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  • Writer's pictureChiara Cosentino

It's a matter of balance!

A chronic stress condition, which afflicts us so much in this era, makes us perceive intense suffering and pushes us with the urgency to free ourselves to be able to fully live our life.

This condition is given by the absence of balance of our mind and body (see post "Stress: two systems between mind and body").

To recover balance, it is not enough to deactivate the Sympathetic System, it is necessary to activate the Parasympathetic System.

To do this, our sensations and our perceptive system have to communicate to our brain that we are safe, that we can lower our guard and feel gratitude for what we have around and that we have time to enjoy those moments of absence of threat.

Rebalancing these systems may seem impossible, they are autonomous systems, disconnected from our voluntary command.

We can invest time and energy in commanding our heart to beat slower, but it won't, it will continue to react to something that seems invisible.

But the restore point of this machine exists.

The Autonomous Nervous System is extremely well connected to our brain, only not directly to that part of the brain that creates the thoughts we hear, from which derive the explicit commands, the prefrontal cortex. Instead, it is connected to a deeper layer of the brain, the subcortical structures, where emotions are generated and where the basic processes of our survival, such as breathing, originate.

And it is exactly by using this resource that we can rebalance our systems.

Learning to breathe in a calm, relaxed way, putting our body in the condition to activate the Parasympathetic System and then communicate to the "thought machine" that everything is ok, that in that precise moment we are safe.

And supporting this with the search for the emotions that accompany this sense of security: gratitude, appreciation, care.

It is constant training, which cannot be separated from asking questions about what prevents us from feeling safe, why our mind-body structure perceives a threat where, perhaps, there is only an email.

Each individual is unique and each one of us will react differently to different stimuli.

So, the balance will arise from awareness and knowledge of yourself and your functioning.

The goal will not be to erase stress but to recognize these reactions as completely own and special, thus not feeling overwhelmed by the inevitability of them, but rather learning to play with them, to calm them down, to communicate to our body and mind "It’s ok, it's not a threat, you're fine, here and now you're safe"

This will allow expressing your best potential both in your performance and in the ability to enter a healthy relationship with the others.

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