How often do you have to deal with anxiety in your everyday life?
If you find yourself worrying too much or getting caught into non-stopping irrational thoughts or even feeling nausea, chest pain and heart palpitations then this article is for you.
You are about to learn a simple yet very effective technique to deal with anxiety naturally by stimulating your vagus nerve. This powerful technique can be used to relieve stress and anxiety anywhere and anytime; at home, when commuting and of course at those horrible work meetings.
Did you know that the FDA approved a surgically implanted device that is successfully treating depression by periodically stimulating the vagus nerve?
But hopefully you won’t need surgery. You can enjoy the benefits of vagus nerve stimulation by adopting some simple breathing techniques.
So what is that vagus nerve?
The vagus nerve is the most important element of the parasympathetic nervous system (the one that calms you down by controlling your relaxation response).
It originates from the brainstem and it is “wandering” all the way down, into the belly, spreading fibers to the tongue, pharynx, vocal chords, lungs, heart, stomach, intestines and glands that produce anti-stress enzymes and hormones (like Acetylcholine, Prolactin, Vasopressin, Oxytocin), influencing digestion, metabolism and of course the relaxation response.
Vagus nerve acts as the mind-body connection, and it is the cabling behind your heart’s emotions and gut instincts. The key to manage your mind state and your anxiety levels lies on being able to activate the calming nervous pathways of your parasympathetic system.
You cannot control this part of the nervous system on demand, but you can indirectly stimulate your vagus nerve by:
- Immersing your face in cold water (diving reflex)
- Attempting to exhale against a closed airway (Valsalva maneuver).
- This can be done by keeping the mouth closed and pinching the nose while trying to breathe out. This greatly increases pressures inside the chest cavity stimulating the vagus nerve and increasing vagal tone
- And of course, diaphragmatic breathing techniques
Strengthening this living nervous system can pay great dividends, and the best tool to achieve that is by training your breath.
Breathe with your diaphragm
Now it’s time to put this concept into practice. The first thing you need to do is breathe using your diaphragm (abdominal breathing). This is the foundation of proper breathing and anxiety relief.
The diaphragm is your primary breathing muscle. It is belled shaped and when you inhale it patterns out (or should flatten out), acting as piston and creating vacuum on you thoracic cavity, so your lungs can expand and air gets in.
On the other side it creates pressure, pushing the viscera down and out, expanding your belly. That’s why good breathing practice is described as abdominal breathing or belly breathing.
Breathe with the glottis partially closed
Glottis is at the back of your tongue and it is closed when you are holding your…