Reducing Physical Arousal

The mind and the body are connected. One way to calm a sensitized nervous system, and thus increase the tendency to remain cool under pressure, is to calm the body. Many people find the skills in this chapter to be quite effective in their own right. These skills will also help to prepare you for some of the more powerful skills discussed later in the book.

Anger triggers the stress response. When the brain senses a threat, it initiates a chain of changes in the body. Neural and hormonal messages tell the body to prepare for fight or flight. In response to these messages, the heart beats faster and more forcefully. Blood pressure and breathing rate increase. The levels of fats and sugars in the blood increase. In the wisdom of the body, all of these changes are adaptive in the short term. That is, they help to provide the fuel and oxygen that the cells of the body require for the physical demands of fight or flight. The stress response (fight or flight) is designed to mobilize the body for physical action. This action expends the energy of the stress response, whereupon the body normally returns to the relaxed state. The stress hormones can even sharpen one's thinking in the short term.

In today's hectic, sedentary world, we have fewer physical outlets for the energy of stress. Moreover, before one's body can return to normal, new stressors often arise that keep the body aroused. It is when the arousal of stress is chronically elevated that problems occur. Stress hormones that remain elevated in the blood for long periods can become toxic to certain cells of the body. Elevated fats in the blood increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The immune system weakens, theoretically placing one at greater risk for infectious diseases and perhaps cancer. Moods slip and exhaustion is more likely. Another important negative outcome is that the nervous system becomes sensitized—the structure and function of the nerves change so that smaller irritations are now more likely to trigger a full-blown stress/anger response.

Anger is a form of stress that keeps the nervous system on alert. The sensitized nervous system then keeps the body on alert, or aroused.

An insidious, frequently overlooked physical change in chronic arousal is a shift in the way people breathe. When under stress, muscles around the abdomen, chest, throat, and jaw contract. This leads to rapid, shallow "chest breathing," or hyperventilation. Such breathing changes the chemistry of the blood, and makes the heart work harder. In one of the ironies of the body, hyperventilation also helps to keep the nervous system sensitized. Now a vicious cycle ensues. Chronic stress sensitizes the nervous system. A sensitized nervous system leads to hyperventilation. Hyperventilation keeps the nervous system sensitized.

Letting Go, Moving On

Letting Go, Moving On

Learning About Letting Go, Moving On Can Have Amazing Benefits For Your Life And Success! Don't be held back by the past - face your guilt and fears and move on! Letting go is merely arriving at a decision, no more allowing something from the past tense to influence your life today or to cut down your inner sense of peace and welfare.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment