We all want more peace in the world. But it’s good to start with ourselves. Are you resilient when life gets hectic? Can you let go of anxious thoughts that tense your body and keep you up at night? Or do you hang onto stress long after a situation has passed…or well in advance of it ever happening?
Here’s a powerful and effective way to reset your nervous system.
The vagus nerve, a cranial nerve that extends all the way down to your belly, communicates with your nervous system. (If it was called the Vegas nerve it might communicate to your nervous system: “Blackjack! All you can eat buffets!”. But no.)
The vagus nerves tells your nervous system to chill the heck out, and this breathing exercise will stimulate it. Greater relaxation and calm await in just a few breaths.
Close your eyes.
Take a breath in, expanding your belly as big and wide as it comfortably can.
Doing your best to keep your belly expanded, slowly exhale.
In order to remain expanded at the belly, you’ll find you need to really slow down your exhale.
Let your exhale finish all the way. Take your time.
Count to ten – or better yet, 21 – exhales like this.
The more you breathe like this, the more relaxed you’ll become. You may find a moment of discomfort will arise fleetingly as your system releases stuck adrenaline and cortisol. It passes quickly. Keep breathing!
You will be addicted to breathing like this when you experience how calm you are. And when you become accustomed to breathing like this daily, just three vagus breaths can do wonders in the middle of a stressful day. When practiced regularly, your body will recognize the breathing once you begin to do it and respond pretty quickly, so keep it up.
You can also begin your meditation practice with this breathing and experience much deeper meditations.
About the Author: Sarah TAYLOR is one of Your Monthly Mentors, a meditation teacher and a Master Level Reiki Practitioner, as well as an actor, comedian, and writer based in Los Angeles, CA. Drawing from a Buddhist background as well as the other non-dual spiritual traditions, her classes and talks are accessible and filled with humor. She was a series regular for three seasons on NBC’s “In Gayle We Trust”, can be seen in the comedy feature, “The Golden Scallop” and has made appearances on Hot In Cleveland, Bunheads, and numerous other TV shows and films. Read More…