Diaphragmatic breathing is the key to your autonomic nervous system

Here’s an example of a day in the life of a high-school athlete. Some events are stressful – they activate the “fight or flight” part of your nervous system. Others are calming – they activate “rest and digest” part of your nervous system. Guess which one happens more?     I’ve graphed the day’s events in terms of effects on the autonomic nervous system, or ANS. Events that activate the sympathetic wing of the ANS lead to upward movement. Events that activate the parasympathetic wing of the ANS lead to downward movement. For most of us, on most days, the ANS is stimulated a lot more in the “S” direction than in the “P” direction. Life is stressful! And spending all that time in “fight or flight” mode leaves your nervous system out of balance. Like wings on an airplane, the sympathetic and parasympathetic wings of the ANS should be contributing about equally to keep you in a healthy place. But most of us are flying more like the picture below.   Favoring your SNS doesn’t just wreck your ability to focus and perform. Over time, it can lead to conditions like high blood pressure, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, chronic pain, and mood disorders. Fortunately, there are ways to activate the PNS and bring us back into balance. Yawning, meditation, and positive emotion and mindfulness exercises are a few. But my favorite is even simpler and more basic than that. It’s called diaphragmatic breathing, and it’s your automatic key to your autonomic nervous system. Meet your nervous system   Your nervous system consists of two smaller systems: the central and peripheral nervous...

Talkin’ Douglas Heel

Douglas Heel, the man behind “Get-Activated”  is interviewed in this article. Douglas Heel exudes a bouncy enthusiasm and an unshakable confidence.  His confidence is never I’m right, and you are wrong.  In matter of fact, Douglas is as carefree as he is confident.  At his last Chicago seminar, Heel said, “Don’t worry about being right.  As soon as you are right, you stop learning.  I have techniques, not answers.  My journey is just beginning.” Read The...

You Only Know What You Know

Activation is not just for Football Players.  A recent article in the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association discusses the benefits.  Once again Dr. Tom Nelson is featured and quoted. Read The...

3 Reasons Why Activation is a Game-Changer

Now that high school football is in high gear many parents and coaches are concerned with keeping their athletes injury free. This article from last year offers a comprehensive look at how Dr. Tom Nelson supported the Nazareth team and 3 reasons why activation is a game-changer. Read The...
After investigating the SAT process, I scheduled an appointment with Dr. Tom. Looking back, I was skeptical for sure, but was willing to try anything for the sake of improvement. I distinctly remember the muscle-testing results before activation, and then seeing them after. Immediately after activation, I felt loose. There was no tightness, and I felt peaceful after “belly breathing.” The next day we had an invitational race, and I felt the best and was the most focused during that race. I ended up finishing 5th, right behind some of the nation’s best runners, 7 seconds off my personal best. I became a believer as the results were seen immediately for me!
Dan Santino