I was talking with a client yesterday about the two different parts of the autonomic nervous system. One portion is our fight/flight/freeze division known as our sympathetic nervous system. This one is designed to help us flee from danger and should be dominant our physiology about 20% of the time. The other portion is our rest/digest/heal division known as our parasympathetic nervous system. Ideally this is our dominating system working 80% of our day. Unfortunately for most of us, those percentages have switched around and we spend most of our day in a state ready to run from a tiger, even though there is no obvious tiger present. My client is well versed in anatomy and physiology and understands how they work. But she was missing one vital piece. When we were discussing how to manage stressors and improving parasympathetic function, I was told that it'll happen on Monday (her day off).
Now don't get me wrong, I'm all about three day weekends. Having an extra day to recoup from a stressful week and possibly weekend is important. But, waiting to deal with a stress-filled life, until there is a whole day available is missing the boat. To be truly healthful, your body needs to be able to adapt to your stressors as they come up and then return to the parasympathetic state. Bottling them up for many days until you have a day free to deal with them is never going to give you a vital, thriving life on a day to day basis. It'll just have you constantly playing catch up. And a body playing catch up is going to eventually break down in the form of illness and/or injury.
What can you do to help your body daily to have a dominating rest/digest/heal state? I'm so glad you asked.
Stress is unavoidable. We need it to grow and develop as humans. But, when it becomes overbearing it leads to a whole host of health issues. Start implementing some of the tips above and reap the benefits!
Peace, Love and Wellness