Vagus Nerve Related
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.
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  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
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
FDA Update on hand sanitizers (July 31)