TIPS FOR CALMING THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
The past four blogs have been focusing on the harmful side of sound. You can click the following links to check them out:
When your nervous system is over-stimulated, by sound or any other means, here are some tips for calming it down and creating harmony in your autonomic nervous system.
- Notice negativity
Scientific study has documented how negative thoughts and emotions create disorder within the autonomic nervous system, affecting most of the body’s major systems.
Negativity stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. Positivity stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system.
Notice your worry thoughts. Set your timer on your phone for several times a day to remind you to check in with the content of your thinking. If it is in a negative vein, change it.
- Notice who you hang out with.
Stress is contagious! Study has shown that mirror neurons in the brain transmit stress from one person to another. Notice how the people around you affect you. Surround yourself with positive people as much as you can.
The heart is capable of creating coherence between itself and the brain. That is, they both work at the same frequency. The result is that the heart creates an override of the amygdala response and opens access to the cortex, or thinking brain.
Further scientific study has confirmed that experiencing feelings of gratitude activates the power of the heart and enhances order within the autonomic nervous system resulting in a stronger immune system and better cognitive function.
- Calming music
Many different kinds of music and sound are powerful tools to assist in creating a new baseline for emotional response and ongoing health. This is such a simple way to create more ahhh… in your day.
- Nature sounds
The healthiest sounds for the human being are water, birdsong and wind. Have some of this playing in the background when you need to relax or when you are working.
I created my CD Woodland Song to be used when working. The soft, bubbling sounds of the water keep you relaxed while the birdsong stimulates the brain enhancing focus, concentration and productivity. You can listen to a bit of it here:
- Sound Tools for calm
There are many sound tools that help to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system.
- Tibetan singing bowls
- Crystal singing bowls
- Tuning forks – my favorites are:
- the Perfect 5th forks tuned to 256 Hz and 384 Hz
- Om fork tuned to 136.10 Hz
- my frame drum
- Use your voice. You can check out this blog for how powerfully your voice supports your wellbeing: https://soundwellness.com/what-is-toning/
A long outbreath stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. Breathe into your belly to a count of 3; breathe out to a count of 6. Do this several times.
If you are trying to balance an overactive sympathetic nervous system with exercise, focus on low-intensity exercises such as yoga, Tai Chi, Qi-gong, gardening or simply walking or hiking outside. The key is to keep the intensity low (so as to not bring more stress into your system) and focus your energies on what you are doing. This means paying attention – i.e., not listening to music/podcasts, watching TV or doing anything else other than paying attention to what you are doing. Think of it as an active form of meditation.
Meditation is a wonderful way to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. There are many ways to meditate. If you find you have difficulty with one way, then try another.
If you are in a challenging time in your life, print this list out and put it on your fridge or bathroom mirror to remind you that there are ways to ease your journey.