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9 ways to keep your nervous system healthy today

This article is designed to share with you some simple techniques to help you find a better sense of balance. Allowing you to enjoy a healthy well functioning nervous system.

It doesn’t matter what year it is. Life can be a lot. We live in a busy, often highly pressurised world!

From work stressors to family obligations to current events, our nervous system bears the brunt of it all without the right level of love and attention coming its way. We need to start to consider making our nervous system healthy as a priority on a daily basis.

MODERN DAY LIVING CAN BE TAXING ON OUR NERVOUS SYSTEM 

If you are anything like me, you fold the laundry while keeping one eye on the clock, your kids/dogs/cats and another on the article you are reading. You plan your day while listening to the radio or podcast you want to fit into your world, and commuting to work. Then plan your weekend as you walk towards your desk/yoga mat.

On top of that, we’re getting constant messages to be productive, keep up our exercise routine, and stay socially active and engaged. All while maintaining our meditation practice and feeding ourselves the healthiest and most nourishing of diets.

We all have a limit, and it’s not difficult to reach it with everything going on in the world. We shouldn’t be trying to force ourselves to run on empty without expecting some longer term, fairly serious consequences. Our body, brain, heart and nervous system can only run on stress as a fuel for so long without saying NO

So before that happens, we need to start to pay attention to what we need to build up our resilience, our health, our sense of well being.

What is our Nervous System?

A complex network of sensory nerves, the nervous system is one of the crucial parts of the human body. It is responsible for reacting to both, internal and external stimuli through a number of physical actions. As well as for carrying out many vital bodily functions as well. It organizes, explains, and directs interactions between you and the world around you.

Our nervous system controls:

  • Sight, hearing, taste, smell, and feeling (sensation).
  • Voluntary and involuntary functions, such as movement, balance, and coordination. The nervous system also regulates the actions of most other body systems, such as blood flow and blood pressure.
  • The ability to think and reason. The nervous system allows you to be conscious and have thoughts, memories, and language.

Our Central Nervous System is able to perform such essential functions with the help of nerves and cells that carry messages from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body and vice versa. When the activities of these nerves and cells are disrupted, the central nervous system fails to perform its basic functions. To avoid suffering from any CNS diseases and conditions, we need to practice some healthy habits to make sure to keep it healthy and in shape.

Here are 9 simple ways in which we can find a perfect sense of balance:

USE YOGA AND STRETCHING TO create a sense of well-being

Having a regular yoga practice can help to improve the health of your nervous system

When a person gets stressed out by work, relationships or day to day general life issues, they can produce a worrying amount of the hormone cortisol. When produced constantly, cortisol affects the nervous system ability to affect a person’s reflexes, concentration and memory.

An important part of yoga more generally is breathing exercises (pranayama) and relaxation techniques (mindfulness and meditation). These practices activate the part of the nervous system (parasympathetic) that is responsible for breathing and heart rate. As a result, we often see a practitioners cortisol levels decrease.

Welcoming a regular practice of yoga into your world will help to keep your cortisol levels low. Which will then improve the health of the nervous system and produce a sense of well-being. Learn more about yoga here with my on-demand library of all level classes

USE EXERCISE TO OPTIMISE HEALTHy functioning

Aerobic exercise like running can be extremely beneficial for improving nervous system health

A person can use exercise to improve the functioning of the nerves that serve the muscles and other peripheral parts of the body. Engaging in regular physical activity has been shown to have a beneficial effect on the central nervous system. Increasing the activity in the peripheral nervous system strengthens the nerves, in the same way that exercise strengthens the muscles.

Aerobic exercise is thought to be the most beneficial type of exercise for improving the capacity of the overall nervous system. This type of exercise has been shown to have wonderful potential to improve cognitive abilities on the whole (see below also). It is also thought to be especially helpful for children as they develop, so get your children outside and moving regularly! 

Some great examples of aerobic exercises to try include running, cycling, rowing, swimming, and skipping . Enjoy an article here about the benefits of yoga and running.

Regular physical exercise is also shown to lower activity of the sympathetic nervous system. It also encourages activity of the parasympathetic nervous system instead.

HIDDEN BONUS OF EXERCISE FOR YOUR BRAIN! 

Exercise increases the release of beneficial proteins in the brain

As blood flow increases, your brain is exposed to more oxygen and nutrients. Exercise also induces the release of beneficial proteins in the brain. These nourishing proteins keep our brain cells (neurons) healthy, and help to promote the growth of even more new neurons. More movement = more neurons. Which is fantastic because neurons are the working building blocks of the brain. So through movement we are literally increasing the health of our brain!

It has been shown that exercising as part of a training program can help aging adults to improve their memory and brain health. The study found that exercisers showed an increase in blood flow to the hippocampus, the region of the brain that is most directly affected by Alzheimer’s disease. If exercising in the gym isn’t your thing then think of a fun way in which you can move creatively that suits you better! Gardening, dancing, weight work in the comfort of your own home.

EXERCISE YOUR BRAIN ON A DAILY BASIS

Exercise your brain through journaling

Exercising doesn’t always mean that you need to get out and start running 10k or marathon training each day. It can also mean making time in your day to pick up a crossword puzzle and put your brain to work for the next 10 minutes. This can help to activate your nervous system and makes it perform essential functions for its growth and stimulation. It is thought that taking up activities like this can stimulate the nerve receptors to respond to even the slightest of actions. These activities then aid in fighting conditions like paralysis, stroke, memory loss in later years, for example. It can also help in adding and maintaining flexibility, resilience and a sharpening of ones memory.

So make time daily for a little stimulation of your brain with activities like writing by hand or playing mind games like chess or Sudoko.

EXPOSE YOUR BODY TO SUNLIGHT

The value of regular dose of sunlight for your nervous system is very powerful

Studies have shown us that sun reduces the risk of suffering a broad range of health conditions. It is one of the best ways of fortifying the health of the central nervous system. Exposing yourself to the sunlight every morning for about 10 minutes is enough to boost your body’s nervous system. At the same time, it is also sufficient to help us obtain enough daily vitamin D.

Add the new habit of getting outside into part of your existing routine to be sure that it sticks. For example when you drink your morning tea, coffee, coconut take a moment to step outside into the garden to enjoy drinking it. During your lunch break at work, commit to walking around the block. Set an alarm to wake up with the sun, and go outside to watch the sun rising and set a positive intention for your new day.

ADD MEDITATION INTO YOUR DAILY ROUTINE

Meditation offers an easy way to calm and regulate your heart rate and nervous system

Meditating is a smart way of calming and soothing your nerves. Nerves are responsible for the functioning of voluntary conscious responses and involuntary responses. Meditation help regulate your heart rate, blood pressure levels, breathing rate and calming all other sympathetic nerves.

Neuroscientific studies find that meditation increases blood flow, reduces blood pressure, and protects people at risk of developing hypertension. People become less likely to get stuck in depression and exhaustion. Then more generally are better able to control their behaviour.

Turn down the volume of the outside World

Journey inward to find a sense of balance in your nervous system

When we consciously choose to give our nervous systems a break, we’re allowing our entire system to recalibrate. A healthy nervous system can lead to improved immunity, greater resilience, and an increased sense of well-being. 

By reducing unnecessary stimuli and increasing the activities above, we can make sure that our nerves stay healthy. No matter what’s going on in the world around us.

RELIEVE STRESS WITH BREATHING TECHNIQUES

Pranayama is a great way to find nervous system health and balance

Although our most realistic dangers may be fast approaching deadlines, lockdown scenarios, financial insecurity or never ending work/life schedules. Our nervous system may still interpret our anxiety, stress and fear as a response to a potential life threat. 

This impact of these stressors over time may be damaging to our long-term health. The trouble stems from the fact that we don’t make time to reset our nervous system.  As a result, we end up spending huge amounts of time remaining in fight or flight. Mode. Long term this can be super stressful on our bodies and minds. This activates our sympathetic nervous system, accelerating our adrenal glands, cortisol levels and hormonal balance. Which can affect our aging process along with other things.

Breathing deeply, with a slow and steady inhalation to exhalation ratio, signals our parasympathetic nervous system to calm the body down. Long, deep breaths, can help us to manage our stress responses. Which then helps decrease anxiety, fear, racing thoughts, a rapid heartbeat and shallow breathing patterns. By slowing things down we can directly impact our physical, mental and emotional health.

Watch this space for an article coming soon on the benefits of Pranayama and different types to try…..

Make Space in your Day for Finding Space

Slowing down and making time for you

One highly underrated practice for giving the nervous system a break is to do just that: take a break! Be honest, how many of us do that each day? 

Many of us live busy lives and don’t have a lot of time in our full schedules to just take a break. Even when we do, we often opt to fill the space with our favorite Netflix show, a phone call with a friend, or catching up on our social media feeds.

While there’s nothing wrong with this in moderation, the nervous system does truly crave space and silence and time out. 

Even the slowest activity is a teeny tiny bit stimulating. To give our nervous system a true rest we need to feed the nerves minimum stimulation possible. Then add to the equation maximum amounts of rest and relaxation, which gives our nerves a break. This then means we’re feeding them the minimum amount of stimulation possible and maximising rest and rejuvenation.

MAKE SURE YOU GET ENOUGH SLEEP

Sleep plays a hugely vital role in enhancing our mental health, physical health, and safety. If we don’t take a proper amount of sleep, for example a minimum of eight hours of sleep, we may develop some chronic conditions which may affect the way you think, react, learn, and interact with others. 

Sleep helps the central nervous system work properly. It does this by helping to strengthen circuits within the nervous system which can help with memory, which helps with making learning and remembering information much more easy. 

Whenever I feel like sitting up that extra hour to watch netflix or read my book I remind myself that it is during sleep that our body and mind regenerates itself. This then reminds me that it is super important that we receive enough sleep nightly, and regularly, to stay mentally sharp. 

So my overall message to you is to be persistent in your pursuit of well-being and good health generally to help to improve the health of your nerves and nervous system. Your nervous system needs and deserves as much attention as other parts of the human body that we spend so much time caring for. By trying to sprinkle some of the tips recommended above into your daily routine, you can easily maintain a healthy nervous system. Moving away from fatigue, sickness and ill health! Even stepping into a much healthier lifestyle approach to being! Read more about 10 simple ways to welcome good health here.

Let me know below in comments which one of the above you will try to weave into your world today. Sending love from Bali x