Do you struggle to deal with intrusive, racing and compulsive thoughts and constantly feel the need to keep going even though you are exhausted to the core? You might be living in survival mode without being aware of why it’s happening to you.
There are times of crisis, distress and emergency when our brain goes on a hyper alert mode ready to face any exigency and prepared to fight danger effectively and swiftly. While this happens till the time the situation lasts, for many the survival mode continues for a much longer time leaving them overwhelmed and exhausted. The brain under acute stress can perceive even a normal situation as threat and this could be disastrous for mental health.
When our mind and body are stuck in chronic stressful states for extended periods of time, it is time for you to pay attention to the signs.
It is our natural response to enter fight and flight mode when encountered with a stressful or traumatic situation, but for many people, an overactive sympathetic nervous system is a constant and could make them prone to anxiety, panic, depression, and many other health issues.
“Our nervous system works like an alarm system, activating stress hormones to help us escape the situation (fight, flight, flee). But for many of us, these stress hormones are a constant in our blood stream. Leaving us distracted, having memory problems, feeling panic, or completely leaving our body through dissociation,” writes Dr Nicole LePera, psychologist and bestseller author, in her recent Instagram post.
Signs to indicate you are in survival mode
Symptoms of an overactive sympathetic nervous system include anxiety, panic, depression, digestion issues, fatigue, memory issues etc.
It is possible to get out of survival mode with rest, relaxation and being mindful on a daily basis. It is important to connect to your parasympathetic nervous system by taking proper rest and practicing mindfulness.
“We can all do the work to leave survival mode, to teach our body safety in small moments each day, to learn how to breathe to shift not only our body into rest + relaxation, but our mind. So many people have “intrusive thoughts” or “OCD” (I too was diagnosed with this) not understanding thoughts reflect our nervous system states,” says De LePera.
How to get out of survival mode and learn to relax
* Take proper sleep
* Practice deep breathing daily
* Practice mindfulness and do yoga, tai chi, boxing etc
* Connect with nature
* Focus on nutrition as nutritional deficiencies can cause nervous system dysregulation
* Limit toxic and dysfunctional relationships