The vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve in the body and plays an important role in regulating various functions including heart rate, digestion, and mood. Here are some fun and effective ways to stimulate the vagus nerve:
Deep breathing exercises: Controlled breathing exercises, such as deep breathing, can help to activate the vagus nerve, which promotes relaxation and reduces stress and anxiety.
Singing, gargling and humming: The vibrations created by singing or humming can stimulate the vagus nerve,leading to a sense of calm and relaxation. So if you are in the car and you don't want to sing along to the radio, hum along and you will be kick starting that vagal nerve.
Laughing: Laughing is a great way to activate the vagus nerve, boost mood and relieve stress.
Dancing: Dance is excellent as it covers many of the ways to stimulate the vagus nerve including deep breathing, movement (which enhances it's functioning), social connection, we experience positive emotions which release our 'feel-good chemicals' endorphins and the rhythm of dance help regulate our heart rate and other physiological process.
Cold water exposure: Exposure to cold water, such as taking a cold shower or plunge, can stimulate the vagus nerve and promote feelings of wakefulness and alertness.
Yoga or stretching: Gentle yoga or stretching exercises can help to activate the vagus nerve and reduce stress and anxiety.
Once the vagus nerve is stimulated, you may feel a sense of calm and relaxation, improved digestion, reduced heart rate, and a boost in mood. Additionally, stimulation of the vagus nerve has been shown to have a positive impact on conditions such as depression, anxiety, and inflammation due to the role it plays on enhancing our physiological processes. It's important to remember that everyone's experience may vary.
I encourage you to try a range of different ways and see which ones that make you feel the best and which ones are most enjoyable.