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The Key To Unlocking A Balanced And Mindful Life In A Busy World

Written by: Marina Gross, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Marina Gross

Headaches, insomnia, constipation, restless legs, fatigue, hair loss, brain fog, breakouts, anxious thoughts, overwhelm. These things may seem like they have nothing in common, but the truth is they can all be signs of an imbalanced and stressed out nervous system. In fact, the health of our mind and spirit has an immense impact on the health of our body, because there is a dramatic and powerful connection between our mind and body, and between our body and our mind. And the bridge between the two is our nervous system.


Person balancing on wood

The control center of our body


Our nervous system is the command center of the body. It plays a role in everything we do, sending messages from various parts of our body to our brain, and from our brain back out to our body. Our feelings, thoughts, sleep, gut health, movements, senses and so much more are all guided by our nervous system. And when it is thrown out of balance by various everyday stressors, our health can be affected in many different ways and we might find ourselves struggling with feeling overwhelmed, having trouble sleeping, or having digestive issues to name a few things. Did you know that chronically high-stress levels cause or worsen 95% of all illnesses?

 

To understand the basics of our nervous system and how to regulate it in our everyday lives, let’s take a closer look at how it functions.

 

Our nervous system is made of two main parts: the sympathetic nervous system and the

parasympathetic nervous system.

 

When the brain senses something stressful, it is like a switch is clicked. The nerves send the whole system into overdrive, triggering a flood of stress hormones into the bloodstreams. Our breathing speeds up, our heart starts racing, and the body feels wired. These are the signs of an activated sympathetic nervous system responsible for alerting the body of stress and activating our in-built tool to keep us safe: the stress response also called the “fight or flight” response.

 

On the other hand, our parasympathetic nervous system responsible for resting, restoring, and healing, naturally takes over, when the stress circuit eventually switches off or when we intentionally prioritize activating this part of our nervous system through soothing, relaxing, and grounding self-care practices.

 

The mental health challenge today, however, is that for many of us most of the daily activities happen in our sympathetic nervous system (stress response) with little activity in our parasympathetic nervous system (healing and rest). This results in high amounts of adrenaline and cortisol flooding in our blood for long periods of time leading to various long-term health issues, both regarding mental and physical health.


Evolutionary mismatch in everyday life


Truth be told, living in our high-paced, modern world that encourages speed, performance, and achievements, the vast majority of us are overwhelmed and overstimulated. Our brain has not evolved much in many hundreds of thousands of years yet, the world we live in has evolved tremendously over time, even just over the last 50 years. Which means that our brain is constantly overloaded with everyday impressions, as it still scans our surroundings for “danger” in the same way it was originally programmed to do when we lived on the savanna thousands of years ago.

 

And when a stress trigger appears on our brain’s radar, it instinctively sends stress and alarm signals to the body, alerting it of danger and instantly mobilizing it through the release of the stress hormones – adrenaline and cortisol. Surrounded by noise, notifications, deadlines, to-dos, phone calls, endless emails, traffic, social media, and an onslaught of distractions, many of us live with an overly stimulated nervous system and sky-high cortisol levels every day, which makes us worried and anxious, exhausted and overwhelmed, causing mental and physical distress.

 

Restoring the balance in mind, body and soul


Restoring the balance in our nervous system and regulating it is a major key to our overall health and well-being, both mentally and physically. That is why we must make a conscious effort to activate our parasympathetic nervous system, which is the one responsible for resting and healing to give our body and mind a well-deserved and much needed quality break and promote a balanced well-being.

 

Simple, science-backed practices like mindful breathing, meditation, regular gratitude practice, time in nature and, not the least, good quality sleep every night help us balance our nervous system and thereby regain balance in our body and mind. Additionally adopting habits of prioritizing small breaks at work and focusing on one task at a time can help ease our mind and practice a moderate pace that supports and nurtures our nervous system.

 

However, living in a stimuli-packed world, carving out time and space for intentional rest and doing absolutely nothing might just be the hardest thing to do. Yet, by employing these simple practices, you can leverage the power of your nervous system and body to calm your mind and bring healing.

 

For more inspiration, please follow Inspired Change Co on Instagram, explore the growing collection of articles on Inspired Change Co website and subscribe to The Little Right Actions Podcast, to help you proactively take good care of your health, or sign up for the monthly newsletter with holistic advice on all things mental health and well-being delivered straight to your inbox.


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Marina Gross Brainz Magazine
 

Marina Gross, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Marina Gross is a Holistic Health Coach and mental health advocate, who specializes in stress management and holistic well-being. In a world, where mental health is continuously declining and many experience stress, anxiety and burnout, it is Marina's passion and mission to make mindful health accessible and attainable for all. She is the founder of Inspired Change Co, the online holistic wellness and health coaching platform, and her work is purposed to inspire, educate and empower readers and clients to make their health a daily priority and cultivate a nourishing life that feels good inside and out.

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