When we’re in stress our bodies are effectively in Fight or Flight mode. This can be necessary, for example if we need to escape from a dangerous situation, however our bodies were not designed to stay in this state for longer than about 10-15 minutes at a time. When we remain in stress for long periods it affects our immune system leaving us more susceptible to illness. We can also suffer from dis-eases such as adrenal burnout and chronic fatigue. In addition, being in this state means that it is more difficult for our bodies to recover from injury or illness.
When we are relaxed it allows our bodies to enter into the parasympathetic nervous system of Rest and Repair. Here our breathing, heart rate and blood pressure return to a healthier level and our gut is able to digest more effectively, meaning that we can better absorb the nutrients that we need from our food. Also, it is only in this state that our cells can shift their focus away from preparing for attack or escape and towards work on maintenance and repair. Being in this state therefore helps us to recover from illness and injury and to remain in a state of balance and wellbeing.
Each body has a blueprint of how it should be in order to be functioning at its optimum. It is an intelligent system with a variety of processes that are always aiming to return to this healthy model. Taking time to be still, enables our cells to reconnect with this inner wisdom, allowing the body’s processes to work as they were designed to do, and bringing us back to balance and wellbeing.
In part 5 I’ll look at another couple of great ways to support our wellbeing and alleviate the effects of stress.
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