Do you remember when the work-life merge began for you? There seems to be a tipping point when managing the responsibilities of a job, fostering a career and nurturing a family life – collides. If you’re reading this, it’s probably something that happened a long time ago, triggering a stress-response in your body that’s truly become the norm. Perhaps even burnout. But do you know how to break long-embedded stress habits?
The stressful, fight-or-flight response that we’ve become accustomed to in modern life, has its roots in the primitive nature of our bodies by design. Sudden stress activates what is known as the sympathetic nervous system. Your heart speeds up, your blood pressure rises, and you’re ready for battle.
To calm down, as you’ll hear about in today’s video, one needs to tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, known as the “rest and digest” wing of the autonomic nervous system. This is the calming engine for your body.
Learning how to manage stress has been on the front burner for me most of my life as a television reporter. The intensity of the job and hospice-related volunteering, sent me on a quest to battle stress. That’s what brought me to yoga & meditation.
During my yoga teacher certification, I learned that there is plenty of science and research to back up the stress-reducing benefits behind a simple mindful breath of awareness, a yoga pose (asana), or a meditative moment. These techniques impact the body and the brain toward managing stress. But the intricate details of the neuroscience behind it, are worth further exploration.
In part 2 of my web series, Transforming Stress to Boost Your Brain and Creativity, neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, PhD, author of Buddha’s Brain, weighs in on what stress does to the body.