Using The Vagus Nerve

Using The Vagus Nerve

What is The Vagus Nerve?

The vagus nerve helps our body counterbalance the fight or flight system response and can induce relaxation within our body. The vagus nerve runs down from our brain into our body and helps us function on a daily basis. There are multiple ways that the vagus nerve can be activated to help alleviate a soothing response while facing a stressful situation. The vagus nerve has also been used to work miracles in helping combat anxiety and panic disorders.

How Can I Activate the Vagus Nerve?

  1. Deep Belly Breathing
    1. Take slow deep breaths in order to allow more oxygen to enter your body and to decrease stress and anxiety felt in the moment. Exhale for double the amount of time that you inhale.
  2. Cold Water
    1. Use cold water to immerse your face/body/parts of your body.
  3. Laughter
    1. This can help boost your immune system and mood while stimulating the vagus nerve.
  4. Foot massage
    1. Massage on the feet can stimulate the vagus nerve and promote relaxation.
  5. Singing/Humming
    1. Play your favorite song and sing or hum along to elevate your mood while activating your vagus nerve at the same time.

Oftentimes when we are stressed, we tend to hold our breaths in anticipation of the event we are in and this can lead to a physiological/mental shutdown. However, with these tips hopefully you will be able to self-regulate to promote relaxation by using the power of the vagus nerve. Allowing our bodies to reset after stressful periods is very important to avoid a multitude of health problems and to be the best version of ourselves.

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