Rest & digest

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Rest & digest.
When stressed, try these 10 tips to stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system, or your ‘rest & digest” nervous system:
1. 5 senses
Think of something you associate with a relaxing sight, sound, smell, taste, and feeling against your skin. (examples that may work for you: calm waves crashing at beach, children playing in the distance and laughing, the smell of love, the taste of ocean air, and the light, warm breeze against your skin.
2. Entrainment
Choose a sense (smell or sound works well) and associate it with ‘rest and digest’. Anytime you let go, train your senses with this smell or sound. (example: a perfume you might not use a lot that you can associate with sleep or soft music, maybe instrumentals only, so it’s distinct from everyday music)
3. Warm bath
Nothing quite like a warm bath, then laying in it until the water starts to cool, and then listening to it drain slowly as you prepare for a shower. I think bath/showers are the best, because you soak, feel amazing, and then rinse yourself off before heading back to bed.
4. Hot tea
Especially a non-caffeinated, herbal tea. I particularly like any calming tea, as well as chamomile tea. I tend to stay away from strong flavors, as that wakes up my palette and often results in me wanting a snack, or something else that may delay me getting back to bed.
5. Progressive muscle relaxation
Start with your fingers and toes. Squeeze them for 5 seconds, now extend them for 5 seconds, alternating opposite muscle groups. Now move to your hands (or feet) and make a fist while bending your wrist, then extend your fingers and wrist all the way up. Then, bend your elbows (or knees) and repeat by stretching them out. Continue up your body and then to the other side (if you start with upper, go to lower and vice versa). Repeat for 5 minutes.
6. Knee Rocks
Laying on your back with your feet flat and knees bent, gently sway your knees back and forth. Start with 1 inch in each direction and build towards full range of motion by only increasing 1 inch in each direction per minute. Feel your low back/spine rotate as you do this. Sometimes, it helps to squeeze a pillow between your knees as you do this exercise. (great for low back, too)
7. Brain dump
Write down a list of everything you ‘want’ to think about again tomorrow.
8. Soft materials
Like a super fuzzy blanket.
9. Deep breathing
With diaphragmatic holds and focus on slow exhale. Breathe in (with dominant hand on diaphragm) for 2 seconds, hold for 1 second, and breathe out — like breathing through a thin coffee straw — for 4 seconds. 2, 1, 4. Repeat for sets of 15 breaths.
10. Wrapping
If you wrap yourself, comfortably and snuggly, in a blanket, so it’s pulling lightly on many areas of your body at once, this works like swaddling for a baby and creates relaxation.

and a bonus tip:

There’s a ligament that connects the top of the back of your head (occiput) to the base of your neck. It’s called your ligamentum nuchae. If you massage it gently, it’s like an override switch for your nervous system.

Today’s thought exercise

Did you know there are shortcuts — or buttons — on your body that lead to pretty much any feeling you want? (examples: energy button, pain relief, joint stability, hormonal shift, biochemical release, nervous system pivot/stress relief, and many, many more)

Your body is so cool. So is mine. How did we get this lucky?

Sent to you with love, honor, and in service,


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Dr. Kareem Samhouri

Dr. Kareem Samhour is known as (perhaps) the best Doctor of Physical Therapy & Kinesiologist on the internet. People come to him for results when other methods fail, injury gets in the way, or health situation is more complicated. Dr. Kareem Samhouri exercising In fact, he and his companies reach a combined total of 1.5 MILLION people on a daily basis to help them with their health. If you ever saw Dr. Kareem on the street and mentioned something was going on with your health, however, he would volunteer and offer to help you for free... that's the Dr. Kareem way.

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