10 Ways to Regulate Your Nervous System
A dysregulated nervous system is commonly experienced in times of stress, but it can have a massive impact on your overall wellness. When your nervous system is not aligned it can cause or accentuate everything from anxiety and depression, to insomnia, and even in extreme circumstances PTSD. Brain fog, fatigue and memory impairment can all be side effects of a dysregulated nervous system. From world conflicts and environmental stress to challenges at home or work, there are a lot of factors that can be at play.
It’s been reported that stress is the cause of up to 90% of disease and illness. In order to maintain homeostasis of our bodies and minds, we have to consciously and actively play a role in processing the stress we experience in our lives. Regulating our nervous system is an excellent place to start. The best part is, there are a number of practices we can integrate into our daily life to decrease the affect stress has on our bodies and our nervous systems.
Any type of movement from restorative yoga to dancing can help lessen the heaviness of stress and relieve your nervous system. If you find yourself feeling anxious you can also lay on your back with a pillow under your hips and your legs vertically going up the wall to lower your heart rate. Check out our blog on yoga practices for more inspiration.
Breathwork has been proven to increase oxygen circulation, particularly to the brain, lower heart rate and activate the parasympathetic nervous system. We have a whole article on breathwork practices here.
Getting enough, high quality sleep is imperative to regulating your nervous system. Creating a nightly ritual helps balance your circadian rhythm and can significantly help falling and staying asleep. We wrote a whole blog on sleep rituals here.
Limit screen time
Not only does blue light affect our circadian rhythm, the constant notifications can send our nervous system spiraling. Take regular phone and computer breaks, or keep notifications silenced when possible to give your nervous system a break.
Nature + Sunchine
Being in nature does wonders for our nervous system, especially if you leave your phone in the car. Being outside boosts healthy oxygen intake and regular sun exposure boosts serotonin levels.
Humans are social beings. Even if you are more introverted, spending quality time with loved ones and good friends, or even pets, can help you shift from being in “fight or flight” and allow you to relax and just be present.
Meditation has proven to have significant positive effects on the nervous system and our body and mind as a whole. Listening to a guided meditation before you sleep can help you distract your racing thoughts and move into a place of mental peace.
If you are prone to anxiety, particularly when trying to sleep, a weighted blanket can help cultivate a sense of calm and ease you back into “rest and digest” mode.
Research has shown music can decrease blood pressure, cortisol and stress in your body. Try playing classical or calming music in the background while you work or get ready for bed. With consistency you mind and body will start to associate this with being productive or getting ready for sleep.
Cold showers are highly beneficial to the immune system and effectively stimulate the vagus nerve which is largely responsible for our ability to relax, decompress and activate the PNS.