The power of our Vagus Nerve
The Vagus Nerve: our body's most important nerve.
The Vagus nerve, one of the longest nerves in the body, plays a crucial role in our well-being and health. With its influence on various bodily functions, understanding this nerve is essential for promoting well-being and reducing stress. Let's dive into the function and importance of the Vagus nerve, along with some helpful techniques for activating it.
Our autonomic nervous system consists of two main parts: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. They are responsible for regulating the unconscious functions of the body, but they have different functions and often work as opposites of each other.
The Vagus nerve, part of the parasympathetic nervous system, extends from the brain stem to the abdomen, and branches to various organs, including the heart, lungs, intestines, and stomach. It plays a crucial role in regulating important bodily functions such as heart rate, breathing, digestion, and even mood.
If we are tired and stressed and keep on being so, it means that the Vagus Nerve is not working properly. We get stuck in flight or flight mode and no longer relax well enough. Blood pressure rises and our heart beats too fast. And because of the stress, we feel rushed and breathe incorrectly. Namely, too short. Therefore, proper calm breathing is of enormous importance for our well-being.
Stress hormones such as the Adrenal gland, or adrenal glands, are working overtime. As is cortisol in the brain. Our body thinks we are in danger.
It is precisely the Vagus Nerve that is the connecting pathway between our organs and our brain 24 hours a day.
When the Vagus nerve is functioning properly, it can have numerous benefits for our health. It can help reduce stress, improve mood, strengthen the immune system, and even promote healthy digestion.
How can that Vagus nerve be activated?
- Deep breathing: Conscious, deep breathing exercises can activate the Vagus nerve and help calm the nervous system. Try breathing in slowly through the nose to the diaphragm, holding the breath for a moment, and then breathing out very slowly through the mouth.
- Gentle neck and throat stimulation: Gently massaging the back of the neck or touching the top of the mouth with the tongue can stimulate the Vagus nerve.
- Cold stimulation: A quick way to activate the Vagus nerve is through exposure to cold, such as a quick splash in cold water or rinsing the face with cold water.
- Laughing hard at a joke, a picture, a crazy "reel," having fun with your friends
- Singing with the music ( nice in the car, then it doesn't matter if you sing out of tune either) .
- Stretching and yawning as a break between your activities.
- Yoga and meditation: Practices such as yoga and meditation can help stimulate the Vagus nerve through deep breathing and relaxation techniques.
Applying these simple techniques DAILY can help activate and support the Vagus nerve.
Your body relaxes and proper breathing also gives you more energy. All this together makes for a perfect and strong immune system.
So you see: stress reduction and building a healthy body and head is super simple and costs nothing.