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Trauma: Regulate with Vagus Nerve

Trauma and the Vagus Nerve: Symptoms and Regulation Strategies

In mental health, trauma’s impact often extends beyond emotional scars, reaching physiological levels, particularly affecting the vagus nerve—a key player in our body’s stress response system. Understanding how trauma affects the vagus nerve and recognizing its symptoms is crucial for effective healing and regulation. Here, we dive into these aspects and offer strategies for regulation with your therapist’s guidance.

woman in gray tank top showing distress because of trauma. vagus nerve response
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on
  1. Impact of Trauma on the Vagus Nerve:
    • Trauma disrupts the vagus nerve’s functioning, altering its ability to regulate the body’s stress response. This can lead to dysregulation in various bodily systems, affecting heart rate, digestion, immune response, and emotional regulation.

Symptoms of Trauma

  1. Symptoms of Trauma from Vagus Nerve Impact:
    • Of course you will have an impact on your nervous system with any experience of trauma. Here are a few examples of how your body will respond:
      • Increased Heart Rate and Breathing: Trauma triggers can activate the sympathetic nervous system, causing rapid heart rate and shallow breathing.
      • Digestive Issues: Dysregulation of the vagus nerve may result in digestive problems such as stomachaches, nausea, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
      • Emotional Dysregulation: Trauma triggers may evoke intense emotional responses like panic, anxiety, anger, or dissociation.
      • Physical Tension: Muscle tension or stiffness, especially in the neck, shoulders, and jaw, can indicate vagus nerve dysregulation.
      • Hypervigilance: Individuals may experience heightened alertness, constantly scanning for potential threats or dangers.

How to work with your therapist

  1. Regulation Strategies with Your Therapist:
    • Your therapist, who is trained in when and how to use coping skills to help regulate your vagus nerve can help you learn:
      • Mindfulness and Grounding Techniques: Your therapist can teach mindfulness exercises to anchor you in the present moment, reducing the impact of trauma triggers.
      • Breathing Exercises: Deep breathing techniques, such as diaphragmatic breathing or box breathing, help regulate the vagus nerve and promote relaxation.
      • Polyvagal Theory-Informed Interventions: Therapists trained in polyvagal theory can offer interventions specifically designed to regulate the vagus nerve’s responses to trauma triggers.
      • Somatic Experiencing: This body-oriented approach focuses on releasing trauma-related tension and restoring the body’s natural regulation mechanisms.
      • Trauma-Informed Therapy: Working with a trauma-informed therapist ensures that your treatment approach considers the impact of trauma on the nervous system and prioritizes safety and empowerment in the healing process.
view of ocean during golden hour This image can be helpful with trauma. vagus nerve response
Photo by Александр Прокофьев on

In conclusion, understanding the interplay between trauma and the vagus nerve sheds light on the complex nature of trauma responses and offers hope for effective regulation and healing. By partnering with a skilled therapist and implementing targeted regulation strategies, individuals can navigate trauma triggers with greater resilience and reclaim agency over their well-being.

Who we are

At The Pursuit, a group of experienced therapists have come together to offer best-in-class counseling services. We prioritize clinical theory, non-judgmental approaches, and effective interventions, treatment plans, and coping skills. We have therapists who specialize in different areas and we strive to find the best match for your unique needs. Our services cater to individuals, families, and organizations, including adolescents in high school. Our specialized counseling services aim to address the underlying emotional wounds that contribute to behaviors. We offer evidence-based counseling that is effective in working with many presenting problems. We provide a holistic approach to recovery, focusing on healing the past to create a healthier future. Are you ready to take the first step in your Pursuit towards a happier, healthier you? We invite you to book your free 20-minute consultation with one of our skilled therapists. Don’t wait; it’s time to invest in your well-being. Simply Book Now to start your Pursuit toward personal growth and positive change today. You can learn more about the topic of Trauma Therapy on our website

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