Our body has an amazing way to deal with the environment around it and throughout the day it keeps on adapting itself to the constant incessant changes. We may not notice it; however, it continues uninterrupted at an unconscious level.
Sympathetic and Para-sympathetic Nervous System (PNS and SNS)
Sympathetic and Para-sympathetic nervous system (PNS and SNS) play a key role in managing our bodily functions. When we go for the early morning run and our body needs that spurt of energy to keep up with the physical exhaustion, sympathetic nervous system is activated and ensures the activity gets carried on without much trouble.
Para-sympathetic Nervous System
And after we have had our dinner and we are on the bed, the para-sympathetic nervous system kicks in activating digestion and diverting the flow of blood and energy to the gastrointestinal organs helping them convert food into glucose and other nutrients in a form which our body can use.
This is also the reason why we feel lethargic after our meal as PNS activation deprives other active parts of our body with the same level of energy as was available earlier. This causes them to slow down and we begin to feel sleepy.
So, if you are drowsing on your desk after the lunch in office, you are not the only one going through it, everyone feels the same.
Sympathetic Nervous system
However, let’s suppose you just had your meal and are resting and suddenly get a call informing you of a major mishappening involving your loved one. You quickly rush out and, in the meanwhile, your SNS will quickly take control back from the PNS and activate the flight or fight response.
The brain would immediately withdraw the blood supply from organs responsible for digestion to your limbs and the heart would begin to pump blood quickly. All these things will happen at an unconscious level without you being even aware of it. One would only feel quick breathing and palpitations as sign of the body being put on high alert.
Continued activation of SNS without giving PNS appropriate time to perform its bodily functions though can lead to major issues in the long run. Stress and emotional turmoil being few of them.
So, what can we do about it?
What are the ways in which we can manage our emotions effectively leading to better physical and emotional health?
7 things we can do to Manage Our Emotional Health
- Maintaining Contact and Interacting with family, friends and Loved ones
In one of the studies when people were deprived of human contact or were shunned from the group, dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) was activated, the same area which gets activated during physical pain.
Staying away from people or not being able to maintain contact can be a big psychological trauma and is as painful as physical pain.
So, try to speak to others and make them feel good about themselves while also developing better relationships with people in your network. We after all are social animals and need each other’s support.
- Spend time doing what you Love
Out of the 24 hours we get in a day, how much time do we spend on ourselves, doing what we like or just spending it fooling around or even fantasizing.
Mostly we are bound by our own definitions of productivity which deny us of our ‘me’ time. It can be 2 minutes or even 20 minutes or 2 hours. Just find out some time when you can be yourself and do whatever comes to your mind without any judgement.
Consistently following this habit can de-stress our mind and also provide us with newer perspectives we were not even exposed to earlier. Doing what we like also releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter which makes us feel good and is a reward for taking care of ourselves.
- Appreciate Others
We all crave appreciation but rarely offer it to others. Appreciating others not only make the other person feel awesome but also triggers benevolent feeling within ourselves. Its like our mirror neurons at work triggering on seeing a happy face.
One thing to keep in mind while you do so, is to be honest with your words and spell out the reason for your appreciation. Instead of saying, ‘you are a nice person’, tell them you appreciate the hard work they put in preparing the presentation with facts and figures, which helped in clinching the deal.’
- Offer Help
Just like appreciation, kindness gives you an intrinsic satisfaction and a smile that comes from within. Numerous studies have confirmed the role kindness play in triggering happy emotions inside us and the feeling lingers on for a very long time.
And, yes, focus on small things you can do for others even your own family members and colleagues. Offering to share workload if you are free, to helping kids with homework or even just talking to someone eating alone in a cafeteria, anything will do if the intention is to make others feel better.
- Eat Right
This may sound cliché, but we do become what we eat. Keeping track of what is inside the fridge, to what’s going on our plate and finally in our stomach, all play a major role in deciding our physical and mental health.
Greasy food and too much of caffeine and alcohol can play havoc with it.
Try to buy right and make a list of things instead of just going and picking from the shelves. Also, ensure you prepare the list after dinner or after a meal, as preparing it while you are hungry can lead you to put down things you would want to abandon later.
Also, while you shop for groceries trying to go after a meal as this will prevent you from engaging in mindless shopping of items which should not be part of your diet.
- Exercise and Play – Yoga, Aerobics, Sports etc. anything will do
Here, I am not asking for a 30 minute or an hour of physical activity. Do what you can but just ensure you stick to it on a regular basis. Walk, do yoga, indulge in a sporting activity, anything can be done which compels us to move our body.
A lot of times, we underestimate the importance of sleep. However, it is one of the most critical things for our physical and mental wellbeing.
People deprived of sleep begin to lose their memories and can even experience hallucinations (in extreme form).
Being engaged in regular physical activity aids sleeping while a sedentary lifestyle can induce insomnia. So, be active and sleep peacefully.
These seven activities can help us in achieving a better balance in our life while ensuring we remain mentally alert and physically agile.
So, which one’s do you follow regularly?