Can you switch off?
Sometimes, we can get caught in a trap of feeling continually ‘on.’ It may feel like you’re on a hamster wheel, needing to be in constant motion, always finding the next thing to do and the next problem to solve. It may be that you can’t easily rest, not even sitting down to relax regularly. These are symptoms of your system being stuck in sympathetic arousal, with the accelerator pedal continually pressed down. Essentially, our fight/flight mechanism is firing to keep us safe, and is then staying on. It can be cumulative and self-fulfilling, and unfortunately it is really bad for your health. Flooding with adrenaline and cortisol, in time this can lead to adrenal fatigue, and numerous other health conditions.
So what can be done? The priority is to re-activate our parasympathetic nervous system, the bit that calms us down. Repeated experiences of our rest and recuperate state are powerful over time to re-set our sense of normal. There are so many ways to do this, for example deep breathing, mindfulness, yoga, being in nature, doing hobbies and activities that you love, reading, having a massage, being sociable, laughing at comedy, grounding barefoot on the earth, taking holidays and having downtime, getting good sleep regularly, turning off your technology, and even having loving sex. Something there for everyone you would think!
It’s also important to go deeper, and address the life imbalances that have led to you being stuck in activation. Is it past trauma? Stress? Lifestyle? Even diet and toxins in your environment have a role to play. There are many and varied causes, and we are each different. If you want to live a more balanced, grounded life, it does take individual reflection to find what is true for you, and to build the motivation to want to create something different.
If you want to talk about how to have a better balance and a more relaxed set-point in your life, psychotherapy may be for you. If this is the case, get in touch.