The Will to Heal Technique Blog

Your Autonomic Nervous System – An important part of your mind-body connection

Posted by Andrew MacWha

High levels of stress inhibit your ability to think clearly and force you into perceiving your reality through your limbic system, which is a part of your primitive brain function.

Your limbic system’s primary concern is for your survival – you have this primitive brain, which functions below the surface of your awareness and it’s hardwired through your nervous system to activate involuntary reactions before you’ve had the time to think about choosing the best reaction for a particular situation. The point that I want to make is there are physiological activities occurring below your conscious awareness that you cannot control. The physiology that makes up your brain/mind-body connection has a strong influence over how your conscious mind interprets your reality.

Your autonomic nervous system is composed of two parts, the sympathetic nerves and the parasympathetic nerves. The sympathetic nerves work in combination with the stress hormones to deliver the fight or flight response from your limbic system into your body. The sympathetic nervous system also carries some of the messages that contribute to chronic pain, which is why stress and pain are very closely related.

When your fight or flight response kicks in – your sympathetic nervous system increases the rate and force of your heart beat, it opens your airways so that you can breath easier and it also slows the bodies processes that aren’t as important to during an emergency such as digestion and your immune function.

At the opposite end of the scale, the parasympathetic nerves are activated during times of rest – when you’re more relaxed. The parasympathetic system slows your heart rate and decreases blood pressure. It constricts your airways and stimulates your gastrointestinal tract to encourage digestion.

It’s very important to recognize that these two systems work in direct opposition to each other – to regulate your body’s response to stress. An appropriate analogy would be to see your sympathetic system as an accelerator increasing stress in your body, while the parasympathetic system acts as a brake, decreasing stress.

It is impossible to influence the activities that take place in your – autonomic nervous system especially if your mind is filled with stressful thoughts. Stressful thoughts perpetuate the production of stress hormones – which create a closed loop system between your thoughts, your brain and your body.

If your sympathetic nervous system is activated –your mind will be more concerned with your survival and your thoughts will be more stress-filled. Because your thoughts are stress-filled your brain and body continue to produce the stress hormones that keep you linked into the primitive limbic system.

The Will to Heal Technique offers mindfulness courses that teach you how to understand the science behind your mind-body connection. This technique helps to reduce stress and anxiety through detailed visual processes and medical illustrations. Reduce your stress today with mind-body connection healing

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