How to Downregulate During Stress

Stress written in red pencil

Stress.  Who doesn’t have it lately?  Our lives have changed in large and small ways over the past 2, going on 3 years now.  There has been an enormous amount of loss and change foisted upon us that there was no way to prepare for.  We’ve all just managed, or not, to the best of our ability at the time.  The result is that more and more of us are living in a constant state of stress maybe even anxiety. 

Before you reach for the dessert, or the glass of wine, or possibly something stronger to soothe the internal agitation that seems to be a part of daily life now, let me add a couple of natural options to your toolkit. 

Whiskey Breathing.  Despite the name, this has nothing to do with alcohol.  It’s the clever moniker coined by the renowned Yoga teacher Lucas Rockwood.  Lucas teaches 3 different types of breathing in his popular TED talk: water breathing, breathing in for 4 counts and out for 4 counts, nourishes the body in the way that water does; whiskey breathing, breathing in for 4 counts, and out for 8 counts, has an effect on the body like a shot of whiskey, that is to say, it’s relaxing, and coffee breathing, which is counter to what we’re looking for here, so I’ll just let you watch the TED talk for that one.  But whiskey breathing where the out-breath is longer than the in-breath, is one way in which you can stimulate the vagus nerve.  So, try it with me now.  Breathe in through your nose, 1,  2,  3,  4, hold for a bit, then out slowly through your nose, 1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6,  7,  8.  Repeat 3 more times.

Stimulate the Vagus Nerve Through the Ear.  Another way to more directly stimulate the vagus nerve is through the acupuncture point on the ear.  You can use your fingernail to rub along the edge closest to the opening of the ear canal.  See the red highlight on the image below.

The vagus nerve, or cranial nerve X (that’s Roman Numeral 10, not the letter X) connects to about 90% of our internal organs.  Stimulating the vagus nerve calms the nervous system, lowers the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases blood flow in the fingers and toes (anyone with Raynaud’s will find this helpful), and it increases digestion.  It puts us in the rest and digest state of being.

Caution.  Be aware, for anyone who has been in a state of extreme stress or anxiety for an extended period of time, using either of these techniques may cause you to feel extremely tired.  When your body’s been in a state of high alert and you are likely also sleep deprived, moving your nervous system into a state of relaxation may cause you to suddenly feel very tired.  Maybe try it for the first time at night before bed.

I hope these techniques help you to sleep better, and allow you to navigate stressful situations with more ease.

Dr. Tronica

Book A Wellness Blueprint Call

How much would you give to sit across from an expert who was trained to help people just like you transform their health? Well, for anyone struggling with ongoing pain, fatigue or other health-related issues, the price would be quite high and worth every penny. But for a short time, for a small number of people, I’m offering that opportunity…without charge.

That’s right, with my Wellness Blueprint Call, you have the chance to work with me one on one, absolutely free. Typically a session like this is $300, but I’m waiving the fee for anyone who applies today.

Because I hold these calls personally, there are very few spots available, so if you’re serious about turning your health around and would like the guidance and support of a trained expert, use the calendar provided to apply for your session now.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.