Stress Responses

The last post I mentioned The Model Health Show: Nutrition | Exercise | Fitness | Health | Life – Podcast. Specifically, the episode with Dr. Lissa Rankin, physician and writer of the Mind Over Medicine. 

This week's post is inspired by another topic Dr. Rankin and the podcast's host, spoke about – triggered stress responses. 

Our Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is made of two other systems"

Parasympathetic (PNS): Rest, digest, feed or breed response
Sympathetic (SNS): fight, flight, freeze response

Your limbic brain can't tell the difference between a tiger chasing you and having a negative thought or feeling. When we feel that stress response- that initiates the activation of the SNS. 

In most people, the SNS is dominant and can be triggered 50+ times a day leading to many chronic health issues. If you refer to the infographic below, you can see some of the consequences of long term stress - like high blood pressure, inflammation, aging and cancer. 

Relaxing the nervous system is so important for your health and life satisfaction. You can refer to other posts (herehere, and here) about mindfullness and relaxing your body/mind through different exercises. 

I use several different methods in counseling sessions to help clients reduce stress, anxiety and worry. Here is one you can do anywhere, anytime. Its called the 4-7-8 breathing technique

reathe in for 4 seconds
Hold in for 7 seconds
Slowly exhale for 8 seconds

You can repeat this exercise as many times as needed: until you feel your body and mind relax.

If you suffer from stress, counseling and mindfulness are great ways to guide you into lowering the activation of your SNS. Sometimes all it takes are simple exercises like the one above to reduce the worry and negative thoughts.