Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FIU chapter.

I am a third-year psychology student and a nerd with learning about the body and how it affects our mind. I personally live with social anxiety and depression; living with these disorders has my body in a constant state of edge and it can affect how my body functions. After learning that my emotions have an impact on my body (and vice versa), I take what I learned in class and apply it so that my body is regulated and allows me to be my best me. 

What is the science?

         Putting on my nerd cap on, the nervous system has many subdivisions and components to it that allows our body to work the way that it does. The part of the system that has to do with our reactions is the autonomic nervous system; it has two systems within it, the sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic system deals with our fight-or-flight responses and the parasympathetic system allows us to come down from those responses. When our body is living in a constant state of fight-or-flight, our body can start to become dysregulated and we can start feeling signs of anxiety, depression, ADHD, etc. Constantly living in this state can start to affect our body; for example, we can start loosing sleep, lack of attention and memory, constipation, etc. The keyword is constant; stress and feelings of anxiety to some degree is normal but constantly feeling these ways is not healthy. 

what can i do?

         Developing healthy self-care techniques and habits can greatly affect the nervous system in a positive way to keep your system regulated.

  • Get away from social media

Notifications and monitoring likes can be toxic. Social media in general creates unrealistic expectations and can put stress on us to be somewhere in life we may not need to be in. Having a time block every day to unplug and be with yourself is healthy and can allow you to do something for yourself without distraction. 

  • Nature!

As cheesy as it may sound, connecting to nature can give us a sense of peace. In stressful situations, it may be a benefit to get out and take a walk. The fresh air, the breeze, and the sun can allow you to clear your mind and see a new perspective. Stepping away from a situation in general can allow you to see what you are going through from different angles so that you can go back and be more confident in what to do. 

  • Activate the parasympathetic system

As stated before, the parasympathetic system is the body calming down from the fight-or-flight responses and allowing your body to go back to its normal state. A great technique is deep breathing; take a 5 second deep breath and exhale for as long as you can and reparation until you feel your body calming down. Mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation can also activate the parasympathetic system. Finding a way that works for you is important so that your body does not stay in that state of threat.

Mental health is so important so I hope you can take something away from this article and apply it to your daily habits!

Aaliyah (Leah) Walker is a first-year writer at Her Campus at the FIU chapter. She writes articles pertaining to mental health, entertainment, and advocacy for people of color. Besides being a writer at Her Campus, Leah is a junior attending FIU, majoring in psychology and organizational communications. She is an equipment manager for the FIU football team as well as a learning assistant for the psychology department. As if that is not enough, she is also a mentor to twenty first-semester freshmen. When she has time to herself, Leah is a first time dog mommy to her puppy Zion. They love going to the dog park as well as attending agility classes. Leah also loves to read science-fiction books as well as taking long walks around campus. She loves true crime Youtube and Tiktok videos.