To a certain limit, stress can be a positive, motivating factor for specific times and tasks in our lives, but more research shows that chronic stress impacts the body negatively in many ways.
It is reported that stress is the underlying cause of 75 to 90 percent of all visits to the doctor which highlights the significance and impact that stress can have on our health. Stress can drain our energy, impair memory and brain function, increase the risk of heart related disease, decrease immunity, suppress libido and fertility, cause premature ageing and the list goes on.
Health and beauty is not a top priority when we are living from a place of stress and survival. Work, work, hurry, rush, demand, demand…go go go!!! These are survival words, indicating we are in fight or flight mode; also known as sympathetic nervous system dominance (STRESSED).
Our bodies are so amazing, and when we need to survive, our body focuses all its energy on the ability to survive, run or go and the other processes not needed in the moment are put on hold. This includes digesting food properly, healing imbalances, healthy glowing skin, shiny hair, making babies and so on.
Health and beauty, on the other hand, blossom from a place of rest, safety and nourishment; also known as rest and digest mode. This is when our parasympathetic nervous system is activated. This allows for the proper digestion of food, healing and repair, detoxification, balancing of hormones and an overall sense of wellbeing. Peace can radiate from our pores and beauty can blossom from our inner most being when we cultivate a life of balance and harmony.
My top 3 tips for reducing stress and activating your parasympathetic nervous system are meditation, nutrition and nature.
Meditation is widely proven to reduce stress and activate the parasympathetic nervous system. The practise of being still and breathing deeply can impact the nervous system in less than one minute. Adding essential oils such as frankincense or lavender can enhance the experience by calming the mind and creating a peaceful environment. A meditation practise of 10 minutes a day is a powerful tool for reducing stress and adding a few minutes of deep breathing throughout the day is also very beneficial.
2. Healthy Eating
What we eat can hugely impact our stress response. Stimulants such as caffeine and foods high in sugar can spike our blood sugar levels, leading to highs and lows that make it hard for our body to find balance. By eating a range of wholesome foods, our body is nourished with the nutrients it requires to maintain balance. How we eat is also important. Mindful eating is a way to calm the nervous system before we eat to prepare the body to digest food.
3. Connect with Nature
Being connected with nature is another profound way to reduce stress. Whether it is a walk on the beach or reading a book outside, nature has a very calming impact on our nervous system. Essential oils are a way to bring nature to us when we are busy or unable to get outside. They can be diffused or applied topically throughout the day for stress reduction. Herbs are also very helpful during times of stress, and can provide support to help with restorative sleep and relaxation.
Chronic stress leads to chronic dis-ease in our bodies, so it is vital that we make changes towards a more peace loving lifestyle. As a naturopath, I assess your unique situation and tailor a wellness plan to support you with moving forward toward your health goals. Click here to find out more about how naturopathy can help you.Raneeta Curtis – Harmonic Health