No more anxiety, leave room for inner calm. A simple exercise to tone the Vagus Nerve.
Updated: Nov 26, 2019
Anxiety, panic, difficulty digesting everything you swallow, the inability to swallow your own saliva, food, the feeling that everything is freezing, not always understanding others, the feeling of being in almost permanent danger, brain fog, or this impression, sometimes, that everything will collapse, your heart will stop beating.
That speaks to you? Do you think that can be solved? Yes! How? I invite you to read the following.
This article is inspired by the energy medicine of Donna Eden (EEM), but also by Stephen W. Porges's polyvagal theory. Here is a fairly complete article on it.
I do not claim to bring together the absolute truth on the subject but just to shed light on how we operate and how to tame, in part, our autonomic nervous system, by a simple and effective exercise that you find in this video.
In energy medicine, we often speak of the triple warmer as responsible for our reaction "fight, flight, inhibition". In fact, the triple warmer is our survival: the fight or the flight and it has a sidekick, which "governs" the inhibition: the vagus nerve. Latin, vagabond. It is composed of several branches across the body, two of which are main. The brain and most organs are connected by this nerve that forms a kind of two-way highway. He is also responsible for the famous vagal faint. But also, beautiful things like our ability to feel safe, connected, happy.
Assuming that our physiology conditions our psychology, let's look at what is happening within us to better understand our reactions.
The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is composed of two main branches:
- Sympathetic: governed by the triple warmer.
- Parasympathetic: governed by the vagus nerve.
The parasympathetic branch itself divided into two:
o Parasympathetic Ventral vagal: the most advanced and recent part of our ANS.
o Parasympathetic Dorsal vagal: the most archaic, less evolved part of our ANS.
Which gives us 3 modes of reaction to the same situation. Through the system:
- Ventral Vagal: It is a psychology of trust. Communication, the social bond, commitment, when you feel safe, in a state of inner calm.
Feelings: joy, love, pride, gratitude, sharing.
- Sympathetic: It's a psychology of mistrust. The danger that involves flight or combat, survival.
Feelings: fear, anger, lies, disgust, bad faith.
Example: I can be in the same situation and find odd people everywhere or trustworthy people everywhere, depending on whether one is ventral vagal or sympathetic mode.
- Dorsal Vagal: Inhibition, collapse, invisible danger. It's a psychology of inaction.
Feelings: sadness, shame, helplessness, feeling of being a victim, being disconnected.
Example: The brain does not record the words of support that others will have for me. He is in survival mode.
There are three criteria that influence this autonomic nervous system:
- Our environment
Interestingly, our ventral or dorsal state is contagious. For example, prior to speaking in public, you may feel in a state of inner calm but the person next to you is not: you may "catch" this state and start to feel nervous, without apparent reason. At the end of this article, and through the video exercise, you will know how to handle this type of situation.
Conversely, when you are with your family, when you work in a team, accompany clients: if you are in a vagal ventral, you can transmit this state consciously to establish a climate of confidence, joy.
Simply put, our first ways of communication between humans and humans (and even with animals) is from SNA to SNA. People and animals subtly capture the state in which we find ourselves.
Here is a focus on hyper sensitive, empathic, empaths people here: balancing the vagus nerve, as well as the triple warmer (but also strengthening the aura and other exercises of the energy routine to protect themselves) is essential to stay in full capacity of yourself, in all circumstances. Hyper sensitives are the first to instantly sense the subtle signals coming from others.
There are six criteria by which one can regulate the SNA of others in order to establish a beautiful relationship of trust and put them in ventral vagal: via the face, the posture, the voice, the proximity, the touch, the look.
In the physical sphere, here is how it works.
When we say: trust your instinct, we should say "trust your vagus nerve". Indeed, visceral feelings, instincts are intuitive emotions transferred from the second brain (where the viscera reside: the digestive system) to the first brain via the vagal highway.
It's an information highway with:
- 75% of the information going from the body to the brain
- 25% of the brain to the body
It is the communication thread between the body and all its organs with the brain.
It is thanks to this vague nerve, this highway, also that the body expresses the feelings: physical and emotional.
When you are anxious, and your stomach knots-up, the flow of information goes up the vagal highway, indicating to the brain that it is in a state of distress. Equally, when the body is relaxed, that message goes back to the brain, which will feel safe and it will tell the organs to create a sense of inner peace, to rest and digest quietly.
It's a two-way highway!
There are several methods to train our autonomic nervous system to connect automatically and durably to our parasympathetic ventral branch, including this exercise that takes two minutes maximum, and that is easy to integrate into an already established routine. I also teach many more during my workshop to get you fully autonomous on your health.
Other practices are (this is a non-exhaustive list):
- To meditate
- To laugh
- To exercise
- To breathe using a 4:8 ratio of four-second inhalations and eight-second exhalations
- To Practice yoga, tai chi, stretching
- Humming (the vagus nerve goes through the throat so any activity that stimulates this place is good for the vagus nerve)
- To spend (good) time with loved ones
- To maintain gratitude and positive thoughts
A few more are suggested here.
You have questions? Contact me and I would be happy to share other tips for achieving a healthy and sustainable inner balance!
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See you soon!
Until then, be well, be happy, be you.