• Karen Murray Heffron

Tickle Your Vagus Nerve

As a Mind Body Nutrition Health Coach, I am fascinated with the Gut-Brain connection. Most people who have a gut issues often have a psychological or stress component associated with them. Do you ever have a "gut feeling" something bad is about to happen? If you do something wrong at work, does your chest or stomach start to tighten? That is you digestive system at work (or not at work actually) shutting down to prepare for the fight or flight you don't actually need to physically use. The mind not only sends signals to perform proper functions in our body but can also wreak havoc on our system creating a downward spiral of health conditions, anxiety, and frustration. The true connection between the two is actually the vagus nerve that literally runs from the brain to the gut. It provides the action to whether the digestive system should "rest and digest" or "fight or flee." The best thing to do is become friends with your vagus nerve. By stimulating and exercising it, it can promote more relaxation in your gut to allow the ability to heal.

Dr Suzanne Bennet instructs to stimulate your vagal tone by simply laughing. Kids have so much more wisdom than we give them credit for, and laughing is one of them. As adults, we learn to suppress laughter to as little as 4-5x/day compared to kids who laugh hundreds of times/day. Giving a good hearty guttural laugh (faking it or not) resets the autonomic nervous system to allow the rest a digest state to become more prominent. Animals in the wild who experience a significant trauma often "shake it off" to reset their nervous systems, but humans don't have that automatic capability. We have to teach ourselves how to reset this. Laughter truly is the best medicine if you want to repair your body.

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© 2018 Empowered by YOU

Karen Heffron 

Mind Body Nutrition Coach

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