“Take A Deep Breath, Slow Down, And Trust The Process.”
Here’s why slowing down is so important for anxiety…
The modern life is very hectic and is marked by bad eating habits, no exercise, and constant stress which can then result in varied health problems, including mental health problems like anxiety. Therefore slowing down is very important for anxiety.
Slowing down and the fight or flight response
The autonomic nervous system is responsible for regulation of several body systems like the respiratory and circulatory systems. This regulation is involuntary and happens without any conscious direction by us. The parasympathetic nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system are two of the 3 branches of the autonomic nervous system.
Arousal of the sympathetic nervous system triggers the fight or flight response which causes the body and mind to be in a state of constant alert.
This branch of the autonomic nervous system is vital to human survival as it allows us to quickly respond to any kind of danger or threat. On the other hand, arousal of the parasympathetic nervous system results in a sensation of relaxation marked by soothing of the body and the mind.
The above two systems work hand in hand; when one system gets aroused then the other system turns less active.
However, they may sometime become imbalanced. There are many people I work work personally who live in a continuous state of increased anxiety and on edge, even when there is no imminent danger. Some of the causes which have been recognized as the cause of such abnormal constant states of sympathetic nervous system arousal are the fast-paced hectic lifestyle, media propaganda about constant threats, and sensory excesses worsened by multitasking
It can thus be deduced that the parasympathetic nervous system which triggers a relaxed and calm state is continuously underactive. The balance can be restored via stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system and life’s pace will slow down naturally.
Ways of slowing down to reduce anxiety
- Do not take additional responsibilities and start saying ‘no.’ Volunteering is great but overdoing it can result in overload and sap the joy out of it.
- Select only 3 to 4 things that you want to finish today, even if you can think of a thousand things that you would like to accomplish per day. When you keep the list this short, you will be forced to think of only those things which are really important.
- Try to be unproductive for at least twenty minutes per day. You may begin with 20 minutes and work your way up to about 2 hours. Unproductive activities can be anything, such as relaxing by the pool, playing with your kids, etc.
- Check your email, social networks, blogs, match scores, etc., only 2 to 3 times a day. Social networking sites can be addictive and take time away from doing things that actually bring joy and happiness to you.
- Take up a hobby. It a good option to begin something which is new, even if you are not good at it. The only factor which matters is that the hobby should excite you and build your creative skills. You can try activities like gardening, learning to play guitar, painting, etc.
- Spend time with your family and loved ones.
Conclusion to why slowing down is so important for anxiety…
Understand the importance of slowing down and getting back to being a human being, rather than a human do-er. By triggering your parasympathetic nervous system consistently you will eliminate any unneeded firing of the fight or fight response in moments where it’s not warranted, and live a peaceful and centred life.