Modern life is a bit weird. And not just because we have technology that would seem miraculous to our ancestors. It’s also weird to our primitive brain. Society today is an entirely different experience from hunter-gatherer groups that dominated our species thousands of years ago.
Unfortunately, while living in a cozy modern society has some perks, it also has a number of significant drawbacks; the main one being the effects it is having on our minds. Many of us feel a constant state of tension or stress we can’t release. Over time, it builds up, leaving our nervous system feeling frazzled and depleted.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways around this problem. Even if you’re running on cortisol and adrenaline, there are techniques you can use to reset your body’s response to stress and improve your well-being. The following are some of our top ideas:-
One of the first places to start is limiting the number of stimulants you consume. Taking in vast quantities of caffeine and sugar can have a detrimental effect on your nervous system, overstimulating it, making you feel jittery.
You may have noticed this after drinking a large quantity of coffee. Taking on all that caffeine can make you feel fired up, but also prone to panic, which is precisely the opposite you want when you’re trying to work or sleep.
You might also want to try journaling, a process that involves writing down your thoughts to assist with emotional processing. Many people find this approach soothing because it helps to get some of the negativity “out” of the brain and down onto tangible paper. This process then creates some distance between the thoughts themselves and the mind, improving freedom.
You can also reset your nervous system by going on a prolonged digital detox. Instead of logging into Twitter every day and forcing yourself to create two posts and comment on 50 others, give your mind time to rest. The human brain isn’t a device designed to operate continuously at all hours of the day. It needs time-out as part of its architecture.
Take An Ice Bath
If you’re having a lot of trouble feeling calm, you might want to consider ice baths. Plunging your entire body into cold water appears to reset the nervous system in a fundamental way.
Ideally, you want to spend more than 30 seconds in the bath to get the benefits. These typically kick in between 1 to 2 minutes. If the water is particularly cold, be wary of remaining it in for longer than this without proper supervision.
Finally, you might want to experiment with a technique called progressive relaxation. The idea is to tense and then relax various muscles in sequence.
Many people are not mindful of the tension they carry around with them in their bodies. For some, it begins in the back; for others, the hips.
Progressively relaxing these areas helps to relieve some of the tension and bring you back to a state of equilibrium and balance.