Let’s take an example of sitting in your favourite armchair after dinner.
If your brain and body is working well for you, it will do the following:
Your rest and digest nervous system will give you a relaxation response, to relax your body and help you to digest your food. You feel comfortable and relaxed. The relaxation response is what helps you to kick back and unwind from your day.
Suddenly there is an extremely loud bang in the other room.
Your brain takes over and gives you a stress response to make you feel alert and able to move quickly to see what has happened. One second you are almost asleep and the next your heart is pounding and you are in the other room. Does that sound familiar? One second you feel ok and the next you feel stress or anxiety?
You see that your dog knocked over a stool and you calmly walk back to your favorite armchair.
This is how our nervous system should work for us, giving us stress when we need it, and relaxation at other times. However, if you experience any form of stress, you will be feeling the effects of the stress response in many situations where you do not need to.
You may find it difficult to kick back and relax, and feel the benefits of the relaxation response as you are on constant high alert ? getting the stress response too often when it is not needed.
Your brain is primed for stress and associates the small things in life with stress. Each time you encounter them, your brain gives you stress.
I would like to reassure you that science shows that you can change the way your brain is working for you. Your brain changes during your life depending on the thoughts that you have and how you react to all the different experiences that you encounter in your life.
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