The vagus nerve, according to Jessica (my counselling intern), impacts many systems in our body including our major organs - kidneys, liver, reproductive organs. It helps to lower heart rate, blood pressure and promotes a feeling of calm and relaxation.
For me, my usual state is running around, over-stimulated, juggling 100 balls. I am programmed on “fast forward”, which has caused me to experience headaches, stomach issues and chest pain.
Jessica taught me that my vagus nerve isn’t working properly when I experience these symptoms and has given me a few tips on what I can do to help restore some balance between my body and my mind.
I'd like to share her tips with you...
Activating this nerve doesn’t require therapy, knowledge, or specialized training. Any type of relaxing activity can stimulate this nerve. So you don’t even need to leave the spot you are in right this very moment - it's intuitive, it's built-in.
Laughter activates this nerve. Find someone or something that makes you laugh.
Breathing - take SLOW & DEEP breaths (longer exhales than inhales she tells me) is particularly important. In through your nose and out through your mouth.
Singing - this nerve is connected to your mouth and throat so singing helps to soothe your nervous system. Even humming helps.
Touch - learn to massage yourself, or get regular massages, the ears and bottoms of the feet are particularly good places to start.
Splash your face with cold water or lower the temperature of your shower
This nerve is known as the queen of the parasympathetic nervous system; it exists to help you detect and better regulate signals of danger and remind us we are safe.
We are all born wired to connect and we all need to feel safe in our bodies, in our world and in our relationships. This is what brings us back to a healthy state of mental and physical well being.
I am happy to have these new tools in my toolkit so I can access the vagus nerve whenever I'm feeling over-stimulated and stressed. Chill out!
We're here if you want to talk :)
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