REST is time spent free of action points, or tick-lists. Rest gives you time to slow down, and just relax. Restful activities include slow walks in nature, leisurely hot baths, relaxing massages, journaling, practising qi-gong or yoga, creative visualisation, meditation, or simply taking a quick power nap. Restful activities do NOT include watching television, going to the pub, or going for a run. These activities are not considered truly restful.
Rest promotes the parasympathetic nervous system which is known as the body's 'rest and digest' response. The parasympathetic nervous system balances the sympathetic nervous system which is the body's 'flight or fight' stress response.
The frantic pace of modern life pushes the sympathetic nervous system - we need to be seen to doing, rushing, achieving, and responding. We want to balance this every day stress by building some rest into each and every day.
Symptoms of sympathetic dominance include:
- Poor sleeping patterns, including insommnia
- Poor digestion, including chronic constipation
- Accelerated ageing
- High blood pressure
- Poor immunity
- Reproductive problems
- Tense muscles
Adding periods of rest into your day can help to prevent these symptoms, by reinforcing the parasympathetic nervous system and rebalancing your body. Injecting restful moments into your day can also promote:
- Productivity - you get more done
- Overall health
- Energy levels
If you are sympathetic dominant, you will probably need to learn how to rest. At first you might find this very difficult to do. However, if you start off doing what you feel you can manage, you can progress on from there. The amount of rest you need depends upon how out of balance your nervous system is, the more sympathetic dominant you are the more rest you will probably need.