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Find Your Calm: Simple Strategies to Regulate Your Nervous System

Life throws curveballs, and sometimes, our bodies feel stuck on high alert. That's our nervous system doing its job, but an overactive system can leave us feeling stressed, anxious, and burnt out. The good news is that we have built-in tools to regulate our nervous system and shift back to a state of calm.

Understanding the System

Our nervous system is like a complex internal switchboard, constantly responding to the world around us. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for our fight-or-flight response, while the parasympathetic system promotes relaxation. Ideally, these two branches work together to keep us balanced.

When stress or danger hits, the sympathetic system kicks in, releasing hormones like adrenaline that increase our heart rate and breathing. This heightened state is great for short bursts, but chronic stress can keep us stuck in this high-arousal state.

The goal? To activate the parasympathetic system, our body's natural chill switches.

Simple Techniques for Regulation

There are a variety of techniques to help us regulate our nervous system and find our calm centre. Here are a few to get you started:

Breathe Deeply: Deep, slow breaths activate the parasympathetic system. Try a physiological sigh – inhale twice quickly, then exhale slowly for a long count.

Move Your Body: Exercise is a natural stress reliever. Even a short walk or yoga routine can help release tension and activate the relaxation response.

Find Your Zen: Meditation helps cultivate mindfulness and awareness of your body's signals. Even a few minutes a day can make a big difference.

Engage your senses: Take a hot bath, listen to calming music or cuddle with a pet. Sensory experiences can trigger relaxation pathways.

Connect with Nature: Spending time outdoors has been shown to reduce stress and improve mood. Go for a walk in the park or sit outside and soak up the sunshine.

Prioritise Sleep: Our nervous system becomes more reactive when we're sleep-deprived. Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night.

Laugh it Out: Laughter is a powerful stress reliever. Watch a funny video, spend time with loved ones, or do something that brings you joy.

Building Resilience

Remember, regulating your nervous system is a practice. Experiment with different techniques and find what works best for you. By incorporating these strategies into your daily routine, you'll be better equipped to handle stress and navigate life's challenges more calmly and clearly.


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