In the current state of the world, many people are experiencing higher than usual levels of stress and anxiety. Many people develop this increased stress and anxiety due to an imbalance between the sympathetic (stress mode) and parasympathetic (repair mode) divisions of the nervous system. Learning how to restore balance between the two by increasing the parasympathetic side and decreasing the sympathetic side in a natural holistic way can help many that complain of stress and anxiety.
There are many different tools and techniques that can be used to help balance the nervous system –the following are a few that I highly recommend.
Box breathing is a breathing technique that involves a series of breaths in and out, with periods of holding your breath in between each inhale and exhale. For example, box breathing with four second intervals would start with a 4 second inhale, followed by holding the inhale for 4 seconds, then exhaling for 4 seconds, finishing with a 4 second hold after the exhale. This process is repeated for a number of cycles. I usually recommend people begin with 10 cycles, then stop and see how you feel.
Mediation may seem daunting to many because their minds are so worked up that they can’t seem to sit still and slow their brain down. Meditation can look different for different people, though. Some prefer guided meditations in which you sit and listen to someone else guide you through an audible meditation, whereas others may prefer to sit and listen to the ocean, the rain fall, or a calm stream flow through a forest as they turn their attention and mind inward. There are also many smartphone apps now to help guide you through the process. Some of my favorites are Headspace or Inscape.
Herbs & Supplements
There are many herbs and supplements out there that promise to help reduce stress and anxiety. Some of my favorites are Lavender, Valerian Root, Passionflower, Chamomile, Ashwagandha, L-Theanine, Kava and CBD. Without getting into too much details behind each one, just know they all help the body deal with stress and promote relaxation! It is important to remember though, that supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Because of this, you typically get what you pay for. I recommend using a supplement company that utilizes non-biased, third party testing to ensure quality and purity of the products they advertise. (We use Designs for Health and highly recommend them!)
Massage is helpful for relieving physical stress, as well as mental/emotional, that is held in the muscles of our body. Having the healing touch of a massage therapist not only relaxes the muscles, but relaxes the mind as well.
Chiropractic is one of the most powerful tools we have to reduce stress, as it helps the body deal with the physical, mental and emotional stress our body’s store. Furthermore, though, it helps our nervous systems ADAPT to future stresses as well. This happens because the spine and nervous system are so closely related to one another. When we have an issue in the spine, whether we feel it or not, we have an issue with the nervous system. Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to decrease the sympathetic nervous system activity, while also increasing the parasympathetic nervous system, thus creating more balance, resilience and adaptability within the nervous system.