Have you ever heard of the “vagus nerve?” For some of you in the health profession, I am sure the answer is yes, but for many others, this may be the first you’re hearing of it. I believe, when you understand what it is and what it does, you’ll say, like I did, “Why did I not know about this wonder nerve?”
The vagus nerve runs from the neck to the abdomen and is in charge of turning OFF the ‘fight or flight’ reflex. It’s a squiggly, branching nerve connecting most of the major organs between the brain and colon. It’s the longest nerve in the body, and technically it’s a pair of two nerves, one for the right side of the body and one for the left. It’s largely responsible for the mind-body connection and it’s exactly what we need to activate if we want to calm down.
During a global pandemic, wouldn’t we all want to know exactly how to activate this nerve so we can reduce our heightened stress and anxiety levels? The best way to stimulate it is simply by engaging in deep breathing. The most calming way to breathe is six times a minute: five seconds in, five seconds out. And it’s the exhale that produces the most powerful effects. This is just one benefit from this incredible nerve; read the article by Mental Floss to learn more. You’re going to want to know about this, trust me!
PS I have talked about deep breathing before, now you know a little bit of the science behind it.