We’re wrapping up our fight or flight adventure this week and I want to leave you with a few ideas and products that have helped me shift out of fight or flight, calm my nervous system, and stay at peace. (If you missed any of the last blog posts and want a primer on shifting out of fight of flight you can find them here.)
Now, back to the best tools to calm the f**k down.
Magnesium is one of the most vital nutrients for our bodies, and it does a crazy amount of amazing things. It regulates muscle function, helps maintain blood sugar levels, and regulates blood pressure. And when it comes to shifting out of fight or flight, it also helps the body produce GABA, which creates a sense of calm and well-being in the body.
There are different types of magnesium, which are all beneficial to the body, but magnesium L-threonate is especially helpful if you want to calm the F* down. It has been scientifically proven that this type of magnesium crosses the blood-brain barrier, which is what’s needed to induce a true sense of calm. (I particularly like this brand of magnesium L-threonate, and I take it every night before bed.)
Ask your doctor to test your magnesium levels. Many people are magnesium deficient and proper supplementation may just help you find your inner peace.
2. Know your genes
A few years ago, I used the 23andMe test to find out more about my genealogy. There were a few surprises in the results, but the biggest surprise came a few months afterward when my integrative doctor used the raw data from my saliva sample to identify potential genetic variances. It turned out that I have the MTHFR mutation, which means that I don’t properly methylate vitamin B9. Or in simple language, my body doesn’t convert B9 to methyl-folate, which is crucial in many of the body’s functions. Forty percent of the population has this genetic variance (wow!), but with knowledge and proper supplementation, you can work around it.
However, without knowledge and the proper supplements, you can suffer a litany of negative health effects including low energy, depression, anxiety, all which play a huge part in igniting our fight or flight response. Knowing your genes is crucial to knowing how to care for yourself. And, you don’t have to wait for something to go wrong to find out what you’re really made of #knowyourgenes.
Meditation is a game changer. Period. If you really want to get down and dirty and know yourself, this is the way. The challenge of taking the time to sit with yourself in silence is always the most difficult step. Then the cultivation of patience to still the mind. To watch your thoughts as an objective observer, passing no judgment on the validity of the thought. It’s such a beautiful practice that sheds light on your life’s purpose (which by the way, always includes inner peace and harmony). And when we’re shifting out of fight or flight, meditating is an amazing tool. It’s been shown that regular meditation may reduce blood pressure and anxiety and can help with insomnia.
4. Getting a good night’s sleep
Speaking of insomnia, years of being deprived of good sleep wreaked havoc on my body and mind. I tried just about everything to get a good night’s sleep. Here’s what helped me most:
- Don’t eat too close to bedtime, it can mess with your blood sugar and keep you awake.
- Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening. It will keep you buzzing for hours after that last sip of espresso.
- Avoid alcohol close to bedtime as it can disrupt your blood sugar, causing you to wake up in the middle of the night.
- Turn off the phone (and all electronics) at least an hour before bed.
- Take a hot bath with Epsom salt and lavender oil. And, read a good book or magazine while soaking for a double dose of relaxation.
- Take magnesium and/or CBD oil. I use both. Ask your doctor about your magnesium levels and which CBD oil might help you get good sleep.
- Sleep in the cold. The ideal temperature for sleeping is 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit. I like my bedroom 66 F. It can be challenging to adjust, but it’s oh so warm and cozy under the covers.
- If I wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble going back to sleep (you know what I’m talking about, the brain won’t shut off) I like to pop a couple of these Rescue Remedy Liquid Melts. They’re natural and are made from Bach flower remedies that have been used to calm stress and anxiety for decades.
5. Infrared Sauna
If you haven’t tried an infrared sauna, stop reading and run to one now! They are amazing for the body and mind. They are good for detoxing the body, skin health, and even giving the body a cardio type workout by raising the heart rate. But it’s what an infrared sauna does for the mind that’s particularly amazing. As a result of the calming effects the sauna has on the nervous system, it induces a sense of peace and well-being. Also, if you’re like me, the sense of warmth (sunshine, a pile of blankets) makes me feel safe and cozy. So sitting in the sauna several times a week is my happy place. My favorite brand of saunas is Sunlighten, as they have super low emissions levels and the products are beautiful and a joy to use.
There you have it––five tools to help you calm the F* down. I hope you’ve enjoyed our adventure through and out of fight or flight. Having spent decades shifted into fight or flight, I know the toll it can take on your mind and body. I also know that truly the only way out of fight of flight, is to walk right through it by being honest about what caused it and having the perseverance and self-love to find your way through it.
We aren’t meant to live on the edge of stress and anxiety. We’re made to live in a body that feels loved and safe and nurtured. That’s what God intended.
And that I know for sure.
With resilience, grace, and love,