Introducing Soma Socials – A Gateway to Well-being

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This April & May, we invite you to connect with a friend. Hug a loved one. Make time for play. Social well-being and our ability to feel safe through connection is critical for the regulation and health of our nervous system.

Some of you may have already heard about the Vagus Nerve and how it is responsible for our rest and digest (also known as our parasympathetic system). However, there is another aspect of the vagus nerve known as the Ventral (Front) portion that is responsible for our social engagement system. It is the system that allows us to feel a connection to ourselves, others, and the world around us.

Studies show that increased social connections improves Vagal tone, the activity and responsiveness of the Vagus Nerve. Research has shown that individuals with higher vagal tone tend to experience better emotional health, lower anxiety levels, and enhanced resilience to stress. As it directly affects our stress response, it plays a significant role in regulating our mood, emotions, and overall mental state.

As humans, our social engagement system developed as a critical survival mechanism. We find safety in numbers. Through our evolution, we learned to live in groups not only to secure food and protect ourselves physically, but also to co-regulate our physiological state. Co-regulation means that when we feel safe we give cues of safety to those around us, helping them to feel safe, and vice versa.

As Porges writes, “To connect and co-regulate with others is our biological imperative. We experience this imperative as an inherent quest for safety that can be reached only through successful social relationships in which we co-regulate our behaviour and physiology.”

Thus, we instinctively seek out connection and relationships with other humans and animals, particularly those who make us feel safe. The Vagus Nerve connection is an essential yet often overlooked aspect of our mental and physical health. We know how important it is to offset stress by carving out spaces for deep rest but what if we approached it from the perspective of social connection? By understanding its significance and actively taking steps to support its optimal functioning, whether its nurturing our body through rest or making deep connections with our tribe, we can experience improved overall well-being.

We hope this encourages you to connect with a loved ones near and far but also connect with other like-minded people and continue to build your tribe. Whether it’s a class, workshop or visiting us for a session this month of April, join us in building a memory capsule of self-care and social moments. We cant wait to open this capsule with you.