I’m sure you’ve all heard the phrase ‘fight or flight’, think back to hunter gatherer days. Your nervous system was going mad while a saber-toothed tiger was chasing you down, it was in full swing getting you outta there!
These days, thankfully, we have no saber-toothed tigers chasing us to send our nervous systems into overdrive, but what we do have are deadlines, financial strains, past traumas, worries over kids, even the alerts on our phones have been shown to trigger off these same ‘fight or flight’ brain signals.
Normally, back in cave-man days, once the danger was over, we would relax again very quickly and get back to normal day life, but nowadays the stresses that we experience (although maybe not as life threatening in ‘real’ terms) are still perceived by our brain and nervous systems as dangerous and are a lot more consistently present during our day-to-day.
The opposite of being in ‘fight or flight’ mode is being in ‘rest and repair’ mode. So the more time we spend in ‘action’, worrying/fixing/fleeing from ‘dangers’, so to speak, the less time we have available to rest and repair our bodies and minds.
Is it any wonder we have so many issues with physical and emotional pain?!
The reason I am writing about this is because I had a great experience of relaxation last week. I had attended a ‘birthing matters’ pregnancy relaxation class with Mary McCallon (www.marymccallanbirthingmatters.com) in the beautifully set up Rosewood Health and Wellbeing Clinic. Although I unfortunately couldn’t continue with the group classes, I was able to avail of a one-to-one session with Mary at her studio in Carrickmore. I wrote a little about my experience in my facebook and instagram page but I really wanted to re-iterate the positive effects that calming the mind can have on the whole body, whether pregnancy related or not!
For me, Mary addressed relaxation during pregnancy and for the upcoming birth and also addressed my fears/anxieties from my previous experiences. I received so much wonderful, professional and practical advise as Mary herself has trained and worked as a midwife and has years of invaluable knowledge and experience.
One very individually tailored bonus for me was the ‘relaxation’ audio recording she sent for me to listen to on a regular basis. Which seems to effortlessly switch off my fight or flight and send me easily into rest and repair. I had the same experience when I attended a physiologist as part of the pain management clinic years ago…. I was sent an audio recording, which was all about relaxing each part of the body and really working on the same principals.
So I guess I am really encouraging you (and myself!) to learn techniques and ways of relaxing body and mind and jam-pack them into our every-day lives! We spend so much time rushing about and running off adrenaline, we really need to think about the balance and get that ‘rest and repair’ experienced in abundance too.
For me personally, I am now making time to listen to those uplifting, positive podcasts I’ve been talking about for so long, I am booking in my regular pregnancy reflexology sessions and massages, turning off my phone more regularly, making time for that relaxing uninterrupted bath (while I can!), I am switching the TV off earlier and getting that little bit more sleep, and just being kinder to myself in general.
What can you do for yourself? Think about the balance, your body, mind and soul will thank you for every little step you take towards rest and repair over fight or flight.