This week I want to talk about relaxation and activating the parasympathetic nervous system. We have this part of ourselves that is the autonomic nervous system. When we feel stressed out, we feel extremely dysregulated and we’re in this constant state of fight, flight or freeze. When we encounter a threat, what happens is our nervous system hops into survival mode. Our heart rate increases, our respiration increases, our pupils dilate, and our digestion slows down. That’s all part of survival, but if we’re not actually experiencing a life-threatening threat, then we need to know how to counteract that by activating the parasympathetic nervous system.
In order to do that, a lot of people do is what’s referred to as diaphragm breathing. This is when you can experience the belly rise and fall instead of the chest. When we breathe through the chest, we’re usually breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth which is exercise breathing. In doing that, we are keeping our systems activated.
To deactivate our systems, what we want to do is bring it down to the belly and breathe in and out through the nostrils. What some people do is block one nostril and breathe in for 4 seconds and then block the other nostril and breathe out for 6. There are other things we can do regarding the parasympathetic nervous system that you can learn about in the video below.