When someone’s frowning, or beaming, or gaping in surprise, they’re wearing their heart on their face.
That’s because the muscles that control facial expression are linked to the smart vagus, says Stephen Porges, PhD.
Thanks to the vagus nerve, the emotions we feel are displayed on our faces and in the sound of our voices.
Without the vagus nerve, in fact, we wouldn’t be able to tell how anyone else was feeling.
Here’s Stephen’s explanation for why the vagus nerve makes empathy possible – and what it means to clinicians.
It’s only about 3 minutes long, so please take a look.
But empathy isn’t the only thing the vagus nerve is responsible for. To find out more about polyvagal theory, click here.
Have you ever learned more about a client from their voice and facial expressions than the words they were saying to you? Please share your experience in the comments below.