October 4, 2021
Unlocking The Keys To Stress & Chronic Illness
Did you know there is an information highway in your body traveling directly between your gut and your brain!? Did you know this information highway goes in both directions…and that most of the information goes from your gut to your brain? This information highway in your body may be an important factor in finding solutions for stress and chronic illness.
This information highway is controlled primarily by your vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in your body. Starting at the brain stem the nerve travels into the area of the trunk down through the diaphragm and into the area of the gut and the stomach. The vagus nerve connects your gut directly to your brain and has two-way communication, from your gut to your brain and from your brain to your gut.
All major systems of the body communicate directly with your brain through the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is controlled by the autonomic nervous system, connecting to the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.
The vagus nerve communicates:
- From the liver about detoxification, bile production & blood sugar balance;
- From the stomach and digestive tract about food being digested, movement of food, & the state of the microbiome;
- From the immune system cells and organs about their state of function; and
- From the heart & lungs about heart rate, activity level and anything amiss.
All this information travels an enormous distance from your gut directly to your brain!
It is no wonder that the gut is being called the “second brain” by medical experts. This “second brain” of the gut may be the key to solving many chronic issues, from autoimmune disorders to irritable bowel syndrome, to many forms of arthritis.
This is one of many reasons that if you have lingering chronic health issues, it is of utmost importance to look at:
- The food on your plate;
- The health of your nervous system; and
- Your body’s tolerance for stress (resilience).
Adding holistic practices to foster the health of the nervous system and build the body’s resilience to stress is often necessary to solve chronic and lingering health issues.
One way we can foster resilience is to have daily practices that help your body renew. Many of the practices of yoga strengthen the ability of the vagus nerve to communicate with your brain. Often the slower practices of yoga meditation, yin, restorative and gentle yoga have the most potent effects on strengthening the vagus nerve connection. Finding time to focus on breathing with body movement is an important key to strengthen the connection of the vagus nerve.
Yoga strengthens the connection between mind and body. One of the most beautiful gifts of feeling connected to your body is recognizing signals in your body. Asking for renewal. Asking for attention. Listening to these signals allows you to step into self-care sooner. Allowing you to ward off stress. Allowing you to feel resilient.
As always, check out the practices below to help: