When you feel chronically stressed, you continue to be in ‘fight-or-flight’ mode far too often and your body releases cortisol each time. The run of events that occurs as a result of this process occurring overstimulates your sympathetic nervous system, and your default level becomes overstimulation.
To counteract this, you need to spend a lot more time in the parasympathetic nervous system where you get to release hormones like dopamine and oxytocin, giving you a greater feeling of peace and calm in your body.
Now, let’s go deep here. First of all, you are unique. Just as the things that you find stressful and what takes you into ‘fight-or-flight’ mode varies from person to person, so too can the types of things that take you into the opposite response, that of relaxation, where the parasympathetic nervous system is enhanced.
There are many common activities that many of you will feel benefit from, but the depths of the results will vary from person to person. There are also many activities that will vary greatly from person to person and this is where it is up to you to really connect with what activities or even little moments in time that bring you to a place of enhancing your parasympathetic nervous system.
One of the things that stirs me is listening to ballads. Some people say to me they’re so soppy and sad, but I find they connect right in to a place deep inside of my soul and I find them uplifting. At times tears do come when I am listening, but they are tears of connection, where I am in rhythm with myself, allowing me to relax into the natural part of me. Talk to me on the other hand, about classical music. People tell me how that connects deeply with them, but to me, well, I just find it annoying. I have never enjoyed listening to it, it doesn’t sing to me. So, you see there is never a right or wrong here. It is what works for you.
Another thing that helps me to deeply relax is visits to the beach. I don’t usually bask in the summer sun out there, it’s usually for evening walks or a quick dip in the ocean in the summer, and daytime walks and sun basking in the winter. For some of you, the sand may be just too damn annoying and you may much prefer the crisp, freshness of the mountain air. I love space and expansiveness like at the beach, others like lots of trees, and bushy surroundings. I just think snakes and spiders in those surroundings, that I can’t see 🙂
What connects with you?
Part of this equation is also allowing yourself to go there, even for a moment. You may be working away on your computer at work, but have a lovely photo of your family on your desk. Allow yourself really see them, and take a moment to connect with them in your mind. Look at them, look deeply into their eyes. If you love them, the few seconds of connection that you have created, will very quickly create a calming response in your body.
Let all of these small things add up. Let the small, but consistent acts of connection fuel you right throughout the day. Come out of your head for moments in time, and back to your heart. Sometimes, the biggest aspect to all of this is simply remembering who you are, and what in your life makes you feel good. If these kind of thoughts, stay at the forefront of your mind, you will more easily engage your parasympathetic nervous system right throughout the day.
Awareness and consciousness is a big key here. Remembering who you are. Remembering your innate ability to bring forward a peaceful and calm feeling through what you focus your attention on.