How to rest and recover on demand? By stimulating the Vagus Nerve.
What is the Vagus Nerve? The vagus nerve or nerves, are the main nerves of your parasympathetic nervous system. This system controls specific body functions such as your digestion, heart rate and immune system. These functions are involuntary, meaning you can't consciously control them. But when you stimulate the vagus nerves you can send messages to rest and relax- sending your nervous system the message to attain a parasympathetic state
The vagus nerve continually sends information to the brain about the internal organs and how they are performing. Approximately 80-90% of the nerve fibres of the vagus are used to communicate the state of our internal organs to the brain, from the bottom-up. When it comes to emotions, gut feelings or mothers intuition, we refer to this information which comes from the internal organs that reaches the brain through sensory fibres.
The vagus plays an important role in the transition from the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) to the parasympathetic nervous system (relax and recover.) When the emotional response is excessive or over reactive to the situation we are experiencing the vagus is not properly functioning.
The first way to activate the vagal tone is to control the function of breathing which will help regulate the heart rate variability. Deep and slow breathing, while using the diaphragm, is crucial. It is also important to make sure that exhalation is longer than inhalation.
This type of breathing can be used just before or during a stressful event, in order to instantaneously fine-tune the vagal response. But by practicing Breath Control on a regular bases and slowing down and regulating your every day breath will better prepare your vagal tone. This way you can have better control over not only your moods, but your digestion, your sleep amd your over all well being.