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One could say that the central nervous system is the center of your own personal universe. It controls your movements, the way you think, your emotions, your thoughts, and your wants and needs. And if that isn’t enough, it also controls your heart rate, breathing rate, body temperature, the release of hormones, and so much more. This manager of the mind and body (central nervous system) is a key component for optimal performance in all aspects of your life, be it athletic or just everyday living. Learning how to balance the mind, body, and soul can benefit your physical and mental health so much and may even attribute to fitness. So today, we are going to learn how to exercise your mind to balance your emotions and prime your central nervous system. Some people even say to get a pet to relax, but Let’s begin with breathing, shall we?
Finding your breath in moments of stress, anger, sadness, and even excitement is important for central nervous system management. This is called "healing breath." Finding your breath is also a great way to start and end your day. It is a great way to slow down your heart rate, get oxygen to your blood, and calm the mind and body.
There are lots of great breathing techniques out there, like this one called Breathwork, but our favorite is the 4-7-8 breathing technique by Dr. Andrew Weil. Here's how to do it:
This can help to balance mind body and soul, reduce stress, and provide energy.
Now, a little known thing about what and how we eat that is often overlooked and undervalued is how it can affect the important systems that protect our bodies. With this in mind, let’s talk a bit about eating relaxed.
What is Ayurveda? Ayurveda is a 3 thousand-year-old holistic healing method from India that takes a mind, body, and spirit approach and has helped millions of people over time heal from various ailments, mainly stress-related.
According to the Ayurveda Experience, eating in a relaxed manner has a calming influence on your central nervous system. Eating on the go in a highly simulated environment or in a hurry can activate your fight or flight system and keep you in a stressful state. Most of us have our fight or flight on all day and don’t even know it, so it’s good to take mindful breaks and bring us back to calm, especially when digesting food. It's one of the practices of mind body and soul.
Ayurveda also promotes the idea that lunch should be your biggest meal (light breakfast, heavy lunch, and light dinner). This way of eating helps de-stress your body and digestive systems as you get closer to bedtime. Remember to make sure you are eating fresh whole foods. We can’t stress that enough.
Are you ready for a Lifestyle Athlete challenge? For one week try to make lunch your biggest meal and when you are eating create a calm environment. See how your mind/body responds and let us know.
There is an old adage that goes something like this, “Eat, drink, and be merry.” Well, we would like to change that a bit to fuel, breathe, sleep, and be merry.
So, let’s talk about sleep for a moment. Getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep positively impacts your central nervous system. Here are some fun facts about sleep. Sleep repairs the body and allows your systems to detoxify.
As we fall asleep we go through bodily shutdown phases. You begin by dozing and falling into a very light and restful sleep. Then you fall deeper into sleep as your brain begins to rest and your body temperatures fall.
You then begin the first part of productive sleep. During this phase, your body falls into its deepest sleep and your muscles relax and repair. This phase occurs mainly in the first half of the night. Finally, you reach the REM (rapid eye movement) phase. During this phase, your brain is super active and, in a sense, “working out,” working on neural connections that are essential in learning and memory. Your brain will continue this workout for 90 min then kick-off for a short period and then come back on. You do most of your dreams in your REM phase.
Conditioning your body to get the rest you need is just as important as conditioning your body with a daily workout. Please don’t forget that. So, have a solid bedtime routine and if you don’t have one might we suggest the one below.
Start getting ready for bed as the sun starts going down. Dim the lights and start getting your last bits of work done on any screens. Unlock any tension your body feels by stretching, specifically in your neck and hips. Jot down 3 things you are grateful for. By journaling what you are grateful for, you will gain clarity on what you want to have more of in your life and bring it into sharper focus. Finally, perform 5 reps of the 4-7-8 breathing technique. If you want to make sure your motivation stays up, here are 5 tips to keep pushing yourself!
So, there you have it, 3 tips on how to exercise your mind to balance your emotions and prime your central nervous system!
Authors: Billy & Kylie
Mdrive Ambassadors and founders of LifestyleAthleteWellness.com
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