Did you know there is a simple hack to calm down and think clearly that is left behind by our distant ancestors? And it only takes a few moments.
Simply holding your breath whilst splashing water on your face activates a primal relaxation process called The Mammalian Dive Reflex.
Found in all mammals, receptors around the nostrils detect cold water and primitive reflexes left behind in our neurology cause an instant relaxation response.
Despite the fact that the majority of mammalian species have lost many of the biological ties that connect us to the oceans, such as lungs not functioning particularly well underwater, we are still inherently related to our ocean dwelling ancestors and the diving reflex is a remnant of some of the features that allowed those relatives of the past to survive in the aquatic environment.
So this reflex is there to prepare us for submersion in water. As the water hits your face, your whole body calms down in preparation for oxygen restriction.
Research has found that this process activates your vagus nerve, which is the nerve system in the body that slows down your breathing, your heart rate and reduces anxious thinking.
This is also a great thing to do before going to sleep if you’ve had a busy day. If you want to take this to another level, try and get a few quick swims in to your schedule, because this response activated regularly will actually improve your ability to stay calm in stressful situations.
So the next time you’re feeling fatigued or worried at work, are anxious before giving a presentation or someone is bothering you, rather than grab another coffee, go (very) old school and splash some cold water on your face!
#anxiety #stress #mammaliandivereflex #divereflex