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Reset Your Nervous System to Relax

By Rachel Carver

Stress is a part of life for all of us. Some stress can actually be a good thing. But stress that dominates our lives can affect our sleep, eating patterns, and even our blood pressure.

You might have a friend or co-worker who loves yoga or meditation. They say these practices help them relax and reset. But is this actually a real thing?

How the Nervous System Works

The autonomic nervous system coordinates the activity of the entire nervous system. It helps us breathe, controls our heart rate, and regulates blood pressure. The autonomic nervous system automatically controls the functions we do not have to think about.

This system responds to your situation, making adjustments in your body as needed. The autonomic nervous system has two parts.

The sympathetic nervous system - This component kicks in when you are faced with a real or imagined threat. It increases your heart rate during an argument. It quickens your breathing and blood pressure when needed.

The parasympathetic nervous system - This part is responsible for bringing your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure down to normal levels after a threat passes.

Resetting the Nervous System

Resetting the nervous system is not an official concept in the medical community, so you can define this in many ways. For some, resetting the nervous system means making adjustments to help the body function better. It can also be an active effort to balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic responses, and this looks different for everyone. For example, people with high anxiety may benefit from meditation or yoga. Some people may feel refreshed by going for a run, which activates the sympathetic nervous system.

Easy Ways to Reset

Resetting the nervous system can lower our stress levels, decreasing the possibility of seeking unhealthy habits to cope. Start by implementing relaxing activities into your day. Sign up for a yoga class. Take a quick walk during lunch. Meditate for a few minutes before you start your day.

Deep breathing can be done anywhere. Breathe deeply through your nose, hold the breath for a few seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat the process until you relax.

If you carry a lot of stress, take some time to consider your stressors. Are there ways to better manage your time? Do you need a new hobby to relax? At the end of the day, setting your priorities and making time for yourself can make a big difference.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Riverside, Calif.

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