By Col Wajid Hussain
The autonomic nervous system(ANS), located at the brain stem ( the primitive part of brain ), is responsible for regulating involuntary body functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and digestion.
For breathing, the ANS emits impulses to muscles in the diaphragm and chest, and at the same time receives signals when the lungs are full of air. It consists of the sympathetic and the parasympathetic pathways that regulate the vital functions of the body.
The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is mainly activated by stress and prepares the body for a fight or flight. It is a survival mechanism that increases heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar and dilates the pupils. Over burdening of SNS by prolonged stress, can lead to fatal consequences.
The parasympathetic nervous system(PNS), termed as “rest and digest”system functions , primarily during rest, eating and sleeping and dominates and coordinates the body’s repose and regeneration. It lowers the heart rate and blood pressure and simultaneously promotes digestion and the uptake of nutrients.
One of the most fundamentally important elements in the PNS is the vagus nerve. iIs originates in the brain stem and spreads in nerve fibers in entire body.
The vagus nerve has considerable influence on lungs and heart and on our brain. This trinity, brain-heart- lungs, rules your body and governs your mind. The key to managing our state of mind and stress level lies in being able to activate the calming parasympathetic pathways of your nervous system through breathing exercises. — PakDestiny