Are You (Para) Sympathetic Enough?

During a routine check up, my doctor told me that I had a case of sympathetic overload.  My first through was “Awwww shucks, how nice of you Doc!”  But then I realized he wasn’t talking about being kind-hearted, he was talking about my nervous system being stressed out which is causing some auto-immune issues.

“But Doc, I don’t feel stressed out.  In fact, this is one the most productive and satisfying and dare I say happy times of my life!”

But apparently, there’s more to the story.

You see, our amazing nervous system which controls all aspects of our bodies and function has within it our Sympathetic Nervous System – (think fight or flight) and our Para-Sympathetic Nervous System (think rest and digest).  Or maybe you can think of a this is a see-saw.  When we are hustling and bustling in our busy days, active at work and busy doing things, the sympathetic side of the see-saw is up in the air.  And when we are lying in bed resting and hopefully sleeping soundly, or resting after a good dinner, then the para-sympathetic side of the see-saw is up.

And in a healthy balanced life, this see-saw goes up and down in an even fashion giving each side it’s turn up in the air.  Sounds good right?

But, things start to break down when the sympathetic side of the see-saw doesn’t have enough down time (literally.)   And when the sympathetic motor is revved up the parasympathetic motor shuts down.  This imbalance starts to wreak havoc on our bodies which can manifest in many ways including:

  • Exhaustion
  • Weight Gain / Loss
  • Auto-Immune Disease(s)
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • High Cholesterol
  • Adrenal Overload
  • Adrenal Fatigue
  • Thyroid Problems

This list goes on and on.  The good news is there are easy ways to regain your balance and reverse these symptoms.

Here are the ones that my awesome Doc suggested which I am happy to share with you.

  1. Breathe: Slow deep breaths immediately engages the para-sympathetic system.  In. Out.  In. Out.
  2. Meditate: And unplug, even if for 5 minutes.  Quiet your mind and you will quiet your body.
  3. Eat A Balanced Diet: Fill yourself up with lean proteins to keep your sugars balanced and your mood even, and make sure to eat your veggies, fruits, nuts and legumes.  You know, the healthy stuff!
  4. Exercise: This helps just about anything and everything in your body and your mind.  Just. Do. It.
  5. Pause: Taking short (and even long) breaks throughout the day is crucial for your nervous system.  Remember, you want to burn bright, not burn out.
  6. Get Enough Zzzzz’s: Resting and restoring is essential for balancing that see-saw ride.

I hope that helps.  And if you have ideas to add to the list, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Until the next time, Ohmmmmmmmmm!




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