Your nervous system is a complex part of your body, responsible for transmitting signals and optimising that gut-brain connection. It plays a crucial role in your overall wellbeing, affecting everything from your mood to your physical health. Here's how to hack the system in 5 simple steps.
In today's fast-paced and demanding society, an increasing number of people find themselves caught in the grip of chronic stress, nervous systems working overtime. This relentless state of alertness can have far-reaching effects on our health. Prolonged exposure to stress hormones like cortisol can weaken the immune system, leaving us more susceptible to illnesses and infections, along with disrupting our sleep patterns, robbing us of the restorative rest we need to function at our best. Moreover, chronic stress has been linked to a myriad of health issues, from cardiovascular problems and digestive disorders to mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. It's not merely a feeling of being overwhelmed; it's a physical and mental toll that can erode our wellbeing over time. Here’s what you can do.
Reduce Sugar Intake
Excessive sugar consumption can have detrimental effects on your nervous system. High sugar intake can lead to inflammation, oxidative stress, nerve damage and the development of mental health disorders – and we’ve got the research to back it. Studies have shown rates of depression are greater in those who eat a high-sugar diet, while another study shows anxiety is reported in higher numbers in people over 60 who consume sugar in excess. A study found people who drank 2 soft drinks a day had stress hormone levels 22% higher than those who did not, showing an undeniable link between mental health, the gut and sugar – from short-term symptoms like irritability and stress to more chronic illnesses that interfere with our lives. But with the average Aussie consuming 17 teaspoons of added sugar a day, there is reason for concern, especially considering our rates of mental health disorders. To support your nervous system, reduce your sugar intake by minimising sugary snacks, desserts, and sugary beverages. Opt for natural sweeteners like stevia when needed, and focus on a balanced diet rich in whole foods.
Breathwork techniques, such as deep breathing exercises and mindfulness meditation, can have a profound impact on your nervous system. These practices help activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes relaxation and reduces stress. Dedicate a few minutes each day to deep, mindful breathing to calm your nerves and enhance your overall sense of wellbeing.
Moderate Caffeine Consumption
While caffeine can provide a temporary energy boost, excessive consumption can overstimulate the nervous system, leading to jitteriness and anxiety. To support your nervous system, consider moderating your caffeine intake by limiting coffee, tea, and energy drink consumption. Opt for caffeine-free herbal teas or decaffeinated options, especially in the evening, to promote better sleep and overall nervous system health.
Connect with Nature
Spending time in nature has been shown to have a calming effect on the nervous system. Nature walks, hiking, gardening, or simply sitting in a park can help reduce stress and anxiety while promoting relaxation. Make an effort to connect with the natural world regularly to ground yourself and soothe your nervous system.
Quality sleep is essential for nervous system repair and overall health. Aim for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night to allow your body to rest and rejuvenate. Create a relaxing bedtime routine, limit screen time before sleep, and maintain a comfortable sleep environment to support your nervous system's restoration – try to incorporate the following into your sleep hygiene:
- A cool, dark environment
- A pre-sleep relaxation routine – this could be meditation or reading
- No blue lights – shut down screens at least 2 hours before you sleep
Seek Professional Guidance
While these steps can contribute to a healthier nervous system, it's essential to remember that individual needs and circumstances vary. If you experience persistent nervous system-related symptoms, such as chronic stress, anxiety, or neuropathy, consult a healthcare professional for personalised guidance and treatment options. They can help you identify underlying issues and provide tailored recommendations to support your nervous system's healing and optimal functioning.
Need a little help getting your health back on track? Join us for the 8-Week Program and we’ll help you change the way you look at food – and that doesn’t mean you have to follow restrictive diets or miss out on your favourite foods; we believe you can still enjoy delicious food without jeopardising your health. With celebrity chef Sarah Glover on our panel of experts, you’ll have an array of fun recipes at your fingertips, along with our own exclusive armoury of simple, tasty and healthy recipes for everything from daily meals to impressive entertaining. We know it can be hard to stick to your health goals – especially when you’re trying to manage it alone. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:
- 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
- 90+ member-only recipes.
- Community forums to share your journey.
- Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
- Exclusive content from our panel of experts.
So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to join. We’d love to help you get started on your health journey. Sign up HERE today!