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Oh the nerve!

Legit question: In the history of calming down, has anyone ever calmed down by being told to calm down?

Let’s talk about stress

Stress is not our friend. It is known to suppress the immune system, upset our digestive and reproductive systems, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up the aging process. 

For as long as I can remember, stress has been my constant companion. We have an almost hostage/abductor relationship. Whenever there was a quick turnaround time, a change of plans, a loss of control, I would sense myself spiraling to that familiar place.  

The feeling was excruciating. All I wanted was to escape my body.

I had developed various strategies to deal with stress: emotionally detaching, yelling, running away… but none of them ever changed the feeling in my body.

After many years of healing, I got tired of it and went looking for answers. Whilst studying as a trauma informed practitioner, I came across Dr Stephen Porges’s Polyvagal theory. Imagine my surprise when I learned there was a physiological reason I felt like this AND so many options to change my experience of stress!?

Polyvagal Theory 

Allow me to introduce you to the 10th cranial nerve: The Vagus Nerve, which literally means “The wanderer” in Latin. The longest nerve in the body, it connects the brainstem to all major organs and the gut. Largely responsible for the mind-body connection, the mediator between thinking and feeling, I like to call her Queen of the parasympathetic nervous system- because she is what helps us recover from stressful or scary situations.

The vagus nerve is involved in nearly every physiological action in the human body and harnessing its power can have an immediate and dramatic impact on your well-being.

It operates unconsciously to regulate our internal organs, optimises health, growth and restoration (homeostasis) as well as promoting the feeling of being safe in our body. 

The health of the vagal nerve is measured via vagal tone, allowing us to shift states from stress to calm. Higher vagal tone equates to better health and interestingly, a higher capacity to experience love.

The good news? We have the ability to improve our vagal tone through breath and movement. This is why I am such an advocate for all forms of embodiment from breathwork, to dance, ice baths, tapping and sound therapy. 

But if all that overwhelms you, the simplest way to start is just by slowing your exhale down.

Want to know more?

Embodiment is one of the key components of the Woman of Influence experience and all of the 1:1 coaching I do.If you know that stress is holding you back from experiencing your best life, from enjoying relationships and good health, book a free strategy call here. I will go through a stress health check and together we can decide whether group coaching or 1:1 is the right fit for you.