When you are white-knuckling through most of your days or constantly feel locked down in a survival, “fight or flight” state, you immediately inhibit your health. I can feel it spread through my body when I’m in bumper to bumper freeway traffic, when suddenly dealing with an unexpected expense, or when hurt feelings bubble up.
The fight or flight nervous system is called the sympathetic nervous system and turns on when you are stressed. The stress hormones ( cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine) go into high gear and increase blood pressure and heart rate, weaken the immune system and actually cause inflammation. Our bodies are like a sponge soaking up all this stress on every level, and in a very subtle way, this stress state is waging war against our own cells. Wow, right?
The good news is when you calm the nervous system, you turn on your parasympathetic nervous system and enter into the Relaxation Response which can reestablish balance and your overall health benefits. Dr. Herbert Benson, M.D. from Harvard Medical School introduced this term and for over 40 years studied and documented the healing effects. By simply finding ways to calm the nervous system, the feel-good hormones (endorphins and oxytocin) increase and your body is able to release toxins, stuck stress and you feel better. There are so many ways to calm the nervous system including body rolling but you also might try Dr. Benson’s 5-minute relaxation response meditation, a little rebounding, or an EFT tapping sequence.
Whatever your method for destressing your body, it is vital we find something we love and look forward to doing. Experiment and find what works for you and your lifestyle.
PS: I also love this tapping for pain and fatigue sequence. Enjoy!