Dry mouth, shaky voice, pounding heart and crampy gut are sure signs of anxiety. When you need to feel better in a hurry use these 6 ways to calm down quickly! The Vagus (wandering) nerve is where the magic unfolds. Starting in the brain it wanders down the neck to the voice box and on to heart, lungs, liver and spleen and gut.
Part of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is a ‘Rest and Digest’ network, it’s also called the ’10th Cranial’ nerve. It’s mission in life? To counteract the ‘Fight or Flight’ of the Sympathetic Nervous System. Muscles at rest are on standby, in a state of ‘tone’. The vagus nerve has ‘tone’ – the higher this tone, the quicker the body normalises after a scary or frightening event.
A lone vagal tone is noticed in people with anxiety, panic attacks, depression, diabetes, heart problems, chronic fatigue, IBS, endometriosis among other conditions.
How fit is your vagus nerve?
Vagus tone is measured by checking heart and respiration rates. Heart rate rises on the inhale, and drops with exhalation. The greater the gap between inhalation and exhalation heart rate, the quicker the return to normal.
How does high vagal tone help?
High vagal tone brings calm, better mood and increased stress resilience. Health benefits include lower blood pressure, better digestion, blood sugar regulation, and fewer migraine headaches.
Gut health impacts vagus activity. This nerve reads gut micro biome – and reacts accordingly! That’s why a healthy gut affects mood, stress and inflammation levels all around the body.
6 ways to calm down quickly
You don’t need to be hooked up to high tech machinery to tone up your vagus.
Here are 6 simple ways to get a handle on calming down!
1. Easy, deep breathing stimulates the verve
2. Spray, or splash, your face with cold water.
3. Recite a poem. Take a breath and speak slowly, out loud.
4. Hum loudly. Using the vocal chords massages the vagus nerve.
5. Eat well and mind your gut biome.
6. Mindfulness meditation engages the vagus and induces feelings of safety and comfort.
With a little practice these simple ways of being able to calm down quickly reduce anxiety and improve health.