Nervous System Overload?
By far the most common thing we see and treat at Live Well is what I would describe as different presentations of nervous system overload. What’s interesting is that an overwhelmed and burnt out nervous system can present in many different ways. Here are just some of the most common:
The quality of your sleep is a reliable gauge of your nervous system’s wellbeing. Both cause and effect of nervous system overload, insomnia is a clear indication that your body and mind are unable to switch from action mode into rest and recharge.
Clammy hands, knots in your stomach, palpitations, a rising sense of panic or dread are just a few of the manifestations of anxiety but what drives all these symptoms is an inability to regulate levels of nervous system excitement. When you suffer with anxiety, your nervous system is very adept at moving into high levels of alertness and engagement but unable to de-escalate and drop back down to neutral. Like a car engine constantly revving, your mind and nervous system are stuck in overdrive.
According to Chinese Medicine, we don’t just digest what we put in our mouths we also digest experiences, thoughts and emotions. What that means is that prolonged stress will often first show up as digestive problems like reflux, bloating and pain.
Whether you’re always feeling tired or suffering from even more debilitating chronic fatigue syndrome, exhaustion is a clear sign that your body is unable to access deep states of rest. It might be stating the obvious but the best cure for exhaustion is rest. However when your nervous system has become addicted to high states of activity and is no longer able to wind down you just can’t drop into the deep restorative rest you need.
Prolonged states of nervous system overload will, in some people, eventually wear down the resilience of the immune system and lead to autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, thyroid disease, alopecia.
What can you do?
If you recognise yourself in any of these patterns, the good news is that holistic approaches to treat nervous system overload like acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutritional therapy, kinesiology, craniosacral therapy, meditation and bodywork are all very effective.