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The Social Vagus

"Stress puts people into the sympathetic, fight-or- flight state. We weren’t meant to live there, though—we either escape the tiger or vanquish it, and the moment is over. Except now we live with mental tigers—jobs we hate, relationships that are breaking down, a constant media barrage of terrorism and impending doom from disease. I’ve tried to get my patients to understand the importance of keeping out of the sympathetic state. I thought I was doing them a favor by emphasizing the “opposite,” the parasympathetic system. But it turned out I was wrong."


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