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  • Alainnah Knight

What Is The Vagus Nerve? And Four Ways To Activate Your Vagus Nerve

What the heck is a vagus nerve and why does everyone keep talking about it? Well well well. Let's talk about the vagus nerve and what activating the vagus nerve can do for your wellbeing!

Black trees from a viewpoint of the ground looking up into a white sky.

What Is The Vagus Nerve?

The vagus nerve is a part of your parasympathetic nervous system, which is in charge of your "rest and digest". The vagus nerve is the largest cranial nerve which begins at your medulla oblongata and stretches all the way to your large intestine. The vagus nerve connects through the neck, chest, heart, lungs, abdominal, and digestive tract. The vagus nerve is responsible for sending signals from your organs to the brain to activate your parasympathetic nervous system. When your vagus nerve is activated, your body is in "rest and digest" rather than expecting a threat.


What Happens When The Vagus Nerve ISN'T Activated?

When the vagus nerve is not activated, your body may have a more difficult time returning to a calm baseline after a trigger or a new trauma. When the vagus nerve is deactivated, you might notice poor digestion, decrease in mood, weakened immune system, heightened anxiety, being on edge, increased heart rate, and more.



What Happens When The Vagus Never IS Activated?

When the vagus nerve is activated, your body has notified your parasympathetic nervous system and entered a "rest and digest" state. When your vagus nerve is activated, you might notice improved digestion, quality sleep, increase in mood, decrease in anxiety and depression, increase in immune system, able to regulate after stressors more quickly, and more.


How Do I Activate My Vagus Nerve?

There are many different ways to activate your vagus nerve, here are a few suggestions to start exploring!


1. Cold Compress On Chest

A cold ice pack or compress on your chest or throat is a beautiful way to activate your vagus nerve. You can also gargle with cold water, take a cold shower, or splash your face with cold

water. Cold water and ice is perfect for the vagus nerve!


2. Yoga

Even a simple yoga practice of stretching the throat, chest, spine, and abdominal can assist in awakening the vagus nerve and bringing connection between you and your body. There are many short yoga practice on YouTube, here is one to check out!


3. Singing or Humming

The vagus nerve moves through your voice box and thorax, which means that singing, humming, or even buzzing like a bee can activate your vagus nerve! Next time you are feeling a bit anxious, see what happens when you take a deep breath and buzz like a bee on your exhale.


4. Deep Breathing Through Nose

Taking a long, controlled, deep breath in and our through your nose can assist in activating your vagus nerve. There are many different breathing exercises that help with activating your

vagus nerve, play around with what works best for you.


Try It Out Now!

There are so many benefits from connecting with your body and activating your vagus nerve. Choose one way to activate your vagus nerve and set a reminder on your phone. When the reminder goes off, practice the exercise you have chosen and just notice if there is an impact on your day. Let us know which exercise you try!


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