We often assume it’s the brain's job to keep us calm and prepare the body for the rest and relaxation of summer. But our vagus nerve actually plays a crucial role in our body's ability to rest, digest, and stay cool.
The vagus nerve connects the brain to our major organs, functioning as a two-way information super-highway. A healthy vagus nerve is associated with better mood and improved physical health. Our parasympathetic nervous system oversees our body's resting functions like digestion, immunity, and mood. And it's mainly composed of the vagus nerve, our longest cranial nerve.
As you begin to transition to a slower way of life this summer, here are our favorite ways to stay cool, both literally and parasympathetically. Sipping elixirs and tonics made from botanics, nervines, and adaptogens like lion's mane, reishi, turmeric, schisandra, and ashwagandha may also help lower warm weather seasonal affect disorder, depression, stress, and anxiety.
Exposing the skin to a safe amount of summer sunlight can produce a hormone that improves vagus nerve function.
Submersing the face or body in cold water can slow the heart rate, activate the parasympathetic nervous system, and may improve vagal tone.
Deep belly breathing is one of the best ways to improve vagal tone and stimulate the vagus nerve. Breathing in through the mouth can have a cooling effect on the vagus nerve and the entire body.
The summer harvest brings a bounty of nutrients, making it easier to eat foods rich in fiber, which encourages the release of hormones that send fullness cues to the brain via the vagus nerve.
Exercise improves heart rate variability which is linked to a healthy vagus nerve. Being in nature has added calming benefits, and there's no better time to play outside than in the summer.
Certain forms of mindfulness meditation have been found to optimize vagus nerve function and help the brain manage anxiety and stress.
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Lion’s mane contains compounds that regenerate nerves including the Gut-Brain Axis or vagus nerve.
Golden Turmeric contains rhizomes and botanics used for centuries to soothe the digestive system, and make way for more calm and collected moods.
Mushroom Adaptogen helps support the immune system and it's vital role in modulating with the gut-brain information super highway.
A healthy vagus nerve is associated with lower inflammation, positive emotions, improved physical health, and better social connections.
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