Whenever you are feeling overly anxious or out-of-sorts do you turn to breathing exercises to bring you down? This practice can be classified as down regulation of your nervous system. Down regulation of the nervous system refers to different actions that can be taken to bring your nervous system from a sympathetic state to a parasympathetic state, whereas up-regulation is the process done in reverse.
The sympathetic state refers to the point in time in which your nervous system is in fight or flight mode, whereas the parasympathetic nervous system refers to the point in time in which your body is in relaxation mode. Learning how to implement down regulation and up-regulation of your nervous system is important for living a healthy lifestyle.
Breaking Down Up-Regulation of the Nervous System and Its Potential Danger
First, let us break down what up-regulation even entails in order to better understand its potential setbacks. Up-regulation is described as participating in activities that activate your nervous system and bring it to a point of fight-or-flight mode. Being in an up-regulated state can be beneficial in circumstances where we need to be in fight-or-flight mode such as a dangerous situation or when needing to complete a responsibility under pressure.
While triggering your nervous system is normal, sometimes, our bodies can stay in an up-regulated state beyond its moment of need. When your nervous system is constantly in an active state it can lead to adverse reactions such as anxiousness, nerves, inability to sleep, trouble breathing, irritability, and restlessness. These issues can heavily impact your quality of life and can even lead to digestive complications. When your body is essentially in overdrive, it does not have the bandwidth to uphold its other responsibilities such as properly digesting food.
In this day and age, we are more likely to experience a prolonged activated nervous system due to the stressors of daily life. Sometimes, it might feel normal to experience the symptoms above, but it is not. It is crucial that you do not overlook these symptoms in order to avoid further exacerbating its impact on your health. Let us dive into the different ways you can implement deregulating activities to push your nervous system into a parasympathetic state instead.
How to Implement Down Regulation Activities In Your Daily Life
Down regulation refers to the process of bringing your nervous system from a state of activation or a sympathetic state to a parasympathetic state. A parasympathetic state allows your body the chance to relax and rejuvenate. In this state, your body has the chance to follow through with all of its responsibilities including digestion.
Here are some ways to promote a calm nervous system.
1. Manage stress levels
Chronic stress can be one of the main contributors to an activated nervous system. With the struggles of daily life, it can be easy to allow yourself to be immersed in the struggles and stressful factors, but we must allow ourselves the chance to breathe and relax. If you are struggling with stress, try to find activities or people that help bring you down.
Meditation is a practice that can help you better regulate your breathing and in turn benefit your mental and physical health. It requires patience, silence, and a moment of reflection. There are many forms of meditation out there, meaning there is most likely one that fits your specific lifestyle. Entering this state of mind can push your body into that state of relaxation we crave and need.
3. Avoid Triggering Ingredients
High amounts of sugar or caffeine can contribute to an unstable nervous system. If you are experiencing symptoms such as anxiety, it is crucial that you avoid these triggering ingredients. They are considered stimulants which will only further bring your body into a state of distress.
4. Prioritize Sleep
While restlessness is definitely a sign that your nervous system has been activated for too long, we must try and get quality sleep to help bring it back down. Try drinking herbal teas such as chamomile to help calm you before bed in order to avoid restlessness.
How An Unstable Nervous System Can Impact Other Parts Of Your Health
As mentioned above, when your nervous system is activated and in a sympathetic state for too long, your body is not able to focus on other parts of your health such as your digestive process. When you help bring your body down from a state of fight-or-flight you become more relaxed both mentally and physically. This relaxation effect influences the muscles in your digestive tract and you are finally able to properly digest food without complication.
Bloating, constipation, inflammation, and gut instability are all adverse digestive effects that can occur from an activated nervous system. In addition to participating in calming activities such as the ones listed above, you must also make sure to support your digestive system.
Taking a probiotic supplement and a supplement for bloating such as Sexy & Slim is essential in living a healthy lifestyle and protecting your gut. Your gut requires a constant influx of beneficial bacteria that you can get from probiotics. Probiotics can be consumed in the form of a supplement such as Probiotic Renu or through certain foods. Probiotic-rich foods include, but are not limited to, yogurt, kimchi, and kombucha.
Getting your nervous system to calm down and protecting your digestive tract definitely have some overlap. Exercising, sleeping, staying hydrated, and participating in stress-relieving activities target both. It can be easy to neglect a part of a healthy lifestyle with the chaos that consumes our lives, but we must prioritize ourselves and our needs in order to live a healthy and happy life.
The symptoms of a chronically activated nervous system not only impact your own personal life, but can negatively impact your interpersonal relationships. Be sure to check in with your loved ones, share with them your struggles, and allow them to be a place of support for you in times of need. Having a support system is just as important as being your own at times.