The effect of stress takes a nasty toll on your life. But it doesn’t just damage your psyche. It harms your body too.

Stress increases dangerous inflammatory factors called cytokines… damages the hippocampus, causing memory loss and mood disorders… reduces the brain’s ability to repair itself… increases abdominal fat… interferes with thyroid function… and even increases the stickiness of the blood (which can lead to dangerous clots).

But there’s something very simple you can do to help alleviate the effects of stress. Stimulate your vagus nerve.

The vagus nerve controls the relaxation response through the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. And this anti-stress machine can be turned on in a matter of minutes.

Here is the exercise.

Take a deep breath into your belly to the count of five. Pause. Breathe out slowly to the count of five. Keep your belly soft. Repeat 5 times.

With this simple and effective exercise, you instantly reduce your levels of cortisol and help your body get back to a peaceful state of balance.

In addition to a few minutes a day of soft-belly breathing, you can bolster your body’s defenses against stress by engaging in regular vigorous exercise, eating a clean diet of healing foods, and enjoying fresh air and sunlight.

Comment on this article

Kelley Herring is the Founder & CEO of Healing Gourmet – a multimedia company that educates on how foods promote health and protect against disease. As a young adult, Kelley battled a debilitating health condition that went misdiagnosed by multiple doctors for more than a year. Finding no help from “modern medicine”, she turned to her own knowledge of biochemistry and her passion for health research. She soon learned that her symptoms were related to nutrition and within weeks, she charted a course back to health with nothing more than simple lifestyle changes and the power of the plate. The lessons she learned spawned the creation of Healing Gourmet.
Kelley is a firm believer in vigorous exercise, moderate sun exposure and delicious, healthy, home-cooked meals. She is also the creator of Healing Gourmet’s Personalized Nutrition Software and Editor-in-Chief of the Healing Gourmet book series published by McGraw-Hill including Eat to Fight Cancer, Eat to Beat Diabetes, Eat to Lower Cholesterol and Eat to Boost Fertility.

Kelley Herring

Kelley Herring is the Founder & CEO of Healing Gourmet – a multimedia company that educates on how foods promote health and protect against disease. As a young adult, Kelley battled a debilitating health condition that went misdiagnosed by multiple doctors for more than a year. Finding no help from “modern medicine”, she turned to her own knowledge of biochemistry and her passion for health research. She soon learned that her symptoms were related to nutrition and within weeks, she charted a course back to health with nothing more than simple lifestyle changes and the power of the plate. The lessons she learned spawned the creation of Healing Gourmet.
Kelley is a firm believer in vigorous exercise, moderate sun exposure and delicious, healthy, home-cooked meals. She is also the creator of Healing Gourmet’s Personalized Nutrition Software and Editor-in-Chief of the Healing Gourmet book series published by McGraw-Hill including Eat to Fight Cancer, Eat to Beat Diabetes, Eat to Lower Cholesterol and Eat to Boost Fertility.