Fight, Flight, Freeze or Rest & Digest
Updated: Jul 28, 2021
Did you know? .......
Being rushed, busy & stressed out for a prolonged period of time can make it really difficult for you to lose weight?
While the world around us has changed rapidly, at a cellular level our bodies are basically the same as our predecessors.
Being constantly busy, overwhelmed & stressed out negatively effects your nervous system. There are several components to the nervous system, two of which are the Central nervous system and the Autonomic nervous system.
The central nervous system is governed by your conscious mind; for example, you decide to walk, you control your movements, you chose the direction, the pace.
The Autonomic nervous system is controlled by your subconscious mind. You are not able to 'decide', not able to 'tell' it what to do. Your autonomic nervous system controls the functions of your body like heart rate, cell renewal & digestion.
The Autonomic nervous system has two branches, the Sympathetic Nervous System and the Parasympathetic Nervous System.
The branch of the nervous system that is activated by stress of any type is the Sympathetic Nervous System. It is the Sympathetic Nervous System that controls your 'fight, flight, freeze' response when your body perceives you are in danger. It gets you ready to run for your life! You breathe fast & shallow, your heart rate increases, you may sweat, (much like when you exercise intensely), and your body gives you fast fuel to run from the danger; glucose.
If you do then run for your life, you burn up this glucose, and once you're safely out of danger, your Parasympathetic Nervous System can start to do its work to slow your heart rate and your breathing, to move blood back to the digestive tract so you'll be able to digest food to stay well nourished, (you know that feeling of your tummy unknotting and relaxing after a time of great worry or anxiety? That's your Parasympathetic Nervous System helping you). Once your Parasympathetic Nervous System kicks in, your body feels 'safe' to burn fat as fuel, as a slow-release form of energy.
But, we 21st century women seldom, well never, have to run for our life from a saber-toothed tiger. So, what happens when it's work, clients, meetings, emails, social media, marketing, money worries and childcare issues that are making us stressed out each day? We feel overwhelmed, worry we're not a good enough Mum, wife, friend, and as a business owner, Imposter Syndrome alert! We sometimes feel so inadequate we wonder when someone will 'find us out'! So we're carrying all this fear and stress, rush and overwhelm daily, the Sympathetic Nervous System is in overdrive, we've a knotted stomach, perhaps our heart rate feels high, we feel we're on red alert all the time. However, unlike our ancient sisters' saber-toothed predator, we can not out run our overwhelming life tasks and priorities and the huge mental load we're always carrying with us day and night. So, our Parasympathetic Nervous System rarely gets a chance to kick in and begin it's valuable restorative work within our body.
One really simple thing you can do, anytime, anywhere to help activate your Parasympathetic Nervous System and calm your body is to TAKE SOME SLOW BREATHS. Try what I call Box and Belly Breathing, using your finger in the air in front of you, trace the four sides of a 'box' as you breathe in for 4, hold for 4, out for 4, hold for 4. If you feel you'd like to deepen further you can try in for 6, hold for 6, out for 6, hold for 6. As you do this, have your other hand placed lightly on your belly and feel your belly rise with your in breath and fall with your out breath.
This is a very short précis of the biological effects, written by a layman (me). If you'd like to know more of how rush, stress, constant urgency & busy-ness effect you biochemically, I encourage you to read Dr. Libby Weaver's book "Rushing Woman's Syndrome", which explores the bio-chemical side in greater depth and detail.
My role in this, is I'd like to tell you exactly how can STOP the rush & overwhelm.
The Method to Take Back Your Time.
If you're often feeling
🔹️ stressed out, rushed & hectic
🔹️don't sleep well or don't awake feeling restored
🔹️struggle to say No to people or commitments
🔹️everything feels urgent & important
🔹️you crave sugar, carbs or caffeine
🔹️no matter how carefully you count calories & exercise, your body shape and size is a mystery to you
Then, my message to you is, the first thing you need to change, before any amount of calorie counting or exercise, is you need to calm your rush. You need to shift your mindset and find the way to feel calmer and more in control of your time, tasks & schedule. To learn to be comfortable saying No, or Not Now. To know how to say YES to your true priorities and the things that will serve you best. To run your business, rather than have your business running you.
To Take Back Your Time.
Only once you've calmed your rush and got back in control of your time, tasks & priorities, will you be able to successfully turn your attention to weight loss.
Drop me a message and we'll start you on the journey to calm your rush, qwell your overwhelm and take back control of your time.
Ellen, The Time Management Mum