Living Well

Finding the Calm


By Dr. Kirsten Hill, D.C. of Dance With Life Chiropractic

You probably have had a “nerve-wracking” experience at some point. Maybe you can remember an intense moment of being “nervous,” or having someone “get on your nerves.” Interestingly, when you feel stressed, exhausted or tense, it’s a sign that your nervous system is out of balance. Operating in this state (sympathetic nervous system) your physiology is on alert, ready for flight or flight.

The good news is that when cared for properly, your nervous system is a powerful network for transmitting energy and healing. To restore balance, there are many ways to return your body to a calm (parasympathetic) state facilitating whole body health and emotional well-being.

Let’s take a look at the three categories of input that influence your nervous system: physical, mental/emotional, and chemical. Learning how to nurture yourself with positive actions and reduce negative stress in each of these categories, you’ll greatly enhance your nervous system’s natural capacity for wholeness and vitality. In the physical realm, daily movement and structured classes such as workouts at Studiomix guide you in the right direction toward keeping your nervous system active and effectively communicating with the rest of your body.

If you have chronic or ongoing physical discomfort, you may need to incorporate active stretching, more rest, or some professional hands-on care. One tension-relieving tip you can practice right away is propping your phone or reading material up at eye level, instead of looking down causing poor spinal alignment.

When it comes to your emotional state, how can you reduce anxiety and promote happiness? Neuroscience shows that as humans evolved, our brains developed a negativity bias, to help us recognize and avoid potential danger. Thus, it’s naturally easier to imprint unpleasant memories. But wait! You can re-train your brain to focus on the positive in life. Practice this:  when you find something enjoyable, take time to savor it and fully engage your senses. Spend time reflecting on your blessings. Soon, your brain will become oriented toward joy and pleasure.

Last but not least, let’s consider the chemical realm. All those endorphins you experience after a workout – good stuff, eh? On the other hand, our bodies work hard daily to clear out toxins from the environment (and sometimes, from our diet). Inflammation is a key component of pain and many diseases, even depression. Omega-3 fish oils or vegetarian sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as flax and chia seed are recommended to decrease inflammation. Fresh fruits and veggies also do a splendid job of nourishing your cells and clearing out free radicals.

So, if you want happy nerves, you just need the right mix of physical, mental-emotional, and chemical ingredients. Rest assured that your body is remarkably good at self-healing, when your nervous system is balanced.

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