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How to Boost Your Parasympathetic Nervous System and Get Rid of Stress
When you’re stressed and worried, your sympathetic nervous system is activated. The stress response increases the heartbeat rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels so that you can respond to a threat. However, in today’s fast-paced life, we often experience stress for long periods of time. That is why it is important to have methods to boost your parasympathetic nervous system and deactivate your sympathetic nervous system when your body stresses you out. In this article, you will learn more about the parasympathetic vs sympathetic nervous systems and how to activate the PNS for stress relief. Image Source: FreeImages
What is the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS)?
The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) is one of the two major parts of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), the part of our nervous system that regulates ‘autonomous’ bodily functions that don’t require conscious thought. The other part of the ANS is the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). The ANS helps us to regulate our body’s responses to different situations and is an ongoing process that’s designed to support health and healing in the body. The PNS is often referred to as the relaxation response, which enables the body to rest and repair itself without the disturbance caused by the SNS.
How does the PNS help us?
The PNS is responsible for slowing down our metabolism and controlling bodily processes that are not necessary to fight or flee threats. These include digestion, urination, etc. It also modulates our immune system and helps to keep our bodies healthy. The PNS, when activated, can help reduce blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension. It is also responsible for feelings of pleasure, joy, and happiness.
What does activating the PNS feel like?
The PNS can be activated by taking slow, deep breaths, or by engaging in mindful exercises such as yoga, tai chi, or meditation. When your PNS is activated, you will feel calmer, less stressed, and even happier. Your heart rate and blood pressure will decrease, and your digestion will also be improved. Your muscles will feel relaxed and your blood flow will improve, which will help you to feel less tense. Additionally, your immune system will be strengthened, and you will be less likely to get sick. You will also be less likely to experience headaches, back pain, and muscle cramps.
Exercises to Activate Your PNS
The following exercises can be used to activate your PNS:
Meditation: This is one of the best techniques to boost your PNS. Meditation is a great way to de-stress, increase self-awareness, and learn to let go of negative thoughts.
Yoga: This practice can be used to relax and de-stress your body and mind. Yoga includes a variety of poses and breathing techniques, which can be very helpful when you’re under a lot of stress.
Breathing exercises: One of the most effective ways to activate your PNS is by breathing slowly and deeply.
Tummy massage: This can be helpful if you suffer from digestive issues such as cramps, bloating, or IBS.
The PNS is the relaxation response and is responsible for slowing down our metabolism and controlling bodily processes that are not necessary to fight or flee threat. The PNS can be activated by taking slow, deep breaths, or by engaging in mindful exercises such as yoga, tai chi, or meditation. If you’re experiencing a lot of stress, it’s important to learn methods to boost your parasympathetic nervous system and deactivate your sympathetic nervous system so your body can rest and repair itself.