The Purpose of “Down-Time”

Love your Body, Love your Mind! Part One

The Purpose of “Down-Time”

Do you ever feel like you need 10 min of peace and quiet only for you? To shut the door, turn off your tech devices and take a break from your life’s ongoing demands? If you feel like this, this article is for you.

Our brains are an important piece of hardware.  They are the control center of our bodies and determine how we perceive our environment, for example, our current situation in life and our relationship with others and ourselves.  The National Science Foundation discovered that our brains produce 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day depending on how much of a “deep thinker” you are.  Out of these thoughts 70-80% of them tend to be negative. [1] Wow, that’s a fascinating stat.  Over time this will naturally have major repercussions on our health, careers, and relationships. So what can you do stimulate and nurture a positive mind set?

Our brain is on constant overload from the minute we wake up to the time we go to bed.  It’s time to pay it some respect.  The first step towards this mind shift is to carve out 10 min of your busy life to find some “down-time” to let your brain unwind.   It is a time to sit or lay in a quiet place, where you can observe your thoughts from the outside in, without any judgment or reaction.  It is a time to focus on deep diaphragmatic & belly breathing, which is going to send signals via the vagus nerve to turn on the parasympathetic nervous system.  The vagus nerve runs from the base of the skull, down the spine and to our internal organs.  It helps the body and brain communicate back and forth.  So when you start to focus on longer inhalations & exhalations this automatically sends signals to calm the body & mind.

The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) will start to dominate which is responsible for restoration.  The following benefits will occur during this type of relaxation;

  • Help digestion and thus absorption of nutrients
  • Dilate the blood vessels, allowing more blood to rush through your body at a given time. This enables the body to deliver greater amounts of oxygenated blood to tissues and organs, which can aid recovery & healing.
  • Reduces heart rate.
  • Allows the pupils to restrict, thus relaxing the eyes.
  • It also inhibits the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which is responsible for kick-starting the body during stress-full situations. It acts opposite to the PNS, thus increases heart rate, breathing & blood pressure.

The PNS allows us to recover & regenerate when the SNS is constantly in over drive from life’s demands.  It is important to hack into the PNS on a daily basis with our list of top tips, so that you can refuel your body and mind. This is a critical step in shifting your mind-set, which will directly enhance your career, health, and relationship with others and how you perceive yourself.

Ultimately by doing this you will have more energy to give back!!!

 

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By Kate Faison, Personal Trainer at the Dan Roberts Group.

 

References:

[1] http://www.sentientdevelopments.com/2007/03/managing-your-50000-daily-thoughts.html

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