5 ways to find your inner calm
Wouldn´t it be great if it was possible to go from full speed to calm and quiet in no time? Why is it so hard?
Last weeks blogpost was about our nervous system and how to understand ourselves. in We all get som many impressions and experiences every day, every hour, every minute that affects us, whether we want them to or not. And furthermore you are unique, I am unique, we are all unique. Our "reality" differ, we experience the outside world in our own way.
As you have probably guessed there are no easy answers to how you as a unique human being can handle your stressors. BUT we can learn from nature, the animals, the children and listen to the signals that our body sends us, both physical and psychological ones. And we can support our body in its constant work of keeping us alive and feeling good.
Maybe you have tried to meditate. And maybe you immediately felt that "this is not for me, my thoughts are all over the place". This is normal! To hit the breaks after a day full of impressions and actions is hard, your thoughts are spinning and when trying to slow down and meditate you might start to blame yourself and feel bad about being unable to do this "simple" thing. It is not simple, but it will be!
To understand the stressors we live with, let us divide them into three categories: physical stress, chemical stress and emotional stress. Please remember that the bodys respons to these stressors are only there to protect you and make you feel good. We need to help our body.
The Physical stress comes from outside factors like accidents, traumas, exercising too hard, and so on. For example if you cut yourself the body immediately sends actions to coagulate the blood and starts to mend the wound. The body goes into an alert state.
Chemical stress comes from substances that we get from food, drinks, the air, chemicals we use, radiation, medication and so forth.
And Emotional stress hits us when we worry, when we are scared, and feel insufficient and powerless.
To keep the inner balance in our body and to save us the body produces hormones and neurotransmitters. We are made for short periods of action in fight and flight and longer periods of recovery. It is when we live in a constant feeling of stress, being in the fight & flight mode all the time, that our body just can not take it any more. We become burned out or maybe our body starts to physically ache.
The following 5 suggestions to cool down your overheated nervous system are not revolutionary, but nevertheless they will help you to assist your body in its quest to save you. Here are a few ways to find your inner peace and your inner smile:
1 SHAKE IT OFF
Literally! When animals have been very active or in danger they shake for a while. Your body goes into a tense state when you stress and it stays in your body. When you stand up in a relaxed way and start to sway and shake your body the message that you are sending to it is that you are safe, everything is alright, no one is hunting you right now.
Breathe, what do you mean, I do it all the time is probably your first thought. Many researches point to the result of doing breathing exercises. Our emotional stress is one our biggest enemies of today. We worry and feel anxious about a lot of things and most of it comes from our own mind. By doing controlled breathing we focus and activate our vagus nerve, the most important nerve to keep our parasympathetic nervous system working. It is what brings us into a recovery state. The 4-7-8 breathing is one way to do breathwork: Start by breathing in through your noose and count silently to 4, Hold your breath and count to 7, breathe out through your mouth (with sound if it feels ok) while silently counting to 8. Continue until you feel calmer, approximately 5-7 times. You can do this whenever you want, in any body position. I highly recommend it if you have trouble falling to sleep!
3 BODY YAWN
Or pandiculation which is the action of yawning and expanding your body. Just look at dogs or cats who have been sleeping, the first thing they do is to stretch their body in a pleasant way. Animals do this all the time, we do not. The pandiculation is also a message to your rest & digest - system that all is good. It helps your body to get information about the current state in your body. Do it in bed before you rise out of bed, feel the strength of your body and a nice feeling spreading throughout. In Sensing Yoga Pandiculation is one of the pillars of exercise.
4 WASH YOUR FACE IN ICECOLD WATER ...
Ice swimming is even better! But a very good start is to wash your face every morning and evening. Once again this affects your Vagus nerve in a positive way.
5 GARGLE YOUR THROAT WITH WATER
Your vagus nerve is connected to almost every spot in your body, and one of the spots is your vocal cord and the muscles at the far end of your throat. Gurgling with water morning and evening is a great way to activate your rest & digest-system.
If you sometimes feel anxious and full of stress I really hope that some of these exercises feels worth testing. Nowadays I body yawn without thinking about it, most of all in the morning. Shaking is a part of my Sensing Yoga classes where pandiculation also is a frequent ingredient. Do what feels good for you, remember that your body might have been living in stress a long time and might protest a little.
I wish you a nice and calm day, in my next blogpost i will open the door to more knowledge about our amazing Vagus Nerve!
A big warm yogahug!/Petra