Anxiety affects 40 million U.S. adults annually. That makes up about 18% of the population. All of whom may benefit from a strengthened vagal tone. During a 2015 study, half of the participants were assigned to an experimental group that exposed them to meditation. The meditation practice was expected to generate positive emotions. The other half of the participants were assigned to a wait-list control group. Researchers concluded that the increase in positive emotions strengthened the vagal tone of that group of participants. “Results suggest that positive emotions, positive social connections, and physical health influence one another in a self-sustaining upward-spiral dynamic.” (McLaughlin, Rith-Najarian, Dirks, and Sheridan, 2015).
What is a Vagal Tone?
Vagal tone refers to how strong your vagus nerve is. The vagus nerve consists of a pair of cranial nerves that are responsible for your parasympathetic (involuntary) functioning. The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the human body stemming from the brain to the abdomen. The vagus nerve helps control and regulate many functions in your body, including your immune system, digestion, and heart rate.
High vs. Low Vagal Tone
Many people think high stress equals a high vagal tone. However, this is not correct in how vagal tone is measured. Typically, a high vagal tone is associated with happiness, contentment, bodily homeostasis, and overall psychological balance. Whereas a low vagal tone is associated with stress, feelings of depression, and difficulty focusing. Low vagal tone has also been found to express poor emotional and attentional regulation. Since your vagus nerve is responsible for breathing and heart rate, your vagal tone is measured by taking your heart rate with an electrocardiogram and measuring your breathing rate as well. Depending on those measurements, you either have a high or low vagal tone, which can provide doctors and researchers with a lot of information on your overall health.
Why Does the Vagal Tone Need to Be Strengthened?
Now you know, the stronger your vagal tone, the higher your vagal tone measurements will be. That’s why mastering the art of strengthening your vagal tone is so important. When you work on strengthening your vagal tone, you are working on the key to your overall wellness and well-being. And it takes practice, dedication, and effort to strengthen your vagal tone.
How You Can Strengthen Your Vagal Tone
Focus On Your Breathing
Your vagus nerve regulates the connection between your breathing and heart rates. When your heart rate is high, your body becomes stressed and reacts by quickening your breathing and making your mind and body believe there is a potential threat. Focusing on taking slow, deep breaths can help force your body into relaxation and slow your breathing and heart rates.
Of the many functions of your vagus nerve, the nerve connects your gut and brain health, along with the regulation of digestion in the body. Additionally, your vagus nerve is extremely important to your overall gut makeup, including microbiota and neurotransmitters that live within. Feeding your body and brain healthy foods can help strengthen your vagal tone by smoothing out digestion and giving your body necessary healthy energy.
Exposure to Cold
Studies have shown that being exposed to cold temperatures can help increase your vagal tone by activating the vagus nerve. Because the cold slows your sympathetic nervous system, it can relieve stress in the mind and body. Lowering your “fight or flight” stress response can lead to a slower breathing and heart rate. Cold showers or a cold compress are ways you can incorporate exposure to cold in your every day.
Vagus Nerve Stimulation with Xen by Neuvana
The most effective way to strengthen your vagal tone is to stimulate your vagus nerve. Xen by Neuvana is an electronic wellness device that sends a gentle, calming electrical signal via patented earbuds, targeting a branch of the vagus nerve in the ear. This revolutionary product uses vagus nerve stimulation to leverage how the brain, body, and nervous system work together to strengthen your vagal tone and improve your overall wellness. Vagus nerve stimulation has been studied for decades and researchers have found that a number of health benefits can result from it, including better sleep, less stress, more tranquility, a brighter mood, enhanced focus, and reduced negative cravings.
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