Evening Rituals to Decrease the Effects of Stress

By Dr. David Warman Founder and CEO of Warman Way

Straw hats

The world is an incredibly stressful place right now, with a pandemic that has cost millions of jobs, loss of physical connection, and now a new way of life we are in the highest stress environment in recent history. The problem is in high stress states it creates unhealthy effects on our body and mental health and if you don’t take action and control of your own health, you may suffer from long term health issues that may have been preventable.

High Stress has a negative effect on you because it causes your body to get into a fight or flight response. Fight or flight is your body’s sympathetic nervous system reaction to physical threats. It kicks in as a survival response to save your life. An example would be if a person comes to physically attack you, then your body will make all your stress hormones elevated and move most of your blood circulation from your gut to your extremities for you to be a strong and fast as possible to be able to fight the threat and then flea from the unsafe situation.

"With all of this constant stress our bodies are now stuck in this fight or flight response chronically"

This is supposed to be a short-term response for survival, but as soon as the threat is gone, then your body should normalize back down to rest and repair which is what is called a parasympathetic response of the nervous system. Rest and repair is like when you eat a big meal and your body causes you to get tired and you want to fall asleep on the couch because most of your energy goes to digesting of your food and repairing the damage you have done to your body. The human body cannot be in protection and growth at the same time. The problem is in today’s society we are constantly under stress, with finances, deadlines, raising kids, relationships and constant bombardment with social media. With all of this constant stress our bodies are now stuck in this fight or flight response chronically. Since we are stuck in this protective mode our body has a more difficult time repairing and growing which creates an environment for the body to break down to get weak and sick.

The question is how do we get out of this chronic stress response? You must get your body back into the parasympathetic response of rest and repair. The number one action step is physical movement, Exercise! The fight or flight response requires physical movement to bring your hormones back to normal out of the elevated state and it also get the circulation of your blood to be able to return to your gut area more efficiently. The best exercise to combat stress is 20 minutes of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). The goal is exercise hard for 30 seconds and then moderate for 90 seconds allowing you to catch your breath again. An example would be to walk on a treadmill for 90 seconds and the sprint for 30. Walk for 90 and sprint for 30 and do 7 rounds of this. It’s even better if you add resistance training to this dynamic.

Have you ever watched a horror movie then went to bed? How were your dreams that night?

The most important time to get your body into this parasympathetic response of rest and repair is at night going to sleep. A large number of Americans don’t get high quality restful sleep, 7 hours for adults and 9 for teenagers and children, which is where most of our repair and growth happens. Lack of quality sleep causes you to wake up tired and allows your body to continuously break down. There is advice out there about morning routines and rituals which I think are important and critical, but I also think that having an evening routing to get into a rest and repair parasympathetic mode is just as important. There is a part of the brain called the Reticular Activating System that focuses on everything you have seen or heard the last 30 minutes before going to bed. If we are constantly being stimulated in this time period it can cause a fight or flight stress response and affect your quality of sleep.

Have you ever watched a horror movie then went to bed? How were your dreams that night? Usually they are stressful and stimulating. This is the Reticular Activating System kicking in. Looking on your phone or I-pad at social media will do the same thing, plus the blue light that your phones and I-Pads work on mimic the sun and tricks your brain think its daytime instead of night. Creating a routine at night is crucial for good sleep. Read something inspiring and uplifting (Not on technology), listen to soothing music, journal what you are grateful for that day, or meditation which I feel is the most effective. Prepare your body for rest and repair and wake up rejuvenated and revitalized. Remember consistency is key to create the success and it takes a minimum of 21 days in a row to create a habit. Other sleep aids may be magnesium. Melatonin, and CBD oil. These create more balance to your system and allow for better sleep. Live the have it all life with the Warman Way life on F.I.R.E. Where you have abundance in your Fitness, Inspiration, Relationships, and your Entrepreneurial life.

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