You know that feeling you get during a scary moving when the gal runs up the stairs and the dark figure with the knife follows her…

Your heart is pumping out of your chest and you’re yelling at her noooo don’t go up the stairs – what are you thinking!?

That’s your vagus nerve. 

It’s the nerve that causes butterflies in the stomach before a presentation or pre-flight diarrhea and vacation constipation.

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And it’s there to remind you as you huff and puff up a steep hill or flight of stairs that you need to get on the stair climber more often.

When you’re stressed it’s the nerve at the root of…

  • elevated blood pressure
  • heart rates over 70 bpm
  • stomach aches without explanation
  • mood swings
  • fear
  • anxiety
  • cellular hypothyroidism
  • brain fog, lack of concentration
  • loss of creativity
  • chronic fatigue and illness

This nerve even can interfere with your relationships with loved ones and even finances.

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The vagus nerve’s job is to sense danger and then flip the switches in the body to respond to the threat.

Unfortunately, it’s switches can cause some mis-firing and you end up uncomfortable symptoms. 

If you can bring the sub-conscious triggers to your conscious thought you can over-ride the vagus nerve, halt and prevent annoying symptoms.

I didn’t even know that was possible till I did a podcast with Veronique Mead 4 years ago. 

But even then I had no idea where to start to teach my nervous system that it was safe and all was good.

Your vagus nerve has been gathering information on you and your “threats” for decades.

It has patterns it recognizes and runs the “threat” or fear loops.

Last week I mentioned how the immune system can trigger the vagus nerve to mis-fire and perceive exposures to allergens, mold, and infections as threats leading to chronic fatigue. 

Life situations like immune exposures have the same effect on the vagus nerve.

Do you find yourself repeating the same situations in life?

  • relationships evolve or end the same way
  • your health seems to stay in the same cycle
  • can’t seem to break your bad habits with food, alcohol, other vices
  • financial situations keep repeating themselves
  • you feel stuck in your career or life

All of those are signs your vagus nerve is keeping you in familiar aka “safe situations”.

While you may not perceive these situations as good – the nerve keeps you stuck there because it’s familiar and that equals “safe”.

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How do you interrupt the vagus nerve’s good intentions to protect you?

You become aware of when they are showing up by recognizing patterns. 

One of my big patterns was feeling “not smart enough”.

It manifested in me with procrastination, feelings of overwhelm, fear, weight gain and anxiety. 

I caught myself avoiding certain tasks in my business…

…and taking hours to come up with Instagram ideas then critically judging every post. 

All these thoughts had me thinking maybe it was time to change careers. 

It took a few months of journaling to realize the patterns I was repeating. 

Last week while in a publicity meeting I caught myself going into full overwhelm face flush neck sweat anxiety over my schedule of publications I was to send article pitches.

The overwhelm moved right into fear and my brain went right to how I was going to procrastinate with a big spoon in a jar of peanut butter.

In the past I would have been shoveling peanut butter in my mouth to self soothe till I decided to do anything but send out my pitches. 

Then I’d send the pitches out a few days later and be afraid to check my email and probably eat some more pistachios or some form of nut (I may have been a squirrel in a past life)… till I had the courage to look.

How’s that for a messed up nervous system response?

Can you relate? 

Thanks to a LOT of journaling and asking myself – why I didn’t feel safe or what was the threat I now have the awareness of the patterns.

Awareness is the first step to gain control over your vagus nerve glitches. 

Step two is teaching your body it’s safe. 

It seems irrational, I know.

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You likely have decades of scenarios in which you formed patterns of safe vs not safe. 

Tomorrow I’ll talk about how to ensure your body it’s safe – no matter how irrational the thought. 

For now – spend a little time assessing your quirks.

Here’s to your health,

Dr. J

Jannine Krause

Get back to your wild, active, vibrant self

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