The nervous system is responsible for coordinating messages within the body and responded to internal and external stimulus by controlling muscles, movements, and other bodily functions. A primary function of the nervous system is to respond to internal and/or external stress. When responding, the brain releases cortisol to enable the body’s “fight, flight or freeze” responses. When too much cortisol is released, it can cause inflammation, hunger, and irritability. Over time, this can lead to weakening of the blood vessels, heart attack and stroke.
Signs of Optimal Health & Wellness
When thriving, the nervous system is able to respond to internal and external stressors, and transition the body’s responses smoothly from “fight, flight or freeze” to normal operating. Indicators include:
- Regular movements of body and muscles
- Heart health and normal blood pressure
- Normal appetite
- Feeling of being rested when not in action
The nervous system can be prone to certain infections and diseases, such as Meningitis, Parkinson’s Disease, Polio, Multiple Sclerosis or Alzheimer’s. Indicators of warning or decline include:
- Cognitive issues
- Difficulty releasing stressful thoughts
- Physical reactions to emotional stress
- Difficulty controlling anger or rage
- Muscle aches and pains
- Increased heart rate when no physical danger is present
- Heart Palpitations
- Numbness and tingling
The sympathetic system controls the body’s “fight, flight or freeze” responses, while the parasympathetic system controls the body’s rest, state of relaxation and calm statuses. Being able to transition smoothly from one status to the other is critical to overall physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Fortunately, exercise can play a major role in the nervous system’s ability to handle, manage and recover from stressors smoothly.
A morning test of grip strength (ensuring your grip is still firm and tight), can help to monitor the nervous system’s health. In addition, monitoring cognitive functioning, motor skills, and bodily movements and responses can also help to provide a clear picture of nervous system health.
Other helpful items for the nervous system might include taking fish oil, avoiding stressful situations, and eating a healthy diet. Grounding exercises such as walking in the grass, Reiki and massage can also be helpful.
In addition, it’s important to note the body is unable to tell the difference between certain types of stressors, and it not necessarily adapted yet to modern living. Watching upsetting news or social media posts can have a debilitating impact on the nervous system. Things we perceive as stressful (work or relationships) can have the same impact on the body as crossing a lion’s path.
Limiting screen time at night, media consumption and overlighted areas can all help to reduce impacts on the nervous system.
Taking a nap can be one of the most helpful things to do to reset the body’s responses.
- Grounding techniques
An overactive or malfunctioning nervous system can result in constant physical, mental or emotional anguish, particularly when neurological damage has occurred. When this occurs, it is time to see a medical professional. Prevention and promotion of optimal health and wellness include:
If you or someone you know has sudden changes to their mobility, speech, or communication:
- Dial 911; or
- Go the nearest hospital emergency room