By Renee’ Fulkerson
Is it time for rest or action? To this, I say both! Some days I need a sheet therapy day. And that is perfectly acceptable to support my mental and physical health. And other days, I am fired up and ready to conquer the world. All of these core thoughts, perceptions, and emotions take place in The Central Nervous System? The CNS controls all voluntary (speech/ walking) and involuntary (breathing/ blinking) movements. I know that two of the nervous systems I need to tap into for rest or action are parasympathetic and sympathetic.
The ways I can practice engaging my parasympathetic nervous system:
- yoga/ YogAlign – taking time for resting pose (savasana)
- deep breathing from the diaphragm (YogAlign SIP Breath)
- nature walks
- music for relaxation
- low-Impact Aerobic Exercises
I support my nervous system naturally by getting restful sleep and eating a healthy diet with fatty acids (which heals the nerves and nervous system). I have lived as a vegan/ vegetarian for most of my life. B vitamins ( B1, B6, and B12) support my mental and physical health via the nervous system. Along with vitamin E and C for anti-aging of the nervous system.
The sympathetic nervous system signals the body to prepare for:
- physical activity
- mental activity
- the heart begins to beat harder and faster
- opens the airways for easy breathing
- temporarily stops digestion for faster action
Once my sympathetic nervous system kicks in, I am ready for action! I can train with stamina on my road bike and snorkel my day away in the ocean. Keep up with my husband (an endurance athlete) and my 18-year-old son snowboarding, hiking, and rock climbing. The central nervous system will support my activity’s full performance if it perceives it as safe. Otherwise, it will pull back on my muscle power. And to avoid CNS fatigue, know that rest and recovery are necessary! That’s my favorite part after physically or mentally challenging myself.
I have talked about rest and action, but what about a reset?
I have mentioned in a previous post I experience anxiety from time to time. It started at a very young age, and I did not understand the overwhelming feeling. As an adult, it is far and few. And I am grateful for that. I remember as a child/ young adult, and now I find myself in a series of yawns. Not because I am tired. I felt like I needed to sigh out for relief. What I realize is a deep sigh is my body’s brain’s natural way to release tension and reset the nervous system. Who knew? The sigh brings the over-activated sympathetic state back to a balanced parasympathetic state. Balance is a beautiful thing. Now, whenever I start a series of yawning or sighing, my body’s nervous system needs a reset.
Is it time for rest, action, or a reset? Only you know for sure. Depending on what the day holds for you!