Your heart pounds, your skin is flushed and your chest is tight.
You’re facing a threat, and your sympathetic nervous system, aka your fight or flight response to stress, is in high gear. It’s time to fight, flee or freeze.
Imagine what it would be like if you experienced this activation of the sympathetic nervous system all the time. What would the impact be on your health, both mental and physical?
Well, you don’t actually have to imagine it. All you have to do is look around at most people in our busy culture today, maybe even yourself.
Most of us feel constantly under threat from deadlines, bills and work performance. These stressors are around for weeks, months, even years.
A healthy nervous system should be able to ‘come down’ after the threat is removed or over. Think about your dog shaking off a stressful encounter with another dog or human. The problem we have is that the stressors don’t go away and we also don’t give ourselves the time and space to shake them off.
How do you shake off your chronic stress and help to regulate your nervous system and build stress resilience in the face of constant stressors? I’ve got some practical tips for you.
Warning: These are simple, but they take commitment and consistency over time.
Here are 3 daily habits that help shake off your chronic stress
1.Stop looking at your phone first thing in the morning. Do this instead…
Block time off when you wake up for mindful activities that support your physical and mental health. Go for a walk, practice yoga, journal or read inspirational content instead. Set aside whatever you can from 5 minutes to an hour of YOU time to start your day with gentle activation versus a full-on stress spike.
2.Take relaxation and mindful moments throughout the day.
One full conscious breath is all you need. Take mini relaxation breaks throughout your day. Relax your jaw and your shoulders, and take one deep, full breath. Do it right now as you’re reading this. Now notice the difference in how you feel. No one has to know that you just took a deep breath 🙂 Breathe through your nose, and all the way into your low belly and back. Deep breathing helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system that brings you down from too much activation.
3.Shake it off and move!
Take a lesson from your dog and learn how to literally shake it off! Even put on that Taylor Swift song and go for it. Dance, walk, do yoga, run, bike, kayak, paddleboard. Get out and move. There is evidence that stress and trauma can be more effectively processed through movement. When you’re feeling overwhelmed take a body break and get moving. What’s important with this is that you drop your all or nothing attitude. Sometimes you just need to move for 10 or 15 minutes. Allow yourself to do that. Your body and mind will be very happy. You don’t have to do an hour or 2 hour workout to get the benefits of movement.
If you want to learn more about how to manage chronic stress and build your stress resilience through healthy daily habits and strategies, I invite you to join my upcoming Fall Wellness Retreat November 12 – 14, 2021. Together with my friend Sommerville, a Somatic Experiencing therapist, and me will guide you through the knowledge and daily habits that help you cultivate a healthy and effective nervous system. She comes at it from the trained therapist perspective and I come at it from the Ayurvedic health coach perspective. Together we give you strategies to get you feeling good in your body and mind. Click Here to learn more and register.