From a global pandemic to racial and social turmoil, financial problems to divisions between family members and members of the country, the last year has been very difficult at all levels: socially, spiritually, mentally, and even physically. It can be tempting to try and escape reality by scrolling on our phone and isolating ourselves in the hopes that these unprecedented times will eventually pass, but deep down we know we can’t avoid it.
Society is designed to keep us on edge.
Our culture is almost designed to keep people on the edge of stress and overwhelm all the time, living in a mechanistic, robotic and unconscious way, obsessing about things that are unimportant and not focusing on the things that make life meaningful and beautiful. Living in a digital era, we get between 50 and 200 notifications a day, and our nervous system can’t handle it, so our new normal is to live in a state of overwhelm, and we aren’t even aware of it.
Our sympathetic nervous system is strong, but our parasympathetic nervous system — the part that’s about being and resting is totally underdeveloped — we don’t know how to bring it online, which means that as a collective, we’re all walking around slightly stressed and on edge. We’ve forgotten how to simply relax and be.
Our new normal is completely zapped of joy.
For many of us, we are unconscious of these problems because we think these new behaviors are “normal”. They can show up in our lives in a myriad of ways — we’re zapped of joy, enthusiasm and aliveness; we have a feeling of dread or even a low level depression, where we don’t want to get up and do another day. We have nothing left to give in our relationships. We’re unenthusiastic because we’re so fatigued, which means we don’t show up as a mother, spouse, father or friend in the way we want because we feel so tired and stressed. Ultimately, it means many of us are living with low-grade anxiety or numbness. We keep doing, doing and doing without trusting, surrendering, or facing what we need to face. These are all indicators that we need to stop and realign with ourselves.
If we continue to walk this path unconsciously, or do nothing to change it, we can get burnt out, walk through life numb, fall into deep depression, experience total overwhelm or endure serious psychological and mental impacts. This could lead to addictive behaviors with sugar, alcohol or drugs. These are all ways of artificially inducing the parasympathetic nervous system.
Cultivating Inner Peace
One of the best ways of bringing our parasympathetic system online is through meditation. It’s a way to unplug, cleanse from external input, and refocus on listening to the internal voice. If you’re interested in starting or deepening your own meditation practice so you reset your nervous system, check out our Daily Grace videos. These are free, short videos that support you in a daily spiritual practice to reduce stress and anxiety, strengthen your connection to Grace, promote inner peace and the ability to stay calm and centered.