Are You Nervous Without Knowing It?

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Mind over matter. This is a mantra familiar to most people today. It can help us get through our day, tend to our daily tasks and responsibilities, and motivate us during physical activity. The outcome is positive to the naked eye: we’re able to conquer our laziness, fatigue, or lack of motivation, and take action. However, is there a price to pay without knowing it?

 

Our ability to move, get up, or grab something is determined by our Nervous System, which consists of our brain, spine, and the many nerve endings that go across our body. However, there is a part of our nervous system that’s not within our control, which helps dictate our survival and adaptation as a human being. This is called the Autonomic Nervous System, and regulates our bodily functions such as1:

  • breathing
  • digestion
  • heart rate
  • urination
  • sexual arousal

*Note: “Autonomic” is related to the word “autonomous,” which means independent, self-determined

 

In a healthy body, when we are at rest or relaxed, the part of the Autonomic Nervous System that becomes activated is called the Parasympathetic Nervous System. This is the “Calm” branch of our Autonomic Nervous System. This means our heart is not beating fast, the food we ate earlier is digesting normally, and we are breathing normally. But when we are anxious or frightened, the part of the Autonomic Nervous System that becomes activated is called the Sympathetic Nervous System. This is the “Stressed” branch of our Autonomic Nervous System. This means our heart beats faster, the food we ate earlier doesn’t digest as well, and we breathe more rapidly. This is also referred to as our “fight or flight” response, when we decide to fight (become angry or aggressive), or flee (withdraw). This has had a primitive origin for our survival throughout human history, allowing us to adapt accordingly to different situations.

 

This is important to know, because many of us today are operating in a predominantly sympathetic state without knowing it. If you experience anyone or more of the following:

  • Need coffee or tea to get through the day
  • Have difficult napping
  • If you are not on the move, you feel tired or sleepy
  • Difficult for you to be idle

Then you might be Sympathetic Dominant2. This occurs when there is an imbalance between your Sympathetic Nervous System and Parasympathetic Nervous System, meaning your body has difficulty relaxing like it’s supposed to. This is an internal state, meaning you feel wound up without any necessary external triggers, but it’s as if you are constantly anxious or frightened. For example, you may have a tendency for heart palpitations, tremors, and/or restlessness.

 

Although, more often than not, you may feel fine. Meaning, you don’t feel anxious or frightened. However, this is because Sympathetic Dominance is a compensatory mechanism your body enlists when your body is lacking in energy. This is generally caused by sub optimal functioning of your thyroid and adrenal glands, so you have to “will” yourself more to get things done, strongly activating your Sympathetic Nervous System. Some ailments that may arise from being sympathetic dominant include2:

  • Hypo or Hypertension
  • Hypo or Hyperthyroidism
  • Grave’s Disease
  • ADHD
  • Constipation
  • Nerve Pain
  • Chest Pain
  • Joint Pain

 

So what is the best way to prevent or remedy Sympathetic Dominance?

1. Adequate sleep: Getting at least 9 hours every night3

2. Limit caffeine: Limiting yourself to 1 cup of regular coffee or black tea a day (if desired)3      

3. Meditation: This will help activate your parasympathetic nervous system

4. Napping: If and when possible, try to take a short nap everyday

5. Avoid strenuous physical activity: If you are pushing yourself everyday in the gym, then it’s too much

6. Avoid always “Being on the Go”: Try to take time to read, listen to music or an audio book

7. Get a Hair Mineral Analysis: Check to see if you have sympathetic dominance, sub optimal adrenal and/or thyroid glands, which can cause you to become sympathetic dominant in the future. Visit Services on my website if interested in a Hair Mineral Analysis.

 

Willpower is a very precious and powerful thing we have, from helping us get through the day, to helping us reach our life’s highest goals and aspirations. However, it shouldn’t have to come at the cost of our health. Happy 2018, and I hope for success and wellness for everyone.

Thank you for reading.

 

*All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health conditions.

 

1. Schmidt, A; Thews, G (1989). “Autonomic Nervous System”. In Janig, W. Human Physiology (2 ed.). New York, NY: Springer-Verlag. pp. 333–370.

2. Wilson, L. (2016, August). Sympathetic Dominance. Retrieved from http://drlwilson.com/articles/SYMPATHETIC%20DOMINANCE.htm

3. Wilson, L. (2017, December). The “Free” Nutritional Balancing Program. Retrieved from https://www.drlwilson.com/ARTICLES/HEALING%20LIFESTYLE.htm

 

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