Stress, anxiety, fear — these are reactions of our body to danger, both real and sometimes imaginary. How can we cope with them and calm our nerves? Our biohacking tips will help you.
Our nervous system works as it did hundreds of thousands of years ago: we see danger and react. There are three response modes to stress: fight, flight, or freeze. This is because, throughout millions of years, all unpleasant situations for humans meant physical threats. We had to either run away or fight back. And in some cases, pretending to be a dead opossum would do the trick — perhaps we’d get lucky. Today, however, dangers can be abstract (though quite probable) — the threat of nuclear war, job loss, and divorce. But our reaction remains ancient. So, how can we calm our nerves in the modern world? In reality, just like our ancestors did — we take action, seek support from our social group, and connect with nature to signal our body that it is safe. Here’s an example.
How to calm your nerves without medication
- Laugh. Laughter triggers a rapid stress response and then provides a sense of relaxation and release. Physiologically, your heart rate and blood pressure increase at first, and then the number of heartbeats per minute decreases. Laughter reduces muscle tension and stimulates circulation.
- Ground yourself. Walking on natural surfaces like the earth, grass, or rocks literally “recharges” us — it changes the charge of electrons in our body to negative, which is more physiological. Moreover, the nerve endings on our feet should be stimulated, not cushioned by “smart” sneakers. This affects both the nervous system and posture.
- Disconnect from the news. Our ability to think abstractly and our rich imagination play a cruel joke on us. The brain perceives frightening news as real physical threats and sends corresponding signals to the body, triggering stress responses.
- Spend time in nature. Chronic stress reduces the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), an important protein that helps us grow new nerve cells. Novelty and the beauty of nature stimulate the production of BDNF. Additionally, sunbathing, intermittent fasting, physical activity, and a ketogenic diet.
- Nourish your body. Not just a ketogenic diet, but nutrition based on whole, natural foods. Our bodies mobilize resources in stressful situations, including vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Your body will quickly deplete if you don’t compensate for them with quality food. And, especially, it won’t have enough materials for the hormones of joy and happiness.
- Experience cold. Research cannot definitively say why cold showers or swimming in cold water reduce stress levels. It could be due to short stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system — a kind of training. Or it could be that in response to cold, the body releases endorphins. Perhaps stress decreases because inflammation and pain decrease.
- Hug. Humans are social animals; physical contact with others (as well as with long-domesticated animals like cats, dogs, and horses) is important to us. Touching those we trust triggers the release of oxytocin, the main “fighter” against chronic stress.
Share in the comments what helps you.