Living in a physical and energetic soup laced with fear has enormous consequences to our health and well-being. Such is our reality these days. Fortunately, each of us has the capacity to change the soup.
In this series of 4 blogs, we are going to dive into Calm with four different perspectives:
- The Biology of Calm
- The Mindset of Calm
- The Emotion of Calm
- The Spirit of Calm
Today, we are focusing on the physical qualities of calm and its opposite – fear.
Our biological response to fear is generated through the Sympathetic nervous system. The Sympathetic nervous system runs the response to stress. Its purpose is to protect you and keep you safe.
When the sympathetic nervous system is triggered into response, the endocrine system (or your glands) release adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones keep your body in a state of high alert.
This is meant to be a short-term boost for when you are in danger. When the danger has passed the sympathetic nervous system is meant to return to harmony with the parasympathetic nervous system.
Here is an image that lists a few of the symptoms created by chronic stress:
Our biological response to calm takes place through the Parasympathetic nervous system. This state is often referred to as the “rest and digest” state. When the parasympathetic system is stimulated, the endocrine system releases hormones like the following:
- serotonin, the happiness hormone
- dopamine, the motivation and reward hormone
- oxytocin, the bonding hormone
- GABA regulating brain activity creating calm
- DHEA, the longevity hormone
- Growth hormone
- Endorphins, managing pain
- Immune system hormones
This is where the body’s natural healing cycle takes place. This is where our thinking brain takes over, allowing for rational thought. This is the state of calm and relaxation.
Our daily lives are normally a dance of harmony between these two states. There are many activities we do that require our focus, concentration and alertness. This is the sympathetic system at its best.
We also need times of relaxation during our day where the body relaxes and heals.
As of this writing, much of humanity has been living on ‘high alert’ for a year as a global pandemic runs its course. It was reported in the paper today that we are moving past COVID fatigue and into COVID exhaustion. More and more data is coming to light recently on how damaging this is to overall health and wellbeing.
There is an increased need to be mindful and diligent with ways to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system to give our bodies some relief from the overdrive and toll that stress is taking on our health.
It is essential to know how stress shows up for you.
To create harmony in your nervous system, stress symptoms are reminders that you have a choice to either stay in the overdrive or choose a way to shift gears to the parasympathetic nervous system.
Some of my favorites that are helping to sustain me right now and to reconnect are:
- walks and stretching
- daily gratitude practice
- daily mantra meditation practice
- working with my sound tools to create relaxation and harmony
- playing music that inspires me
- enjoying some time with my favorite crafts
- weekly connection with my family
- regular chats with friends
A lot of these tools are well known. What I want to focus on now are ways sound and music can be used to reconnect with the calm. These are much less well known.
Sound is FOOD for your nervous system. It is a spectacular way to stimulate or calm your autonomic nervous system.
To dive into how sound does that, here is a link to the recording of a recent webinar I shared in The Wellness Universe Lounge. It is called, “How to Create Calm in Challenging Times.”
For many years, I have been helping people create more calm in their lives. The most important thing I learned from working with thousands of people really surprised me.
I learned that calm is a permanent part of your being. It can never be taken away from you.
This place of deep calm and peace within you is your source of strength, grace and compassion especially when life gets really challenging.
Most of us forget the deep calm is even there, especially when our daily life gets really chaotic.
To fully dive into how powerfully sound and music can support you, check out our Fundamentals of Healing with Sound and Music course. We offer this three times a year. Our next one is coming up from April 9 to 11. Here is a link to explore more:
In Health and Harmony,