Everyone gets stressed out from time to time, but did you know your body can get “stuck” in a stressed-out state? It comes down to an imbalance in the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
The sympathetic nervous system is essentially the gas pedal of the body. It tells our body that there’s a (perceived) threat and we need to act accordingly. Our pulse quickens, our pupils dilate, we take in more oxygen, our adrenal glands start pumping out the “stress hormones” cortisol and adrenaline, as we prepare for a “fight or flight” response.
By contrast, our parasympathetic nervous system is akin to tapping on the breaks. It’s our “rest and digest” mode, and it’s where we want to be most of the time. Long periods of stress, both physical or emotional, can result in a dominant sympathetic nervous system, whereby the “gas pedal” overrides the “breaks,” and adrenal glands become overworked. This may manifest as exhaustion, sleep problems, anxiety, or the feeling of being “tired and wired.”
The good news is that certain herbs, along with stress management techniques, adequate rest and a healthy diet, can help rebalance and support a healthy stress response.