The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in our body and is vital for heart rate, digestion, decreased anxiety and better sleep. Vagal tone involves the parasympathetic nervous system and the higher it is the faster our nervous system can reset and go into this resting state. The sympathetic nervous system involves the fight/flight stress response and this is the state that we want to avoid being in for long periods of time. Here are 5 ways to increase vagal tone in our body:
- Cold Shower – Take a cold shower or simply just splash cold water on your face.
- Deep Breathing – Deep breathing is excellent whether in meditation or just for relaxing. An excellent suggestion is to take 3 deep breaths before an intense work out as this will get you into a relaxed state since exercise is a controlled sympathetic state which can have opposite affects on the body.
- Singing – Singing your favorite song will put you in a positive state of mind. Singing also involves deep diaphragmatic breathing and this will help with vagal tone.
- Probiotics and Fasting – Probiotics increase gut health and fasting allows the digestive system to take a break and not work too hard. Try skipping a meal and see how you feel.
- Yoga and Tai Chi – Yoga and Tai Chi are both relaxing exercises that involve slow movements and deep breathing.