Whenever our nervous system detects a threat, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) directs the body’s responses. When these moments of threat or stress perpetuates for a long time, the sympathetic nervous system remains in an overactive state. Thus our body is always in a fight or flight response. This over activity of SNS can be critically dangerous to our health.
Psychologist and author Dr. Nicole LePera explains this phenomenon in one of her Instagram posts. She explains in the caption that she had been trained to diagnose symptoms as a clinical psychologist rather than finding out the root cause. Dr. Nicole studied the nervous system intensely and found that this system works like an alarm system. She said that it activates stress hormones, helping us escape the situation. She further described that these stress hormones are very constant in blood streams of some people. It leaves them distracted and having memory problems.
Dr. Nicole further states that when our body and mind are stuck in a stressful state for longer durations, we enter survival mode. Due to this, our nervous system constantly prepares us for threats, both real or perceived and releases hormones like cortisol, adrenalin in our blood stream.
According to Dr. Nicole, symptoms of an overactive sympathetic nervous system include anxiety, panic, depression, digestion issues, fatigue, memory issues and others. These symptoms are a result of our sympathetic nervous system activating.
How to heal from it
Healing from this problem will require helping our body access its Parasympathetic nervous system or the rest and digest state. Parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the rest and digestion response of the body. This system increases the respiration and heart rate helping in the digestion process.
Dr. Nicole describes some steps through which we can practice getting our body in the Parasympathetic nervous system.
- Practice sleep
- Practicing deep breathing daily
- Mind/body movement: yoga, Tai Chi, boxing etc.
- Get into nature / quiet
- Nutrition (nutritional deficiencies can cause nervous system dysregulation)
- Limit toxic / dysfunctional relationships
The author concludes the post by saying that until and unless mental health acknowledges the nervous system, we will only keep suppressing the symptoms.