Keeping Anxiety At Bay
Anxiety seems to be an ongoing problem in today’s society. Because of our technological advances, we have immediate information about trauma and chaos in every part of the world – probably the main reason why most of our anxious. Though with these technological advances, we are also able to pinpoint the area in us all that is able to mitigate anxiety and our reactions to it. The area that controls anxious reactions is called the Vagus Nerve.
So what are we to do?
Fortunately, the human body is a marvel of engineering! We have all heard of the fight or flight system based at the back of our brain. But how many of us know that we also have an amazing nerve called the vagus nerve that works to help us turn off that fight or flight system when it isn’t needed.
This nerve gives us the ability to be resilient and to quiet that fight or flight response. At the same time, as our thinking becomes more clear, we enhance our ability to become more resilient as we face the ongoing anxiety producing events of the day.
What is the Vagus Nerve?
The vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve in the body. According to The Cleveland Clinic, there is one vagus nerve on each side of your body running from the brainstem through your neck to your chest and abdomen. It is also connected to your vocal cords and the muscles of the back of your throat. This is the nerve that helps you switch back and forth from flight or fight response to a mode where you are more relaxed.
While there are medical devices that can be implanted to help stimulate your vagus nerve in conditions known as vagal dysfunction, there is very simple technique that can be used on an as-needed basis.
No research has been done to provide evidence proving that this works, let alone why it works.
Steps on How to Respond To Anxiety
When anxiety becomes a problem, we all want an immediate response. Find below several immediate and effective ways to allievate anxiety.
- Rotate your head slowly to the right (do not force any of the steps). Notice how far you can go.
- Repeat the same instructions, only this time rotate to the left. Again, do not force this movement. Simply notice how far you can go.
- Interlock your fingers and place your hands behind your head.
- This time, keeping your head in the forward position, move your eyes to the right and hold until you either need to sigh, swallow or yawn.
- Keeping your head straight forward, move your eyes to the left and hold until you either need to sigh, swallow or yawn.
- Repeat steps 1 and notice how much further you can move your head without straining.
- Repeat step 2 and notice how much further you can move your head without straining in this direction.
- Notice how your mood has changed.
- Enjoy and repeat as often as you like.