This is a stressful time for many of us.
Our current environmental and social challenges are real and are unlikely to be going away soon.
The uncertainty of these times can amplify our anxious responses and in many cases, this is an appropriate short-term response to our own circumstances.
Our bodies, like in all animals, have remarkably efficient ways to deal with acute stress and it is these inbuilt processes that are necessary to ensure survival.
The stress response mechanisms are automatic and when the acute stress passes these mechanisms switch off and we return to a state of balance (homeostasis).
When the stress is persistent we do not have automatic mechanisms to close down the “fear-fight-flight” responses of the sympathetic nervous system nor to turn off the secretion of adrenaline and cortisol from our hormonal system.
Persisting activation of these body systems over time creates an environment for mental and physical ill-health and increases our susceptibility to viral infections, to pain and fatigue.
Fortunately, there are many ways in which we can choose to respond to recurring anxiety and fear-provoking reactions. We can train ourselves and our brain to dial down the stress response.
Washing the brain.
One of the key ways for living well during these times is to wash your hands well and regularly throughout the day.
Of equal importance is to “wash the brain” well and regularly.
Washing the brain implies taking time to induce an internal state that puts a brake on and reverses the sympathetic nervous system output. Washing the brain requires enhancing the parasympathetic nervous system ( the “rest and recover” system).
There are many ways of doing this and with some personal investigation, you can discover what works well for you.
Some of the techniques include:
These techniques are not those of brainwashing which implies coercive involuntary responses.
When an individual engages in any of these practices regularly, both the stress and cortisol levels decrease. This can lead to greater feelings of joy, kindness, compassion, and empathy for others.
By cultivating your own parasympathetic state this can also subconsciously and consciously impact and influence the nervous systems of those individuals with whom you are in close contact. This is so beneficial in times of social distancing and restrictions in movement.
To assist you in ways to develop your own “washing the brain” routine we have created this 15 min. audio guide for your exploration.
So when you are ready, simply sit back and tune in …
This audio is designed for repeat listening. Feel free to include it in your regular “washing the brain” routine.