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How To Switch Off Your ‘High Alert’ Button
Do you feel like you’re always on ‘high alert‘? Like something terrible is about to happen at any moment? Or you feel anxious and tense, but you can’t really pinpoint why? Do you have a lot of trouble calming down?
You could have a strong ‘high alert’ button. Also known as hypervigilance.
When you’re hypervigilant, you’re extremely sensitive to your surroundings. You’re subconsciously scanning for threats and potential dangers.
You may jump or startle easily if you hear a loud bang. You may struggle with social anxiety and the fear of being judged. Or you might have a lot of trouble relaxing or falling asleep.
This can cause your brain and your body to feel like you’re constantly on high alert.
And constantly being on high alert? It's exhausting.
Being hypervigilant could be a symptom of trauma, dysregulation (an overactive nervous system) or it could be because you’re a Highly Sensitive Person.
When you’re highly sensitive, you have a naturally high level of alertness. This vigilance is a natural trait, hard-wired into your brain and nervous system and it’s what helped our ancestors survive.
No matter what the cause, it’s important to be able to switch off your high alert button and calm your hypervigilance.
Becoming calm not only helps you feel better, but will help you build resilience and confidence. Which ultimately means you can live the kind of life that matters to you.
3 Easy Ways To Calm Hypervigilance
1. Listen to meditones®
When you’re alert, your brain is producing Beta brainwaves. They’re the ones that help you pay attention and focus. They’re very useful during work or any task that requires concentration.
However, when you want to relax, you want to switch off those Beta brain waves and start producing Alpha, Theta and Delta brain waves.
Unfortunately, when you’re in a state of hypervigilance, it can be almost impossible to switch off. Which is why meditones can help you become calm.
Meditones are precisely tuned frequencies of sound. When these frequencies are combined, they create a humming vibration. Scientists call them ‘binaural beats’.
When you listen to meditones with headphones, your brain responds by creating calm brain waves - similar to ones you produce during relaxation and sleep. Which makes meditones an effortless way to calm hypervigilance.
By creating calm brain waves with meditones, you naturally soothe your nervous system and become calm. Without having to do a thing.
Plus, long term use of meditones helps you form stronger relaxed neural pathways – making it easier to become and stay calm naturally.
Just like sound waves, brain waves are also measured in Hertz (Hz). This is how meditones help you produce calm brain waves.
Breathwork is different to breathing. We breathe every day, and when you’re stressed your breathing becomes shallow and fast. But breathwork is about purposefully controlling your breath so you can consciously use your breathing to change your state of being.
One of the quickest and most common forms of breathwork is 2-1 breathing. With this breath, you focus on exhaling for twice as long as you inhale.
When you lengthen the exhale, you activate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS).
The PNS is the calming arm of your nervous system and helps you:
- decrease alertness
- feel calmer
- digest food, and
- lower your heart rate
To begin 2-1 breathing, simply inhale for a count of 2 and exhale for a count of 4
You can also find a 2-1 breathing meditones track inside the Seekers' Sanctuary library!
Keep breathing slowly and deeply for as long as you need. You can use this breath wherever you are, whenever you need.
Pranayama is a form of yogic breathing that can also help calm hypervigilance. To hear an amazing demonstration of this, tune into The Seekers’ Sanctuary podcast.
In the episode, ,Yoga for Healing Anxiety, yoga teacher Danique Hanson shares exactly how to do practice pranayama. (Skip to 25:15 to hear the instructions)
3. Magnesium supplements
Magnesium is vital for cell and nerve function. It’s also responsible for regulating neurotransmitters that affect things like mood and energy.
Every cell in your body contains magnesium and needs it to function. However, you may not be getting enough of it, even if you eat a healthy diet.
This is because modern agriculture depletes soil nutrients like nitrogen and magnesium. This leaves our food deficient in magnesium. Which means many people are also magnesium deficient.
And because magnesium helps to regulate the nervous system, low levels of it may contribute to depression and anxiety.
Magnesium supplements can help:
- reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety
- reduce inflammation
- increase exercise performance and recovery
- prevent migraines
- improve mood and decrease PMS symptoms
- provide migraine relief
If you have a medical condition, make sure to check with your doctor before taking magnesium supplements.
They’re safe and generally well tolerated but might not be suitable for people who take certain diuretics, heart medications or antibiotics.
Not all supplements created equal though. Avoid magnesium oxide – it’s not well absorbed and practically worthless.
The best supplements that are absorbed well include magnesium glycinate and magnesium orotate.