Natural Ways To Balance Your Nervous System
This year's been a pretty hectic one for me at work, I have been toiling away on some pretty big projects, which has meant upping the ante as far as long days, lots of jumping on and off planes and missing many a week end, in order to get my projects off the ground. But having suffered and recovered from two Autoimmune diseases - Lupus and Hashimoto's, that were ultimately triggered by stress, I am very strict about setting boundaries and respecting my body. I guess this decision for me comes easily now, after losing my health for so many years along with the freedom to do what I wanted, but this doesn't mean I can always control the demands and stresses in my life. So when life demands more from me, as it has these past 9 months, I ensure I make plenty of extra 'deposits' when it comes to nourishing and protecting my body from the effects of making excess' withdrawals'.
I use the term 'withdrawals' to describe anything that takes away from my health and 'deposits' to define anything that puts back into my body. It's a simple, yet effective analogy that can enable anyone to gain insight into how they are treating their body. I often ask my patients to write down the list of things that are 'withdrawing' or taking away from their health, and a list of activities or choices that act as 'deposits' towards their health. Many are amazed to see the vast difference between the two, the column for withdrawals usually outweighing the column for deposits!
In times of excess stress, whether it be working longer hours, or just having 'too many balls in the air', I include 'things' in my life that will prevent my health falling into a deficit state. This is particularly important for anyone who suffers an autoimmune condition or any chronic health problem for that matter. Considering I already eat well, get plenty of sleep, support my body with certain nutritional supplements and exercise, including restorative forms such as yoga, I use things such as regular remedial massage and acupuncture to up the tempo when I need it.
I recently tried out something known as craniosacral technique after curiosity got the better of me. Sensing that I had probably wound my nervous system into overdrive having to juggle so much at work, the idea of trying something to help balance the flow of my nervous system was very appealing. Now before some of you roll your eyes at what has been dubbed by sceptics as 'pseudo science', I'd like to express my view when it comes to health and complementary therapies. I approach things from a scientific perspective just as much as I observe the effect on a person's (or my own) 'functionality'. I formed this view as a result of both my personal and professional experiences with health and treating illness and disease. All too often I would hear patients tell me, 'my doctor says my pathology results are 'normal', but I don't feel 'normal', far from it in fact'. This was also my story in the early days of suffering Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Hashimoto's.
On the flip side I would see cases where a person would be functioning far too well considering their pathology results. A case of mind over matter ? Perhaps, but I think the reality is a our threshold for registering / tolerating pain, discomfort and the effects of stress, varies from person to person, depending how connected or tuned in they are to their body. I recall the time I had viral meningitis, thinking I was just fighting a bad case of the flu, so I pushed on thinking my work was more important than feeling sick (this was back in the days when I had a far from smart attitude to my health I might add), until I actually passed out and was taken to hospital. But getting back to my discussion on the things we can do to support and nurture our nervous system in times of excess stress, we need to be mindful of doing so, because the nervous system, like the digestive system, directly influences the function and health of all the other body organs and systems. If the nervous system is sent into overdrive for long periods of time, it will eventually 'short circuit' so to speak and leave us open to developing a chronic health condition, even disease, resulting from chronic stress or too many excess 'withdrawals'.
So whether you choose massage, acupuncture, osteopathy, meditation, craniosacral technique, or whatever your preferred modality or technique for supporting your nervous system as a way to prevent or treat the effects of stress, nothing can replace getting enough sleep each night, eating a healthy diet made up of whole , unprocessed, non GMO food's, getting plenty of exercise ( the type that does not 'withdraw' from your body I might add) and staying well hydrated with filtered water or herbal tea and drinking minimal coffee and alcohol.
Supplementing with certain vitamins, minerals and herbs such as a quality multi B complex, B12 and B6 magnesium vitamin C and a herbal nervous system tonic are forms of 'deposits' the nervous system requires to function optimally especially when under excess stress.
What do you do to support your body in times of excess stress? Do you wait until the wheels start to fall off? Or do you take preventative action before stress takes a hold? I'd love to hear your personal techniques and views on this.
All Rights Reserved Sally Joseph 2013