Thursday, September 6, 2012

How Nervous is your Nervous System?

We all know what it feels like to be nervous. 
Anxious. Jittery. Fired-up. Antsy. Stressed. Startled. 

The image above shows just part of the complexity that is the Nervous System in our human bodies. This is the system that red-flags us to let us know that we are unsafe, unsure, or unstable. We need this system to keep us protected and regulated in this hustle-bustle world we all live in. Though important, it is also crucial to know how to tame the nervous system so that it is not constantly in alarm-mode. Here are some skills to use to chill yourself out:

-4-Square Breathing: Breathe in to the count of 7. Hold your inhale for 5 counts. Breathe out to the count of 7. Hold your exhale for 5 counts. Repeat 10 times.

-Talk to someone who listens. Processing stress can help eliminate it. 

-Call to mind a calming color, and imagine breathing it in with each inhale. Then imagine breathing your stress out in the visual form of smoke with your exhale. Do this for 10 breaths with your eyes closed.

-Plug in to your iPod or other music device and listen to calming music.

-Sensory Presence: Notice 5 things you see, hear, taste, smell, and feel in this present moment.

-Soak in a warm bath (with lavender aromatherapy if you have it) or shower.

-Take a break from technology. Believe it or not, the screens of our TVs, phones, computers, etc. can actually stimulate our nervous system. 

-Blow off steam with exercise. Not in the mood for a full-blown workout? Try a 15 minute walk.

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