“Fight or flight” response is an incredibly important part of the autonomic nervous system, this is also called the Sympathetic nervous system. This system directs the body's fast involuntary response to dangerous or stressful situations. Essentially in this state, the body will increase alertness, increase heart rate - sending extra blood to the muscles, increase breathing frequency - delivering fresh oxygen to the brain, and send a spike of glucose into the bloodstream for immediate energy (adrenaline). When you are in high stress or a constant stress state we sit here.
But, do we constantly want to be in a “fight or flight” response?… Absolutely not! This would cause so much stress on our nervous systems and our bodies ability to function properly.
The parasympathetic nervous system is the opposite side of the autonomic nervous system - which is responsible for “Rest & Digest”. This is how we calm the body down! By activating our vagus nerve we can “de-stress” our bodies.
Following vagus nerve activation, the human body will once again regulate blood pressure, breathing, hormone balance, body temperature and return the heart rate back to homeostasis “normal”.
These two systems work cohesively to help the body maintain balance & normal function every second of the day.
So, In order to create a “De-Stressed state”, this will require stimulation of the vagal nerve. This nerve connects our brain to our abdomen (our “gut”).
Therefore, by activating this nerve we can create a rest & digest response and calm down the body.
Here are some of the ways you can stimulate your vagal nerve to help you active your parasympathetic nervous system in order to DE-STRESS!
Slow controlled breathing (diaphragmatic breathing -“belly breathing”) 🌬
Alternate nostril breathing 👃🏽
Eye massaging (closing eye lids tight, and then relax) 👁
Practice closed eye - controlled eye movement 👀
Cold water on your face & neck 🥶
Connect with nature 🍃
Meditate/ Finding peace in silence 🧘🏽♂️
Eating real food (“whole food”) 🍎🥬
Listening to music (uplifting music) 🎧
Attitude of gratitude 🙏🏽
Get sunlight ☀️
Taking Probiotics & Prebiotics 💊
Movement (walking, low intensity exercise) 🚶🏽♀️
Smiling & laughter 😂
Yoga / stretching 🙆🏽♀️
Acupuncture/ reflexology 🦶🏽
Lions main mushroom 🍄
Increase fibre 🥦
Make time for Rest & Digest! ✌🏾