Let’s face it- we all feel a bit stressed sometimes. Stress looks different on each person, but a huge majority of us are bombarded with stressful circumstances every day.
A little stress is a good thing! The stress of gravity keeps our muscles from atrophying, and our stress response saves us in life-threatening situations. However, stress can have a negative impact on both our emotional well-being and crucial systems of the body. We may get stuck in a ‘fight or flight,’ constantly reliving embarrassing or traumatic situations or worrying about the next dreadful thing that is going to happen. This can impact your hormone levels, which results in wear and tear on the body.
Fortunately, our bodies contain a powerful ability to heal and turn off our fight-or-flight response through a part of our nervous system called the vagus nerve. In this article, I explore what the vagus nerve is and how you can take advantage of it to rewire your mind.
What is the Vagus Nerve?
The vagus nerve is the main component of the parasympathetic nervous system. While the sympathetic nervous system controls your fight-or-flight response, the parasympathetic nervous system controls the opposite ‘rest-and-digest' conditions.
This nerve is the 10th cranial nerve and by far the longest and most complex. It runs from the brain through the face, connecting to various organs and functions such as the voice, heart, lungs, stomach, and bowels.
The word “vagus” stems from the Latin meaning of “wandering” or “straying” because of its presence throughout the body.
Think of the vagus branch as a telephone wire connecting your various bodily systems.
As you might expect, dysfunction of this branch can result in a variety of health problems. Oftentimes, this occurs because our brain and bodies have memorized being in a stress state. Therefore, the pathways of the Vagus branch weaken.
Why Stimulate the Vagus Nerve
When the vagus nerve is stimulated and functionality is restored, your heart rate decreases, the intestines are stimulated, and the immune system is turned on. Your speech becomes more prosodic and calming, your urine and bowel functions can improve, and you generally slow down.
Vagus nerve stimulation is incredibly powerful for those dealing with anxiety, trauma, feelings of insecurity, general fear, digestive issues, and more.
How to Restore Function to the Vagus Nerve
There are many ways to stimulate the vagus branch and downregulate the nervous system. These methods help your mind and body let go of tension and trauma and relearn a sense of safety, security, and belonging.
One of the most effective and easiest ways to stimulate the pathways of the vagus nerve and retrain the brain to utilize these pathways more efficiently is through deep breathing. In my EPT™ sessions, deep breathing is incorporated into every step of the process. Deep breathing tells our brain that conditions are safe, as the vagus nerve is connected to the diaphragm.
Think about it: If your body is preparing to fight or flee from a scene, your heart is going to start pumping your blood harder to prepare muscles to contract and get moving and your breathing is going to accelerate. Deep breathing does the opposite and reminds the body that all is well.
There are many different kinds of breathing techniques to explore, but stimulating the vagus nerve can be as simple as inhaling through the nose over 8 counts and exhaling through the mouth over 8 counts. Focus on widening the rib cage 360 degrees and releasing the belly and pelvic floor.
Any kind of mindfulness or meditation is very effective for relieving pressure from the mind, naturally lowering anxiety and promoting safety. This is the reason EPT™ is such a powerful modality for healing the mind and body. Through affirmations and forgiveness statements, you rewire the brain to see your past circumstances from a clearer, more loving perspective.
This allows you to let go of desperation to change things in your life and instead feel safe, secure, and grateful for every obstacle and experience.
To begin the journey of healing your mind and body by restoring functionality to the vagus nerve, book your consultation with me, Jolisa Clare.
Other easy at-home methods to stimulate the vagus nerve include:
Gargling with water, singing, or humming
Cold therapies such as an ice pack on your chest, cold water on your face, or a cold shower
Exercise & yoga
Work with an Emotional Polarity Technique™ Therapist
If you have a muscular imbalance causing you discomfort, you would likely see a physical therapist so they can give you the proper exercise to get back to a functional state. So why wouldn’t you do the same for your mind and nervous system?
By approaching our healing from a place of forgiveness and compassion with EPT™, we can truly let go of this memorized state of stress and inspire safety and balance in the mind, body, and spirit.
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The vagus nerve is a pretty miraculous part of the body, showing how we really are designed to soothe and heal ourselves. While all of this power is within you, the process can be a lot simpler with the help of a professional.
Obstacles don’t just disappear in life, but with the right tools, we can navigate towards success. Knowledge is power, and by working with me, you will unlock your power to the energy within your body. You will learn how to optimize your mind and body to release trauma and restore balance within.