Cortisol and the tennis match in your head
Do you spend a lot of time in your head criticizing, analyzing, stressing, feeling burned out, jumping from crisis to crisis and over thinking? What does it feel like to make life and food choices from your heart vs your head? Our brain is wired to protect and keep us safe. However, it can be too hard-wired and this can be throwing you out of balance. Are you connected to your nervous system from a place of fear and survival mode?
The nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord, sensory organs, and all of the nerves that connect these organs with the rest of the body. These organs are responsible for the control of the body and communication among its parts. WOW. That is pretty much the whole kit and caboodle. I love teaching how to nourish the nervous system and want to become even more of a Nervous System Nourisher/Nutritionist.
Many of my clients are successful in their careers and lives. They are wonderful at problem solving and putting out fires. However, with their health and relationship with food they are “attacking” it with that same mind set. Instead of approaching your health from this problem solving mind set, try to approach it from a more curious and observatory view to see the big picture.
I use to think we all have one BIG moment that will create permanent change in our lives. Instead, there are many small BUT significant moments that add up to help you become courageous to be ALL of who you are. As meal time approaches, try to feel into your body by connecting to your truth vs your intellect. When it is real for you, your whole nervous system responds. Either you will feel a sense of relief or a deeper connection to what you truly want and need.
For example, in the morning you know it is healthy to eat breakfast, but this one morning, you are not hungry and your force yourself to eat because that is what you should be doing. If you start having a war in your mind over if you should or shouldn’t eat, this stress will begin a slight fight or flight response in your body to begin your day.
This is what happens when you disconnect from your body and go into fight or flight:
- Chemicals like adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol are released into our bloodstream.
- Our respiratory rate increases.
- Blood is shunted away from our digestive tract (which is a big deal if you eat and you can not absorb nutrients) and directed into our muscles and limbs, which require extra energy and fuel for running and fighting.
- Our pupils dilate.
- We scan and search our environment, “looking for the enemy.”
The fight or flight system bypasses our rational mind and now you can not make a relaxed choice for breakfast. You are now in an “attack” mode. This state of mind causes you to perceive almost everything in your world as a possible threat (even whether to eat or not eat breakfast at this particular moment) to your survival.
Fear of not doing it right, being perfect, having to eat a balanced breakfast all floods your brain. Now you begin your day out of balance and then later you may overreact to the slightest comment, your fear is exaggerated with what you should eat later in the day and your thinking is distorted and obsessive.
The New NON-Fight or flight response process if you are not hungry for breakfast:
- Observe. Say, “Isn’t that interesting”.
- Take a Giant breath. Or if you are more courageous, experiment and practice different breath work techniques. Such as; Abdominal Breathing Technique. How it’s done: With one hand on the chest and the other on the belly, take a deep breath in through the nose, ensuring the diaphragm (not the chest) inflates with enough air to create a stretch in the lungs. If that one doesn’t resonate, explore; Alternate Nostril Breathing, Equal Breathing Technique, Skull Shining Breath, or design your own progressive relaxation technique.
- Stay relaxed and listen to your own body for answers. Maybe something you ate yesterday didn’t quite get digested or caused stress and skipping this meal will help you achieve balance. If you go into fear mode about your blood sugar, or you are scared you will over eat, get tired or not have time to eat when you are hungry, THIS IS THE TRUE WORK. You can not control everyday, instead stay open and prepared to adjust to your body’s needs.
- Drink a glass of water and smile. It will all be ok.
Stay centered and ace your day,
Heather Fleming, C.C.N
P.S. The main tool I use to help people with their “TRUE WORK” is a daily Journal, which takes you 10 minutes a day to complete, send to me and receive support and feedback. You can click here to set up a pow wow with me!