The power of comfort – being cosy, snug, warm, pleasant, enjoyable – just some of the words that describe feelings of comfort
Are you thinking about getting cosy now the nights are getting cooler, lighting a fire or snuggling in a blanket with your candles on and creating a cosy environment? Well you should because it’s good for your body as well as your mind. As described by top neuroscientist Stephen Porges, ” life is a sensory experience” () – during every moment of our life we experience the world through our varied sensory experience. Warmth, comfort and cosiness helps to release hormones and chemicals in your body that support rest and repair. Or as described by the trending Danish term – practising Hygge helps you to feel happier, and apparently the Danish are some of the happiest people around!
The word comfortable also means relaxed, in relation to your nervous system it means the rest and relax part of the system is more likely to be working, as opposed to the activating part of your system more linked to activity and stress responses, the Sympathetic Nervous System.
In a world of busy lives and constant engagement with technology our brain is exposed to a lot of stimulation that we may not even realise we are absorbing and therefore the activation part of our system is running more and more and the rest and repair is not engaged as much, which in turn has an affect on sleep quality, digestion processes, hormone production and overall body homeostasis or regulation and therefore our overall health and well-being. It’s also important to note that when the sympathetic nervous system is activated without the movement or exercise that helps balance the hormones released the stress hormones like cortisol build up to unhealthy levels in our systems.
Sensory experiences can be used to help reduce stress hormones –
recipes for warm drinks that support nervous system function –
Candles create a soft light – harsh bright lights are very activating and even stressful for your nervous system …
Touch – a caregivers comforting touch, soft voice and gaze can all communicate safety to an infant and facilitate regulation. Touch is an essential part of healthy development – link to Encounter Baby
“Very young babies cannot yet determine exactly where their bodies end and those of other people start” (Perry, B.)
“Babies brains develop in direct relationship to their sensory and motor experiences ” (retro baby)
Early movements and reflexes
In daily life we often rush around and rarely stop to think about how our bodies work, how did we learn to move and function the way we do ? It’s often only when we try to learn a new global skill, such as driving a car or learning to ski that the complexity of integrating various movements comes home to us again, and we can feel like infants all over again.
When a baby is born it basically can’t choose to make movements, it is a very cute bundle of automatic and primitive reflexes, it will respond to outside stimuli in a very typical fashion unless there is a neurological issue.
Basically, all full term babies are born with the same set of reflexes
What is stress?
Stress is a normal response to a physical or mental challenge, stress has purpose in that it helps your system perform under pressure, it has been described as your body
Stress is your body reacting to some kind of trigger,
Stress is a response to a threat that is real or perceived. as far as the body’s response these are both the same….
So what happens in your system when you experience a threat ?
Stress and Anxiety…..
” Anxiety is a sustained mental health disorder that can be triggered by stress. Anxiety doesn’t fade into the distance once the threat is mediated. Anxiety hangs around for the long haul, and can cause significant impairment, in social, occupational, and other important areas of functioning. ”
Things that help
breathing, movement and touch
are three things we can actively do that can influence the autonomic nervous system …
Breathe, move, touch – ….