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The Parasympathetic Pause

By Jodi Cohen

A woman presenting at a conference on the topic of "parasympathetic: turning up your body's ability to heal.

I’ll never forget, shortly after Max’s car accident, my friend Amy threw her 50th birthday party.  Amy and I met in a baby class as new moms and had been tight ever since.

It never occurred to me not to show up and help her celebrate her 50th trip around the sun.

But other people seemed shock to see me.

“How are you here?” one person asked.

Well, I drove here I answered, at the time not fully grasping that many had no conception on how they would survive a similar tragedy so it was easier to assume that I would shift into recluse mood.

Another asked “How do you even get up in the morning?”

At this point in the evening, I had consumed a glass of wine so, in my less inhibited state, I answered “Well, I usually need to pee, so that is a motivating factor.”

All kidding aside, I have long observed that people seem both surprised that I have been able to function in the aftermath of losing a child and curious about how I am able to function.

I attempted to answer this question in a live 5 minute speech this last weekend. Watch it below!


Transcript Below:

Many of you know that my 12 year old son Max was killed in a car accident shortly after Mindshare 3 years ago.  You may even know that I received an overcomer award from this community one year later for my ability to navigate through the loss.

What you probably don’t know is HOW?

HOW  do I manage to get up every morning and function?  HOW was I able to double my business, write a bestselling book, launch a successful summit, and show up for my customers, my team and surviving daughter? And most importantly, HOW can whatever I stumbled into doing right benefit you, your family, your friends, your clients and the future of health?

Would that feel helpful to know?

It’s actually quite accessible and simple.

It is the power to gear shift your entire physiology, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well by intentionally shifting your nervous system – out of fight or flight and into flow.

Let me share HOW it has helped me.

In the months following the accident, two of Max’s closest friends also passed away.  I learned that my ex, the driver, was operating under the influence prompting the threat of two aggressive lawsuits and my dad’s health took a sudden turn for the worse.

As I sat holding my dying father’s hand, a  wrongful death attorney called to share a doom and gloom scenario that set off a fight or flight tsunami.  I could literally feel my heart exploding in my chest, the effort to take a breath was almost overwhelming.  He insisted that I needed to make a decision in that instant.

So I did. I hung up on him.

I knew I was too flooded with stress hormones to think clearly. So I walked outside with the sole intention of “gear shifting” out of fight or flight and into flow.

As I activated my parasympathetic nervous system, a miraculous thing began to happen.  I began to see possibilities.  I realized I did not need to make a decision that day from a place of panic, but had time to gather more information and explore other options.

Our Autonomic Nervous System controls the things we do automatically, like breathe, digest and detoxify. when it senses danger resources are allocated to keep us alive.

Anything not critical to survival, including our ability to calm down and think clearly, are shut down.

It is not just physical danger, like a close call on the freeway, that triggers fight or flight … It can be psychological danger like fear, anger or grief.

It’s far too easy to trigger fight or flight.

But most people don’t know how to turn it off and that’s the problem

So we get stuck in fight or flight contributing to a viscous cycle that destroys our current and future health.

The question is…  how can we –  even in stressful moments – gearshift out of the “sympathetic state of fight or flight… into the “parasympathetic state” of flow?

We do it by using what I call the “Para-sympathetic … Pause.

And how do we do that?

The answer lies in the longest nerve in our body that most people have never heard of that serves as the gear shift between fight or flight and flow.  the vagus nerve – V-A-G-U-S.  It starts at the base of the brain, splits and winds around both sides of the neck, where it is most accessible behind the earlobe on our mastoid bone.

Gear shifting into parasympathetic flow can be counter intuitive,

We Don’t Sedate… We stimulate.

We can do that with box breathing, cold plunges or my personal favorite (SMILE) – dab a stimulatory blend of essential oils behind your earlobe.

When we stimulate our parasympathetic nervous system, it gear shifts into flow and everything feels easier and more manageable.

This is my HOW – my Parasympathetic Pause.

It helps not only my emotional state, but my physical health as well.  I can focus, sleep, and move without pain.

Next time something goes wrong and your fight or flight response kicks into high gear. Remember the parasympathetic pause.

It could be the key to your future health and benefit the future of health.


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About The Author

Jodi Cohen

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.