Category: Calm Your Nerves

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.

Calm Your Nerves #18 – Nod Your Head

nod headWho would have thought that saying yes, with a simple nod of your head, could bring relief to an anxious nervous system. It can IF you make that nod very slow and simple.

Awareness, in and of itself, is the backdrop for positive change. By bringing a bit of awareness to that head bob, you’ll find your nerves (and often accompanying body aches) releasing into ease.

Give it a try:

Sit or lie quietly.
Begin to nod your head as slowly and simply as you can.
Let your nod be VERY small and VERY slow. Stay in a range where the movement is easy and effortless.
Continue to nod in this way until your breathing becomes easy and regular.
Let it go and notice the changes.

For even more benefit, use your powers of observation and take notice:

How do your eyes move when you nod your head?
What happens along your spine as you nod?
If you are sitting, does how you take weight through your feet change as you nod your head?

Calm Your Nerves #17 – Color

colorWhether you stay in the lines or wander out, coloring is a wonderful way to bring focus and calm to your life.

Give it a try:
Pick up an inexpensive coloring book and indulge yourself in a pack of colored pencils or crayons. Remember how you used to covet the 64-pack with every color in the rainbow and then some?

Block out a bit of time and treat yourself to one of childhood’s simplest pleasures. Notice as tension slips away.

Storybook characters and baby animals not to your liking? Coloring books geared for the more sophisticated palette have gone mainstream. Bookstores are now carrying beautiful coloring books with intricate designs. Why not indulge your inner artist?

Calm Your Nerves #15 – Gargle

gargleYour morning mouth rinse could lead to a calmer start to your day. How? Just extend that gargle for a few more seconds.

The Vagus nerve rests very close to the surface in the area of your mouth and throat. Gargling, especially if you keep it up to the point of tears, stimulates the Vagus and activates your body’s rest and recover response. The deep breath you take when you finally empty your mouth adds an extra boost.

Give it a try:

Extend your gargle a little bit longer each day until you feel safe gargling to the point where your eyes begin to tear. When you reach your limit, empty your mouth. Enjoy your deep, spontaneous breath and the sense of calm that washes over you.

Calm Your Nerves #14 – Heal Your Gut

heal your gutThe way to a man’s (or woman’s) brain – and emotions – may be through his (her) stomach. If results of current research prove consistent, maintaining a healthy microbial balance in the gut could create the conditions for a healthier, happier brain.

It’s an area of research that is opening significant possibilities for treating conditions as wide ranging as anxiety, autism and dementia. Probiotics and a healthy diet in combination have been shown to create the conditions for a calmer nervous system.

For a peek inside the findings, follow this Science Daily link to all manner of interesting clues. Who knows, help for a case of nerves could be a simple as a few servings of yogurt.

Calm Your Nerves # 13 – Change Your Mind

change your mindAttitude IS everything!

A calmer, happier you could be as simple as changing your mind.

Keep telling yourself you’re down, that life is hard, that everything is bad, sad and makes you mad and, like it or not, you’ll begin to believe your story.

Like skilled thespians on the stage of life, your body and mind follow the script you create.

What you SAY is definitely what you GET.

Want to change your mood? Try changing your mind.

Give it a try:

Next time you need a mood adjustment, try rewriting your story.
Instead of “the world is out to get me” give yourself permission to cop a new attitude.

Try these options on for size:
“Of course I can.”
“I love a good challenge.”
“I see the silver lining.”
“Watch me flip this on its head.”
“I do love a good drama.”
“Man, I can act!”
“Me to the rescue.”

Create your personal “super-hero” story and soon you’ll fine yourself believing and living it!

Change your life by changing your attitude!

Calm Your Nerves #12 – Step Lively

step livelyHow you’re feeling is evident in how you move.

If you feel down, chances are you’ll find yourself dragging about, every step an effort. Feel happy and your step takes on a bit of a bounce.

But mood isn’t all powerful. The opposite is also true. Change how you move and your mood will shift to match.

Give it a try:

Next time you’re feeling anxious, down, or worried, take a moment to notice how you are moving.

Are your feet dragging along?
Does your body feel heavy?
Are your movements labored and full of effort?

Once you know what you’re doing, get up and get going. Set a lively pace. The power to change your mood is in your footsteps.

For an extra boost walk outside in nature.
Add a shot of “happy” by walking with a friend.

Calm Your Nerves #11 – Binge on Cat Videos

binge on cat videosSome research results are so wacky you’ve just got to believe they contain a kernel of truth. This is one of “those”.

No longer do you need to feel guilty about watching those uber cute kitty videos. Science has shown that the “aw” they produce helps to calm even the most frazzled nerves. Want proof? Here’s a link to a summary of the research.

Click here to access

So binge away. Enjoy a guilt-free kitty fix.

Calm Your Nerves #10 – Deepen Your Exhale

exhaleNothing is more natural than breathing.

Your body thrives on the oxygen you draw in through your lungs. And your body knows exactly what to do to take a breath.

So why do you sometimes find yourself a bit short of breath, wishing you could pull in one big inhale?

A serious medical condition aside, it may surprise you to learn that it’s not so much an inability to inhale that’s keeping you from filling your lungs to capacity but rather an inability to exhale. In fact, Fritz Perls, M.D., one of the grand-daddies of body-centered psychotherapy, often noted that “Anxiety is excitement without breathing.”

Whether you’re holding your breath with anticipation or simply taking shallow breathes, the quickest way to deepen your breathing and release the tension in your ribcage (which by the by is one of the main reasons your breath became shallow in the first place) is to exhale completely.

Give it a try:

Breathe out.
When you feel you have reached your limit, push out just a little bit more air.
One way to easily do this is to imagine breathing out through a straw or blowing up a balloon. When you feel your lungs are empty give one last little blow. Make sure you’re exhaling from your chest and lungs rather than air held in your cheeks.
After that last push simply stop.
Hold your breath.
When you feel you really need to breathe, let go and allow air to enter your lungs.
Feel how much deeper and easier you are breathing.

Still not sure you’re doing it “right”? Here’s a clue. If you don’t automatically take a giant breath, chances are you’re “cheating” either by taking tiny inhalations or not allowing yourself to fully exhale. If that’s the case for you, fear not. Get an actual straw and a small cup of water. Blow bubbles continuously through the straw until your lungs ache for air. Hold your breath while you take the straw from your mouth and see what happens if you just let go and let nature take it’s course.

Notice: If you wait and let your inhalation happen automatically, your ribs will fully expand to pull air into your lungs. Your body WANTS to breathe. If you simply let it do what it already knows and wants to do, you’ll be rewarded with a much deeper breath than if you try to make your ribcage expand to inhale.