This is a post I’ve been wanting to write for a long time, because I’m not sure that people truly understand the role that their lifestyle plays in undermining their health. Finally, after a conversation with my husband, I was convinced that I needed to get the conversation out there. If HE wasn’t getting the message, I’m just not making myself clear.
Your body is run by your nervous system.
It has two settings:
“Activated” and “At Rest“
and it can only heal while it is at rest.
The key concept here is to define what is “activated” and what “at rest” means, because people often think they are at rest when they aren’t.
- limp, relaxed
- blissed out
- sleeping soundly and deeply (doesn’t count if you’re snoring)
- meditating (usually)
Not at rest. Basically, every waking moment of your existence. And not a few of the sleeping ones.
Now can you see why you don’t heal?
Basically, you’ve got the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympthatic nervous system is most commonly known by the flight/flight/f*ck reaction. It’s responsbile for some other stuff too, but it’s boring.
The parasympathetic system is less vividly known by its rest/digest reaction.
Basically, you can’t run them both at the same time, at least, not very well.
Back in the misty past, you’d face a dangerous predator, and go into the Activated state until your survival was assured. Then, you’d relax in to the At Rest state, and life would continue, until the next threat occured.
Fast forward to life as we know it. We are constantly bombarded with stimulus. Is it dangerous? Is it important? I just don’t know! What if I pick wrong? What if I lose my job? What if i get in an accident? What if I win the lottery? Who will love me?
You would think that you’d just collapse under the strain of it all, but our bodies can do an amazing job of compensating
It is, after all, the only way to keep you alive.
Modern Life = Stress
Stress is an activated state. So is anxiety, fear, and any other emotion you care to name. You can not heal effectively in an activated state.
Why? Because those resources are allocated to survival. To increased muscle tension. To quicker nervous response. To increased heart rates (hypertension, anyone?).
But, unlike our ancestors, we no longer take the time to be at rest. Indeed, many people are almost afraid of it. If they unwind, they’re sure they will fall apart.
In most of my initial BodyTalk sessions, the first thing that happens is that Innate will trigger the healing state, literally resetting the stress response. That’s the euphoric feeling that most clients report after BodyTalks.
The problem occurs when people go back into their stressed environments. At least at first, they will lapse into that continually activated state.
I cannot stress enough the importance of daily relaxation and renewal. Without it, you are like an engine being tested to destruction. With it, you allow the body to catch its breath and restore a more healthy balance
At Rest is not a panacea; I’m not saying that if you join a Buddhist monastery you will be cured of all your ills. But I am saying that it’s a foundational practice without which you will experience severely suboptimal results.
Bottom line: You age faster, heal slower, and do not experience anywhere CLOSE to optimal well being if you don’t take the time be be At Rest. Not just resting. At Rest
P.S. Bonus tidbit that my clients seem to find really enlightening.
Pain and poor sleep patterns (including insomnia) are Activated states. In my experience, Innate will deal with them immediately.
Kind of like feeding your toddler an animal tranquilizer so that you can get some work done. I’m kidding. I live in the country. We just send our kids outside and tell them not to come back before dark.
But yeah, if that’s some of your issues, you might want to check out the Work With Me page. I might even get off my butt today and put something interesting on the About Me page.