Mindfulness, Hiring, Org Dev & Cool Stuff
Hello friends, 
Today we are going to talk about anxiety and then do a simple three minute practice to reduce your anxiety. Even if you don’t have anxiety, which you probably do and don’t realize it, this will help you chill out, and who doesn’t want to chill out? 
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population. And these numbers are representative of the people diagnosed with anxiety. In my experience, the number of undiagnosed anxiety is probably closer to 50%. This means that probably every family is impacted negatively by anxiety. Not happy news. So let’s transition to happy news. 
Anxiety disorders are highly treatable. I recently attended a neuroscience class hosted by UC Berkeley. The class focused on the role of the Vagus Nerve in anxiety and also provided an unbelievably simple technique to trigger a relaxation response in the Vagus Nerve. And as you know, relaxation is the opposite of anxiety. Let’s talk for a minute about the Vagus Nerve and them I’m going to walk you through the technique.
The vagus nerve represents the main component of the parasympathetic nervous system, which oversees many bodily functions, including mood, immune response, digestion, and heart rate. The vagus nerve plays a huge role in anxiety as it also transmits signals of nervousness or calm, anger or relaxation.
When we are subjected to real or perceived stressful situations, the sympathetic nervous system is activated. The sympathetic nervous system controls the well known fight or flight response. Anxiety is about flight, which is fear based. “I need to get away right now.” At the mild end, anxiety may be experienced as a mild nervousness or vague fear, maybe  restlessness. At the other end of the spectrum is the dreaded panic attack. A panic attack feels It’s like we are going to die, and we need to escape. We want to somehow jump out of our own bodies, and we can’t. This situation is terrifying.
As some of you know, I suffer from night terrors which are basically nightmares that result in panic attacks. I will have some gnarly dream and wake up in a full blown freak out. Heart pounding, feeling like I’m going to die, and die horribly, like maybe drowning while being eaten by a shark. Unbelievably scary. And I’ve been trying to control these suckers since I was about five years old. That’s fifty years. And I’m always searching for potential cures. 
And here I am a practicing psychotherapist, CEO of a company, meditation instructor, and educator. WTF? Well, I don’t know WTF, but I am a lot better at managing these things than I used to be and the technique I’m going to show you is a winner. And it’s so simple, ridiculously simple. Ready?
-Rick Breden, CEO
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