Tone your va­gus

Writer Vic­to­ria Wood­hall tri­als the lat­est and great­est

Women's Health Australia - - BEST BODY -

Lov­ing kind­ness med­i­ta­tion

WHAT: This med­i­ta­tion was the ba­sis of a 2013 study, which showed how pos­i­tive emo­tions and so­cial con­nec­tion helped to im­prove va­gal tone.

THE VER­DICT: I used a clever (free!) 13-minute Sound­cloud ses­sion from Happy Bud­dha. The aim is to imag­ine peo­ple who love you send­ing warmth, with you ra­di­at­ing it back to them and the world. I felt a def­i­nite soft­en­ing and a sense of let­ting go. I didn’t re­alise my de­fault mode was de­fen­sive.

A cold shower

WHAT: Copius cold wa­ter on the face ac­tu­ally ac­ti­vates your mam­malian dive re­flex, which stim­u­lates the va­gus nerve.

THE VER­DICT: Af­ter a few brac­ing sec­onds, a cold shower be­came a very zen ex­pe­ri­ence. I was too cold to think about

any­thing. Af­ter­wards I felt a strange sense of calm – and ac­tu­ally sur­pris­ingly warm.

The wear­able peb­ble

WHAT: Vi­bro-acous­tic ther­apy has been used to help treat mi­graines and in­som­nia. Now the tech has been shrunk to a smart­phone-linked wear­able called the Sen­sate (get­sen­sate. com) for in­stant calm on the go.

THE VER­DICT: I tucked the peb­ble in my bra and ac­ti­vated it via an app; it played re­lax­ing mu­sic and also sent throb­bing pulses of sound to the Sen­sate on my breast­bone. Ten min­utes felt like a turbo med­i­ta­tion.

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