The polyvagal nerve, also known as the vagus nerve, is a cranial nerve that plays a vital role in regulating many of our bodily functions, including breathing, heart rate, and digestion.
In addition to these physical functions, the polyvagal nerve also plays a crucial role in emotional regulation, social connection, and fear response. When we feel safe and connected, the polyvagal nerve helps us feel calm and relaxed, which is known as the “ventral vagal” response.
However, when we perceive a threat or feel stressed, the polyvagal nerve can activate the “sympathetic” or “dorsal vagal” response, which can trigger the “fight or flight” response or even cause us to shut down completely.
Understanding the role of the polyvagal nerve in emotional regulation is revolutionizing the way we think about mental health and therapy, as it offers new insights into the mind-body connection and how to help people regulate their emotions more effectively.
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