Episode 89: WHY THE VAGUS NERVE IS TRENDING ON TIKTOK & 9 WAYS TO WORK YOURS – Flourishing Friday
In today’s Flourishing Friday episode, listen in as Emiliya explains the latest TikTok sensation, the vagus nerve. #vagusnerve has been viewed over 64 million times, with over 70,000 posts, according to a NY Times article published in June, 2022. Emiliya shares her take on why the fascination with the vagus nerve is spreading, what you should know about yours and how you can use it to feel greater mastery over your body.
What is the vagus nerve?
The vagus nerve is the 10th cranial nerve of the body. It’s a bundle of thousands of nerve fibers that enables communication between the brain, the heart and other organs throughout the body, through the brain stem. It’s the main nerve of the parasympathetic nervous system (or the relaxation response).
Stimulating the vagus nerve is like having a super power!
Imagine that you had a button you could press to calm yourself down whenever you’re stressed. With training, this is what the vagus nerve can do. Most people think they need to use their minds to calm their bodies, but with 80 percent of the fibers of the vagus nerve consisting of communication between your body (such as your gut and your heart), it’s easier to create calm by using the body to impact the mind. Vagal tone training helps build your vagal muscle, just like any other muscle of the body. Having high vagal tone means your body can relax faster after being exposed to stress.
The most popular TikTok videos feature simple hacks to tone the vagus nerve
A recent NY Times, titled: This Nerve Influences Nearly Every Internal Organ. Can It Improve Our Mental State, Too? suggests that the most popular TikTok videos feature simple ways to reset the vagus nerve. Of course the key is practice – you have to “work out your vagus nerve” the same way you would any muscle you want to strengthen.
Vagus Nerve Bootcamp: 9 activities you can use to train your vagus nerve
The University of Ottawa* has provided a list of nine activities you can use to stimulate your vagus nerve for better mental health. Some of these we practice every day in The Flourishing Center’s Lift program. The U of O list includes a range of activities, including cold exposure, deep and slow breathing, singing or using your vocal cords, taking probiotics, meditation, consuming foods with omega-3 fatty acids, exercise, massage, and socializing and laughing. Listen in as Emiliya describes how each of these activities can help strengthen the vagus nerve, and with it, your capacity to deal with stress.
How to Stimulate the Vagus Nerve for Better Mental Health, University of Ottawa
*As with anything pertaining to your health, please consult a physician or health provider before trying these activities.
Sponsored by Lift
This episode is sponsored by Lift, a powerful daily learning experience designed to enhance and promote your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. With Lift, you get skills for life. Discover more about Lift at https://theflourishingcenter.com/lift