The Vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the autonomous nervous system & passes though the ear, facial muscles, throat, diaphragm, lungs, belly and digestive system. When you feel anxiety or fear this is the vagus nerve in action and it can have a debilitating physical response in the body. This being part of the fight or flight response, in the distant past this could have been imperative in keeping us alive. However, today our more sedentary lifestyle it affects us in much more subtle ways, for instance, IBS, shaking,nausea, stress, anxiety, tinnitus, panic attacks.
Feeling anxious, stressed or panicked causes shallow chest breathing, making us tense and have tightness in the chest - learning to manage our breathing can really help us to feel more calm and relaxed.
A breathing technique which can be helpful is Straw breathing:-
Sit comfortably with a straight back, face, neck & shoulders relaxed.
Place straw or imagine having one
Slowly exhale - don't blow - slowly
Exhale until your lungs are approximately 80 percent empty
Close your mouth & slowly exhale the last 20 percent through your nose
really try to engage the muscles in your abdomen & diaphragm to expel all of the air
Take a few normal breathes to normalise your breath - then repeat.
Practice 5 minutes per day
This exercise can help to soothe your nervous system.