Did you know that we typically have 60,000 thoughts or more a day? Did you also know that most of these thoughts were negative?
Even if you were aware of the number of negative thoughts you were having every day and made a concerted effort to change these thoughts, do you know why it is so hard to actually change these thoughts?
It all comes down to physiology, or the inner workings of your body. The body becomes addicted to its own neurochemicals that are released.
Negative thinking stimulates the “fight or flight” response in the body which stimulates the release of adrenaline and cortisol. This release of these hormones keep our brains and bodies happy because they are receiving a “hit” of these neurochemicals.
As with any addiction, more and more of the substance is required to satisfy the craving. In order to keep the levels of adrenaline and cortisol up, we actively seek out negative thoughts or things to be aggravated or upset by or experiences with which to be offended.
In women, this activation of adrenaline and cortisol blocks the flow of oxytocin. In women, oxytocin is required in order to feel safe, connected, and at peace.
Negative thinking increases stress. Stress is what happens when you feel like you don’t have the capacity to cope with what is going on. It is also what you feel when you are doing things you don’t want to be doing or you feel you don’t have the power to say no to.
If you are walking around all day saying “I can’t do this. I am no good at this. I am stupid, etc.” you are constantly activating the release of cortisol and adrenaline. You are constantly signaling stress to your body.
In women, the hormone that decreases adrenaline is oxytocin. As oxytocin levels increase adrenaline levels decrease.
As oxytocin levels go up it now becomes possible for women to get out of the negative thinking loop. It now becomes possible for us women to actively think positively and gain control over our thinking.
As we start to control our thinking, we start to control our lives. As we take back control of our lives, our stress levels will go down dramatically.
How do we increase our oxytocin levels? We simply allow breaths that stimulate the vagus nerve.
The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the body. This nerve starts in the brain and ends at the top of the belly button. It connects the mind to the body.
When the vagus nerve is activated, heart rate goes down, blood pressure goes down, oxytocin levels go up and it helps us relax into our own bodies.
To activate the vagus nerve, relax your shoulders and your tongue. Allow a deep, loving belly inhale. Exhale through your mouth while keeping your tongue relaxed and make a joyful and pleasurable sound. It is this joyful and pleasurable sound that activates the vagus nerve. It gives the message of peace to the mind and body. The power of this breath comes through the pleasurable sound.
Do a set of 5 vagus breaths or more at a time. To train your brain to release oxytocin, take 60-70 of these breaths throughout the day (or more).
As you continue to take these vagus breaths each day, you will be gaining control over your negative thinking and control over your stress. This is wonderful self-care.