What’s the Vagus Nerve and Why Does It Matter?

Let’s face it, life as an owner-manager is stressful. There’s a constant demand on your time, energy, and focus.

When you’re stressed, your body produces hormones like adrenaline and cortisol to heighten your state of physical and mental alertness – to fight or flight. That’s good if a lion is chasing you but not if you’re responding to emails or hosting a meeting.

When a lion is chasing you, once you escape, your adrenaline and cortisol levels drop, your heart rate and blood pressure will return to baseline levels, etc.

But what happens when you’re responding to emails, managing meetings, making payroll, etc. in a heightened level of stress, much of the day, most days for months if not years?

Some would call it death by a 1,000 cuts. We call it business ownership.

Long-term chronic stress, aka business ownership, disrupts many body processes. This puts you at increased risk of many health problems, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches
  • Heart disease
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight gain
  • Memory & concentration impairment
illustration of the visceral system of a human including main organs and the vagus nerve

But what to do.

The vagus nerve, otherwise known as the “wandering nerve” oversees a vast array of crucial bodily functions, including control of mood, immune response, digestion, and heart rate.

By practicing breathing exercises and bringing awareness to your vagus nerve you can regulate your stress-response-system and trigger a relaxation, or rest and recovery response, to bring you back to a baseline level.

When the vagus nerve is engaged, calmness pervades the body: the heart rate slows and becomes regular, blood pressure decreases, and muscles relax. When the vagus nerve informs the brain of these changes, it, too, relaxes, increasing feelings of peacefulness. Thus, stimulating the vagus nerve works through both neurobiological and psychological mechanisms3.

Based on over ten years of research and practical application across multiple modalities including biology, biochemistry, physiology, psychologically, behavioral economics, management and leadership, etc. as well as multiple meditation traditions and practices, we developed a simple and fast way to access and stimulate your vagus nerve’s very real and powerful health benefits and make better decisions in both the short and long-term.

How Do I Learn More?

Visit Inner OptimizationSM to learn more about our vagus nerve training or schedule a video call here.