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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Overworked and Overwhelmed: Post #4--Fight-Flight or Rest-Digest

Fight-Flight or Rest-Digest SNS (sympathetic nervous system) controls fight/flight reactions—it’s automatic. The amygdala, hypothalamus, and brain stem prepare us for action. The PNS (parasympathetic nervous system) focuses us on the physical and switches off the SNS emotional surge, allowing us to consider options under pressure. Psychologist Rich Hanson says, “SNS is the accelerator and the PNS is the brake.” Chronic stress (SNS state) leads to thinning of the executive function of the brain that helps us make good decisions and exacerbates the amygdala that triggers more stress—elevates BP, increases stress hormones, hurts the immune system, and much more.

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