For the longest time, the spiritual dimension of treating mental-health disorders was ignored or sidelined. Millions of people all over the world report not just feeling better and healthier with the help of practices like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing, but they also report the condition being treated from its root instead of just addressal of symptoms as in Western medicine. Let us look at natural and non-invasive solutions to deal with the condition of depression.
Vagus Nerve and Depression
The latest research in neuroscience talks about the most important nerve in the body, the Vagus (meaning wanderer) Nerve, which is responsible for the mind-body connection. It influences the functioning of almost all of the important organs in the body—the brain, gut, heart, liver, pancreas, kidney, spleen, lungs, reproductive organs, and even the tongue.
- Brain, depression and anxiety
- Gut, digestive juice secretion
- Heart rate variability
- Blood glucose balance
- Bile production
- Kidney function
Most of all, it can influence a sense of connectedness, mental and physical well-being, and even altruistic behavior.
Stimulation of the vagus nerve is directly linked to your wellness. The better your vagal tone, the happier and healthier you are mentally and physically. Any practice that aids the stimulation of the vagus nerve, improves the body-mind connection since the vagus nerve is the physical representation of the link between body and mind. In this, simple techniques like deeper diaphragmatic breathing or Sudarshan Kriya Yoga have been found to activate the vagus nerve, triggering over all happiness and well-being.
Deep, abdominal breathing is often used as an alternative to pacemakers in the stimulation of the vagus nerve. Pranayama—ancient Indian breathing techniques—are key processes through which we can use the breath for our health.
In spiritual terms, the onset of depression is a sign of low prana or life force energy in an individual. Anything that a person can do to elevate their prana or life force can quickly help them overcome depression, apart from the more traditional therapies like counseling and psychotherapy.