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To the untrained eye this may look like a person simply enjoying a moment in nature. Actually, it’s science. An opportunity for the parasympathetic nervous system to bring about a state of equilibrium in the body, to push ‘fight or flight’ aside and allow the body, as they say, to rest and digest.

Hey, Michelle Cederberg here with your weekly work-life recharge. I’m here at the idyllic Mount Engadine Lodge in beautiful Kananaskis Country, Alberta, taking a deliberate time out. I’m calling it a Parasympathetic Pause.


‘A Parasympathetic Pause is a chance to slow down & allow the body to rest, digest & reduce some of your stress.’


We’re all familiar with fight or flight; that role of the Sympathetic Nervous System that’s always on the ready and that kicks your body into gear to protect you from imminent danger.

Back in the day, danger might be Sabre-toothed Tigers and the like. These days, it’s more likely to be a looming deadline…or your sabre-toothed boss!

The Sympathetic Nervous System fires up automatically. It’s how your body works. But because so many of us are living with too much stress, it’s staying fired up too long. And that’s not good for you.

The good news is, your body has the answer. The Parasympathetic Nervous System which waits quietly behind the scenes for you to give it some love.

The Parasympathetic Nervous System controls the balance and maintenance of your body’s systems. It restores the body to a state of calm. It allows it to relax and repair. This is also how your body works, but it needs some help from you.

You see, the Sympathetic Nervous System is like a Ninja, always ready to engage. The Parasympathetic Nervous System is like a Yogi, quiet and understated but with great capacity to help if you let it.

To activate the Parasympathetic Nervous System, be aware of what truly helps you relax. If you give it thought, you likely already know a few ways to chill… so if you’re living with too much stress, the real problem may be that you don’t make down-time a priority. You don’t make time to pause. To breathe. To rest and digest.

And let me be clear. You don’t need a weekend away to create your own Parasympathetic Pause. It can happen in small doses every day, at work and at home.

What could that look like for you?

Until next time, remember to breathe.

Michelle Cederberg, CSP, MKin, BA Psyc

Empowering today’s dreamers, leaders and go-getters to create the life and career they want.

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