Do you often feel wired-and-tired? Do you have trouble sleeping? Do you notice that when you have a moment to relax that your mind doesn’t stop racing? Do you feel anxious energy almost all of the time?
If these are familiar states for you then it is likely that your stress-response is stuck on overdrive, or in more scientific terms that your sympathetic nervous system (fight-or-flight response) is overactive and dysfunctional. This branch of the autonomous nervous system (ANS) is tremendously useful in short bursts, moving blood away from your organs and towards your periphery (arms and legs) to prepare you to spring into action. However, because of the effort that the body requires to do this, it also has a catabolic or breakdown effect on your organs and tissues. This is why stress is responsible for so much illness, including: digestive issues, skin issues, PMS, high blood pressure, heart disease, IBS, ulcers, chronic fatigue, insomnia, addiction, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and the list goes on and on…
To maintain good health our parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation response) must be dominant. This is actually the body and mind’s natural and preferred state as it is regenerative and life-affirming.
Most people living in big cities have flipped their nervous systems where fight-or-flight is the norm, and as a result are not only decreasing their quality of life but also shortening their lifespans. Even just a low-grade, chronic state of stress and anxiety has degenerative effects on the body and the mind. So how do we reverse this and regain a functional ANS?
This is where the brilliance of Ayurveda shines. Through a daily routine (dinacarya) you can implement various techniques, including self-massage (abhyanga), dietary support, yoga, meditation and other lifestyle changes to promote the function of the parasympathetic nervous system. Learning to regularly schedule time for self-care is not only deeply enjoyable, but necessary for living your healthiest and most productive life.
It is also critical to learn how to place boundaries with work, family and other obligations (without minimizing your effectiveness and achievement) so that stress is something that pops up periodically, rather than your regular state of being. This can be hard when you have been taught to be everything for everyone, all of the time.
There are so many great ways to find balance in your life and the most important thing is to develop a toolbox that is going to work for you. By default, helping others do this has become a specialty in my practice due to the disproportionate amount of people struggling with this issue. If I can help you or someone you know to regain a sense of peace and harmony in your life, please reach out for a consultation. Living this way, is no life at all.