ID-100113134The pace of modern life can be frantic and relentless. The constant demands and juggles of daily life may leave little time to restore our resources and replace the energy that has been lost. Ernest Rossi describes a daily cycle called the ultradian cycle, otherwise known as the basic rest and activity cycle, which described daily 90 – 120-min fluctuations in states of consciousness, similar to the cycles that occur during sleep. This means that when we are awake, we move from higher to lower levels of alertness every 90-120 minutes.

Our bodies sends us clear signals when we need a break, including fidgetiness, hunger, drowsiness and loss of focus. But mostly, we override them, by caffiene use or other ways to activate our body’s stress hormones to keep use energised. According to Ernest Rossi, this results in a state of chronic stress which results in degradation over time of both our mental and physical health. One of the consequences of relying on stress hormones for energy is that our prefrontal cortex begins to shut down, and as a result we become less capable of thinking clearly and seeing the big picture, which leads to a decrease in creativity, productivity as well as physical restoration.

The antidote to this, in an idea world, is becoming increasingly aware of your own daily cycles of alertness, and allowing for periods of rest when you notice the signs described above. However, for many this is not possible.  Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, decribes a process which he calls, resting in the green, which may be a more manageable place to start. The practice involves noticing when you move into the yellow zone of your Stress-o-meter, and then making the intention to bring your arousal level back into the green zone. This can be done by taking a few calming, deep breaths, or focusing your attention on anything that allows you to feel safe, cared for or loved and letting these feelings and sensations develop. Allow tension to release as much as possible. This then moves you into the parasympathetic sate, where healing and rest can take place. So although you may not be able to do this every 90 minutes, the more you do the better!