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Five Ways to Soothe & Reset Your Vagus Nerve to Regulate Your Stress Response System

The vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve in our bodies, extending from our brain and moving through our spinal system down to our gut.  The vagus nerve is responsible for helping us maintain healthy digestion, breathing, immune response and mood regulation.

When activated and out of balance, the vagus nerve can trigger the stress response system causing individuals to experience increased levels of stress, anxiety, depression & fear.

The vagus nerve is designed to activate survival instincts when an individual is in danger.  However, if a person has experienced repeated traumatic life events it can become difficult for the vagus nerve to decipher between a real threat and a perceived threat.

Causing individuals to live in a never-ending cycle of survival mode.

To break the cycle, below are five evidenced based recommendations designed to help reset your vagus nerve when overly activated:

  • Mindfulness | Meditation | Deep Breathing | Yoga help to stimulate the vagus nerve by regulating the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.

  • Loud gargling with water, singing, humming and music stimulates the vagus nerve.

  • Massage: temple massage, foot massage, full body massage, pineal gland massage.  Gentle or firm touch can assist in the stimulation the vagus nerve and mood regulation.

  • Cold water face immersion: immersing your forehead, eyes and cheeks into cold water can stimulate the vagus nerve by decreasing heart rate and regulating moods.

  • Grounding in nature helps regulate the stress response system by reorienting the psyche to the here & now and balancing the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.

If you experience high levels of stress, hypervigilance, depression and/or anxiety try implementing a few of these techniques daily to help reset your vagus nerve to regulate your moods & stress response system.

Fanicy Sears

Clinical Director 

eMotion Therapy, LLC 


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