Our Autonomous Nervous system is the regulator that sends messages to either one of two other nervous system branches, whether to react to stress or to allow a state of relaxation.
Anatomy of the autonomic nervous system
Your autonomic nervous system (ANS) decides which messages to send to your internal organs, including the blood vessels, stomach, intestine, liver, kidneys, bladder, genitals, lungs, pupils, heart, and sweat, salivary, and digestive glands.
This main autonomic nervous system is divided into two parts:
- Sympathetic nervous system
- Parasympathetic nervous system
The sympathetic nervous system's primary function is to react to stressful situations, like make your heart beat faster, constrict blood vessels, cause perspiration... all things necessary when protecting yourself against stress (this is also known as the fight or flight response).
The parasympathetic nervous system on the other hand (also known as the "rest and digest" response), is to induce a relaxed state, to conserve and restore, by slowing your heart rate, decreasing blood pressure, and increasing digestion and motility.
It is your parasympathetic nervous system that we should really get to know better, as it involves health and longevity.
The Vagus Nerve
The vagus nerve is a branch of the parasympathetic system. It is part of a circuit that links the neck, heart, lungs, and the abdomen to the brain. It acts as the messenger for activating the various impulses for heart rate reduction, gastrointestinal motility, inflammation, and sensitivity, as well as sensations, felt on the skin or in the muscles.
Optimizing vagus nerve function can make you healthier, happier, and better able to handle stress. Thankfully there are a surprising number of ways to stimulate your vagus nerve.
Vagal stimulation can be achieved by yoga, massage, meditation, deep breathing, listening to calming and relaxing music, which can help stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system's vagus nerve to promote the health benefits of relaxation.
Calming And Relaxing Music For You
Make time during your day to try listening to Calm Radio's relaxing, binaural meditation music with headphones or earbuds. Your left and right brain can begin to connect to cross-communicate harmoniously, using binaural frequencies to stimulate the vagus nerve with the ultimate goal of helping carry you into a state of deep relaxation necessary for a healthier body and longer life.