PUP1-Ways to Stimulate the Vagus Nerve and Boost HRV & Immunity
What is the Vagus Nerve and What Does it Do?
The vagus nerve activates the parasympathetic nervous system and basically functions as the button you can press to reduce stress. It originates on the surface of the brain but wanders throughout the body transmitting information to tissues and organs. The nerve plays a critical role in letting your body know that things are going to be okay. Heart rate variability (HRV) is also controlled by the vagus nerve. The more “complex” or variable your HRV, the more resilient and adaptable you are.
Increasing Vagal Tone
The vagus nerve is analogous to a muscle; you can train it to get stronger. Increasing vagal tone (vagus nerve activity) and heart rate variability is one of the most practical ways to improve your overall wellness quickly. We can stimulate the vagus nerve, and hence influence parasympathetic tone (the deactivating branch of the autonomic nervous system), with breathing exercises, massage, intermittent fasting, taking omega-3 supplements, cold/heat thermogenesis, and exercise, among other things. Behaviors like laughing, sex, chanting, gargling, and singing also stimulate the vagus nerve thus activating the parasympathetic nervous system.
Exercise 1 -Try this once a day for 5 minutes at a time
breath in to the count of 5
hold to the count of 5
breath out to the count of 5
wait to the count of 5 before breathing back in
This type of rhythmic breathing stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system and lowers stress levels while also increasing your vagal tone. There are a lot of great resources to tap to better understand various techniques. But overall, don’t worry so much about how you are doing it, just do it.
The simple act of being still and consciously minding your breath and/or parts of your body can help you stay in the present moment, which is where “peace” lives. These small, mini moments of “peace” help to mitigate “negative stress accumulation,” reduce anxiety, and as a result, can improve sleep onset latency and capacity to manage stress/control emotional response, promote autonomic balance, boost immunity and just generally make you more enjoyable to be around. Like this article ?
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