Healing Power of the Parasympathetic Nervous System: 8 Simple Steps to Reduce Anxiety & Stress by Stephanie Cannoe
The only constant in life is change, and we are constantly making behavioral adjustments to the daily demands and stressors around us. Current research has validated the benefits of using a mind, body and spirit model, which bridges the gap between eastern and western approaches. Using this model, which accepts the limitations of medicine and encourages an equal partnership between patient and doctor, is empowering patients to take control of their health! Self-care will take us to the next level of wellness and is deemed to be the missing triad of medicine together with advances in available surgical and pharmaceutical treatments.
According to Dr. Herbert Benson, author of The Relaxation Response and The Mind/Body Effect, self-care and faith factors are a necessary component to the practice of medicine. Dr. Benson's research confirms that these practices can help you relieve headaches, backaches, chest pains, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, eliminate insomnia and decrease anxiety. His research validates that when combined with other current treatments, these simple techniques may help prevent and manage the acceleration of chronic conditions and diseases.
Fortunately, there are many self-care techniques to choose from and they are all absolutely free, which utilize the natural healing powers within us to balance against and support a resiliency to stress. Try these eight simple steps to alleviate anxiety and combat stress:
- Pick a focus word or phrase that is rooted in your personal belief system, such as the word peace or a prayer or a feeling of love (or this state can also be induced as a singular focus when exerting yourself physically in an activity).
- Sit quietly in a comfortable position.
- Close your eyes.
- Relax your muscles.
- Become aware of your breathing, and breathe very slowly and naturally. Simultaneously, repeat your focus word or phrase as you exhale. Use only one word or phrase during your sessions so that you’ll automatically come to associate it with the calming impact of the relaxation response.
- Assume a passive attitude, and if other thoughts intrude in your mind, gently disregard them.
- Continue for 10 to 20 minutes.
- Practice the technique once or twice daily.
The good news is that the relaxation response will work whether you believe in it or not, unlike the faith factor where the results are varied by individual. These techniques activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which conserves energy as it slows the heart rate, increases intestinal and gland activity, and relaxes sphincter muscles in the gastrointestinal tract, bringing balance to the often necessary fight-or-flight response to stress.
Give it a try as part of your self-care routine and experience the effects for yourself.
The content on 30Seconds.com is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information on this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider. The opinions or views expressed on 30Seconds.com do not necessarily represent those of 30Seconds or any of its employees, corporate partners or affiliates.
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