So, now that you have some insight on the way in which you can be at cause over your biology and neurology, is it possible to use some of this to manage one of the biggest causes of dis-ease of our time? Stress. By now, I am sure that you can guess that the answer is indeed a resounding YES!!
First, lets let look at what stress is:
Heartmath (heartmath.org) defines stress as something that happens when our PERCEPTION of events don’t meet our expectations, and when we don’t manage the reaction to this disappointment.
This shows up as tension – a tension between our inner world (perception) and the outer world (reality). In fact, it is a focus on the future, rather than acknowledgement of the present – and what is.
What does this do to our bodies?
An activation of the adrenal hormonal system (the well known fright-flight – a lion around the corner) results in adrenalin surging through. This, in a once off situation, is adaptive i.e you run away from the lion!
Chronic activation, which is pretty much daily living these days, is however maladaptive. The resulting medical conditions from chronic stress are obesity, cardiovascular disease, depressed immunity, depression, cognitive changes – to mention a few due to chronic activation of the stress hormones. (It is important that you consult a suitable medical practitioner if you are suffering from stress or any of these conditions, in order to deal with immediate health risks).
What can you do in a preventative context?
Our bodies are ingeniously created. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. However, this body intelligence, is something that we don’t often acknowledge and use as we so often seek the answers outside, rather than from within.
The system that balances the fright-flight response (sympathetic) system is the parasympathetic nervous system. Simple deep breathing activates the release of acetylcholine which does the opposite of what adrenalin does – lowers heart rate, relaxes muscles and creates an overall sense of calm which is both physiological and psychological, as you may have experimented with on Day 1.
This is an easy, accessible, freely available resource to tap into. In fact, more evidence is emerging on the health benefits of breathing through mindfulness practices and mediation as well.
So, be proactive. Take control. Its not all in your genes!
Make the choice to live deliberately – the answers lie within!!