Have you ever wondered why you are so anxious? Your vagus nerve may be to blame. Vagus, baby. Vagus!
The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the cranial system and regulates your parasympathetic nervous system. Not to be confused with the other Vegas, in which you lose your inhibitions and a lot of money at the slot machines, endless buffets, craps tables, or playing cards. I’m talking about vagus, baby! Vaaaguuuus!!!
When the vagus system gets triggered by what the brain perceives as a potential threat or unmet needs, your brain sends signals to warn you, otherwise known as a stress reaction. The vagus nerve helps you regulate your emotions and provide calm and balance.
If you have a strong vagus response, you are more likely to find balance and calm more quickly and recover from injury, illness, or stress more effectively.
You can strengthen your vagal tone and emotional balance, by practicing a few simple exercises. A strong vagal nerve can produce and release oxytocin in your system, which will provide you a “positive” attitude, calm your brain, and reduce stress and anxiety.
The easiest way to strengthen and stimulate the vagal nerve is slow, deep, intentional breathing.
Breathe in slowly for seven seconds. Fill your diaphragm completely and hold that breath for two seconds. Then exhale slowly as you count to eleven. Imagine the speed of a deflating air mattress. As an added bonus, focus on and relax your tense muscles as you exhale and slide into peace and calm.
Other ways to strengthen your vagal nerve include humming or singing along with music, smiling or laughing, and gratitude to name a few.
Now…how about that trip to Vagus, baby?!?! Vaaaguuuus!!!