Simply put, we have two nervous systems – our sympathetic and parasympathetic. Which one you are in can make all the difference between calm and stress.
The sympathetic nervous system in the one that takes action. According to an article from Harvard Medical School Understanding the stress response – Harvard Health, “The sympathetic nervous system functions like a gas pedal in a car. It triggers the fight-or-flight response, providing the body with a burst of energy so that it can respond to perceived dangers.” This is the part of the nervous system that’s involved when your adrenaline spikes, your heart pounds, or you’re running from a sabre tooth tiger.
The parasympathetic nervous system on the other hand “acts like a brake. It promotes the ‘rest and digest’ response that calms the body down after the danger has passed.”
Want to decrease stress? Activating the parasympathetic nervous system may help. How do we do that? Here are some simple tips:
- Learn deep, diaphragmatic breathing
- Go for a walk
- Connect with others
- Distract with something pleasurable
- Find a good yoga YouTube class