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Grown Ups Need a Pacifier Too


Take a deep breath! I think the holidays approaching this year is more of a relief than usual. It is something special in this odd time in history where there is no predictability or things to look forward to. Stick with me for a moment, if you have kids, remember a binky? It is a pacifier that we give to our kids when they are upset to comfort them. Our children may have used it to fall asleep at night.

Remember how tethered (for some literally-you hooked it to their outfit) we were to that? You freaked out if you lost it! Well, I would like to say as adults we still need one. We still need a point of focus to access the deepest recesses of our parasympathetic nervous system to calm ourselves. That is all a pacifier is.

The beauty is we have one. Our breath. Our breath accesses the deepest lobes of our lungs to stimulate calm in our body. The phrenic nerve (the nerve for the respiratory system) is unique in that it is voluntary and involuntary. It is involuntary in that I don't have to think about breathing. My body just does it, thank goodness! Although, it is also voluntary as when I decide to get involved in the process powerful benefits get stimulated. One of those benefits is it tones the vagus nerve. This nerve wanders through the whole body calming everything down among many functions.

So, as the heat rises in stress as this year comes to a close with the holidays, use your pacifier, the breath. Utilize that deep diaphragmatic (the phrenic nerve provides motor control to this muscle) breath to calm you down and bring clarity.


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