Stimulating the Vagus Nerve to Relieve Anxiety

In continuation of my last few blog posts, I wanted to mention one easy & effective way to relieve stress and anxiety. Instead of taking a prescription drug, try a safe and effective remedy for stress that is backed by thousands of years of scientific evidence: stimulating something called the vagus nerve.

The vagus nerve originates from the brain stem and it travels all the way down into the belly, spreading fibers to the tongue, pharynx, vocal cords, lungs, heart, stomach, intestines. It also connects to glands that produce anti-stress enzymes and hormones like Acetylcholine, Prolactin, Vasopressin, Oxytocin. These hormones influence digestion, metabolism, and naturally, the relaxation response.

The vagus nerve is the most important element of the parasympathetic nervous system. It’s the one that calms you down by reducing your heart rate, blood pressure, and controlling your relaxation response. It counteracts your sympathetic nervous system, the one that causes stress by activating your fight-or-flight response.

breathe cartoon

So how can you stimulate your vagus nerve? By deep belly breathing.

Start by taking a deep inhalation into your belly, expanding your diaphragm, while counting to five. Then very slowly exhale while puckering your lips. To get into a vagus-nerve stimulation mode, try reducing the number of breaths from the usual 10-14 per minute to 5-7 per minute.

Studies have shown that practicing 10 minutes a day of deep breathing is enough for you to notice you’re relaxing. The key is diligence! Without forcing it, gradually work on reducing the number of breaths per minute. The whole point is feeling relaxed!

My goal is to give you the information and inspiration you need to make choices that improve your gastrointestinal problems and abdominal pain. It takes some consistency and commitment, yet in the end, it is well worth your time and effort. 

YOU are well worth your time and effort. 
Stay focused. 
Your results will be a great reward.

I am available if you need additional help. Just send me an email, text or call.

"I've been transformed into a new, happier and healthier me. Liz, you have helped me through a myriad of emotional and health issues over the past five years but this latest health issue that baffled all of my traditional medical specialists has been the clincher."
MaAn 2019
Delray Beach
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