What does it mean to Balance Your Nervous System?
Just as eating a poor diet will contribute to a poorly functioning digestive system and a host of other health problems)
a life with significant stress or unresolved trauma will alter the function of your brain and nervous system
There is now abundant research to prove that these changes within the brain and nervous system can contribute to illness. With new stress, your body adapts to support the survival of the conditions you're living. But the downside is that your nervous system can get trapped or hijacked in a continued stressed state if the situation (or your reaction to the situation) continues. Your brain and body might continue to behave in a survival-like-state (constant fight flight or freeze) even though your challenge is technically over. For example, a car accident or a situation of abuse might be in the past, but the feeling of fear or saddness continues fueling your body's stress response. Over time, these alterations cause the inflammation which will fuel all the digestive, sleep, hormonal, vitamin deficiencies for which most people are seeking help. In order to heal a chronic illness that was created while under significant stress, you also need to look deeper than just the obvious symptoms and address the area of the body that directs all these other systems in the body: the NERVOUS SYSTEM
The new approach to get to the deepest layer of reversing chronic illness is to heal the imbalances in the nervous system FIRST. Then when you apply diet changes, supplements, medicine or therapies you will find your body respond much more easily and quickly. When you retrain your brain and nervous system to move out of a constant state of fight, flight or freeze, and learn to find balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic states of the Autonomic Nervous System. Our bodies can only heal when we feel and act out of a sense of safety and ease. But we can't just wait until the end of the day or a vacation or when a major stressor is over to rebalance ourselves, we need to do it several times a day....everyday in order to make an impactful change in overall health.
I teach a 3 STEP PROCESS to help Rebalance Your Nervous System:
The neuroscience of the past 10 years has shown how wonderfully adaptable our bodies are designed to be. It has been clearly demonstrated that our body's response is not something we need to fight against. When we learn to work with the strategies of the body to protect us, we can slowly re-align its purpose to aid our long term healing.
Stress is not a bad thing, we are designed to react and respond! But, if we live in a state of constant stress...our body becomes a stress managing machine. Our brain reorganizes itself and your organs adapt to an essentially "wartime" mentality, where everything is rationed, regular maintenance is overlooked, and all resources go to responding to the threat it is constantly perceiving. The demands of the present take precedence over long term health. So its no wonder the body eventually breaks down into disease. It was simply not designed to sustain this kind of pressure for extended periods of time. It gets locked in that "wartime" mentality and keeps functioning as such, even if you are able to remove the stressor (a bad relationship ends, you quit your job, you leave a difficult home, you relax or go on vacation, but still can't FEEL relaxed. )
Who needs to Rebalance their Nervous System?
Anyone who has found that the usual, gold standard, evidence-based medical treatments are not working well enough for them needs to consider that imbalances in their nervous system (stress) might be the deepest root problem holding them back from healing more quickly.
Anyone who has benefited from a treatment or medicine (traditional or conventional, natural or pharmaceutical) in the past, but finds the progress slowing down or even failing needs to consider that their nervous systems are stuck in the fight, flight, freeze response. Healing only happens when we retrain or rewire our brain and nervous system to get back into balance.
Anyone who has ever said to themselves, "if I didn't feel so stressed, anxious, irritated, exhausted or overwhelmed so much of the time, I think I could get better faster".
Anyone who feels their body has betrayed them and become diseased, where your health philosophy is to fight against the bodies reactions and responses (anti-inflammatories, anti-biotics, antipyretics, anti-cancer, statin drugs, etc).
Anyone who has considered therapy for their life or health situation.
How do you Rebalance your Nervous System?
Rebalancing your nervous is surprisingly simpler than you might think. However, it is also not a "quick fix". Rebalancing your nervous system is about adopting conscious, healthy practices into your life that are specific and unique to your needs and then being able to sustain them for long enough to retrain your brain.
Any practice that combines a conscious connection of movement, breath and thought can regulate the nervous system. The key is that it must be done with an emotional and physcial combination of exercises that physically teach your body to regulate itself. Most people require a daily practice to maintain this shift but in the beginning, it takes at least 15-20 min a day for 6-8 weeks to make this radical shift. It must be a "felt experience", something you experience with both your mind and body, not just a head knowledge or a "thought process." Hence the phrase "Get out of your head and into your Body". Healing is not a "willfull" process, its a creative, imaginative, experiential, transformational process.
You are designed with a Nervous System Regulating system in your body, that if you can tap into it, you will heal. The Vagus Nerve is the commander of that system. When you stimulate and invigorate this nerve you send the signal to the brain to slow the reactivity of the fight/flight system and engage the healing hormones, neurotransmitters and chemicals of the parasympathetic system in a healing way.
All of the mind-body practices (Yoga, Qi Gong, meditation, mindfulness, massage therapy, acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic, etc) tap into this system and is the deep reason they are successful for so many people. It is possible to do all these practices only on a superficial level and not really connect them to your ability to heal. It is possible to show up at your appointments or Yoga class week after week and only allow the treatment to affect you at a superficial level. Organ systems (such as digestions, kidney, liver, heart) also might improve but for many people, if you don't treat the nervous system as well, stress will continue to drain the body of energy, nourishment.