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Hold 2017 in the palm of your hand

Photo by Annie Spratt

3 easy ways to improve your health in 2017

 

Every day, without any thought, the average person breathes in and out about 25,000 times.

We are not conscious of this fact and yet science shows us that conscious deep breathing can boost immunity, ward off depression and anxiety, lower blood pressure and even help you lose weight. ‘Breath holding’ is common in our hectic lifestyles and natural deep breathing gives way to short, sharp, held breaths.

Deep diaphragmatic breathing massages our internal vital organs, promotes deep inner peace, oxygenates the blood, energises the body and aids restful sleep. Try every morning before rising and before going to sleep breathing in for a count of 7 and out for a count 11, through the nose and allowing the abdomen to expand and relax.

 

Anatomical drawing of the vagus nerveThe vagus nerve, an integral part of the parasympathetic nervous system is the longest nerve in the body and you really need to know about it.

Known also as the ‘wandering nerve’ it is critical for optimal health and key to how you ‘rest and digest’. It is rooted in the brain stem and wanders down to the lowest visceral of your abdomen touching all your major organs along the way, including the heart. It constantly sends messages upstream from the gut to the brain and vice versa and is why you may suffer from diarrhoea when experiencing a worrying thought and why poor gut health can cause depression. When people say ‘trust your gut’ this really is referring to trusting the vagus nerve. As shown in the anatomical drawing much of this nerve system is in the abdomen.

The vagus nerve is the commander-in-chief and incredible recent research shows that if you have an active vagus nerve, cancer stage may no longer be important. It is vital for a long life.

Healthy vagus nerve tone is indicated by a slight increase of heart rate when you inhale and a decrease of heart rate when you exhale.  To activate the vagus nerve practice deep breathing as mentioned above, adopt daily physicality, laugh, foster loving kindness and embrace gratitude as a form of well-being.

 

Foster positive emotions – curiosity, love, joy, contentment, wonder and excitement.

Science tells us that cultivating just a modest amount of positive emotions  can activate the vagus nerve and in turn improve health overall.

Socrates said “wonder is the beginning of wisdom”.

Somewhere along the traverses of life child-like wonder can disappear but it is such a wonderful habit to adopt, to see each new day through the eyes of your younger self. Fostering these emotions have a positive impact on physical health carrying messages to our vital organs from the Amygdala in the brain, the centre for emotional processing.

The human body has an amazing capacity to regenerate and heal and the cultivation of the above healthy habits provide the ideal environment to begin the process.

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
― William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

 

 

 

 

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