To lead a balanced, enriching life we all know that we must eat well and exercise… because without optimal health and energy it becomes a daily struggle to reach our potential. But it is equally important for optimal health and happiness that we create balance in our lives… time to stop, relax, reflect and reconnect with nature. And for most of us therein lies the greatest challenge!
Bob Marley has been famously quoted as saying “the day you stop racing is the day you win the race” and if we truly desire optimum health and a life of joy we need to make a real effort to incorporate strategies that help us slow down, diffuse everyday stresses and enjoy life!
The moment the stress response is activated our heart rate speeds up; our blood pressure increases; our respiration quickens; our hormones that help provide immediate energy such as adrenaline, noradrenalin and cortisol are released into the circulatory system; our blood flow is directed away from our digestive system and toward our head for quick thinking and to our arms and legs for the power necessary for ‘fight or flight’. Thus the sympathetic nervous system becomes active and all the body’s metabolic functions are geared directly for survival. This feature of our central nervous system (CNS) has evolved over millions of years into a brilliant safety mechanism that supports us through life-threatening events.
The idea, though, is that once the danger has passed the stress response (sympathetic nervous system) turns off and the body relaxes triggering the parasympathetic nervous system to switch on. In this mode the metabolic functions return to normal. Our heart rate decreases as does our blood pressure; our blood flow is directed back to our digestive processes and our ‘stress hormones’ stop being released so that the body can go back to its regular routine of fighting off viruses, assimilating nutrients and producing energy to enable us to carry out our normal daily activities.
It seems with every new year the pace of life is stepping up a notch and we are becoming ever-more stretched to our limit… unrealistic work hours and deadlines, increasing societal expectations and family commitments. I see more and more people suffering from physical and mental exhaustion, becoming overwhelmed, teary, anxious and irritable, suffering from a low libido and lowered mood. Sleep problems are on the rise along with high blood pressure, hot flushes and night sweats. Stimulants such as coffee and sugar are relied upon to keep us going and it seems as a society we’re absolutely exhausted. More often than not our bodies are functioning in sympathetic mode. The result is a compromised digestive system, lowered immunity, low energy and vitality and a general struggle to get through the day. And if we keep operating in the fight or flight mode it may increase our anxiety levels and ultimately we run the risk of the body becoming overwhelmed and shut down into depression.
If you can relate to this stay tuned… on Wednesday May 4th we will be conducting a Free in-store seminar on Stress, Mood and Mental Health. Look out for next week’s blog where we’ll give you all the details and how you can sign up for this very important information session
“Because it’s not a Rehearsal”
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