How to Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve for Mental Health
If you’ve been wondering if you’re suffering from vagal nerve irritation or inefficiencies this is the video for you. We’re gonna go over the signs of it as well as the five steps to enhance it yourself and the unknown solution to helping your vagal motor issues.
Hi, I’m Dr. Gregg Gerstin with Align Wellness Center and I’ve been helping people to remove the roadblocks from developing their health for the last 20 years and find the causes of their chronic health issues naturally without drugs and surgery. Today I want to work with you on this one because the vagus nerve is a massively important nerve. It’s one of the cranial nerves, it starts way in the brains up in the brain stem. It actually is called the wandering nerve, because of its vast expansive control that it winds up having. It comes out of the brain stem and it winds up controlling the front of your throat and curls the throat, controls hormone balance, it controls your heart and your lungs, controls digestive function, your liver, your stomach, your large intestines, and small intestines, and as a result of that controls how they function.
When we look at this on a map, if we look at our spine we can see it’s right coming out here this green line and all the places that it attaches. It comes out way up here at the top. Now, this nerve is massively important and it’s a part of your autonomic nervous system. That’s a part of the system that works automatically without you having to think. It is a component of the part of the parasympathetic component, that’s the part that typically responds and helps us to feed and breathe. It helps us to turn off our energies and restore us back to a balanced state.
If you used to think about it back in tyrannosaurus rex days right to we’d like to take care of our house and our family. Maybe not a house, a cave, and the t-rex would come. We’d need to be able to wind up grabbing all of the people and the important things and run and run for as long and as fast as we need to. That was the sympathetic component, not the vagus nerve, but once we got to a safe place the vagus nerve and the parasympathetic system would take over. It would let us rest, it would let us calm, it would let us get back to balance. It would let us get back to eating and feeding and also breeding, to have families. Those are essential things that we don’t necessarily need when we’re in survival. For most people, right now, we feel as though we are strictly in a survival state. We’ve got stresses coming at us emotionally from our environment, from what’s going on in the world, from what we put ourselves through, we’ve got emotional chemical stresses coming at us from all directions. From how we breathe, from what we move and how we eat, as well as what we put in our bodies.
We also have physical stresses coming at us from different workplaces lifestyles and activities that we’re doing today I’m gonna go through with you the five things you can do at home to wind up helping to balance out that sympathetic parasympathetic balance and get your vagus nerve back into balance.
Let’s go ahead and move on to the first step. So, the next step on working to balance your vagus nerve is something we do all day but we need to focus on and that’s breathing. Breathing is vitally essential to our lives and the vagus nerve is responsible for helping the lungs to fill up fully and to relax. So many times when we have an imbalance in the vagus nerve doing some specific breathing exercises can help to bring it back into balance. The one that I like the best winds up being about a bit of a box breathing. It’s not really a box it’s more of a trapezoid.
The way that I like for us to wind up doing it is to put a hand on our abdomen and a hand across our chest. What these are gonna do is give you signs as to where we’re filling up with air. Then what I like to do is do it in a seated position. It’s just comfortable for me and I look for you to take a deep breath in through your nose for a four-count. I look for you to hold it for a four-count and then breathe out for a six-count and then hold it for a four-count. So we want to breathe out more than we breathe in. It’ll look something like this. We’re gonna breathe in for a count of four through our nose. We’re gonna hold it for a count of four. We’re gonna breathe out for a count of six. We’re gonna hold it for a count of four, and then we’ll breathe back in for a count of four and we’ll go through that cycle. I like to do it between five to ten times but what you’re looking to feel on your hands is that your chest rises and your abdomen comes out.
This engages your diaphragm and your lungs in helping to breathe and your chest very important because that vagus nerve controls the diaphragm. It also controls the esophagus as well as the airways and allows for more control and feedback. To get into the vagus nerve while you’re doing this too you can look to make a noise with your throat and it’ll help to stimulate it even more. These breathing exercises are massively important. I love them in the morning, in the middle of the day, and at the end of the day. You can also throw it in when you have those moments when you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and in that overwhelmed state. Once again, breathing exercises massively important.
On to the next step. This next step is really important and we’re going to talk about it. It’s going to be about nutrition. I like to talk with you about this at my desk and in my office just because for many people this is one of the most challenging and overwhelming parts of managing and balancing the vagus nerve. You see the vagus nerve can wind up becoming off and it controls a lot of digestive function, and what then winds up happening is that bacteria can grow in the digestive system. We can get dysbiosis. We can wind up having problems with inflammation or IBS as well as Crohn’s disease and it really stems from that vagus nerve not being able to fire and balance out that parasympathetic and the autonomic nervous system.
So when I talk with people about what they should be eating in their nutrition, what I find is that your plate should wind up looking like 25 percent lean clean proteins. The rest should really wind up being vegetables and fruits as fresh as we can wind up getting them. So that means that it changes throughout the year and that means that they’re as clean as you can be. This sort of nutrition protocol is really important. Just because many of the grains that we wind up eating are just changed so much and they’re not very healthy. They’re stripped of nutrients and they wind up causing more inflammation than they wind up doing good. Additionally, I found that helping to support the system with the right nutrients is important. So I find that, as a baseline, essential nutrients for health wind up being an EPA, DHEA extra strength enterocele coded. I’ll put down in the links below my favorite variety. Additionally, vitamin D is massively helpful in keeping the digestive system anti-inflammatory and you may even want to look at a probiotic to help balance it out.
The food sources that we wind up working with and getting in our lives are just depleted significantly. So, proper nutrition to reduce inflammation to manage the best balance within the gut can really help to allow the vagus nerve to get back to what it needs to do. If you’ve got more questions about how to manage your nutrition let’s make sure to reach out and ask below. Additionally, if you like this give it a thumbs up.
You know, if you know of someone who has trouble problems with that calming system within their body, they’re constantly on the go. Go ahead and forward this video to them so that we can give them some help.
Now on to the next. So we’re gonna make this one quick but the next step in managing your vagus nerve is really for laughter. I’ve come outside it’s raining today. I was hoping for a beautiful day on this to do the meditation segment out here, but laughter is so important so please make sure… I hope this is making you laugh. Laughter really winds up causing that diaphragm to wind up moving. There have been so many studies that have shown that laughter can help balance out your life and cause your body to start to heal and rejuvenate, and that’s typically because it flexes you back into that parasympathetic mode, that balance of that feed and breathes system. So, if you’ve been stressed and overwhelmed with it. A great way to wind up balancing and getting some laughter might be to watch a sitcom, listen to a comedy tape, hang out with some friends, and laugh and enjoy yourself. So, laughter massively important and balancing uh out your body’s biggest nerve. And I gotta tell you we’re going inside on to the next step in balancing your vagus nerves is a little bit counter-intuitive.
Okay, so for this one what I want for you to do is some exercise now if we think of the vagus nerve as this feed and breathe nervous system then we might want to avoid exercise, right? But the exercise that I’m talking about is not running a sprint, it’s not running a marathon, it’s not doing power lifting. The exercise I’m talking about is being able to like go for a walk. Something calm and easy that’s not vigorous, doesn’t raise your heart rate, but gives you movement and activity. You know like my sign says right here, this is a great place to do it and where we have many people do their exercises within the office. We look to help provide them a space to get that calm back.
If you’re having challenges with managing this or don’t know what’s the right next step for you, feel free to write down in the comments what’s going on and I’ll be sure to get back to you as quick as I can so that we can start to digest what’s going on. You may also see I do offer some consultations to wind up doing one-on-one work to help decipher this, and understand that, if you see that, or can find that, let’s look to connect. I’m always looking to help people take the next step on developing their health.
Now on to the next step for managing and balancing the vagus nerve. Oh hey, all right, you’re looking to understand the next step in helping to balance out your vagus nerves. So, what I just got through with was one of my 10 minute meditation sessions. I find that meditation can wind up being something outstanding to calm the system down and to stimulate the vagus nerve. To kick back in meditation helps for resting your brain and your mind. Shifting you away from that run and gun that we go through every day and helps you get back to balanced. I know for many people meditation can be very difficult. However, what I’ve found is that over the last five years any step in getting in the right direction to meditating can really help. For me, I started with just three minutes and I used an app to really help me with it. The app was called Calm. It had a 10 day onboarding where every day you just did three minutes of meditation. It was really easy for me to fit it in. I fit it in at the very beginning of my day, but it started to build a habit and it started to give me confidence that I could do it.
Now, with meditation there’s a variety of different ways to wind up doing it, and what I’d encourage if you’re involved in a meditative practice to do the one that fits you the best. Additionally, with meditation making a noise or an ‘arm’ or a ‘mmm’ really winds up helping with stimulating the vagus nerve. The biggest nerve winds up controlling the vocal cords as well as the lungs and when you wind up doing those sounds a sound like that it can wind up stimulating that vagus nerve even more. Right now, the way I meditate is using an app called Insight Timer. I like to do it in the morning and there’s one that I like, it’s called the day starter. You may want to check that out and let me know what you think about it.
If you know someone who’s had problems with vagus nerve or problems with calming themselves. Pass this video along so that they can get these tips on what to do on their own, and to wind up helping. If you like videos like this go ahead and subscribe to our channel. We’re constantly developing new and different videos and programs to help you figure out what’s going on, figure out what you can do about it, and when you need to seek professional help. Lastly, if you like it give it a thumbs up. Once again meditation very important to helping to balance and manage the vagus nerve.
Now, on to the next step. Okay, now on to our super secret tip. Okay, this is one that most people don’t think about in terms of managing and balancing the vagus nerve and it has to do with your posture and your spine. You see the vagus nerves comes out of the brain stem which actually winds up coming out, typically, in the cervical spine. Then it winds up having a nesting right here in the front. It then goes to all the other destinations that it needs to go to. So, if your cervical spine, or your spine at all, winds up being stretched or in the wrong position. It’ll wind up stretching the brain stem and the vagus nervous malfunction. And that’s probably why all the steps that you’ve taken and that you’ve tried, to balance this out and help you with calming down, haven’t wound up working is that the spinal cord is stretched and distended. The tip in the way you wind up managing this, is you do need some professional help, and the person to work with is a corrective chiropractor. What they’ll wind up doing is they’ll wind up actually assessing measure. Measuring your spine to know if it’s in a normal position or an abnormal position. Because if the spinal cord is in a wrong position, or abnormal position, it’s going to put tension on that spinal cord. And all of the breathing exercises, all of the right nutrition, all of the right exercise, all of the right nutrition, all of the right meditation is not going to wind up helping until we wind up taking the pressure off of that spinal cord. The corrective chiropractor is the person to do this.
If you need help in finding someone who can help you with this feel free to reach out I’m happy to help. Go ahead and write a comment down below. We’ll work with you to find someone near you if we’re not the people to wind up helping taking care of it.
Okay, so we’ve gone through when we’ve done a full discussion of the vagus nerve and how powerful it is, how it supports your system, how it’s required for life. We’ve gone over how it can be challenged, and what it shows up with, and for. We’ve also gone over some things that you can wind up doing. We also went over when you need help, and the kind of help that you need to figure it out.
If you’ve been challenged by having problems with managing that relaxation system, that feed and breed system, that slow down system, in your life. Let’s look to connect and figure this out. If you know someone in your life who has had problems with it please make sure to forward this to them so they can get some things to do on their own, and know where and when to do things professionally to get the help that you need. Once again I’m Dr Gregg Gerstin with Align Wellness Center and thank you for letting me be a part of your health.