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The key to a less-reactionary, calmer, more stable life



The doctors were right. Stress and anxiety really is bad for you.


But why so bad?


Because stress can debilitate.


It can wear you down.


And if you let it go on and on and on for too long, it can have a big impact on your health, your wellbeing and your relationships.


But there’s some good news.


Knowing a little about your nervous system will really help you to first notice, and then improve your ability to lower your own stress and anxiety levels.


This information could be your superpower.


So what is it?

 

Well, it’s something very powerful. That’s easy to access and will provide you with an antidote to stress and anxiety.


It’s called, your breath.


So if you’d like to take back more control of your health and wellbeing, read on.

 

The Nervous System


Knowing the basics of your nervous system and how you can learn to regulate parts of it is a useful skill – a life skill.


This is particularly true in a work context.


Work can be tough. We’re often stressed for longer periods of time that we really should be.


HR research and surveys show us that many workers are on their way to approaching the serious syndrome we’ve heard about - but probably don’t fully understand - and hope we’ll never get.

 

Burnout.


At its basic level, the nervous system has two main parts to it.


The central nervous system. That’s made up of your brain and spinal cord.


And then the peripheral nervous system. This is made up of your nerves that branch off from the spinal cord and extend to all parts of your body.


And within that, is the autonomic nervous system.


This network of nerves control our unconscious processes, so all our automatic functioning.


These are things that happen without you thinking about them.

Such as your heart beating, your digestion, your metabolism and pupil dilation.


All the things that just happen automatically and unconsciously, without you needing to think or do anything to make them happen.


This system is always active, even when you’re asleep, and its key to your continued survival.


Getting to the point, breathing is also part of your autonomic nervous system.


But unlike all the others, it’s unique.


That’s because whilst it happens unconsciously, like all the others, it can also happen consciously.


It's the only part of your system that has the capacity for both.

 

Why is that important, exciting, and worth you reading on?


Well, it’s because it means that you can influence your autonomic nervous system (and therefore your stress and anxiety), and each of the functions within it, by controlling (or releasing) your breath.


Let’s get a bit more jargon out the way first.


The autonomic nervous system has two branches – known as the sympathetic (otherwise known as the fight, flight and freeze response) and the parasympathetic (otherwise known as the rest, digest and relax response).


If your autonomic nervous system is working nicely, then a bit like a pendulum, it swings happily between these two responses. 


Both are very useful. You need both. But ideally you want to be around 70% in the rest, digest and relax response.


Are you?


Most people have switched it all around. Mostly stressed, mostly anxious, mostly in the fight, flight or freeze response for much of the day.


And when that goes on and on and on, the nervous system becomes dysregulated.


The pendulum gets stuck in that fight, flight and freeze response.


Continually producing cortisol and adrenaline.


It no longer swings nicely back and forth because you’re not ever truly relaxing, not giving yourself enough downtime and time to switch off - do nothing.


We don’t even know what it means to do nothing anymore.


Watching TV on the sofa may not always be what you think it is.


Pause. Notice. Am I genuinely relaxed in my whole being watching this film?


A walk out in nature, whilst walking at 25mph with your phone pinging off in your pocket, may not be doing the good you think it is.


Pause. Notice. Am I genuinely relaxed in my whole being on this walk?


Ask yourself this tonight, or at the weekend when you think you’re switching off. Am I kidding myself too often?


Too much doing, not enough being.


I know that one well myself.

 

It’s the modern-day 21st century, Western World affliction.


We don’t know how to stop.


We don’t know how to be still.


We don’t know how to be deeply, truly relaxed with ourselves.


Since the Industrial Revolution, we’ve taught ourselves, from the ground up, to be productive. Do more, see more, be more.


24/7 news, mobile phones, social media have heightened this.

Shareholder profit has heightened this.


And in the process, we’ve exhausted our sympathetic nervous system. It’s stuck in fifth gear on the outside lane of a motorway, and we don’t know how to find the exit.





The good news. The way forward


There are many ways to help you regulate your nervous system.


To help you get off that motorway.


Breathwork is one of the most accessible, easy-to-use, simple, powerful and effective methods on the planet to help you do this.


It’s a bit like like joining a new gym. It’s good to get a little help to get started.


You need to be consistent.


Habits are not always easy to form.


And you may fall off the wagon a few times.


So, you go back for a little more help once in a while.


But then you’re off and running.


Hell no, not running! No more running.


You’re off relaxing.


You’re able to calm those frayed nerves. Just by breathing.


You’re able to downregulate that nervous system. Just by breathing. This is absolutely key to living a less-reactionary, more emotionally balanced and stable life.


There’s more to add in, of course.


An exceptional bodyworker, or massage therapist, can do wonders for you alongside a regular Breathwork practice.


Time out in nature, learning how to connect more deeply with this planet that feeds and cleans us, can do wonders for you, too.


Shadow work. If you dare to go deep.


Working on your belief systems can also do wonders.


This year could be different.


The year you found out a little more about yourself.


The year you noticed what’s really going on inside you.


The year you took control back.


Found some inner peace.


Found a better way to be.


If you'd like to book a 1-1 session with me have a look here, or browse the workshops and retreats I'm running this year, scroll to here.

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