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  • Writer's pictureEmanuel Perdis

Caring for Your Nervous System: A Journey to Inner Harmony

Let's embark on a journey, shall we? 

Picture your body as an orchestra, every part playing a crucial role in creating a beautiful symphony of health and well-being. And who do you think the conductor of this intricate composition would be? 


Enter your nervous system, the unsung hero orchestrating this symphony of life. As the conductor of an orchestra, ensuring every instrument plays its part in perfect harmony. 


But it's more than a mechanical system; it's also the maestro that influences your thoughts, emotions, and overall well-being. In this journey, we'll uncover the importance of caring for your nervous system and how it can transform your life into a beautiful symphony of health and vitality.


To begin our journey, let's unravel the intricacies of the nervous system. 

It's not a monolithic thing but rather a dynamic duo: the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system.

The Central and Peripheral Connection


Imagine your central nervous system as the brainy think-tank that analyzes data and calls the shots. It houses your brain, the mastermind behind your thoughts, emotions, and actions. 

Then, there's the spinal cord, the information superhighway connecting your brain to the rest of your body. Think of it as the CEO and the executive team, making executive decisions in split seconds.


The peripheral nervous system, on the other hand, is like a network of messengers. It's a system of nerves that spreads the commands and messages from the central command to the far reaches of your body. It's like the couriers who ensure everyone knows their part in the orchestra.

But why is this important to know you may ask? It’s very important because these two components work in perfect harmony to keep you functioning at your best. Not just to survive but to thrive.


The nervous system is much more than just a set of wires and switches; it's a vastly complex network that influences every single aspect of your life. From the moment you wake up until you drift into sleep, your nervous system is at work, seamlessly coordinating countless processes. Doing so with perfection.


Imagine this: You're sipping your morning beverage, and your heart starts to race with excitement as you plan your day. That's your nervous system in action. When you dodge a speeding bicycle while taking a leisurely stroll, your nervous system is the reason you react instantly.

This incredible system ensures that your heartbeat is steady, your breath is rhythmic, and your thoughts are clear. It's the conductor that orchestrates your emotional responses, allowing you to feel joy, love, and even a touch of sadness.


A healthy nervous system means smoother coordination, clearer thoughts, and a balanced mood. It's the invisible hand that shapes your life experiences, making it possible for you to navigate the world with grace.

So now that we understand the intricate role that the nervous system plays in our lives, let's delve into why nurturing it should be a daily top priority.


The Stress Showdown: Your Nervous System vs Chronic Stress


Imagine your nervous system as a serene pond, reflecting the beauty of life and nature around it. Now, imagine chronic stress as a relentless rainstorm disturbing the surface, creating ripples and waves. This perpetual disturbance isn't just a minor inconvenience; it can evolve into a weather phenomenon that disrupts the tranquillity of your nervous system.

Chronic stress, like that persistent rainstorm we just mentioned, can wreak havoc on your nervous system if left unchecked. It's as if your nervous system is constantly on high alert, like a fire alarm blaring in the background, making it difficult to find peace.


The consequences of these persistent disturbances are far-reaching. Chronic stress can disrupt your sleep patterns, drain your energy, and weaken your immune system. 

In essence, it's like a thief that robs you of your vitality and well-being.


But here's the catch: you have the power to calm that storm. Yes, believe it! 


By regularly nurturing your nervous system, you can restore the serene pond, allowing the beauty of life to be reflected in it once again.

The Mind-Body Tango


Ever noticed how your mood can affect your body, and vice versa? This intricate dance between your mind and body is also orchestrated by your nervous system. When you're happy and content, your nervous system is in a state of calm, like a gentle breeze rustling through the leaves. But when you're anxious or stressed, your nervous system becomes jittery, like leaves trembling in a storm.


This mind-body connection is not a one-way street. It's a two-step tango, where your thoughts and emotions influence your nervous system, and in turn, your nervous system shapes your feelings and experiences.


So, if you're seeking to enhance your mood and emotional well-being, it's not just about repeating positive affirmations. It's also about nurturing your nervous system, providing it with the support it needs to keep your emotional landscape in harmony.

Immunity Power-Up


Here's another fascinating twist: your nervous system plays a role in your immune system's strength and overall functioning. When your nervous system is in a state of calm, it can help your immune system function optimally, like a vigilant guardian protecting your body against invaders.

However, when chronic stress takes centre stage, it's as if the guardian has been distracted, leaving your body vulnerable. Stress can weaken your immune system's defences, making you more prone to illnesses and infections. In essence, caring for your nervous system is not just about feeling good; it's about arming yourself against pesky invaders.


Now that we've explored the importance of caring for your nervous system, let's dive into practical self-care practices and techniques that can help you achieve and maintain a state of inner harmony.

Stress Busters: Deep Breaths and Zen Vibes


Meet your secret weapons against stress: deep breathing and mindfulness. They’re like your very own league of superheroes. Think of them also as your stress-busting toolkit, readily available whenever you need to find calm in the midst of chaos.


Deep Breathing Exercises


Take a moment to pause. Place your hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Now, take a slow, deep breath in through your nose, allowing your diaphragm to expand.  Feel your abdomen rise as you fill your lungs with air. Exhale slowly through your mouth, releasing any tension. Repeat this process at least five [5] times.


This simple deep breathing exercise has a profound effect 

on your nervous system. It sends a signal to your brain that all is well, and it's time to relax. As you breathe deeply, imagine inhaling tranquillity and exhaling tension. It's like a weekend-getaway for your nervous system.


Mindfulness and Meditation Practices

Picture this: you're sitting in a quiet room, focusing your attention on your breath or a specific mantra. Your mind becomes a still pond, undisturbed by the ripples of everyday worries. This is the essence of mindfulness and meditation – quick and easy practices that allow you to be fully present in the moment.


Mindfulness involves paying attention to your thoughts and feelings without judgment. It's like observing the clouds passing by in the sky, acknowledging their presence but not getting entangled with them.

Meditation, on the other hand, often involves a specific technique or focus, such as your breath or a guided visualization. It's like taking a purposeful journey within, exploring the depths of your mind and emotions. Both mindfulness and meditation have been repeatedly shown to have a soothing, healing effect on the nervous system. 


They help reduce the production of stress hormones and promote a state of relaxation. The relaxation response is the opposite of the stress response.  By incorporating these helpful practices into your daily routine, you go a long way in helping your nervous system creating a reservoir of calm for itself that you can tap into whenever it gets overwhelmed.

Get Movin' and Groovin': Physical Activities for Harmony


Your nervous system loves movement, and regular exercise is its best friend. Whether it's a brisk walk in the park, a heart-pounding run, or the gentle flow of yoga, physical activity is like a day-spa visit for your nerves.


Regular Exercise and Movement


When you engage in physical activity, your body releases a flood of endorphins – those feel-good chemicals that boost your mood and reduce stress.  Exercise also promotes better blood circulation, ensuring that your brain receives an ample supply of oxygen and nutrients.


Not to mention, physical activity has been proven time and again that it can help you shed any pent-up tension that may have accumulated in your muscles. It's like a release valve for stress, allowing you to let go of worries and anxiety.


So, find an activity that you enjoy, whether it's dancing, swimming, hiking, or playing a sport. The key is to make movement a regular part of your life. Your nervous system will thank you for your care of it by reciprocating this gift with a profound sense of well-being and vitality.


Yoga or Tai Chi for Relaxation and Balance


If you're looking for activities that combine movement with mindfulness, yoga and Tai Chi are excellent choices. Tai-Chi’s sister practice, Chi Gong is my preferred mode of relaxing movement. 


Yoga, with its various poses and breathing techniques, offers a holistic approach to physical and mental well-being. It's like a gentle massage for your nervous system, promoting relaxation and balance. The combination of physical postures and mindful breathing help reduce stress and anxiety, leaving you feeling centred and rejuvenated.


Tai Chi or Chi Gong, often described as "meditation in motion," are arts that focuses on slow, flowing movements and deep breathing. They’re like a graceful dance that harmonize your body and mind. Practicing Tai Chi or Chi Gong can improve your balance, reduce stress, and enhance your overall sense of well-being.

Nourishing the Nervous System Through Nutrition


What you ingest on a regular basis plays a significant role in supporting your nervous system. Just as you choose foods to fuel your body, you can select those that nourish your nervous system.

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in foods like fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, and sardines), walnuts, and flaxseeds, are known for their brain-boosting benefits. These healthy fats support the structure of your nerve cells and can help improve cognitive function.


Antioxidants, found in colourful fruits and vegetables like berries, spinach, and kale, also serve to faithfully protect your nerve cells from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is known to damage nerve cells and contribute to a wide range of neurological disorders.


Reducing Caffeine, Stimulants and Alcohol Intake


While the occasional cup of coffee or glass of wine can be enjoyable, excessive caffeine, stimulants and alcohol consumption have a negative impact on your nervous system.


Caffeine amongst other stimulants, are found in coffee, tea, and energy drinks, and can lead to increased heart rate, jitteriness, and disrupted sleep patterns. Limiting your stimulant intake, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime, can help ensure a restorative night's sleep and promote a calmer, healthier nervous system.


Alcohol, when consumed in excess, can also disrupt your nervous system's functioning. It can affect neurotransmitter balance and lead to symptoms of anxiety and depression. Moderation is key when it comes to alcohol consumption to maintain a healthy nervous system.


Quality Sleep and Its Impact on the Nervous System


Think of sleep as the reset button for your nervous system. It's during sleep that your body and brain undergo essential repairs and rejuvenation. Quality sleep is a must for maintaining a functioning and healthy nervous system.


Consistency is key when it comes to sleep. Try to establish a regular sleep routine by going to bed and waking up at the same times each day, even on weekends. Your nervous system thrives on routine, and a consistent sleep schedule can help improve sleep quality.


Your sleep environment also plays a significant role in the quality of your sleep. Ensure that your bedroom is comfortable, dark, and quiet. Consider investing in a comfortable mattress and pillows that provide adequate support. A cool room temperature can also promote better sleep.

Sometimes however, despite our best efforts, our nervous systems may need additional support. Seeking professional help can prove a crucial step in caring for your nervous system.


Therapy or Counselling for Managing Stress and Trauma


Therapy or counseling can be immensely beneficial for managing stress, anxiety, and trauma.  Talking to a trained therapist can help you explore your thoughts and emotions in a safe and supportive environment. It's like a tune-up for your nervous system, helping you process and release pent-up tension.


Now that we've explored various self-care practices and techniques, you might be wondering how to integrate them into your daily life. Here's the cold, hard truth: self-care is not a luxury or an indulgence; it's a necessity. 


It's a way of replenishing your inner resources so you can show up as the best version of yourself.


Begin by dedicating just a few minutes each day to a self-care practice that resonates with you. It could be a short meditation, a brisk walk, or a moment of deep breathing. Over time, you can gradually expand these moments of self-care.


Balance is the key to a sustainable self-care routine. It's not about doing everything all at once, but about finding what works for you and integrating it into your life in a way that feels natural.


Imagine self-care as a buffet of options. You don't have to try every dish on the menu; instead, choose the ones that resonate with your tastes and preferences. Whether it's a calming cup of chamomile tea before bed or a morning jog in the park, let your self-care routine reflect your unique needs and desires.


To sum it all up…


In this journey through the intricacies of the nervous system, we've uncovered the importance of caring for this vital aspect of our well-being. Your nervous system isn't merely a backstage player in the orchestra of your life; it's the star of the show. It influences your thoughts, emotions, and physical health, shaping your experiences and guiding your responses to the world.

Caring for your nervous system isn't a one-time affair; it's a lifelong partnership that's worth every effort. The self-care practices and techniques you integrate in your todays will continue to ripple into your tomorrows. As you prioritize the well-being of your nervous system, you'll witness a transformation in your life – a harmonious masterpiece of vitality, joy, and inner harmony.


You may want to also check out the following:

Tools for Managing Stress & Anxiety | Huberman Lab Podcast #10

How to practice emotional hygiene | Guy Winch | TEDxLinnaeusUniversity


Emanuel Perdis is a trauma-informed Anger Management therapist who administers therapeutic counselling for individuals as well as couples. His key specialties for counselling are Anger, Relationships, Trauma and Anxiety. All therapy is delivered online, via Zoom, and enquiries can be made through or on the phone via +61 412 288 081

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