We all have dreams, things we want to create, places we want to go, goals we want to accomplish, but in order to do so, we need adaptability. If you believe that you are your only limit, then you are aware that we often are the ones standing in our own way. For me, I used to let anxiety, my perceived health crisis and fear of being inadequate rule me.
How many people are limited due to their own stress and anxiety?
Or maybe, if you are anything like old me, you put rules and restrictions on your life so that you can remain “healthy” and in control. You miss out on life because you’re too busy coping.
Or perhaps you just don’t quite feel like yourself...I’ve been there too. You feel like you’re doing everything “right” and yet somehow, something is still off. You lack that luster + vitality we all desire.
By no means do I think an herb is going to revolutionize your life.
However, what I can tell you is that when you begin to nourish the most foundational system in your body - the nervous system - the benefits are endless.
You see, when our nervous system is off, that takes precedence - meaning, every other function in the body becomes secondary (digestion, detoxification, reproductive health, etc.). The nervous system has to perform in overdrive in order to keep you functioning throughout the day.
You may have heard of the phrase “fight or flight” or “sympathetic nervous system” - this is the place we want to be in only 5-10% of our life. This is the kind of nervous system activity that gets us out of real danger.
In acute scenarios, it is essential.
And outside of acute scenarios, it’s detrimental.
Existing in this state the majority of the time is destructive to our health. In the western culture that we have created, the body is falsely perceiving dangers all day long due to the over inundation that we have immersed ourselves in. Our world and technology has evolved quickly, while our nervous systems haven't fully caught up. This is why we see an epidemic of adrenal fatigue and burnout, food intolerances and allergies and depression and anxiety at an all time high.
This is why “stress management” is so critical to not only our health, but to the evolution of society.
But I’d like to take it a step further: what if rather than simply managing our stress aka coping (not thriving), we went in and improved our body’s relationship to stress?
Here’s the deal:
Our world is not slowing down anytime soon. In fact, the demands are only going to continue to increase. So instead of coping, why don’t we take preventative measures to become robust and adaptable - able to take on more with a sense of ease and grace.
Our body stops perceiving a busy lifestyle as danger, and starts being able to respond appropriately, rather than react from a place of survival. And we’re able to consciously choose rest, when that is what the appropriate response is.
The issue is NOT stress, the issue is the way in which we currently relate to the stress.
This is where adaptogens come in.
Adaptogens are a class of herbs that work in collaboration with your body to adapt to perceived stress.
Through time, these are the herbs that have developed a high level of resiliency within their nervous system (yes, plants have nervous systems too). When we consume adaptogens, we actually infuse this same resiliency, aka adaptation energy, into our own system.
When this occurs, the body shifts from sympathetic dominance into parasympathetic nervous system activity - in other words, a state of rest and rejuvenation.
This is the state in which the body and mind process stress and eliminate stress chemistry from the body. Similarly to why sleep is so important to our health, existing in the parasympathetic state is crucial for us to experience balance and harmony.
As we stabilize the parasympathetic nervous system, only then do we really begin to notice sustainable differences in our mood, our energy levels, our productivity levels, our ability to digest food, our physical appearance, etc.
Through this, we actually improve our relationship to stress by increasing our body’s efficiency to process our environments.
We can talk about the microbiome and gut health, we can talk about the endocrine system and hormonal health, but really, our degree of wellness and vitality is simply a reflection of the state of our nervous system.