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A few ideas to help you find your rest & digest state
In other words, some ideas to help you relax. Your morning drink in the garden, yoga or even moon-gazing. What will you try?
The blog post I wrote last month was about the autonomic nervous system and the difference between your fight-flight response and your rest & digest state.
In a nut-shell the blog explained why it’s important to be able to relax. The rest & digest state (parasympathetic nervous system) is where your body should be the majority of the time. However, the typical multi-tasking, scrolling and generally stressed way of life that is so common these days puts your body into the fight-flight mode (sympathetic nervous system), where it’s impossible to relax.
This is not a good place for your body to be on a regular basis. You can read it in full here if you’d like to.
This time I thought I’d give you a few ideas on things you might like to try that will help you to find your relaxed rest & digest state.
I mentioned in the last blog how breathing can be a really effective way to help shift your body into its rest & digest state.
I am still amazed how something so simple and so accessible to everyone can have such an impact on the mind and body. If you want a reminder of how to get started read the breathing tips at the end of my last blog.
I first learnt how to breathe properly when I started going to yoga.
I’ve been going to a class almost every week for a few years now. I love it.
I’ve found a Friday evening class which is all about de-stressing at the end of the week.
There is a 15 minute relaxation with guided meditation at the end of the class. When I leave the class I am always in a rest & digest state!
If you’re not already a yoga person why not give it a go?
I’ve developed a ritual of standing in the garden when I let the dogs out soon after 6am every morning. I’ve realised that I quite miss doing it if it’s not me that gets down to them first!
There’s lots of research that shows the positive effect on your brain and body of being out in nature. Feeling the air on your skin, hearing the birds and looking at the sky helps to wake you up as well as kick-start your natural circardian rhythm.
Dr Rangan Chatterjee talks about the importance of getting outside in nature. He mentions the correlation between improved psychological well-being and spending time in nature and therefore the opposite – the more urbanized our environment, the worse our health. In fact much of what he writes about is about encouraging the activation of the rest & digest state as often as possible – exactly what I’m writing about here.
Here is a link to one of his blog posts on how getting out in nature can help reduce stress and anxiety.
He suggests being outside for at least 20 minutes every morning.
I like his idea about drinking your morning tea or coffee outside (leaving your phone inside though), or just looking out of a window if you can’t easily get outside. Everyone can give that a try!
You can even incorporate a few deep breaths to get your day off to a great start.
I’ve always had a fascination with watching the moon. As a child I can remember being in the car at night and watching the moon as we drove. I was always amazed as it seemed as though the moon was jumping around in the sky!
I have a much better view of the moon from the house and garden since we’ve moved home. The short days and dark mornings of winter are made much more bearable by being able to gaze at the moon. It always feels especially magical when it’s a full moon.
These days a lot of people think it’s a bit weird to talk about watching the moon. I think this is just another sign of the disconnect we tend to have with nature.
Historically the moon had a big impact on life. For example, farmers would sow and harvest crops according to the moon. Did you know that the harvest moon is so called because it’s brightness meant that farmers could harvest into the night using the light of the harvest moon? You can read more about that here if you’re interested.
We all know that we need to check the time of the tides when we go to the beach for the day (or need to get to or from Mersea Island!) but many people forget that the tides are driven by the moon too.
If you’re still not convinced of it’s relevance today, just ask any teacher about the change in their pupil’s behaviour around the full-moon!
Why not look out for the next full moon and take a few minutes to stand outside and just look? It’s an amazing way to get connected to the cycles of nature and tune in to your rest & digest state.
At the risk of repeating myself, while you’re there why not take a few calming deep breaths too.
Interested in finding out more?
If you’re interested in finding out how working with me can help you spend more time in your rest & digest state please get in touch. I’d love to hear from you. You can book a free Discovery Call here.