The vagus nerve plays a vital role in modulating many bodily functions and helping us manage stress
Jean Edelman: Great to be with you this week. I have shared many times with you subjects that I'm studying. The subject this week and it has come across my desk many, many times is, the vagus nerve. Now, I'm not talking about going to Vegas, V-E-G-A-S. I'm talking about V-A-G-U-S, vagus nerve. So I want you to picture a periscope like appendage, one that tunnels. It starts at the back of your head. It tunnels to your ears, and it tunnels deep into your body. It's like a pneumatic tube where messages from our immune cells, our endocrine system and our microbiome constantly talk. This is our vagus nerve. It is a very, very important component to our health.
Just as our eyes take in our outer world, our brain uses the vagus nerve to get a detailed sense of our inner world. Our vagus nerve has fingers in all of our major organs. The vagus nerve modulates hunger. It manages our stress, it regulates our immune system, including inflammation. It wanders down the torso, extends to the heart, the lungs, and through our abdominal cavity. It reaches as far as our colon. It is the concrete connection between our brain and our gut. The vagus nerve regulates our bodily functions. When we swallow, when we cough, when we sneeze, when we go to the bathroom, when we're nauseous, that is our vagus nerve in action. Now, we were never taught to connect the dots. What we have thought of our body is all these separate systems. But now that we know about this vagus nerve and how it connects all of our systems, it is truly an amazing nerve.
Now we can improve the overall health of our vagus nerve. The first thing that we can do is deep breathing, calm diaphragmatic breathing. The best results is to sit up straight, to exhale completely, to put our right hand on our chest and our left hand on our belly and breathe deeply through our nose for five to seven seconds. We want to inflate our belly. Then we want to hold for two or three seconds, and then we want to exhale through our mouth for seven to eight seconds, allowing our belly to fall, hold our breath for two or three seconds. If we practice, this helps our vagus nerve. Relax. If you can, practice this for maybe three to five minutes every day.
Another thing that we can do to stimulate and strengthen our vagus nerve is to gargle. Now, a lot of times we only gargle when we have a sore throat, but maybe you gargle twice a day when you're brushing your teeth.
The third way to strengthen and stimulate our vagus nerve is to hum or chant. The vagus nerve stimulates the muscles in the larynx around our vocal cords. And so humming and chanting, activate these muscles, which stimulates the vagus nerve. So maybe while we're out walking, we hum our favorite songs. And the fourth way that we can activate and stimulate our vagus nerve is through positive social interactions where we're laughing and we're smiling. Our action item for the week. I encourage you to go research the vagus nerve because having an awareness is the first step. Connecting the dots is the second step and learning more on our own is our third step.
So go read about the vagus nerve. And so, of course my word of the week is going to be vagus. V-A-G-U-S.
The V is for venerate,
to deeply respect. Now that we know about this nerve, we need to respect it and appreciate it and its huge component in our overall health.
The A is for align.
When we are attuned and aware and aligned with our body and mind, we will know good health.
The G is for grateful.
Grateful that this miraculous body, the intricacies, it blows our mind. But when we can understand the wisdom of our body and how it can help us heal and be healthy and be vibrant, we are grateful.
The U is for unlimited,
without restrictions or controls. We are limitless. We can control and learn and change our health. Small changes every day, they accumulate over time. The days, the months, the years. So as our awareness grows and as we work to have a healthy vagus nerve, when we are later in years, we will feel good.
The S is for shield,
to protect from harm, to defend, guard and preserve. You know what? We get one shot in this life. We get one shot to take care of this beautiful, amazing body.
Let's stand up for our health. Let's make good choices. Don't just settle for anything. Don't compromise our health. The vagus nerve - it's a game changer if we can keep it healthy by changing a few habits in our day. I'm in! Hope you are too. Have a great week, everyone.