Ever feel like the world’s weight is pressing down on your shoulders? You’re not alone.

Stress is a common companion in today’s fast-paced life. But what if there was a simple way to combat it? Enter the vagus nerve. This crucial nerve runs from your brain to your gut, influencing your heart rate, digestion and even your mood. When it’s functioning well, you feel more relaxed. When it’s not, stress can take over.

The good news? You can tone your vagus nerve just like a muscle. By doing specific exercises, you can stimulate this nerve and reduce stress. And the best part? These exercises are easy and can be done anywhere. Ready to dive in? Here are five easy vagus nerve exercises to help you unwind.

1. Deep breathing

Deep breathing is a powerful tool. It sends a signal to your brain that it’s time to relax. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Find a comfortable spot. Sit or lie down.
  2. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly.
  3. Take a slow, deep breath through your nose. Your belly should rise, not your chest.
  4. Exhale slowly through your mouth.
  5. Repeat this for five to ten minutes.

This simple exercise can help calm your nervous system and reduce stress.

2. Humming or singing

Yes, you read that right. Humming or singing can stimulate your vagus nerve. When you hum or sing, vibrations move through your body, activating the nerve. Try this:

  • Pick your favourite song or hum a tune.
  • Sing or hum for a few minutes.
  • Feel the vibrations in your chest and throat.

You don’t have to be a great singer. Just enjoy the process and let the vibrations do their work.

3. Cold exposure

Exposing your body to cold can activate the vagus nerve. It might sound uncomfortable, but it can be quite refreshing. Here’s a simple method:

  • Splash cold water on your face.
  • If you’re feeling brave, take a cold shower.
  • Alternatively, you can dip your face in a bowl of cold water.

Start with short exposures and gradually increase the time as you get used to it.

4. Yoga and meditation

Yoga and meditation are fantastic for reducing stress. They promote relaxation and help you connect with your body. Try this simple yoga pose:

  1. Sit cross-legged on the floor.
  2. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
  3. Slowly tilt your head to one side, then the other.
  4. Combine this with deep breathing and gentle stretches.

Meditation can be as simple as focusing on your breath. Set aside a few minutes each day to practice.

5. Laughter

Laughter truly is the best medicine. It releases endorphins and stimulates the vagus nerve. Here’s how to add more laughter to your day:

  • Watch a funny film or TV show.
  • Spend time with friends who make you laugh.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. Find humour in everyday situations.

Laughter is a natural stress reliever, so let yourself enjoy a good laugh whenever you can.

Takeaway

Stress doesn’t have to rule your life. By incorporating these simple vagus nerve exercises into your routine, you can reduce stress and improve your overall wellbeing. Deep breathing, humming, cold exposure, yoga and laughter are all easy and effective ways to stimulate your vagus nerve. Start with one exercise and gradually add more. It’s all about consistency. The more you practise, the better you’ll feel.

Next time you’re feeling stressed, take a deep breath, hum a tune, splash some cold water on your face, stretch out with some yoga or have a good laugh. Your vagus nerve will thank you, and so will your stress levels.

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