Heavy Metal, Mental Health & The Vagus Nerve

Heavy Metal, Mental Health & The Vagus Nerve

Heavy metal may not be the first thing that comes to mind for vagus nerve stimulation, but it can offer unique benefits based on personal preferences and context. Explore how heavy metal and other methods can help manage stress and promote mental wellness.

The vagus nerve, a critical part of the parasympathetic nervous system, plays a significant role in regulating stress and promoting relaxation. It maintains homeostasis by regulating critical bodily functions, including heart rate, digestion, and respiratory rate. It also plays a significant role in the body's ability to relax and recover from stress, making it a key player in physical and mental health.

Supporting the vagus nerve can promote relaxation, reduce stress, support mental health and enhance overall wellbeing. 

In this blog, you will discover my top 10 surprising ways to support the vagus nerve. I'm confident that at least one of them will pique your interest!

While heavy metal music may not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering vagus nerve stimulation, it can offer unexpected benefits depending on your individual preferences and the context in which you experience the music.

Here are some ways heavy metal music might support the vagus nerve and stress management.

A recent NHS report, the Mental Health of Children and Young People in England 2022, found that 1 in 6 had a probable mental health disorder. This report highlights the growing concern of mental health issues among young people and the need for effective strategies to manage stress and promote mental wellbeing.

We all know how anxiety is on the rise due to financial concerns. The study found that music offers escape, solace, expression, and connection. 

Youth Music research has consistently proved that music aids mental health, with 85% of young people telling us it makes them happy (The Sound of the Next Generation report, 2020).

3 Ways Heavy Metal Can Support Mental Health 

According to a recent Neuroscience article, there are three main ways listening to heavy music can support overall mental health:

  1. Emotional Release: Heavy music can provide a powerful outlet for emotions. Releasing pent-up emotions such as anger and frustration can help activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which includes the vagus nerve, leading to a calming effect after the intense emotional experience.

  2. Catharsis & Mindfulness: Listening to or performing heavy music can offer a form of catharsis, allowing individuals to express and process intense emotions in a controlled environment. This emotional processing can help reduce stress levels and promote mental wellbeing.

    For some, immersing themselves in heavy music can act as a form of mindfulness, where they become intensely focused on the music and the present moment. This focused attention can help reduce anxiety and stress.

  3. Exercise & Movement: Engaging in activities like mosh dancing or headbanging to heavy music can stimulate physical movement, promoting vagal tone. Vagal tone refers to the activity of the vagus nerve, which is an indicator of the parasympathetic nervous system's ability to regulate stress. Physical activity positively affects stress reduction and vagus nerve stimulation.

    How the music makes you move alone is an excellent reason to dust off those AC/DC and KISS albums and let loose!  

    I'm not suggesting that we all take up headbanging if that is not your thing but listening to music that resonates with you and allows you to let loose and '
    dance like no one is watching' involving all major muscle groups is a very powerful way to support mental and physical health, particularly for its ability to improve vagal tone.

10 Ways to Support Your Vagus Nerve 

Here are my top 10 ways to support your vagus nerve for optimum mind-body balance.

1. Deep Breathing Exercises: In & Out

  • Diaphragmatic Breathing: Engage in deep belly breathing, stimulating the vagus nerve and promoting relaxation.
  • Box Breathing: Inhale for 4 seconds, hold, exhale, and hold again for 4 seconds.

2. Cold Exposure: Chill

  • Cold Showers: Brief exposure to cold water can activate the vagus nerve and improve vagal tone.
  • Face Immersion in Cold Water: Splashing cold water on your face or immersing your face in cold water can stimulate the vagus nerve.

3. Meditation & Mindfulness: Be Thoughtful

  • Mindfulness Meditation: Practicing mindfulness can reduce stress and increase vagal tone.
  • Loving-Kindness Meditation: Focus on feelings of compassion and love, which can enhance vagus nerve activity.
  • If you find it hard to switch off, add adaptogenic herbs, like those in our Adrenal Complex capsules, to help your body deal with stress better.

4. Laughter & Social Connections: Party On

  • Laughter: Genuine laughter increases vagal tone and reduces stress. For us as a family, dancing around the house doing crazy moves is also hilarious, so you can combine the two.
  • Socialising: Positive social interactions and connections support vagus nerve function.

5. Physical Exercise: Move 

  • Regular Exercise: Moderate physical activity (walking, running, or swimming) can enhance vagal tone.
  • Pilates, Yoga and Tai Chi: These activities combine physical movement with mental focus and deep breathing.

6. Healthy Diet: Feed The Body

  • Probiotics: Foods rich in probiotics, like organic kefir and fermented foods or a probiotic supplement, such as our Rejuv Gut Repair, can improve gut health and support the vagus nerve.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Consuming foods high in omega-3s, such as fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts, can support vagal function. If you find it hard to eat oil fish four times a week, opt for a supplement such as our Antarctic Krill oil or our vegan option, Omega 3-6-9 capsules.

7. Massage & Acupuncture: Stimulate The Body

  • Neck and Foot Massages can stimulate vagal nerve endings and promote relaxation.
  • Acupuncture: Targeting specific points can help stimulate the vagus nerve.

8. Good Sleep Hygiene: Rhythm & Patterns

  • Regular Sleep Schedule: Consistent sleep patterns support overall health and vagal tone. If you have trouble getting deep, healing sleep, try herbal remedies such as our Stress and Sleep Support capsules.
  • Relaxing Bedtime Routine: Activities like reading, gentle stretching, or listening to calming music can improve sleep quality and support the vagus nerve.

9. Mind-Body Practices: Listen & Relax

  • Biofeedback: This technique helps you learn to control physiological functions, including heart rate variability, which is linked to vagus nerve activity.
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups to reduce stress and promote vagal tone.

10. Vocalisation - Chant, Sing Along & Dance

  • Chanting: Repetitive vocalisations like chanting "Om" can stimulate the vagus nerve.
  • Singing and Humming: These activities engage the vocal cords and stimulate the vagus nerve.
  • Listening to any loud music, including heavy metal music, that makes you want to dance, shake what your momma gave you, and yes, even headbanging (in a safe environment, of course) can improve vagal tone and reduce stress and anxiety overall.

So have fun, let loose, and if you like loud, heavy music, ROCK ON!

Many of the 80s heavy metal bands and even pop songs also bring back beautiful memories that can really feed our souls, so choose music as part of your lifestyle plan.

Incorporating these practices into your daily routine can effectively support your vagus nerve and enhance your overall mental and physical health.

I Wanna Rock! 🤘 


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The Seven Pillars of Wellness, which form the foundation of everything we do at Rejuv Wellness, are crucial for maintaining a healthy immune system. Understanding and implementing these pillars can empower you to take control of your health.

The Seven Pillars of Wellness are crucial for healthy immune system.

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Invest 5 minutes in your health. Complete your free Rejuv Wellness Quiz and get your one-page wellness profile. You will get an actionable summary with a wellness diagram identifying your health and the next best steps towards your optimal wellbeing.