from the TV (especially the news) and not while driving or in a tense meeting etc. Take time away from the hustle and bustle of life with walks in the country. Learn to relax more by using deep breathing techniques almost anywhere, or get a regular massage, use a sauna or try yoga or meditation, these will help relax the mind and body.

The onus is really on you to make time for yourself, modern life will keep bombarding you with stressful situations, so take the time and chill a little.

Yours in Health,

Richard

2016-03-19 17:14:48