How to Strengthen Your Nervous System
The nervous system is a complex network of autonomic, motor and sensory nerves, which are involved in everything your body does.
From regulating your breathing to controlling your movements, from digestion to regulating temperature, the nervous system plays a role in many important functions of the body.
Problems with your nervous system can occur due to poor blood circulation, trauma or compression of the nerves, nerve dysfunction, side effects of drugs or toxic substances, and nutritional deficiencies of vitamins B6 and B12 as well as magnesium.
Furthermore, chronic stress increases the sympathetic nervous sytem activity and affects the autonomic nervous system.
This results in hyperactivity, cardiovascular stress, muscle tension and other intensified functions, thus leading to degeneration of nerve cells and other problems.
Any trouble with the nervous system can seriously affect your quality of life. Symptoms of a weak nervous system vary depending upon which part of the system is affected and may be mild or severe.
Some of the symptoms include shortness of breath, headaches, excessive sweating, muscle weakness, poor memory, difficulty concentrating, twitching, pain, numbness and burning sensations in the hands and feet.
To reduce the risk of suffering from a weak nervous system, it’s essential to take charge of your health. With simple lifestyle changes, dietary changes and some home remedies, you can strengthen your nervous system and lead a healthy life.
Here are the top 10 ways to strengthen your nervous system.
1. Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is a simple yet effective technique to deal with a weak nervous system. It can help you relax and reduce stress.
Furthermore, deep breathing improves your body’s healing abilities and counteracts the effects of stress and anxiety.
- Lie down or sit in a comfortable position, putting your hands on your abdomen.
- Take a deep breath through your nose, expanding your abdomen and then filling your lungs with air.
- Hold your breath for 3 seconds, then breathe out slowly through your mouth and completely empty your lungs.
- Continue to inhale and exhale deeply for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Enjoy a short session of deep breathing 2 or 3 times a day.
2. Walking Barefoot
Walking barefoot on moist earth, soft grass or a sandy beach for about 30 minutes daily can greatly benefit your nervous system and overall health.
When you walk barefoot, the Earth’s surface electrons transfer into your body, promoting physiological changes and improved health.
A 2012 study published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health highlights the manifold benefits of earthing, such as improvement in blood viscosity, heart rate variability, inflammation, cortisol dynamics, better sleep, autonomic nervous system balance and reduced stress level.
Walk barefoot on grass, particularly in the morning, to balance your nervous system.
Sunlight helps regulate the nervous system by helping the body produce vitamin D.
A 2013 study published in Pharmacological Reports shows the connection between vitamin D deficiency and increased risk of diseases of the central nervous system, particularly schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis.
Also, a 2009 study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology highlights the role of vitamin D3 in central nervous system functioning, especially in relation to nervous system pathologies and aging.
- Expose your body to early morning sunlight without using any sunscreen for 10 to 15 minutes daily to boost your vitamin D levels.
- You can also get vitamin D from certain foods. Salmon, tuna, milk, eggs and fortified breakfast cereals are rich in vitamin D. You can opt to take a supplement, after consulting your doctor.
4. Yoga and Mediation
You can even make yoga and meditation, a part of your daily routine to strengthen your nervous system. The combination of three elements of yoga, such as poses (asanas), meditation (dhyana) and proper breathing practice (pranayama) helps strengthen the peripheral nervous system.
Furthermore, yoga is good for elevating mood, reducing cortisol level, boosting the immune system and increasing overall physical and mental well-being.
Some of the yoga poses that are beneficial for the nervous system include Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose), Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose), Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand Pose), Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose), Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand Pose), Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend Pose), Viparita Karani (Legs-up-the-Wall Pose) and Shavasana (Corpse Pose).
As it is essential to do yoga poses in a proper manner, learn the poses from an expert and then practice them daily.
Magnesium is an important mineral for a healthy nervous system. The deficiency of this mineral has an inhibitory effect on several neurotransmitters that support signal transmission between nerve cells.
Furthermore, it aids the body’s production of serotonin, which relaxes the nervous system and elevates mood. It even promotes muscle relaxation.
- Eat foods rich in magnesium, such as dark chocolate, spinach, lettuce, bananas, apricots, almonds, walnuts, lentils, brown rice and pumpkin seeds.
- You can also opt for a magnesium supplement. Consult your doctor for the correct dosage.
6. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
To reduce the risk of a weak nervous system, start eating foods rich in omega-3.
Omega-3 fatty acids – eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – are important for the development and functioning of the central nervous system. These fatty acids are necessary for proper neuron functioning and improve nerve transmissions.
A 2008 study published in Neuromolecular Medicine points out the neurological benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically in reducing the risk of neurodegenerative conditions and acute neurological injury.
- Include foods rich in omega-3 in your diet, such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, sardines, salmon, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, spinach and canola oil.
- You can opt to take omega-3 supplements, after consulting your doctor.
Regular exercise is also important for strengthening the nervous system.
A 2005 study published in Current Sports Medicine Reports points out that regular exercise has profound effects on numerous biologic systems in the body, including the central nervous system, and can influence psychological well-being and cognitive function.
Walking, running, jogging, swimming, and bicycling are some exercises that can be helpful in keeping the nervous system healthy.
You can always talk to your doctor about exercises that will be right for you.
8. Epsom Salt
An Epsom salt bath is also good for your nervous system. It helps muscles and nerves function properly. The magnesium in it also helps increase the mood-elevating serotonin in the brain, which reduces stress and promotes relaxation.
- Add 1 cup of Epsom salt to warm bathwater and stir thoroughly.
- Soak in this water for 20 minutes.
- Enjoy an Epsom salt bath once or twice a week.
9. Green Tea
Green tea also has a positive impact on your nervous system. The amino acid known as L-theanine in green tea helps increase levels of dopamine and serotonin. This in turn improves mood and reduces stress.
Furthermore, the caffeine in green tea helps increase alertness, focus, concentration and thinking ability. Also, the antioxidants in it benefit the cardiovascular autonomic nervous system and reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
- Add 1 teaspoon of green tea leaves or a green tea bag to a cup of hot water.
- Cover and steep for 5 minutes.
- Strain, sweeten with raw honey and drink it.
- Drink only 2 to 3 cups of green tea daily.
Chamomile is a popular herb that can be used as a mild sedative to calm nerves and reduce anxiety. It can even treat hysteria, nightmares, insomnia and other sleep problems.
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