Turn Off Your Stress Switch
Did you know we’re fitted with our very own stress switch? We can just turn it off.
Mother Nature is a wonderful thing! Just as we were given our fight or flight stress response to help us escape danger in our prehistoric cave-dwelling times, we’ve also been fitted with the ability to switch that off when it’s unhelpful.
Stress triggered by anxiety and overwhelm is responsible for a raft of health problems and can ultimately prove fatal. We all suffer at some stage to some extent, but increasingly vast numbers of us are struggling with unmanageable levels of stress and the illnesses and life issues that accompany it.
The big news is we needn’t suffer like this. Our bodies have an in-built device for switching off stress. It puts the brakes on our stress response. In fact it even resembles a pair of entwined brake cables governing the left and right of our body. It is called the Vagus Nerve and runs from the neck to the abdomen and its sole purpose is to relax the body. Its effects travel all over the body like a “vagrant”, hence its name.
Why haven’t I heard this before and how do I get mine to work? I hear you cry!
Scientists are learning more about the Vagus Nerve all the time and there’s plenty of medical research to read if you wish to understand more, but if you’re not that interested in the mechanics and just want to learn how to turn off your stress- read on.
Once the Vagus Nerve is triggered it automatically slows the heart rate and reduces blood pressure and the body stops producing the stress chemicals- adrenalin and cortisol. These are the “fight or flight” substances which cause so much harm if they’re not expended in the life-saving burst of energy they were designed for. Once the Vagus Nerve has created these changes in us we feel instantly calmed ,bringing total stress relief.
So how do we trigger the Vagus Nerve? It’s simple. The switch is governed by breathing. Slow, deep breathing – specifically the exhale – “switches the vagus nerve on” and it begins it’s work of de-stressing the body. Our whole system, both physically and chemically, is instantly calmed and quietened.
When our lungs register that deeper slower breaths are being taken, a message is carried via the Vagus Nerve to the brain which orders heart-rate to reduce, blood pressure to drop and the production of adrenalin and cortisol to stop.
At the height of stressful situations it’s often difficult to take control of breathing and without the faith that it’s a sure-fire way to stop the stress reflex in it’s tracks we may not be motivated to do it. Take note here and now- it works and is definitely worth doing in the moment.
If you feel that your anxiety and overwhelm have created a constantly high level of background stress regardless of your situation in the moment, then there are things you can do to stimulate and strengthen your Vagus Nerve and win back control in your battles with stress.
To diffuse long-term stress symptoms, building awareness of your breath and heart rate is key. You will find that a number of activities help you manage both. These range from Yoga, to singing or mantra-based meditation. Another sure-fire way to stimulate the Vagus Nerve, switching off your stress. is by having complementary therapies. Massage, reflexology, reiki and hopi ear candling all naturally cause the body to enter a phase of slow deep breathing. This then lets the Vagus Nerve get to work dissolving stress.
Zen Ten Spa delivers the widest range of complementary therapies of any spa in the UK, blending treatments to your precise needs. We guarantee to improve your Vagal Nerve Tone enabling you to relax and de-stress controlling anxiety and overwhelm in your life. Call 07709 101010 to book treatments.