How Can I Relax? Helping The Parasympathetic Nervous System recover
Do you know how to relax? I'm not sure that I do.
When my friend asks me this I always struggle for an answer.
Sleep? Nap? Sit still... maybe watch TV?
I have come to the conclusion that I really just am clueless about how to relax in a meaningful way. It's not that I am super busy because I'm not. I sit on my computer, look for jobs, surf the web, watch YouTube, play games, read, do chores.
Yet my mind constantly is going and I meander a bit too much.
I stay up too late and get lost on time and then find myself short on necessary sleep.
Then I start over consuming things that shouldn't be: coffee and nicotine.
Ahh the poor decaf at the bottom of that heap. haha
The nervous system gives me a slap
Last night I was trying to fall asleep after being awake too long. I was overtired and my lungs just seemed to pause for a long time. I had to consciously intake breath. I sat up, worried. Lungs are supposed to inflate without thinking about it but at that moment I felt I had to power them purposefully.
It wasn't a panic attack but when I went to research it I found it was related to too much stress.
Stress means a lot of things to different people and I admit I usually associate it with a mental state of mind, but it's important to know there's physical stress as well as mental stress.
I searched Google about "lungs are not breathing automatically" and this MedHelp forum post came up:
Some of the comments are helpful, some are a bit out there and dramatic, but the one that made sense to me was this one:
Niki9674 Dec 23, 2013
Sounds like dysaunotomia or adrenal fatigue. Same problems. The less you sleep, the worse it gets...
Put legs up the walk for 5 minutes to return blood flow to heart and organs. Also, strengthen respiratory muscles by giving resistance on inhales, it helps in water. Look up ways to engage parasympathetic nervous system. The goal is to quiet the autonomic system...
Wow, thank you Niki9674!
"Look up ways to engage parasympathetic nervous system"
I realized I had overloaded my sympathetic nervous system - that is the adrenaline "fight or flight" nervous system, the one used when exercising and in moments of high stress - by over-consuming coffee and nicotine, not sleeping enough, and in general just ignoring my body's need to relax and recover.
These articles were helpful:
This one has helpful information for "everyday" kind of people.
This is an article geared toward athletics but has helpful insight
After hydrating myself all day with lots of water, stretching, and limiting myself to one cup of coffee and minding my nicotine intake I feel so much better.
I'm still not sure "how to relax" but at least after reading these articles I have some ideas about where to start. I'm embarrassed to admit it to be honest. It feels like a big flaw or handicap.
How do you relax if you don't mind sharing?
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Thank you so much for reading!