How and why you need to reduce chronic inflammation
Our bodies have 2 states of being.
1. The sympathetic nervous system, which triggers a FIGHT or FLIGHT response and prepares the body for perceived threats and dangers. There are a bunch of hormones and catecholamines which are released to maintain this state and can be very useful in acute situations (like running away from lions or for us more evolved folk, being alert during a 9AM presentation in front of your boss).
2. The Parasympathetic nervous system, which controls our REST and DIGEST response and returns the body to a state of calm and homeostasis.
Fast paced evolution has led us to do more and ramp up our “go-go-go” lifestyle, which in turn, has increased our cortisol production and forced us to be in a constant state of “flight or fight”.
Why is this bad?
It causes a hormonal imbalance that has negative downstream effects on brain cognition, physical performance, mental health and even your body composition.. Whilst an acute bout of cortisol is a great mechanism our body can tap into for energy and awareness, if we continuously compound our cortisol levels on top of each other, without returning to homeostasis, we force our bodies into a state of chronic inflammation.
A wired state in which our body is continuously looking for intruders and threats and hyper-awareness.
Sounds exhausting, right? It is. If left unmanaged it will eventually result in something (a pathogenic intruder) slipping through the keeper as your body will be busy trying to protect everything else. It’s like working sitting in your email inbox 24 hours a day waiting for an email to come through. You’re so focused on waiting for your emails that you don’t get any other work done for the day. Even worse, you didn’t hear the phone ring and you missed an important meeting you were meant to attend.
Our bodies are designed to grow through the see-saw (homeostasis) effect of utilising both stimulus/stress and rest/recovery. If the equation is unequal or imbalanced, our ability to adapt and grow will be compromised (or destroyed).
In short, if we constantly stress our bodies without giving it a chance to recover, we are actually moving away from health and more towards the state of disease. It is only a matter of time before the candle “burns from both ends”.
Which is where meditation can come in. A simple, yet effective method for returning the body back to its parasympathetic nervous system state of rest and recovery, allowing your body to grow and adapt to the stimulus you have been providing it with.
Taking 6 conscious breaths is the most simple form of meditation
Using proven meditation and mindfulness techniques for just ten days of practice has been shown to have wide-ranging benefits, from less stress, reduced anxiety, better sleep and focus.
If you find yourself as someone who isn’t able to just sit there and breathe without drifting away into your own thoughts and what you’ve forgotten, there are some awesome new guided meditation apps which can help you on your journey.
With no chanting, no sitting cross-legged, no incense and definitely no gurus – this is a meditation for modern living. All you do is throw on some headphones, turn it on, and allow yourself to be guided through a ten-minute practice. That is it. If you do it for ten minutes, you win.
If that’s still not something you think is for you, just try and sit down for 60 seconds and repeat the word “ONE” inside your head as you breathe through your nose and feel your body sink into a state of calm.
Get our top weekly tips and updates