As a natural result of practicing meditation for the past several years (which I began purely for the deep rest), my overactive fight or flight response calmed greatly. Sometimes things happen to trigger it again. So I have developed six practices for calming my overactive nervous system.
Recently, I was driving to my parent’s house when someone crashed into us from behind. The impact was so hard the tow bar bent up in half. I immediately rushed to my three month old baby to calm him. Once I’d placed him back in his seat to discuss details with the drivers behind me and surveyed the damage I began shaking and my heartrate went on overdrive.
The first practice I employed to calm my system was to breathe as well as I could given the situation. We had to finish the drive to my parents as my husband and older two boys were meeting us there. I did my absolute best to think on using my diaphragm and not my chest. I was only half successful.
Once we got to my parent’s and the baby was asleep in my arms I sat down with a heat pack and a glass of water. That time out was crucial.
A bit later when I realised I was still quite worked up, I went and sang a couple of my favourite songs on my brother’s Sing Star game. How can you focus on what stressed you out when you’re trying to keep up with the words and tune?!
The following morning, while struggling with the interplay of increased stress response, pain and fatigue (the baby slept with me all night as neither of us wanted to separate), I chose to do a 15 minute yoga nidra meditation (there was no time for a full rest).
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Another practice for working through anxiety and the fight or flight response is to write it out. Either in a journal you keep or on a piece of paper you throw out.
Talking about it can also help. Examine why you react how you do, what influences you, consider some steps to take to actively manage it.
Practices for Calming the Central Nervous System
1. Diaphragmatic breathing
2. Time out
3. Singing (or hobby you enjoy)
5. Write it out
6. Talk about it
What are your go to practices for stress?
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