Stressed? Activate your default mode network

Stressed? Activate your default mode network

Your mind and body are always switched on responding to external stimuli. A default mode network (DMN) then is a network of regions that are activated when you are able to turn this off.

If you have never heard of this term, pay attention, it affects your nervous system, your stress and anxiety, your immunity, and your ability to repair your body.

Without realising it, our mind and body are always switched on. It is looking for danger; heaven forbid if the ceiling were to fall on you. It better be, because danger lurks at every corner and every turn and often comes without much warning.

So the ability to turn down or slow down your state of alertness is a superpower. In modern society, with our relatively safe environment, one could argue, there is perhaps no need to always be alert.

How can you then turn on your default mode network?

Generally speaking, your body perceives danger from the outside world. Unless you are sick, it is unlikely that your liver will suddenly start attacking you.

Attacks, if any, on the liver are more likely to originate from the outside than from within. Therefore, it makes sense to focus on the outside.

That is where a practice like Yoga Nidra comes into play. While practicing Yoga Nidra, your body focuses on the inside. For example, you may be asked to focus on different parts of your body: your arms, your legs, your fingers, and your toes.

In case you have ever wondered why, here is the science. When you focus on parts of your body, you are also sending a signal to your brain to say that all is well with your world. You could not be focused on the parts of your body if it weren't so.

A signal such as this activates the default mode network (DMN) in your brain, reducing your stress and anxiety. Your body will slow down, your breath will slow down, and your heart will slow down.

You are entering a state of calm.

There, your stress and anxiety just went down. 

Happy Deepavali everyone!!

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