There is no doubt that we are all experiencing a transition. As defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, transition means a change or shift from one state, subject, or place to another. We are currently shifting from high-anxiety, pandemic-driven lives to calmer and safer conditions. Yet, many of us don’t feel relaxed or secure. Perhaps our automatic nervous systems aren’t working as they should be.
“The automatic nervous system is our brain’s most elementary survival system, its two branches regulating arousal through the body. Roughly speaking, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) uses chemicals like adrenaline to fuel the body and brain to take action, while the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) uses acetylcholine to help regulate basic body functions like digestion, would healing, and sleep and dream cycles. When we’re at our best, these two systems work closely together to keep us in an optimal state of engagement with our environment and ourselves.”Bessel Van Der Kolk M.D., “The Body Keeps the Score.”
So, what does this all mean? Well, when your automatic nervous system is out of whack, you are more vulnerable to mental and physical ailments, and it can be difficult to control your impulses and emotions. One way to help regulate your automatic nervous system is through mediation and yoga. It is an effective treatment for stress, anxiety, and depression.
The world has changed, and the pandemic has shown us that the way we manage our emotions and bodies may need to change. Let’s reset, reengage, and reimagine our lives. Go through your list of needs. Move, give, say thank you. Be creative. Set an intention of calm and well-being. Mediate. Do yoga.
In that vein, here are a few strategies that I employ to stay mentally healthy in times of transition:
- Meditate – breath in, breath out, repeat.
- Move – take a walk, do yoga, go for a run, weed your garden.
- Go outside. Just like plants, we all need fresh air and sunshine.
- Donate your time or money – donate to a cause that you believe in and generate some good karma
- Grab someone you love and hug them.
- Tell yourself – I am calm, I am confident, I am safe.