How to Interrupt your Stress Response w/the Vagus Nerve Reset
Updated: Sep 11
Are you feeling stressed?
In moments of stress we have a biological reaction and a psychological reaction. The culprit is almost always that four letter word: FEAR.
In today's world, its often a "perceived" fear that hijacks our brain. Our biological reaction is our body waking up our stress response that resides within our sympathetic nervous system and activating our fight or flight. Back in the days of the caveman, this was typically activated by the brain when they ran into a LEGIT fear (sabertooth tigers, etc.). The body preps itself for a fight.
Sadly, in today's society, this can be an email from your boss, getting stuck in traffic, a lunch with a toxic family member, etc.
Unfortunately, for many this happens so often and so many times throughout the day, that their sympathetic nervous system never turns off. Long term effects of this can be detrimental to your health. So how can you help your body interrupt these moments of perceived fear/stress?
The Vagus Nerve Reset Exercise.
What is the Vagus Nerve? It is responsible for the regulation of digestion, heart rate & respiratory rate. The VN is part of the parasympathetic system and actually helps slow the sympathetic stress response (otherwise known as Fight or Flight).
The VN is afferent. Afferent neurons carry information from sensory receptors of the skin and other organs to the central nervous system. Only 20% of our nerves move down from our brain to our heart.
The VN connects from our heart to our brain and is an instigator of our parasympathetic NS. Resetting that channel and creating a better flow is a great way to ground yourself and interrupt your perceived fear response. This is perfect to do before a big meeting, audition or even in moments when you feel the onset of anxiety.
Vagus Nerve Reset:
Lay on your back
2. Interlock your hands together and place behind your head
3. Look to 3 o’clock (only with your eyes. Do not move your head)
What will happen next is either a: Sigh, You will swallow or yawn
This can happen as fast as 10 seconds or take up to 2-3 minutes.
4. When this happens, you have released
You can do this as many times as you need. You are essentially training your body that you are NOT in danger.