25 Sep How to use your vagus nerve to bust anxiety
When you feel anxious, you have a built-in tool to dial it back, called the vagus nerve.
I’ve been an anxious little petal throughout most of my life. It’s shown up in all sorts of ways. One of the ways it’s shown up is travel sickness.
Through my discovery about the vagus nerve, I have traced travel sickness back to being a form of anxiety, as it makes me feel out of control.
Our bodies are marvellously intelligent and have a vast kit of tools to bring us back into equilibrium if things feel wrong. Something that’s always made me feel better when I feel travel sick is humming. I do it just quiet enough that no one thinks I’m crazy, but loud enough (it turns out) that it activates the vagus nerve.
Since discovering that the vagus nerve is stimulated by humming or omming (from this functional medicine doctor), I realise this is what I’ve been doing naturally when I feel sick, to help me return to a peaceful balance.
The vagus nerve runs from your head to your abdomen. When stimulated by the vibration of humming ‘mmm’, it activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which leads to peaceful feelings.
You can stimulate the vagus nerve by humming, or chanting OMMM (like a cool yogi!). Turns out, yogis have know about this trick for years. There’s such a thing as Om Baths, where you sit in a circle and all chant ommmm on the natural out breath. Everyone gets out of sync when they settle into their natural breathing rhythm, which creates a continuous Ommmm sound all around. At the end you feel SO peaceful and light.
Want to stimulate your vagus nerve to stop anxious feelings?
Breath in gently, then on the out breath, hum or om. Make the ‘mmmm’ of the hum just strong enough so you feel a vibration in your head.
Try 5 gentle breaths of humming and notice the difference. Or do 20+ for a totally chilled out vibe!
It’s so useful to have LOADS of tools to combat anxiety, to suit different situations and your level of ability to support yourself in the moment.
I’m so happy I’ve found this one and hope it can help you too! xo