With the first day of Summer finally here I’m finding myself able to relax into the spontaneity warm weather brings a little bit easier. As the long nights stretch out before me, I’m finding the ability to take longer walks, deeper breaths and am feeling more at ease in my body. There is something so incredibly grounding to me about this season.
When anxious thoughts emerge and I find my breathing has become shallow I refocus. I take inventory on my right now, physically take deeper breaths and begin to practice gratitude for a mental boost.
Shallow breathing is a sign that your sympathetic nervous system, “Fight or Flight”, is being activated and although this response is vital in certain circumstances, with prolonged activation serious health concerns can arise (we recommend speaking with your healthcare practitioner for more information).
When in fight or flight, the body focuses on survival leading us to feel detached and more on edge. The parasympathetic nervous system has the exact opposite response than its autonomic nervous system counterpart and is known as “Rest & Digest.” The parasympathetic response allows relaxation to happen, bringing the body away from the flight or fight stress response and into healing. In this state, heart rate and blood pressure lowers, hormones are more evenly regulated and proper digestion is supported.
There are many ways to activate the rest & digest response, something as simple as taking deeper breaths or practicing gratitude can switch the body into restoration.
Below are 5 ways our team engages the rest & digest response to help feel present & focused:
- Intentional breathwork
- Spending time outside on a favorite trail
- Enjoying a good meal with loved ones
- Slowing down to include facial massage in your nighttime routine
- Incorporating relaxing aromatherapy at bedtime
Engaging the parasympathetic nervous system more and more has been found to help release grief, anxiety, trauma and other emotional roadblocks overtime, having a profound impact on your overall health and wellbeing.
We hope you find time to pause and relax this week, emerging nurtured and free from weighty stressors.