7 Signs You Have A Dysregulated Nervous System (And What To Do About It)Apr 25, 2023
The nervous system is a complex network of nerves and cells that transmit signals between different parts of the body, including the brain and spinal cord. The nervous system is responsible for coordinating and regulating all bodily functions, including movement, sensation, and emotion. It plays a crucial role in our physical and emotional well-being, regulating various bodily functions such as heart rate, breathing, digestion, and movement.
However, when the nervous system is damaged or stressed, it can lead to a range of physical and mental health problems, including chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
Here are some signs that you may have a dysregulated nervous system:
Chronic pain: Dysregulation of the nervous system can cause chronic pain, such as headaches, back pain, or joint pain. This is because the nervous system can become hypersensitive and overreact to pain signals.
Anxiety and/or depression: A dysregulated nervous system can cause feelings of anxiety or depression. This is because the nervous system can become overactive, leading to an increased level of stress hormones that can cause mood changes.
Digestive issues: The nervous system also plays a role in regulating digestion. When the nervous system is dysregulated, it can cause digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhea, or bloating.
Sleep problems: Dysregulation of the nervous system can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep, leading to sleep problems such as insomnia.
Hypervigilance: Dysregulation of the nervous system can cause a state of hypervigilance, where the body is constantly on high alert. This can cause feelings of restlessness, irritability, or even paranoia.
Sensory sensitivity: Dysregulation of the nervous system can cause sensory sensitivity, where certain sensations such as light, sound, or touch can be overwhelming or uncomfortable.
Fatigue: A dysregulated nervous system can cause fatigue or exhaustion, as the body is in a constant state of stress and hyperarousal.
Why Dysregulation Occurs
Dysregulation of the nervous system occurs when the body is unable to properly balance and coordinate its physiological and psychological responses to various stimuli. The nervous system can become dysregulated for a variety of reasons, including:
Trauma: Trauma, whether physical or emotional, can cause dysregulation of the nervous system. This is because trauma can cause the body to remain in a state of hyperarousal, making it difficult to return to a state of calm.
Chronic stress: Chronic stress can cause dysregulation of the nervous system, as the body remains in a state of hyperarousal, leading to increased levels of stress hormones.
Inflammation: Inflammation in the body can cause dysregulation of the nervous system. This is because inflammation can cause the immune system to become overactive, leading to increased levels of stress hormones.
Environmental toxins: Exposure to environmental toxins such as heavy metals, pesticides, or pollutants can cause dysregulation of the nervous system.
Genetic factors: Some individuals may be genetically predisposed to dysregulation of the nervous system, making them more susceptible to developing conditions such as anxiety or depression.
Chronic illness: Chronic illnesses such as autoimmune disorders or chronic pain conditions can cause dysregulation of the nervous system.
How to Heal the Nervous System
A dysregulated nervous system doesn’t have to be permanent. Here are some effective ways to heal the nervous system and promote overall health and well-being:
Mindfulness is the practice of being present and fully engaged in the present moment without judgment. It has been shown to reduce stress and improve overall well-being. Regular mindfulness practice can help to calm the nervous system, reduce anxiety and depression, and improve cognitive function. Some effective mindfulness techniques include deep breathing, yoga, sound healing, meditation, and body scanning.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is essential for the body's overall health and well-being. It is during sleep that the body repairs and regenerates itself, including the nervous system. Lack of sleep can lead to a range of health problems, including anxiety, depression, and memory problems. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep every night and practice good sleep hygiene, such as avoiding screens before bedtime, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, and creating a relaxing sleep environment.
Eat a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet rich in nutrients can help to support the nervous system and promote overall health and well-being. Foods high in antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables, can help to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which can damage the nervous system. Include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and flaxseed, which are important for brain and nervous system health. Avoid processed foods, refined sugars, and excess caffeine, which can overstimulate the nervous system and contribute to anxiety and other health problems.
Regular exercise can help to reduce stress, improve mood, and promote overall health and well-being. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers that can help to reduce pain and improve mood. Exercise can also help to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which can damage the nervous system. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week, such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming.
Stress is a huge factor in creating damage in the nervous system. Find out what your stressors are in life and if they're not something you can remove or change from your life, see how you can take breaks from it or change your perspective with it. Start prioritizing your rest and boundaries above anything else. Saying 'no' is a big step in protecting your energy and reducing your stress.
The nervous system is vital to our physical and emotional health, and we must learn to protect and heal it. By practicing self care and mindfulness, you can start supporting your nervous system.
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