You’ve probably heard the expression, “Don’t forget to breathe.”
That’s excellent advice for the holidays.
In an NPR interview, Dr. Esther Sternberg compared the body’s stress response to a speeding car. This releases chemicals and hormones. Prolonged exposure to these substances can impair your immune system.
Dr. Sternberg: “When you are stressed, you have your foot on the gas, pedal to the floor. When you take slow, deep breaths, that is what is engaging the brake.”
Deep abdominal breathing stimulates the vagus nerve. That’s the main nerve of the relaxation response. The nerve activates a neurotransmitter that naturally relaxes your body and reduces inflammation.
If the holiday season has you a bit stressed, don’t forget that simple instruction… Breathe. It couldn’t be easier.
“Just Breathe: Body Has A Built-In Stress Reliever” Gretchen Cuda, NPR, 12/6/10, npr.org