So, one of the things we deal with here in Florida are hurricanes. They're annoying, uncertain, potentially deadly, and basically cause a pretty big stir in life whether it hits us or not. Even if you have not had to deal with the devastation of a large hurricane, like how Dorian demolished Abaco, Bahamas; the shear anxiety that comes with an impending storm is enough to cause a stress induced anxiety that can be damaging to the mind and body. Lets first discuss what anxiety is and how it's harmful.
Anxiety.org states "Anxiety is the mind and body's reaction to stressful, dangerous, or unfamiliar situations." It's being worried about an event before an event occurs. While we need anxiety to help us feel alert and aware, too much anxiety is damaging. Prolonged anxiety can lead to increased body weight, abdominal fat, high blood pressure, changes in stress hormones, autonomic responses (rest and digest) and systemic inflammation. So, while anxiety of an impending storm is necessary to keep us alive, once we combine this storm stress with our everyday stressors - we're potentially revving up an already weakened system.
When a potential hurricane is on the horizon, it elicits a sort of panic that may make people behave in a pretty bad way. These behaviors can cause a chain reaction and elicit more anxiety in others and so on. What if I told you that your body has everything it needs to counter anxiety. Would you believe me?
The vegas nerve connects your brain to your abdomen. It's a communication superhighway between your brain and your gut. When stimulated, it actually regulates inflammation and relaxation in the body. 95% of your body's serotonin is produced in your gut, in the enteric nervous system which governs your gastrointestinal tract. This brain-gut axis is now shown to be incredibly important to our psychiatric and G.I. disorders. It's pretty simple to learn ways to help regulate the vegas nerve. Massage, acupuncture, meditation, laughing, singing, chanting mantras, and yoga to name a few. Even just taking deep belly breaths will help improve your vegal tone. Other lifestyle enhancements to improve vegal tone include, excercises and quality nourishment.