If you have ever wished to make stress go away at the push of a button, you’re not alone.
Living in today’s busy world means that we’re constantly under pressure: from deadlines at work, to running errands, paying your bills, doing the dishes and caring for your family…
It is all too easy to fall prey to anxiety, stress, leading to burnout if we’re not careful!
This pent up stress can make you feel disconnected from your body, sluggish, and worn out. Not to mention that it might cause more serious health issues later on…
As a woman who wants to make a difference in the world, with a big entrepreneurial vision, a loving family, friends, and projects galore, I can say that I’ve been there myself.
There was a time in my life when I worked on my job on weekdays, and built my company on weekends — overworking and under resting, leaving myself almost zero downtime to recharge from this vicious cycle…
And even though I’ve been a longtime health and wellbeing advocate, the fast pace of life led to me forgetting how to find my own balance and nurture myself!
I eventually hit a wall and made a powerful decision to change my life, get back on track and fulfill my purpose.
Through mentorship and my own research I found powerful proven methods, tools and processes to be able to balance my self care, motherhood, business and my purpose work full time.
Eventually I not only found my way back to living a vibrant, healthy life, I now lead thousands along that path as well — and my previous struggle is far too common, and you may be looking for a natural way to release stress and bring yourself back to center.
That’s why I want to introduce you to a marvelous component of our wonderful bodies:
The vagus nerve!
This is a little-known element of our nervous systems, and it holds the key to breaking the cycle of constant stress we may experience in our life…
You could think about it as your body’s ‘reset button’ that brings you back to a healthy state of peace, calm and bliss — releasing stress, anxiety and stuck emotions in an instant!
Where is the vagus nerve and what does it do?
The vagus nerve is one of the most important nerves in our body, and it’s the longest nerve of the autonomic nervous system. It originates in our brain stem, and extends down into our chest and abdomen.
This extensive path down our bodies gave this nerve its name: the meaning of vagus in Latin is ‘wanderer’, and just like its name suggests, this nerve wanders through a large part of our body.
As you might imagine, there’s an important reason why this cranial nerve connects our brain to our vital organs — it carries motor and sensory information, and supplies nerve endings to our heart, major blood vessels, airways, lungs, esophagus, stomach and intestines.
It helps regulate your heart rate, blood pressure, gastrointestinal tract, and immune system, among other major functions.
But its crucial role doesn’t stop there: the vagus nerve is the major parasympathetic nervous system in our bodies — which means that it’s nature’s way to balance the ‘fight or flight’ response (aka, stress!).
When you have a healthy vagus nerve, you develop a healthy response to stress. You’re able to respond mindfully to stressors, instead of having a ‘knee-jerk reaction’ to triggering situations.
A healthy vagal tone will support you in having a balanced mental and emotional state, improving your physical condition and promoting social bonds through empathy.
It allows you to become more resilient, calmer, clear-headed and compassionate. This nerve also becomes activated when you feel compassion and empathy, helping you create meaningful bonds with others.
What happens when you stimulate the vagus nerve?
As you have seen, the vagus nerve is a powerhouse in our bodies!
When we stimulate it, we go from the ‘fight or flight’ response, to the pleasant physical state called ‘rest and digest.’
This is the state where our bodies recover, and properly digest the nutrients from the food we ingest. It’s our body’s ‘nurturing mode.’
When the vagus nerve is stimulated, it slows the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and your cortisol levels — and this regulation of cortisol cascades multiple benefits by positively impacting the rest of your hormones.
How the vagus nerve reduces stress and boosts your well-being
You might have heard this before, but cortisol is known as the ‘stress’ hormone. In itself, it’s not a bad thing — just a survival mechanism that helps us face danger.
However, in today’s busy world, we’re triggering this response mechanism far too often, and we’re out of balance as a result.
The amazing news is that you can stimulate your vagus nerve to obtain an array of wonderful physical benefits: increase flexibility, strength, stamina, reduce inflammation, alleviate migraines.
Stimulating this nerve also leads to better mental health — it helps us with stress reduction, reduces anxiety and worry, it allows us to tap into a calm state, and even improved focus.
This is also one of the natural ways to increase energy levels, and if you have struggled to maintain or achieve your ideal weight, learning how to increase your vagal tone might just be the breakthrough you were looking for…
Its effect over cortisol levels makes the vagus nerve a powerful ally to achieve our ideal weight, by helping us release weight induced from stress.
The impact of the vagus nerve is powerful and far-reaching, and doesn’t end with the conditions mentioned above…
It also improves other ailments such as anxiety disorders, heart disease, tinnitus, obesity, leaky gut, poor blood circulation, mood disorder, depression, fibromyalgia, bulimia nervosa, poor memory, and more.
Isn’t this amazing?
Now that we know how crucial the vagus nerve is to maintaining a healthy state, we’re ready to learn how to reap all the benefits of improving your vagal tone!
How do you tap into the power of the vagus nerve?
You don’t have to be a master in neuroscience or use any complicated brain hacking methods to unleash the well-being benefits mentioned above.
There are some natural, simple, yet powerful ways to stimulate your vagus nerve. Some techniques can even be fun, or you might be doing them unknowingly (hint: if you sing in the shower, you’re on the right track!)
Some of the most common ways to increase your vagal tone are:
Doing some cold plunging in the ocean, a river or a lake is a great way to increase your vagal tone!
If you have no regular access to any of these bodies of water, it’s ok! You can still stimulate your vagus nerve by taking cold showers on a regular basis.
Deep, slow breathing:
A powerful tool to help us come back to center, the power of our breath has been used for ages to calm our minds and improve our well-being.
This is one of the easiest methods to stimulate the vagus nerve: just take a couple of minutes each day to breathe slowly, grounding yourself on your body and the present moment. You’ll feel the difference right away!
Humming and chanting:
Since the vagus nerve helps control certain muscles in the throat and the voicebox, you can stimulate it by humming and chanting!
Softly humming a familiar melody or singing your heart out to your favorite song will help you release stress, and brighten your mood!
Most of us (including me!) only do this when we’re under the weather, but like humming and chanting, the connection between the vagus nerve and the throat muscles makes gargling an easy way to maintain a healthy vagal tone.
A natural healing modality, acupuncture taps into your body’s innate capacity to heal itself by stimulating your body’s energy pathways, or meridians.
These meridians can be activated to call upon the functions of the vagus nerve, and promote deep well-being.
Gentle versions of yoga helps us connect with our bodies, unwind, and breathe consciously.
This makes yoga an amazing cocktail of elements to obtain the benefits of increasing your vagal tone.
Tai-Chi and Qigong:
Just like yoga, these mindful modalities have aided in increasing people’s well-being for centuries, and with good reason!
The gentle flow, conscious movement and breathing involved are an excellent way to boost your health and increase your vagal tone.
Nurturing, life giving exercise does wonders for your health, and your vagal tone!
However, we’re not talking about grueling routines or punishing your body with a ‘no pain, no gain’ attitude — instead, make sure that you practice a form of conscious, nourishing movement that leaves you with a feeling of joy or bliss at the end of your session.
A delicious way to get out of our heads and drop into our bodies, a massage goes beyond being a simple beauty treatment.
It reduces inflammation, supports your lymphatic system, and increases your vagal tone for a boost of relaxation and deep well-being.
Zinc and Omega 3’s:
Omega 3’s have been shown to promote the recovery of damaged nerves, and Zinc increases your vagus nerve stimulation, helping you keep your nervous system in a balanced state.
These are extraordinary nutrients that can boost your health when taken regularly — of course, consult with your doctor first before adding any supplements to your diet.
The vagus nerve is activated when you feel empathy or compassion — so the connection you share with others when socializing, stimulates the vagus nerve and generates the feelings of happiness, joy and hope.
Laughter is the best medicine, after all! Laughter therapy heals and increases your vagal tone, among many other health benefits. Besides, it’s fun!
Intermittent fasting improves heart rate variability, which is a marker of the state of your vagal tone.
This is something I personally practice – however there are contraindications to this practice, such as pregnancy or diabetes.
Make sure you inform yourself about how to do this safely before incorporating it into your routine.
This is a type of biofeedback therapy where the person receives real-time information about their brain activity, helping them learn how to self-regulate their brain functions.
This therapy can be life-changing when someone has gone through trauma, and by balancing their brain function people can improve their vagal tone.
But what would happen if you could combine multiple techniques to improve your vagal tone into a single activity?
Benefits would be astounding! And if you’re trying to imagine what such a modality could do for your health, and wondering how to tap into these life-changing benefits, I have great news for you…
The New, Improved Way To Release Stress And Step Into A Vibrant Health
Here at the Brave Thinking Institute, we offer you yet another way to stimulate the vagus nerve.
Whether you’re looking to release weight, calm your mind or just boost your overall health, I’d love to invite you to discover a conscious dance modality that will help you stimulate your vagus nerve for vibrant health and joy:
This amazing body-mind-spirit modality takes the mindfulness of yoga off the mat and infuses it with free-form joyful conscious dance.
There are ten stages of TranscenDance™ that walk you through — including guided breathing, relaxation and stretching, fun, free-form conscious dance, energy healing, embodiment coaching, life empowerment, and more.
We combine the power of your breath, sound, energy, music, movement and mind — helping you tap into multiple elements that improve vagal tone in every single class…
- You’ll connect to your source of energy through slow, deep breaths on a guided breathing exercise.
- The life-giving, nurturing movement of conscious dance and gentle stretching invite your body to slow down, creating the perfect conditions for your vagus nerve to kick in.
- We use the power of sound to help you reconnect with your body, activating the muscles on your throat that stimulate the vagus nerve.
- You’ll share a sacred space of joy and self-nourishment with others — creating bonds and social connections that generate positive emotions and increase your vagal tone.
That’s why participants obtain such profound benefits, sharing experiences such as these:
“I am much more confident, calmer, and freer to express myself as a whole woman. I found my deeper worth and dance and movement are now like a celebration of my body. My body is truly a beautiful thing. And I am worth it!” – Pattie Craumer
“In the work I do, I can easily get stuck in my head and out of touch with my body. Working with Jennifer has really given me a chance to get re-connected and grounded in my body. She has helped me gain more poise and grace, which has been especially crucial as a public speaker.” – Nancy Marmolejo
If you’d like to release stress, anxiety and blocked energy…
Elevate your mood, create emotional resiliency and attain optimal physical fitness, discover TranscenDance™ by clicking the link below:
Now that you know the positive impact improving your vagal tone can have in your life…
How will you stimulate your vagus nerve to release stress and increase your well-being in your everyday life? Let me know in the comments below!
As always, feel confident in your skin and alive in your life!