Learn how to balance your stress and chronic fatigue by shifting your nervous system.
Want to learn to Balance your Stress? Start with your Nervous System.
Made up of 7 trillion cells, the nervous system is always “listening” and perceiving your environment and sending out signals to the organs, muscles, joints, skin, glands etc. It is the most complex computer and intricate power system we have ever seen. No supercomputer has been able to even come close to it’s intricate complexity.
It is comprised of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. These peripheral nerves form billions of tributaries that attach to every ounce of skin, every organ, every joint. The nerve cells are more vast than we can comprehend!
The nervous system also blends with glands of the body to make the Neuro-endocrine system. Because of this the nervous system can also dictate hormone release throughout the body. This function now not only gives the nervous system the function of a supercomputer, but also that of a very complex thermostat.
Imagine if the thermostat in your house could
- close the door if you forgot upon entering,
- alert you when you were hungry,
- take out the trash all without you lifting a finger.
This begins to describe what the autonomic nervous system is doing. Controlling and dealing with all your bodies functions and balancing your stress response subconsciously.
There is a duality within the Autonomic nervous system-
- The Sympathetic Branch
- The Parasympathetic Branch.
The Sympathetic Branch is involved in the same nerve responses that would fire if a tiger suddenly jumped into the room you were sitting in.
- Brain chemicals for alertness would fire rapidly;
- Breathing would get shallow and rapid. (Read article here)
- Digestion would slow (as digestion is not needed when running from a tiger);
- Muscles would tighten, and the body would get into a guard position, head forward and shoulders in in order to protect the vital and weak areas;
- The heart would pump faster. (Read article here);
- Cortisol and Adrenaline would pump out to receptor sites in the body;
- Blood Pressure would rise
- Blood sugar would me mobilized from you body’s storage for use.
The Parasympathetic branch is the “rest and relax” branch of the nervous system. This branch is designed for healing and repair. This nervous system branch would be activated as a visual if their was a hammock in the sun and you had no plans but to relax in it.
- Relaxation neurotransmitters would fire;
- Breathing would slow;
- Muscles would relax;
- Digestion and assimilation of nutrients would take place;
There are many other functions and responses I will get into as the blog goes on, but I want to keep it simple.
The body is in constant “listening” mode. It is perceiving
- to what degree this is a hammock moment?
- to what degree this is a tiger moment?
these are called afferent signals. Meaning we are a constant interplay of Sympathetic and Parasympathetic balance. (See article link The Potential of the Nervous System)
In the majority of patients I see, parasympathetic to sympathetic imbalance is the first area we have to improve upon. If we do not they will not improve. The balance of the two branches should be a 50/50 balance of tiger and hammock, but most patients I see are tipping over into 70/30 sympathetic to parasympathetic or more!
These unrelenting tiger messages are like dissonant chords in a symphony piece, releasing stress hormones, creating shallow rapid breathing, contracting muscle, and overall effecting the way we experience life on a daily basis.
This has such a profound effect on health that my patients often overlook. They want a pill, or an adjustment to fix everything, but it begins with this change of lifestyle. Tipping the scales and balancing your tiger and hammock times.
Choose to “switch” over into hammock mode more often today. It starts with an intention and becomes a way of life.
Some simple hammock moments are:
- A short walk
- A Chiropractic adjustment
- Breathing exercises
- practicing present moment attention
- A fun hobby
- Time in nature
This concept was paramount to my healing from Chronic Fatigue and continues to stay a foundational principle in my life. When I stop and realize that hours can go by in “tiger mode” and the correlating responses can be detrimental, it makes me more present in my life.
To keep my hormones balanced I choose weekly chiropractic adjustments because it has been shown in the research to switch the body out of sympathetic dominance. I also employ all the other approaches on the list. They seem too easy right? But they are so powerful.