#7 Ways to Do Vagus Nerve Exercises for Stress Release
Did you know that these Vagus Nerve Exercises help you create memories?
The vagus nerve is responsible for transporting sensory messages to and from the brain, which strengthens memory formation and storage.
Discover the power of these vagus nerve exercises to reduce stress, fatigue, depression, and anxiety.
The vagus nerve is your body’s natural relaxation response.
It helps you regulate your emotions and decrease your stress levels by releasing hormones that soothe your body and mind.
Unlock the potential of this amazing nerve with our unique set of exercises that target it directly.
I’ll help you take control of how you handle stressful situations so you can stay calm, cool, and collected in any environment.
Keep reading below to find out how to do these exercises!
What Are Vagus Nerve Exercises?
The vagus nerve is arguably the most important cranial nerve, as it is the primary connection between the brain and organs throughout the body.
Often referred to as “the tenth cranial nerve,” the vagus nerve is part of the parasympathetic nervous system which is one branch of the autonomic nervous system.
This branch is in direct opposition to our sympathetic nervous system, which controls fight-or-flight responses.
The vagus nerve plays a big role when it comes to bringing equilibrium back to our body after a stressful situation by enacting rest and restoration processes.
In short, this incredible nerve functions like an orchestra conductor for our bodies, allowing for the smooth coordination of over 800 muscles!
Reasons You Need to Know These Vagus Nerve Exercises
Our nervous system plays an integral role in how we feel and how we express ourselves, with the vagus nerve being an incredibly powerful player in the mix.
We now know just how important exercises that target the vagus nerve are for keeping our mental health and well-being in check.
Taking steps to introduce strategies and tactics that directly influence this ancient part of our nervous system is important.
My vagus nerve exercises offer a straightforward solution to working directly with this vital part of ourselves while improving our overall sense of well-being and engaging with life in a more empowered way.
7 Methods of Vagus Nerve Stimulation
If you’re looking to improve your mental health, the vagus nerve exercises might be just what you need.
This powerful group of methods can help give your nervous system a much-needed boost and are designed to get the most out of your vagus nerve so that it plays a vital role in mental health.
To delve deeper into this topic and discover how vibration, cold water therapy, meditation and hypnosis, exercise, music, massage, and breathwork can all benefit you and your vagus nerve activation – keep reading for a full breakdown!
Vibration exercises are an intriguing way to incorporate more vagus nerve exercises as an alternative to more traditional methods.
Your vagus nerve is responsible for keeping your body’s organ systems running in harmony, thus maintaining vagal tone, or overall well-being.
By humming or using vibration plates you can give that special nerve a much-needed workout!
All in all, giving yourself this joint exercise of humming and utilizing vibration plates for vagus nerve stimulation will have calming effects and positively replenish one’s sense of wellness.
Cold Water Therapy
Cold water therapy, usually referred to as cryotherapy, is a great way to give your vagus nerve a workout.
By immersing yourself in cold water, you can control your body’s physiological response and strengthen your nerve over time.
There are many ways to participate in the practice of cold water therapy and all of them are vagus nerve exercises.
It can take on many forms, including but not limited to ice baths, cold showers, and as simple as doing cold water face immersion.
While it may be an uncomfortable experience initially, the first immersion will begin a journey in which you will feel more awake and alive during regular sessions than you ever have before.
You certainly don’t have to dive in head-first (no pun intended) if this isn’t for you; start out with small doses of cold water in the shower or simply splashing your face.
Meditation & Hypnosis
Meditation and hypnosis have been touted as powerful vagus nerve exercises that can help to activate the neural pathways of the body, mind, and spirit.
By working with these two ways of altering one’s state of consciousness, we can access still deeper realms of human mind processes.
With hypnosis, a hypnotherapist helps guide the participant through a series of relaxation processes as well as suggestible affirmations and commands to achieve a trance-like state.
Meanwhile, meditation requires complete focus inward toward your individual levels of awareness.
These two choices are the same but opposites at the same time, so experiment with both and see what feeds your needs best!
Exercise can be a powerful tool to stimulate the vagus nerve.
The vagal tone, generated by repeating certain exercises, promotes relaxation and eases anxiety, ultimately aiding in calming your body’s fight-or-flight response.
To begin using exercise as a vagus nerve activity, activate your vagus nerve with the Valsalva maneuver.
Close your mouth and pinch your nose shut while trying to exhale against the closed airways from deep within your abdomen.
This action requires some effort and should result in a decrease of pressure around the ears & temples as well as an increase of vagal stimulation within 10-15 seconds of holding it for just 10 seconds.
Other effective methods involve taxing larger muscle groups such as holding planks for about one minute or taking long walks.
Any exercise method you choose will help support your vagus nerve health, but these are some options that will help target it more fully and directly.
These techniques will help activate that sweet spot where profound healing begins and free yourself from the sympathetic state allowing you to take back control with each method practiced on a regular basis.
Music can be a powerful ally in engaging the vagus nerve – a major nerve that connects our brain to other vital parts of the body.
Specifically, singing is one of the most beneficial vagus nerve exercises that can have powerful, lasting effects on our well-being!
The key to executing this exercise lies in using your vocal cords.
Start by singing any melody with slow and gentle breaths while concentrating on the feeling of the air passing through your vocal cords.
As you become more at ease with this sensation and come into more resonance with the vibrations of your own voice, your vagus nerve will automatically begin to respond positively.
With consistent practice, these positive benefits will become even more pronounced over time.
Massage can be a great way to target the vagus nerve and help restore balance in its functioning.
To maximize this effect, you can start by lightly massaging your feet, especially around areas like the toes, heel and ankle.
Begin by using slow, deliberate movements such as circular motions along these sensitive regions and gradually increase your pressure if it feels comfortable for you.
As you’re doing this foot massage, deep breathing can help enhance the relaxation of your body and improve blood circulation in the targeted areas–all of which have a positive effect on vagal activity.
For best results, try to practice this exercise for at least 10 minutes every day.
Breathwork, otherwise known as heightened states of breath-based practice, is extremely beneficial in activating the vagus nerve.
The process includes deep breathing done in various rhythms to reignite the connection to consciousness and your body.
The key to practicing breathwork efficiently is regulating the inhale and exhale cycle with a focus on the belly, while maintaining focused awareness.
As you shift your breath between long and short inhalations and exhalations, you will begin to restore balance within the nervous system and gradually activate the systemic vagal capacity.
With practice, you can tap into a relaxed state of mind for improved mental clarity, physical well-being, and emotional tranquility.
Executing breathwork regularly can help reduce stress levels and can even be used to reverse any signs of inflammation—allowing you to gain more control of your thoughts and emotions by connecting with yourself on a deeper level.
Effects of doing Vagus Nerve Exercises
Doing vagus nerve exercises can have remarkable effects on the body and mind.
Regular practice of these exercises leads to decreased levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol.
This decrease in cortisol aids in managing fear, anxiety, and any other negative reaction associated with stress.
Additionally, performing these exercises may result in an increased heart rate variability which is key for self-regulation and this increase reveals better resilience to daily stressors.
Not only does this increase help manage mental health concerns but also results in a decrease in overall blood pressure over time!
How to Feed Your Vagus Nerve
Eating foods or taking supplements containing the proper nutrients is essential for keeping the body healthy, as these nutrients are needed to properly support various bodily functions.
Keeping the vagus nerve in working order is particularly important and requires that we take in enough choline, Vitamin B12, magnesium, calcium, sodium, and omega-3 fats.
Choline helps fuel the production of acetylcholine, a key neurotransmitter within our nervous systems- making it an especially vital nutrient for keeping our vagus nerve functioning correctly.
In addition to choline, Vitamins B12, and magnesium help create a proper balance within the nervous system while calcium helps regulate our heartbeat.
Sodium provides us with electrolytes while Omega-3 helps reduce inflammation.
Taking care of all these needs can be as simple as eating foods like blueberries, eggs, salmon, spinach, and walnuts just to name a few!
Clearly feeding your Vagus nerve can be quite delicious.
Other Ways to Care For Your Vagus Nerve
Caring for your vagus nerve can be a great way to improve both physical and mental health and well-being.
While there are numerous dietary and lifestyle approaches you can take, they involve more than simply eating the right foods or exercising regularly — connecting with others, engaging in activities that bring joy, and stretching through yoga poses can all help support this important nerve.
Social connection can help increase oxytocin levels, laughter has been known to reduce stress hormones, while yoga poses such as the wheelbarrow pose into shoulder stand, child’s pose, forward fold, and even savasana can improve the flexibility of the spine and provide better blood flow throughout the body.
All of these techniques work together to activate the vagus nerve, creating an overall calmer state of being within mind and body alike.
Final Thoughts on Vagus Nerve Exercises
As we’ve now explored, the vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve in the body and is a key part of the autonomic nervous system, connecting the brain and gut.
I actually had a lot of issues with a out of wack vagus nerve growing up, and I used to experience syncope because of it.
It’s critical for regulating our stress response and calming down when needed.
If you’re looking to react more responsibly to stress cues, or want to feel more relaxed during your day, then practicing exercises specific to this powerful nerve may be your solution.
You don’t need any special equipment or feats of strength – just paying attention to how your body feels and responding accordingly can be incredibly effective.
Hopefully, this tutorial has shed some light on why the vagus nerve matters in digestion, relaxation techniques, and heart-health; so please take up this valuable advice and experiment with something new that could make a real difference in your life!