Emotions, even more than thoughts, activate and drive the physiological changes in the stress response. Feelings of anxiety, irritation, frustration, impatience, and hopelessness are what people mean when they say they are “stressed out.”
For optimal health and resilience, it is important to regulate emotional reactions because they are what push the imbalance in the nervous system. The heart is a key component of the emotional system and negative emotions sap our energy and rob us of the ability to think clearly. You can either deplete or renew your physical, mental, and emotional energy reserves.
“Fight or Flight” versus “Rest and Digest”
Heart Rate Variable (HRV) is a biomarker of the balance in the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). The ANS is tied to every automatic process in the body and is comprised of two main branches that work together to control the body’s stress and recovery processes.
Under stress, one branch of your nervous system, the “fight or flight” branch, becomes very active. When this happens, HRV goes down and there is an imbalance between the two branches.
In an ideal situation, the stress is only temporary, the “rest, digest, and recover” branch of the nervous system kicks in causing the HRV to go up again, and the nervous system returns to equilibrium. However, a busy, frenetic, and stressful lifestyle can cause the imbalance to persist throwing the system into a chronic state of fight or flight.
Because this shift happens at such a gradual pace, we might not even notice there is a problem. In fact, a chronic state of fight or flight can become so familiar that any other way of being can just feel wrong and unfamiliar.
Since the insidious effect of long-term stress may be the single most harmful assault against our body’s health, getting an objective measure of it is important.
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Our goal is to return you to optimal health as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment please call: 703-532-4892 x2