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Switch to parasympathic mode

Practice switching to parasympathetic mode.

The nervous system works in a very black and white way.

On one side we have the sympathetic system; fight or flight. The side in which we respond with adrenaline, a heightened state of awareness. Our vision narrows, our teeth clench, our breathing becomes more shallow, we’re either ready to fight to the death, or run for our lives.

Luckily for most of us, it’s not often the difference between life or death these days, especially for those of us in developed countries. But this would have been the side of the nervous system that would respond scenarios such as if we were to come across a rival tribe, or a predatory animal.

On the flip side, we have the parasympathetic system; rest and digest. Our breathing is calm, and taken in and out via the nose. The belly expands as we breathe, the heart rate is slowed, the blood is not required in the big muscle groups, and our mind is relaxed.

Too often the modern day human is in a sympathetic state; commuting, working, taking important phone calls, rushing around, caffeinated, traffic jams, queues, being late for something, crowded pavements, etc. Not often do we spend much time in this parasympathetic state in this day and age. We need to therefore make time for this side of the nervous system.

There are a myriad of methods to help you calm down and relax. But here is one I really like.

Nose breathing.

It’s an amazingly effective tool.

Take a deep breath in over about 5-10 seconds, all through the nose. Hold your hand to your belly and push against your hand with your belly.

Breathe all your air out out over 5-10 seconds. Through the nose. Feel your belly deflate.

Hold your breath for 5-10 seconds.

Repeat this for 3 minutes.

If you need a helping hand, use an app called breathe+. Set all the timers to what I’ve suggested, and enjoy the visuals to help cue your breathing.

Thanks for reading!



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