The vagus nerve connects the brain to organs throughout the body, including the heart, lungs and intestines. Stimulating the nerve has been shown to change brain-wave patterns and prod the cells lining the intestinal tract to increase production of happiness hormones, helping you feel relaxed and cheerful. To give the vagus nerve a little TLC, simply splash cold water on your face–from your hairline to your chin–twice daily or do a quick cold water rinse toward the end of your shower.
An easy way to ward off fatigue that tends to set in during the fall and winter: Season your favorite savory dishes with seaweed flakes instead of table salt. This low-sodium pick provides salty flavor and plenty of thyroid-nourishing iodine, which helps increase energy within 30 minutes. Another plus: It boasts appetite-suppressing soluble fiber to thwart cravings, and it’s terrific on poultry, vegetables, salad or even popcorn. Tip: To preserve its beneficial enzymes, add the flakes after cooking. One to try: Maine Coast Dulse Granules (SeaVeg.com).