TikTok user Ashly Burch shared helpful tips for stress management that she learned from a psychologist that can hopefully improve mental health!
Ashly explains that the amygdala plays an important role in stress management. It’s part of the body’s limbic system, which helps you process emotions and fear specifically. Ashly uses the example of seeing a lion. If this were to happen, your body would immediately release adrenaline, signaling your flight or fight response.
To calm your amygdala and your body’s fear response, Ashly says that activating your vagus nerve will help and claims that if you activate the vagus nerve while you’re having an anxiety attack, it will send signals to your amygdala to stop the fear response.
To activate your vagus nerve, you can try:
- loud gargling with water
- sucking on an ice cube
- taking a cold shower
- extremely deep breathing
These actions can convince your amygdala into thinking you’re not in any imminent danger and don’t need to feel fear or anxiety, says Burch. The vagus nerve can send a message to your body saying that it’s time to relax. This can play a part in promoting long-term improvements in mood and wellbeing.
By developing an understanding of the workings of your vagus nerve, you may find it possible to work with your nervous system rather than feel trapped when it works against you, says Dr. Arielle Schwartz, Clinical Psychologist.
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