How Nervous is your Nervous System? Anxiety Skills #3

How Nervous is your Nervous System? Anxiety Skills #3


Our nervous system has two parts: an
alerting activating stressed-out part and a calming, relaxing, restoring part.
Today we’re going to learn about activating the second part. When we feel
unsafe our nervous system has a way of getting activated to respond to threats.
This is called the sympathetic nervous system. This leads to the physiological
reaction that is the fight/flight/freeze response and it gets our heart pounding
and our muscles ready for a big fight. The body also has a system to calm down
and restore peace after a stressful incident. This is called the
parasympathetic nervous system and I remember this because a para is like a
parachute. It calms us down and slows down this reaction. Now the part of our
nervous system that we use the most becomes the strongest so it’s very
important that we intentionally train our bodies and minds to have a more
dominant parasympathetic response, otherwise we’ll have a very unhealthy
nervous system, so a healthy nervous system is able to use both parts of the
nervous system the activating response and the calming response. It can go
through these cycles of waking up and performing a task, getting motivated or
feeling worried and concerned about a situation. And it naturally also has the
ability to calm down, relax and resolve any problems. This gives the body a
chance to heal and replenish its resources for upcoming performances. A
healthy nervous system tends to spend more time in the calm state, so it tends
to be dominated by the parasympathetic nervous system. An unhealthy nervous
system sees threats everywhere. It gets stuck in an elevated state of stress,
rarely going through cycles of calming and relaxing. The sympathetic nervous
system takes over and you feel constantly anxious worried or worked up.
Your body feels tight and tense. This leads to periodic exhaustion and crashing.
People who are dominated by their sympathetic nervous system are
often unaware of the high alert mode that their body is stuck in. But they do
feel stressed out a lot of the time and exhausted the rest of the time. When the
parasympathetic nervous system is dominant we can face stressful
situations with a calm resolve or a relaxed vigilance, without
freaking out our body. And when the parasympathetic nervous system is
dominant we’re able to quickly restore our resources and replenish them through
rest and relaxation. We have quite a bit of influence on which part of our
nervous system is being activated and we can train our nervous system to be
dominated by the parasympathetic nervous system or to be dominated by calm by
practicing various exercises both psychological exercises and
physiological exercises that help us restore calm in our body we create calm
by training our brains and bodies to feel safe. Check out the next video which
is a grounding exercise that helps trigger that parasympathetic response. I
hope this was helpful! Thanks for watching and take care!

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