Modulate your Voice to Activate the Healing System
To modulate your voice means to change or modify your voice on purpose.
The expression of affect, or emotion, in your voice, as well as the facial expressions that come along with that, are controlled by a very important part of the nervous system for health and healing.
The Vagus Nerve.
The vagus nerve communicates the “Rest, Relax and Recover” signal from the brain and is the opposite of the “Fight or Flight” signal.
We activate the “Rest, Relax and Recover” system, in ourselves and others, by doing certain things. Some lesser known things that activate the vagus nerve are:
Voices with flat affect, consistent rhythm/pacing or really quick and choppy speaking activates the “Fight or Flight” system. This can instill tension in ourselves, as well, others find this innately anxiety causing too as their systems interpret that type of communication up as a threat.
Speaking prosaically, as in reading poetry – flowing, changes in pace and tone, pauses for emphasis or processing – is not only calming to our own inner environment, but others find it calming to be around.
Try these tips to use your voice to calm you and others:
- Come to notice your voice and the way you speak. Notice if you’re coming off quick and with choppy sentences.
- Add a little sing-song into your voice. Of course, don’t sing, but you’ll notice that your voice has a nice up and down to it when you speak this way.
- Leave room in your speaking for others to process. Pause!!! Leave time for you to breath calmly between sentences.
- Alter the tone of your voice and your pace for emphasis and effect.
- Practice reading poetry to help find your pace. Goodnight Moon, the classic children’s book, was a big help for me.