Category: Calm Your Nerves

Calm Your Nerves #26 – Bounce

bounceLike it’s rocking cousin, gentle bouncing has a relaxing effect on the body.

Need proof?

Give this a try:

Stand.  Bend at the hip joints and let your arms hang down toward your feet.  Notice how close your hands come to the ground – without stretching.

Come to standing again.

Gently bounce – lifting your heels and letting them drop back to the floor easily, effortlessly and quickly – many times.

Stand.  Repeat bending at the hip joints, letting your arms hang down toward the floor.  Notice now how close your hands come to the ground.  Further?

So what just happened?  When you bounce, you create the conditions for your flexor and extensor muscles to find a new balance.  In other words, you stop working so hard.  And working smarter, not harder, leads to ease.

Calm Your Nerves #25 – Rock on

rockRocking isn’t just for babies anymore.  Studies have shown that rocking – whether in a chair or hammock, or simply swaying rhythmically – soothes frazzled nerves, promotes healing and supports deep sleep.

So next time you’re feeling anxious, give it a try.  Find a rocker and treat yourself to a session of gentle motion.  Better yet, why not make rocking part of your bedtime ritual.  A half-hour of rocking in a chair while reading, knitting, listening to music or simply being, may be just the ticket to a deep restful, drug-free sleep.

Tip: For best results say no to television, cell phones, computers and video games while you rock. 

Calm Your Nerves #24 – Breathe Through a Straw

strawSlow your breathing and calm your nerves by breathing through a straw.

Give it a try:

Lightly wrap your lips around a drinking straw.  Take slow shallow breathes letting yourself inhale and exhale through the straw.


What happens in the area of your diaphragm?
Does your breath become deeper and easier?
What happens to the tension in your face and neck?

No straw?  Softly purse your lips.  Inhale and exhale taking shallow breaths as if you were breathing through a straw.

Calm Your Nerves #23 – Change Your Mind

change your mindAct or React?  The choice is yours. When you mindlessly react to events and demands, it’s easy for your nerves to get frazzled.  Not a happy situation but one you can change by choosing a more measured response based on awareness.

Easier said than done?  Perhaps at first.  But like building muscle, starting small and doing a little bit – consistently – increases ability until soon you are able to “change your mind” almost without effort.

Want a recipe for change?

Leave it to the good folks at “Daily Good” to provide the instruction manual. Rather than re-invent the wheel, I’m passing along their tidbit of “goodness”.

Click to read more

Calm Your Nerves #22 – Help Another

help anotherHelp yourself by helping someone else. A new study has shown that reaching out to help someone else has the effect of significantly reducing anxiety. So sooth those frazzled nerves by offering to help someone in need. What goes around really does come around.

For a bit more on the effects of altruism on anxiety, check out these articles:

You Can Fight Anxiety By Helping Others — Really

Giving support to others, not just receiving it, has beneficial effects

Calm Your Nerves #21 – Find a New Rhythm

Like nodding your head, opening and closing your hands can be used to guide your nervous system to a calmer, easier rhythm.

Give it a try:

Bring the tips of the fingers on your non-dominant hand to touch.
As slowly and lightly as possible begin to open your hand just a little bit.
Reverse the movement and slowly bring the tips of your fingers together again.
Continue to bring the tips of your fingers toward and away from each other as if your hand were a flower bud opening and closing in slow motion.

When you have found slow, smooth rhythm with your non-dominant hand, try it with your dominant hand.
Then, try it with both hands at the same time.

What happens to your breathing?
What happens to the tension in your jaw, neck, shoulders, face, etc. as you continue to open and close?

Calm Your Nerves #20 – Do the Dishes

dishesGetting down and dirty (pun intended) with the pots and pans could have a positive effect on your nervous system. And could actually result in the sparkling glassware and spotless utensils that dishwasher detergents promise but never actually deliver.

For centuries, Zen practitioners have experienced the benefits of mindfulness. They formalized their practice into hours of sitting meditation. But is all that sitting really necessary? While it does have added benefit, it’s not so much the sitting but what you bring to it that counts.

Simple activities, done with mindfulness, i.e. focused attention, have been shown to have the same effect. Doing the dishes is the latest to get scientific approval.

So next time you’re tempted to toss your dishes – either out or into the dishwasher – stop. Fill the sink with suds, grab a cloth or sponge and give the grime a run for its money. The more attention you pay to what you’re doing, the greater the benefit. So, take your time.

Feel the soapy water on your hands (or through your gloves if your skin is sensitive).
Really look at what you’re washing.
Watch as grime is wiped away.
Add a little elbow grease and work away at the tough stains and baked on grime. (Soak if necessary.)
Rinse away the dirt and watch it go down the drain.
Enjoy the sense of accomplishment and the squeaky clean of your dishes, and – who knows – perhaps even a calmer you..

Calm Your Nerves #19 – Coordinate Tongue and Eyes

coordinate tongue and eyesYour eyes and tongue can be powerful allies in your quest to calm your nerves. As noted before, the Vagus nerve rests very close to the surface in your mouth and tongue. Using your tongue to gently stroke the roof of your mouth stimulates your Vagus nerve activating your parasympathetic nervous system. You might think of stimulating your Vagus nerve as hitting the “recover” button on your nervous system.

The Vagus also rests close to the surface behind your eyes. So adding eye movements to the movements of your tongue can enhance their effectiveness. There is also the added benefit of using awareness and conscious movement to break the habitual movement patterns of tongue and eyes.

Give it a try:

Rest the tip of your tongue lightly and softly at the back of your top teeth.
Very gently and slowly begin to stroke your tongue along your upper palette in the direction of the roof of your mouth. Once there pause. Then reverse the movement, returning your tongue to its resting place behind your top teeth.
Pause there.
Repeat the movement, softly and slowly stroking toward the roof of your mouth and back several times.

As you do this, NOTICE what your eyes do.
Do your eyes move up or down as your tongue moves toward the roof of your mouth? toward the back of your teeth?

Once you identify how your eyes move, begin to move them consciously in the direction they seem to want to go as you continue to stroke your upper palette with your tongue.

Move very slowly and just a tiny bit. With awareness and movement, less is definitely a lot more.

After several repetitions with your eyes moving in their preferred direction, switch directions.

Notice what happens with your breathing.