In light of her latest book releasing last month, ‘Finding Inner Safety’, renowned Neurophysiologist and Sleep Expert, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan explains how you can find your inner safety, sleep well and increase energy and performance at work and at home.
The last couple of years have certainly had an impact on how we work and live and have affected people’s mental well-being in all aspects of their lives. Quite often when we work too hard, sometimes we put our mental health on the backburner and ignore signs of burnout or anxiety.
Stress and anxiety often lead to a lack of sleep and coupled with other factors this can quickly lead to burnout. This poses the question; how can we balance our goals with a peaceful lifestyle? The good news is, there are ways for all of us to avoid burnout, if we make changes in our lifestyle to ensure better mental health, we are then still able to meet our goals.
Being productive can quite often dominate our everyday lives, we feel the need to constantly be busy, complete our list of to-dos and are always on the go, without taking time away to catch our breath and recentre ourselves. When it comes to relaxation time, for many, this will look like a night in front of the TV or scrolling through social media posts on our phones until late at night with our eyes tired and a feeling of exhaustion sweeping over us. However, once in bed, we often struggle to fall asleep, or completely switch off, this is a common case of ‘tired but wired.’
What often happens is, we ignore the symptoms of burnout and accept feeling anxious, stressed, tired and unhappy as a consequence of working hard and being successful. Yet deep down we do not feel safe. We are operating from our ‘fight or flight’ nervous system.
Inner safety has been completely externalised. We have come to look outside of ourselves to find safety – people now look to the news, social media or other people to tell them how to feel. We rely on ‘likes’ on our social media posts to feel worthy and essentially place our safety in the hands of external factors. By responding to life from the outside in, we are merely reacting to it. The outside world then dictates how we feel inside, and we relinquish any control over how we feel. If we shifted the focus to responding to life from the inside out not the outside in, what happens is we start to respond to life not just react to it. This leads to us tapping into our inner strength and resources which becomes our route to feeling safe.
But what does it mean to feel inner safety?
The key here is to fully understand and embrace our physiological responses to our environment instead of muting those responses with external stimulants. More often than not, people live in survival mode, running around, always busy and always in ‘doing mode’. The stress hormones, adrenaline, noradrenalin and cortisol, when depleted, are supplemented with caffeine and the dopamine hits from electronic devices to keep the person going. Living life from this part of the nervous system is just not sustainable, and this is where burnout occurs.
Our body’s nervous system is essentially our reactionary transmitter to the outside world, quite often people that work in high-powered, corporate, results-driven environments, are the people that experience the worst burnout of all. Companies where employees feel they must perform in a certain way to get ahead, are usually filled with high stress levels and mental health problems. This takes us back to the earlier point of understanding our body’s responses to the environment around us. We may consciously think we are safe in our environments, but if we unplug from the external noise around us and listen to our bodies, we may hear our nervous systems crying out for more self-care and a reconnection with our natural state without the external influences.
To replace stress, burnout and surviving with resilience and energy-optimisation and thriving, we must all take time away from the external environment, listen to our nervous systems and inner consciousness, spend time in natural environments and face any childhood or past traumas to resolve the feelings they have imprinted upon us. This shift in lifestyle is not always easy for many, as quite often operating in constant survival mode is habitual, and to break any habit takes incredible resilience and inner strength. However, by making changes to our everyday lives, eliminating certain practices, and embracing others, this goal can be achievable and ultimately will lead to the best success of all – a feeling of inner safety. Feeling safe ultimately translates to a healthier more productive lifestyle without the stress and anxiety or the constant sluggish feeling. This of course can lead to more success at work and in other areas of our life.
To lead a peaceful and fulfilling lifestyle, finding safety and security from within yourself is an essential first step.
Finding Inner Safety – the key to healing, thriving and preventing burnout (Capstone 2022), was released on 7th April 2022 and is available to purchase in all major bookstores and Amazon.