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Nervous System Regulation by Amber Warren, PA-C

Stress management is something everyone needs to be talking about because chronic stress can lead to major health problems. Inflammation, hormone imbalances, digestive issues, and chronic diseases can be brought on by chronic stress. When looking at stress from a functional standpoint, we can address the root causes and support the body’s natural ability to cope.


A hot topic in the wellness space regarding stress management is nervous system regulation. The nervous system is considered the control center for your body. It helps manage movement, sensation, and thoughts that you have. There are two systems of the nervous system: PARASYMPATHETIC and SYMPATHETIC.


PARASYMPATHETIC

Often referred to as the “rest and digest” system, the parasympathetic system is responsible for conserving energy, promoting relaxation, and maintaining bodily functions during periods of rest. It focuses on the internal circumstances.


SYMPATHETIC

Known as the “fight or flight” response, the sympathetic system is the body’s rapid-response. When activated, it prepares the body to deal with stressors by increasing heart rate, dilating airways, and redirecting blood flow to vital organs, priming you for action. It focuses on the external circumstances.


These two systems operate in harmony; when they are in alignment, they support the body’s overall balance, known as homeostasis. There are numerous ways to promote the alignment between parasympathetic and sympathetic systems, but I have listed out three simple ways to start.


  1. Mindful breathing: Our health coaches talk about taking time to just breathe. Oftentimes we forget to sit, close our eyes, and focus on our breath. By doing this we can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and promote relaxation and reduce our stress levels. Take slow, deep breaths in through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth.

  2. Regular Exercise: Incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine does not only support the sympathetic nervous system, but the parasympathetic as well. It helps regulate stress hormones and improve mood.

  3. Prioritize Sleep: If you work on getting seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night, your body has plenty of time to rest and rejuvenate. It is crucial for maintaining optimal nervous system function and overall health.


When we start to understand how our nervous system works and the two systems our body naturally has, we start to have a better understanding of how to regulate and focus on stress management over simply moving through the motions. If you are stressed and have an elevated heart rate, you can sit and do some mindful breathing, be aware of your body and what it is telling you!


About the Author: Amber Warren, PA-C is the co-founder of FMI, the host of the FMF Podcast, and her extensive knowledge spans across a diverse range of health areas, including environmental medicine, detox, mold illness, thyroid disease, hormonal imbalances, autoimmunity, weight loss and peptide therapy. Learn more about Amber here: https://www.fmioptimal.com/amber-warren

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