Hello everyone! Hope you are looking forward to the warm Spring weather that is finally shaping up! I know I am!! With the warmer weather and being outdoors my thoughts goto relaxing times outdoors; in the yard, riding my bike, walking near a lake and, well, just relaxing. Yet, I am aware with many of the clients I work with, how much difficulty they have when they go to slow down, relax, stop being in motion, or even trying to stop thinking so much. They literally feel more discomfort when attempting to slow down than when cranking up their nervous system by being in constant motion, chronically busy, and just generally being in a constant struggle with time. The familiar words I hear from these folks reflects this ‘turned on” hyper-arousal of their Sympathetic Nervous System,which generates what is called the Fight/Flight response. In this state, they often express how they can’t sit still, can’t shut off their mind, never have enough time, feel as if they are wasting time and being unproductive if not always doing something, and on and on. The nervous system and our bodies were not designed to be in this perpetual state of excitation. Something has to give and often the body’s exhaustion will manifest in susceptibility to physical illnesses or exacerbation of conditions like muscular pain, IBS, headaches, certain heart conditions, and just general sense of fatigue, to mention a few of the potential consequences of unrelieved tension.
Attempts at practices, like Meditation, are tortuous to such persons as it becomes unbearable to sit and focus on being in the present moment as they become aware of all the flurry of thoughts running through their minds. This becomes so agitating that they may give up even after two minutes as the frustration is too much. They abandon these practices all to soon and feel as if they’ve failed.
They are literally “ill at ease”! The good news is these “circuits” of anxiety, tension and hyperactivity can be rewired. We know that cells that fire together wire together and create the network of our brain. This continuous state of activation just reinforces these connections over and over and makes it feel like this is just our “normal state”, this is just “my personality”. It turns out not to be true! This is the result of many factors that wired the brain in this way and is not our natural state of being. By learning new strategies that create different circuits, due to the brains capacity for neural plasticity, we can “condition” the brain and the body to have different responses that stimulate the Relaxation Response. In learning new approaches, and practicing daily, the new circuit scan begin to reach a “critical mass” and wire in new ways that can be easily accessed over time. At the same time the old networks can be de-conditioned and have less impact on the system.