What stress and anxiety do to your body and two simple exercises to reduce the effects

Health & Happiness

What stress and anxiety do to your body and two simple exercises to reduce the effects

The last years with wars and pandemics, with more and more pressure and fear of the future, have left dark traces on many people. It's time to find ways out of fear and that's what this article is about.

To find a way out of anxiety and understand what this constant stress of the last year is doing to our bodies, we need to talk about the role of the vagus nerve in maintaining health and well-being. 

Within our nervous system, there is the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. One is driven by adrenaline, the fight-or-flight response the body produces to perceived threats. The other one is the opposite. It balances this response by promoting relaxation.

Based on medical research, the main regulator of the the parasympathetic part is the vagus nerve, the 10th cranial nerve. It originates in the brain stem and travels throughout the body after exiting the skull. 

It helps balance the effects of the sympathetic nervous system by reducing heart and respiratory rates. It signals the release of prolactin, vasopressin and oxytocin, all of which cause relaxation. This helps with memory formation, facilitates deep sleep, and reduces inflammation in our gut microbiome.

When the vegetative nervous system is under high stress, the sympathetic part permanently releases stress hormones. This release causes clear thinking and diversified opinion formation to become impossible, as the prefrontal cortext is partially or completely cut off from our brain's "emergency system." The only thing that still "governs" our brain at this point is the other extreme. Ascending Reticular Activation System, a network of neural connections in the brainstem. Everything we perceive enters our consciousness by passing through this system - it is our danger radar, sifting through the background noise of life to detect threats.

Stimulation of the neurons of the nuclear areas or their fibers causes activation of autonomic and motor systems. This means that it shifts the organism from an "awake resting state" to a state of heightened alertness. As a result, wakefulness increases, various functions are performed via the hypothalamus, and is associated with emotional and affective responses via the mimic system.

Interpreting the world with the this ascending reticular activation system, brings a variety of problems in our daily life and creates unwanted stress and anxiety. With high stress on the sympathetic nervous system and continuous release of stress hormones, our brain can no longer think clearly. You can't make clear decisions and generally feel exhausted, stressed and not very satisfied.

In such a state, we cling to the past and blame ourselves over our mistakes. Anxiety also drives us to worry about the future and worry about things that haven't even happened yet. In this way, we attach importance to past or future events at the expense of the present, where the true value of life lies.

How to reduce stress and anxiety in the body?

There are different ways to get out of this stress and anxiety cycle. A simple and efficient variant is regular sport or yoga. If you have a fit body and enough energy, your nervous system balances itself and is more resistant to stress.

In the ancient yoga teachings, the autonomic nervous system is given a very high importance. It is strengthened by means of specific breathing exercises and the so-called prana body (breathing body) is strengthened by them. This creates a certain resistance to stress.

Another very effective exercise is the vagus nerve smile. This involves smiling very extremely for 60 seconds without interruption. Without sound, but the corners of the mouth really pull up. It looks stupid, but it is very efficient. Since the vagus nerve also passes by our jaw on its wanderings, when we smile a message is sent to our brain that it should now release happiness hormones. In this exercise, fear and fight hormones are eaten by happiness hormones and a balance can be created!

But as always, all the good explanations and advice are of no use if you don't do it. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. That's why we invite you to try this "laughter" exercise once for 40 days. You want (or need) more? Add 3 minutes of fire breath, an exercise from Kundalini yoga, and watch how your stress is reduced bit by bit and your well-being increases. We wish you a lot of fun!

You might also like…

What stress and anxiety do to your body and two simple exercises to reduce the effects
My Ally Vision
myALLY für 14 Tage gratis testen!

myALLY für 14 Tage gratis testen!

Zugang zu Hunderten von Videos für Deine körperliche, geistige und spirituelle Entwicklung, Live-Workshops und Kontakt zu Gleichgesinnten, wo immer Du bist. In einer monatlichen oder jährlichen Mitgliedschaft.

CHF 44.– pro Monat
CHF 319.– pro Jahr(du sparst 40% / CHF 200.-)

Starte das kostenlose Probeabo


A concentrated load of knowledge from our experts and many useful tips and tricks, conveniently delivered to your mailbox every month.

❤️❤️ We work on Ally.Vision with passion. Thanks for your support! ❤️❤️