Vagus Nerve Related


Longer Exhalations Are an Easy Way to Hack Your Vagus Nerve

Follow-up to a nine-part series, “The Vagus Nerve Survival Guide to Combat Fight-or-Flight Urges.” The genesis came from an “Aha!” moment when I noticed a pattern of diverse scientific literature published by researchers correlating unexpected lifestyle factors (e.g., positive social connections ), narrative expressive writing, and self-distancing  with improved heart rate variability (HRV). Practicing  breathing via longer exhalations for just two minutes appears to be an easy way to hack the vagus nerve and calm one’s nervous system. One gadget-free way to track the timing of your inhalation-to-exhalation breathing cycles per minute is to use a 4:8 ratio of four-second inhalations and eight-second exhalations.

A Vagus Nerve Survival Guide to Combat Fight-or-Flight Urges


Otto Loewi (1873–1961): Dreamer and Nobel laureate

Otto Loewi was a German-born pharmacologist and psychobiologist who discovered the role of acetylcholine as an endogenous neurotransmitter. For his discovery he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1936. The idea for his prize-winning experiment came to him in a dream

The night before Easter Sunday of [1920] I awoke, turned on the light and jotted down a few notes on a tiny slip of thin paper. Then I fell asleep again. It occurred to me at 6.00 o’clock in the morning that during the night I had written down something important, but I was unable to decipher the scrawl. The next night, at 3.00 o’clock, the idea returned. It was the design of an experiment to determine whether or not the hypothesis of chemical transmission that I had uttered 17 years ago was correct. I got up immediately, went to the laboratory, and performed a simple experiment on a frog heart according to the nocturnal design.”


Meditations from Chris Germer. Some of them focus on self-compassion



The Urgency of Spiritual Care: COVID-19 and the Critical Need for Whole-Person Palliation

The role of spirituality in the COVID-19 pandemic: a spiritual hotline project


At a Loss (Psychology Today, July, 2020)

Grief has always been a difficult emotion in America, and the COVID crisis throws into bold relief what happens when grief has—quite literally—nowhere to go. The evidence suggests that most people summon strength and powers of reflection that far surpass their own expectations.

COVID-19 and General Health

Is COVID-19 Triggering Diabetes?


The FDA’s list of dangerous hand sanitizers has now grown to more than 100 (Aug 3)

FDA Update on hand sanitizers (July 31)