The Little Known Key to Reducing Stress: The Vagus Nerve
So…what’s the big deal with the Vagus Nerve?
Well, the Vagus Nerve is the biggest cranial nerve (translation: head nerve) and starts in the brain, moves through the head and throat, down through the chest to the abdomen.
It contains parasympathetic fibres that supply some muscles along the way, but it also helps with a calming control of things like heart rate, breathing, and digestion.
There is an increasing amount of research into the role of the Vagus Nerve in stress, mood and emotions, and stimulation of this nerve can help manage all these and more.
Six Ways to Stimulate your Vagus Nerve
The Vagus Nerve innervates muscles in the throat – so of course, using your voice helps to stimulate it! Singing, humming, meditative ‘OMs’ all help to activate this nerve.
Put your favourite song on at home or in the car, and sing your heart out!
Similarly, laughing stimulates this nerve, and laughing helps
Join a laughing group (meetup.com), watch a great comedy, or just start laughing with a friend – it is contagious!
3. Get Cold!
Cold stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (and hence the Vagus Nerve).
- Splash cold water on your face,
- Brace a hot/cold shower in the morning
- Spend some time outside in the morning with a few less layers before you head out for the day!
4. Gut Health – probiotics, fermented food, diet
A healthy balance of gut bacteria can help too! Healthy bacteria activates the Vagus Nerve.
How do you achieve a good balance of healthy bacteria in your gut?
- Cut out processed food
- Cut out sugar
- Include probiotics and fermented food in your diet
- Use of digestives or digestive enzymes with a meal to enhance digestion
Exercise! Moving your body – even 20 minute walk twice a day, or pop some music on and dance (and sing) along.
6. Use of essential oils
Diffuse these beautiful pure oils and use them topically, blend together for a synergistic effect.
- DDR Prime – cellular health complex
To use topically, dilute and apply to soles of pulse points, over heart, soles of feet, spine, back of neck, and DigestZen on stomach.