Originally aired on 05-18-2017
We generally do not think a lot about breathing, digesting, our heart running or other “automatic” things unless we are having trouble with them. How does the brain pull that off? We also do not typically “think” to create hormonal control. How does the brain pull that off? How can all this automatic operation of the wonderful organ our brain is be affected by things such as conscious thought, learning, stress and meditation?
Automatic activities = Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)
Sympathetic (i.e. running from a bear) and Parasympathetic (i.e. calm, digesting food, recharge etc.) portions balance each other out. In case of need each will upregulate as needed and the other side will down regulate.
PTSD or a “trauma → trigger” will cause excess sympathetic activity. Causes the feeling / physiology of “running from a bear” without the outer reason. Causes very disturbing feelings and physical effects.
Three point way to address these issues:
- Diet Lifestyle (eating regularly, supplements, exercise etc.)
- Talk, EMDR or other therapy
- “Brain Work”: mindfulness, meditation (mindfulness prayer)
Daily the ANS keep us alert and alive. It is set up partially as a survival mechanism for danger but also helps us with digestion and many critical functions. A normal balance is required for a normal stress response.
Re set and balance the ANS:
- Mindfulness / Meditation daily (especially in the AM)
- Exercise: Both aids in general nervous system tone and also re-sets excess sympathetic chemistry
- Low GI diet (keep blood sugar swings at bay – see below)
- Regular meals also keeps insulin and blood sugar imbalance (all sympathetic triggers) down
- Peaceful eating – you must be in Parasympathetic dominance to digest. Peaceful surroundings and calm good conversation can keep you in that state as you eat and digest.
Listen to the episode here!
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