The Truth of Happiness

A girl with mid-length brown hair, with black doodles over her head.  On the left "Truth of Happiness" is written in purple.

SCIENCE HAS PROVEN that by doing certain things and activating one of the most important nerves in our bodies we can actually physiologically change the impact of stress on our bodies. Read more for stress tips for teens and to learn about the simple truth and science of happiness.

These studies are on our body’s longest cranial nerve, the VAGUS NERVE, it’s a nerve that connects our brain to all our major organs such as heart, lungs and gut, eyes, liver, tongue and more. The stimulation of this nerve produces a relaxing response in our bodies.

A graph, at the top "longest nerve links to all major organs". Below, in the middle "vagus nerve" in big, bold letters, with arrows pointing to different coloured circles, each with a different word "heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, throat and tongue, tummy, eyes"

Truth and Science of Happiness

In today’s world we live in a constant state of rush, stress with endless deadlines, and need to get everything done. We do not get enough time to just relax, imagine bushmen in the jungle, sure they had many fight or flight moments but for most of the day they just relaxed. Our current society is nothing like that, we are all super busy and many of us don’t even know how to be still and enjoy boredom and relax. That’s why it is so important for us as teens to find stress tips.

When we are in the state of stress, in the fight and flight mode, the vagus nerve’s abilities are suppressed by our innate will to survive (unfortunately our body doesn’t distinguish between stress caused by a chasing tiger or the traffic jam that is causing us to be late for school). When we are in a state of stress, our heart starts to race, we often get palpitations, we get a dry mouth, increase swallowing, we get tension in our tummy and even go to the bathroom more. I’m not sure how these helped our ancestors except for the increased heart rate to run faster, but these are real symptoms of stress.  And prolonged stress has definite bad long term effects on our body.  All of this is caused by suppression of vagus nerve stimulation. 

This is so simple, we just need to activate and stimulate our vagus nerve!  The best thing about it is that we can do that on our own with no special skills or expensive props required. 

Girl with long, blonde hair wearing graduation cap and holding a book open.  Behind her are doodles and the word "science".

This solution comes in the form of Small Bits of Happiness!

Yes, studies really have proven that things as simple as calming breaths, taking walks outdoors, watching funny videos or comedies, drinking hot beverages that we enjoy such as tea, hot cocoa, or coffee, singing, can in fact activate the vagus nerve and help us calm down and feel better. There really is a science to happiness!

For example as we wrote earlier the vagus nerve is connected to many parts of our bodies including our vocal cords, so doing something as simply and enjoyable as humming our favorite song, singing in a shower, choir or one of my favorite things, singing in the car, will active your your vagus nerve and make you feel more relaxed. 

Since the vagus nerve is connected to so many body parts, see this BIT for other ways to stimulate the vagus nerve, and feel calmer. 

We hope that knowing about the vagus nerve and how to activate it gives you a small bit of happiness.


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Featuring quick videos created for teens by teens.

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