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Did you know you can tell if you are in a state of ‘stress’ by where your tongue is sitting in your mouth? Pretty cool right?!
The autonomic nervous system has a direct role in how the body responds to stress. It can be divided into sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS.) When we are in a state of ‘fight or flight’ the SNS is activated, and the body shifts its focus and energy resources to getting us out of danger. Historically this may have been running away from a tiger. However, these days the SNS may be activated when you are stuck in peak hour traffic, have a disagreement with a loved one or are watching a horror movie.
During these times in ‘fight or flight’ the SNS signals the adrenal glands to release hormones cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones change processes in our body, so we are able to get out of danger. After all, if we were being chased by a tiger the last thing the body needs to do is digest a meal. In this heightened state, blood is moved away from the digestive system to other organs which decreases secretions needed for proper nutrient absorption and digestion.
With these changes to our digestive system and the fact that we are not needing to run away from a tiger, it’s important to try and calm our SNS before we start to enjoy the beautiful meal in front of us. If your tongue is located at the roof of your mouth you are tuned into your SNS. Do your breathwork by taking a deep breath in, pause at the top and exhale the breath out. This will allow your tongue to naturally lower to behind your teeth. You have now switched into your PSN which means your body is ready to rest and digest.
“Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.”