Did you know that engaging in rhythmic activities like dancing and listening to music can help stimulate the ventral vagus nerve? Find out how these activities can have a positive impact on our wellbeing!
You might be surprised to learn that engaging in rhythmic activities like dancing or listening to relaxing music can actually stimulate the ventral vagus nerve, creating a sense of security and connection. Let's dive into how this process works:
Regulating the Autonomic Nervous System: The ventral vagus nerve is a crucial component of the parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for promoting relaxation and restoring a sense of safety after stressful events. When activated, it counteracts the fight-or-flight response of the sympathetic nervous system.
Rhythmic Activities and the Vagus Nerve: Rhythmic activities, such as dancing or listening to soothing music, often involve controlled and repetitive movements or patterns. These activities can stimulate the ventral vagus nerve because they mimic the inherent rhythm of our bodies.
Resonance and Safety: The ventral vagus nerve responds positively to rhythmic patterns that resonate with the natural rhythms of our bodies. This resonance signals to the brain that the environment is safe, allowing us to let our guard down and feel more at ease.
Emotional Expression: Dancing and music also provide an outlet for emotional expression. When people express themselves through movement or music, it can help them process and release pent-up emotions, contributing to emotional regulation.
Social Connection: Rhythmic activities like dancing often involve social interaction. Engaging synchronously with others fosters a sense of connection and safety, further activating the social engagement aspect of the ventral vagal system.
Release of Oxytocin: Dancing and other rhythmic activities can trigger the release of oxytocin, often referred to as the "love hormone" or "bonding hormone." Oxytocin enhances feelings of trust and connection with others.
Reduction of Stress Hormones: Taking part in these activities can also lower the levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol, in the body, contributing to an overall sense of relaxation.
Improved Well-being: The combination of relaxation, emotional expression, social connection, and the release of mood-enhancing hormones can result in an enhanced sense of well-being, fostering a deeper connection with oneself and others.
Hope this sheds some light on how rhythmic activities can have a positive impact on our well-being!
Irene M. Rodriguez, LMHC, REAT (EMDRIA Approved Consultant and ICM Faculty). Irene M. Rodríguez is the founder and director of Mindful Journey Center. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Registered Expressive Arts Therapist (REAT) with a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University. She is an EMDRIA approved consultant and faculty of the Institute for Creative Mindfulness. She is also a Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR) Facilitator/Trainer and certified Dancing Mindfulness Facilitator/Trainer affiliated to The Institute for Creative Mindfulness.