We’re eternally amazed and delighted that there is a science of compassion. Psychology Today recently wrote about the vagus nerve —
In 1921, a German physiologist named Otto Loewi discovered that stimulating the vagus nerve caused a reduction in heart rate by triggering the release of a substance he coined Vagusstoff (German: “Vagus Substance”). The “vagus substance” was later identified as acetylcholine and became the first neurotransmitter identified by scientists.
Vagusstuff is literally a tranquilizer that you can self-administer simply by taking a few deep breaths with long exhales. You can consciously tap the power of your vagus nerve to create inner-calm on demand. This knowledge alone should be enough to reduce the fear-of-fear-itself and give you grace under pressure next time you need it.
The article is aimed at athletes, but applies to all of us who aspire to keep calm and carry on compassionately. Here are their eight quick tips:
- Visualize the Vagus Nerve.
- Practice, Practice, Practice
- Create Flow by balancing skill and challenge.
- Reframe Priorites and Values
- Use neuroplasticity to re-wire habits of positive thinking
- Seek Daily Physicality.
- Anxiety is contagious: Avoid anxious people.
- Foster Loving & Kindness