Enhancing your body's ability to rest & relax through vagal nerve support
Rest & Relaxation versus Fight or Flight. Your central nervous system has two networks devoted to each of these responses, the parasympathetic nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system, respectively. A balanced nervous system is able to continually monitor for and respond to threats but is also able to allow the body to "rest & digest". Chronic stress upends this balance, leaving you in a perpetual state of sympathetic dominance. The result is a myriad of physical and mental health issues including anxiety, difficulty sleeping, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, and impaired immune health.
Your Vagus Nerve: The Mind-Body Highway
The vagus nerve is one of your cranial nerves, meaning that it originates in your brain. The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in your body and extends downward to your gut. Along the way, the vagus nerve has numerous, smaller nerve branches that regulate the sensory & motor functions of various organs such as your heart, lungs, skin, and digestive tract.
Your vagus nerve serves as a two-way highway between your brain and gut and vice versa. The sleepy feeling you get after eating a large meal is caused in part by the "rest & digest" signal that the vagus nerve transmits from your gut to your brain. Similarly, when under stress, your parasympathetic nervous system works to restore balance and calm back to your body once the immediate threat has passed.
Vagal Nerve Support: Restoring balance & calm to your body & mind
Chronic stress impedes the ability of your parasympathetic nervous system to return to a balanced state. If your chronic stress is not addressed, your mind and body experience a persistent state of fight or flight, leading to both mental and physical ailments.
Intentionally promoting a balanced nervous system requires supporting your vagal nerve function. Vagal nerve support involves stimulation of the vagal nerve through various actions, including:
Singing or humming loudly