When was the last time you tripped a circuit breaker and lost power in part of your house? It was a minor annoyance and a quick fix with a trip to the basement and the flip of a switch. But when was the last time your house lost power? Suddenly you’re in the dark, disconnected and limited, worried about food spoiling, scrambling for flashlights and candles, and cringing because your phone only has 63% battery power. It is a pain and dramatically impacts your life in that moment. And what if this power outage wasn’t just in your house, but your neighborhood or entire city? It would be crippling.
The electrical system in your city has a primary power source and an intricate web of powerlines, hubs and transformers that connect that source to the junction boxes of every store, office, and home. At home you have a box with breakers that connects that power to your wiring and outlets. The entire magic of electricity in our lives is something we take for granted, not thinking of all the ways it makes our lives, lifestyles and livelihoods work. Yet for all the redundancies in place to keep it up and running, there are so many ways it can get cut off, burnt out, or disconnected that keep the energy from flowing. But why am I talking about this?
Your nervous system is the electrical system of your body. It is the super highway and power source for all of your body’s functions and information exchanges to happen to occur. If your nervous system isn’t healthy it has a direct negative effect on the health of the rest of your body and mind down to the cellular level.
There are specific things that can damage your nervous system, such as:
- Poor posture, including how you sleep
- Repetitive movements
- Excessive sitting / Lack of movement
- Toxins, i.e. caffeine, artificial sweeteners
- Subluxations of the vertebrae caused by sports, injury, and just day to day living
There are also specific things you can do to reverse damage or avoid creating it in the first place. Here are the top 5:
- Stop smoking. Remove other toxins that impact the nervous system, like caffeine and artificial sweeteners. These harm the nervous system’s ability to communicate.
- Pay attention to your posture. So many of us spend at least a third of our day hunched with arms drawn forward and typing on a computer, or looking down at a mobile device. These actions create rolled shoulders, and literal pains in the neck, shoulders and often wrists and thumbs. Consider raising your screens to eye level using ergonomic keyboards. Consider sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair as it forces good posture in order to be stable. Become aware of your posture when you’re sitting, standing, or lounging on the couch. Make an effort to roll your shoulders back and keep your neck in a neutral position.
- Sleep well. First, all systems, including your nervous system, need time to repair and rejuvenate. They do this while you’re sleeping. If you don’t sleep enough, or in a truly restful way, your body will not be able to recuperate from the day to day. That will compound and create issues over time. There is no replacement for sleep. Also, specific to having a healthy nervous system, your sleep position matters. Sleeping on your stomach or with your arm above your head is a surefire way to wake up with pain in your neck, back, or shoulder, and numbness in your arms and hands. The best sleep posture is either on your back with a pillow under your knees, or on your side with a pillow between your knees and your arms open in front of you (maybe with a pillow between them too). Always use a pillow that keeps your neck neutral, not pushed forward, back or to either side.
- Move your body. The nervous system needs to be used. It needs movement and action to stay healthy, and help all of the body’s parts stay healthy. If you don’t move your muscles will atrophy and the systems in place that help process energy, information, toxins and emotions will degrade over time. Exercise. If you can’t/don’t want to intentionally exercise then at least increase movement in other ways. For example switch to a standing desk at work, walk around while on conference calls, pick up a hobby that requires you to do something other than sit.
- Get regular chiropractic adjustments. The spinal cord is the center of the nervous system connecting the brain to every other part of the body. It can get kinked (not so technical term) when a vertebra is out of alignment (a subluxation). Chiropractic keeps the spine in order so that the nervous system can freely do its job. Ideally you’d see your chiropractor for regular adjustments twice a month or at least every six weeks.
Your body’s nervous system needs care and maintenance to keep it running smoothly. Your body’s equivalent of a power outage may show up as pain, numbness, brain fog, muscle atrophy, or simply any bodily function just not, well, functioning. Don’t take it for granted. Start with the five suggestions above to keep your nervous system healthy and the energy flowing.
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