Turn off Anxiety in Your Nervous System: 4 Ways to Turn on the Parasympathetic Response

Your brilliant, wise, beautiful body has a counterbalancing force to combat stress and anxiety. It’s called the parasympathetic response (that’s para as in parachute). And this is the body’s natural way of slowing down and creating a sense of calm and safety. Learn how you can use your body’s parasympathetic response to feel calmer and more grounded.

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Therapy in a Nutshell, LLC, and the information provided by Emma McAdam are solely intended for informational and entertainment purposes and are not a substitute for advice, diagnosis, or treatment regarding medical or mental health conditions. Although Emma McAdam is a licensed marriage and family therapist, the views expressed on this site or any related content should not be taken for medical or psychiatric advice. Always consult your physician before making any decisions related to your physical or mental health.

About Me:
I’m Emma McAdam. I’m a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and I have worked in various settings of change and growth since 2004. My experience includes juvenile corrections, adventure therapy programs, wilderness therapy programs, an eating disorder treatment center, a residential treatment center, and I currently work in an outpatient therapy clinic.

In therapy I use a combination of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Systems Theory, positive psychology, and a bio-psycho-social approach to treating mental illness and other challenges we all face in life. The ideas from my videos are frequently adapted from multiple sources. Many of them come from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, especially the work of Steven Hayes, Jason Luoma, and Russ Harris. The sections on stress and the mind-body connection derive from the work of Stephen Porges (the Polyvagal theory), Peter Levine (Somatic Experiencing) Francine Shapiro (EMDR), and Bessel Van Der Kolk. I also rely heavily on the work of the Arbinger institute for my overall understanding of our ability to choose our life’s direction.
And deeper than all of that, the Gospel of Jesus Christ orients my personal worldview and sense of security, peace, hope, and love

If you are in crisis, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at or 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or your local emergency services.
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  1. My extreme anxiety has developed into full on seizures. Probably 30 in the past year. Just got out of a week long stay in the hospital due to them and seriously in search of a way to calm myself , while in public. Tired of avoiding stressful situations and being unable to live up to my true potential. I appreciate this information in this most difficult time of my life so far. So much to live for and cant help feeling like a healthy spirit trapped in a rapidly deteriorating central nervous system. Thank you for your calming words and wise suggestions.

  2. I used to hear people say that they suffer from anxiety and stress and I never understood. Fast forward a few years and my Dad died , my Mom got Alzheimers and I found out I had stage 2 Renal Cancer. Unfortunately now I understand anxiety and stress and depression all too well. Hopefully your methods will help because I despise medications that come with a plethora of side effects that can be worse than the actual anxiety. ie. weight gain, headaches, constantly in a fog. I'll give it a try ✌❤

  3. Well I tried everything to get rid of anxiety but nothing worked, cou nselling I always eat healthy, exercise, meditation, then… I got covid real bad😢I survived, but my anxiety came back 3 fold, so now I'm on medication, a low dose 10mg,and after 3 weeks, life is great, no anxiety, no racing thoughts, sometimes we need a little help from the medical side of things🙂👍🇬🇧

  4. Just found this channel; I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks, mostly once I'm in bed because my brain keeps going and going. I do have Xanax but try not to use it because I feel "hung-over" the next morning. Best thing for me is to always have a fan going and have the air blow right at me. It really helps me.

  5. Bagel tone? I've never had a bagel talk back before…except a NY style bagel. When I opened the bag to look in on it it fired back, "AYE…THE FUCK ARE YOU LOOKIN' AT???"

  6. I have anxiety. And i haven't slept for weeks . I watch these kind of self-help during the day I get enourage and feel optimistic that I will get a good night's sleep. But when the time around my bedtime kicks in, I feel my anxiety rising to the point that I can hear my heartbeat in my ears. My anxiety has risen to the point that even hearing that word makes me feel anxious. And at the peak of anxiety ,all these advises just goes out the window and i have this urge to not exist anymore.

  7. I think as an anxiety sufferer we need to meditate, listen meditation music, do exercise, yoga, eat healthy and do breathing exercises daily. We are fragile and we need to work hard to train our bodies so when a situation comes we don't lose ourselves in an anxiety attack.

  8. Weirdly enough trying to check my pulse made me laugh idk if it was me being nervous or what but honestly it made me feel better 😌

  9. Did not know yhat yawning and softening the eyes help with anxiety. Thank you very much for doing this. Very helpful.

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