by Lovena Suson | Aug 3, 2021 | Health & Fitness, Women's Health
Paced breathing beats normal breathing when it comes to managing many common health conditions or just feeling more energetic. Something as simple as lengthening each inhalation and exhalation can help you feel fitter and more at ease.
♦Benefits of Paced Breathing
1. Reduce hot flashes.
Changing the way you breathe affects your body’s autonomic nervous system. Your autonomic nervous system helps maintain your body temperature, so changing over to paced breathing minimizes hot flashes.
2. Tame anxiety.
Anyone who is prone to panic attacks knows what it’s like to be short of breath. If you’re being treated for anxiety and depression, ask your doctor about using paced breathing as a supplement to conventional care. It’s also great for ordinary daily challenges like traffic jams and lost luggage.
3. Boost your mood.
Most people feel a little lazy or blue from time to time. Delivering more oxygen to your brain will make you more alert and cheerful.
4. Manage stress.
Modern life is full of pressures and demands. Getting stress under control with paced breathing helps to prevent chronic inflammation as well as emotional distress.
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5. Cope with pain.
Childbirth is one of the most obvious occasions when patients use breathing techniques. You can apply it to any kind of pain. Experts debate exactly how it works, but it seems to provide a distraction and helps you to loosen up.
6. Sleep better.
Get relief from tossing and turning until dawn. Fall asleep faster and wake up less frequently during the night.
7. Promote healing.
Studies show that skillful breathing can help recovery times. If you have major surgery scheduled or you injure your knee jogging, you may be able to get back in shape faster than you think.
8. Strengthen your immune system.
The quality of your breath plays a big role in keeping you fit and strong. You’ll find you catch fewer colds and you’ll increase your resistance to more serious conditions.
♦Training Yourself in Paced Breathing
Understand your hormones.
Stress triggers higher levels of adrenaline, which is associated with short and shallow breathing. When you relax, your brain produces more choline, so your breathing becomes deeper and more leisurely.
♥ Breathe in through your nostrils. Count to at least 2-3 seconds.
♥ Slowly draw air up from your diaphragm.
♥ Experiment with going deeper each time.
Exhale fully. Pay equal attention to exhaling.
♥ Let all the air out gently and slowly and count mentally 5 seconds. (One thousand one, One thousand two, one thousand three, etc.)
♥ Match the length of each exhalation to the length of each inhalation.
Pick a focal point.
If you have trouble concentrating on your breath, use an aid that works for you. Count your breaths or silently repeat an inspiring word or phrase to yourself. If you prefer visual images, look at a candle or a pretty flower.
Continue your education.
There are many variations on breathing mindfully. Once you’ve mastered paced breathing, you may want to go on to learn other styles. Sign up for a yoga or meditation class or browse through your local library for books and CDs.
Paced breathing is a safe and natural method that anyone can learn. It helps eliminate anxiety and hot flashes. It’s free and simple and you can take it everywhere you go. Start living better with every breath you take.
by Lovena Suson | Apr 4, 2021 | Stress Management
Relieve Stress with these 4 Great Tips
Stress can come in many forms and shapes. It happens in everyday life. Traffic, being pressed for time, health concerns, relationships, family, a job can be sources of stress. If allowed to rule your life, it can cause psychosomatic disorders that can manifest in health issues.
Do you feel more stressed out than ever? Is your work life so hectic that you’re starting to burn out? Just faced with a financial crisis? How about the recent pandemic and how it affected your life? I don’t even want to delve into that one. All of us have been affected by it one way or the other.
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Unfortunately, it is up to us to deal with this. Short of paying big bucks for a mental health therapist, let me share easy ways to help alleviate stress. The little things and adaptations we make in our lifestyle can make a big difference. Situations may differ but our bodies react similarly to the physiological effects of stress. So here goes.
If you’re desperately seeking peace and relief from the hustle and bustle of your demanding life, the good news is that you have the power to adopt simple strategies you can use to combat stress.
I am realistic. You or I may never eliminate stress entirely. I talk to people every day with varying degrees of stress. In fact, a life without stress would be pretty boring. The challenges of life often make it worth living. However, employing a few simple strategies to reduce stress will increase your peace and happiness, even in the midst of life’s storms.
Working out can be a great way to relieve stress. Whether you go jogging, pump some iron, or hit the punching bag for several minutes, the physical activity allows you to channel all the frustration you’re holding inside and release it in a constructive manner. Walk it off: by yourself or with someone. You can never underestimate walking outside and seeing nature, the sun, great weather, and just beholding nature in itself.
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Water has a great calming effect on the brain. It may be because we are closely related to water as organic beings. It gives you time to think, promotes circulation that can also reach your brain, filling brain cells with more oxygen for it to function better. Oxygen is found in our red blood cells. With better circulation, oxygen can get circulated better which helps your body get revitalized.
Music can greatly influence your mood. Among its many benefits of boosted memory, it can lighten your mood, reduce anxiety, and even improve your response to pain. Have you heard of how music calms down children with attention deficit disorders? (ADD).
Music therapy has become relevant to alternative therapies for different ailments. Sometimes, all it takes to gain peace and focus is a few minutes of listening to music that soothes you inside. Different types of music affect your mood in different ways and pick a style that suits your emotional need of the moment can dramatically lower the level of stress you feel inside.
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When you’re feeling stressed, try upbeat music. When you’re down in the dumps, you want something that’ll perk you up and lift your spirits. Few things can lift your mood faster than music. How about picking up that guitar you haven’t strummed in a while? Or tinkering with those white and black keys on your keyboard? Even singing karaoke, or just singing along with the music of your favorite artists can make a difference. Experience music in all its forms. YOu have your own unique way of responding to the music of your choice.
When one is stressed, there are two behaviors in response. To overeat, which can risk unhealthy weight gain, or to under eat, where one can be undernourished and not get the nutrients your body needs to fight stress.
Heard of the proverbial ice cream eating while watching TV after a relationship fail or conflict? Yup, that’s very common. When one feels stressed, there is that feeling of wanting to console that empty feeling through instant gratification such as eating. I have heard of people who shop and overspend, only to realize they don’t really need things they have bought. Even go into debt as one does not think clearly when stressed. Emotion rules. Impulse buying can also be the result of this feeling of wanting to fill a need or an empty feeling.
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If your body isn’t getting the proper nutrition it needs, you’re more likely to feel tired and stressed out.
Breakfast is the most neglected meal of the day for busy people. It is called as so, “Break – the ” fast” from sleeping overnight. Fill that belly and feed that body so you have the energy you need to face the day. And make sure it’s a good one too. Balance out your carbs and protein. It does make a difference. Eating healthy prevents from being sluggish, clouded, droopy, and slow to respond to situations or decision-making.
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Meals and snacks are fuel for your body. Are you eating the types of foods that contribute positively to your health?
Keep track of what you eat in a daily log. This simple step will make you more aware of what you’re eating, which often leads to automatically making healthier choices, like these:
- Drink as much water as possible.
- Add as many fruits and vegetables as you can to your diet.
- Look for tasty, healthier alternatives to junk food.
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals.
Small changes in your diet can make a big difference in how you feel and how effectively you handle stress.
Breathing is life. Good gas exchange ensures that your body gets the oxygen it needs to function better. This means move better, think better.
If you learn to control your breathing, you can control the level of stress you feel. Slow, deep breathing takes practice, but a little effort goes a long way. Once you learn to take slow, deep breaths from your belly, you’ll have an unstoppable weapon against stress.
Breathing plays a big part in our lives. Even beyond the obvious biological necessity, it comes into play when exercising, giving birth, easing fears, and even releasing stress.
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Deep breathing slows your heart rate down and relaxes your muscles. It also helps you to calm down mentally. Shallow breaths create a feeling of anxiety within you. Deep breaths fuel your body’s cells with much-needed oxygen and your mind with much-needed confidence in the midst of the challenges you face.
BREATHING TIPS TO OPTIMIZE BENEFITS:
Breathe in through your nose slowly as if trying to fill in your lungs completely. Then, as you exhale, purse your lips as if in a kiss, and count 3 seconds mentally before you completely let all the air out. Repeat this about three times at a time, throughout the day and whenever you get a chance. Doing this deep breathing at least 10 times is also known to lower your blood pressure for a bit.
You can in fact try taking your blood pressure before you do this breathing exercise. After about 10 times, take your blood pressure again. Breathing allows capillaries to open and improve blood flow throughout the body.
With these simple strategies, you can learn to practice peace wherever you are.
Stress is all around us and can come in many shapes and forms. Instead of being tossed about in the midst of your storms, you’ll stand strong and handle challenges more effectively. Life is a gift. Use it wisely.
Experience the confidence and inner peace you deserve by applying these simple stress management strategies today.
Until the next ish!
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by Lovena Suson | Mar 23, 2021 | Health & Fitness, Stress Management
Discover The Power of Deep Breathing
With the current health environment, we have all heard about the effects of COVID 19 on the respiratory system. The need for ventilators and a continuous supply of oxygen just to survive was common. For survivors who lived through the corona-virus onslaught, their fight was fierce. Unable to breathe on their own and the anxiety of other complications are known facts.
It makes one realize that something that we enjoy for free every day can mean the fine line between life and death once your body succumbs to the coronavirus.
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Deep breathing techniques are often cited as an important tool that can help you immediately alleviate stress, anxiety, frustration, and anger. This is also especially useful to the COVID 19 survivors.
Many people have difficulty practicing deep breathing exercises because they either don’t believe that it can help or they try once and are not motivated to try again. No judgment, as I myself am guilty of forgetting this very simple activity that can make a difference in how your day goes. So I have programmed my watch to remind me to take deep breaths every hour.
The same is true for breathing exercises, however, as is true for many other things: practice makes perfect. It is a surprising fact that many of us do not really know the proper and ideal breathing pattern! Singers however are trained to breathe using the diaphragm efficiently for volume.
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The more you get into a routine of practicing breathing exercises, the better you will become at doing so. This will give you the ability to reduce stress, anger, and frustration with more ease than before.
Why do breathing exercises work to relax our bodies and minds?
The body has two systems within the nervous system: the parasympathetic and the sympathetic nervous system.
Both of these systems contribute to the reasons why deep breathing exercises can calm us down.
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Discover how the nature of our physiological systems contributes to the positive effects.
The Fight or Flight Response
Our biological systems have a natural ability to react during times of stress, especially in those situations where we face a significant threat. As a matter of survival, humans have this innate ability. In prehistoric times, humans came face-to-face with all sorts of wild animals, such as bears or tigers.
In response to such a threat, our body activates the Fight, Flight, or Freeze Response, or FFF reaction.
The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the physical sensations we get when we feel stress, anxiety, or severe anger and frustration. These can include sweaty palms, increased heart rate, and faster breathing. The activation of the FFF response is preparing our bodies to either run, fight the threat, or freeze.
The problem with the activation of the Fight or Flight Response is that it can be activated whenever we perceive that we’re up against a threat – whether we really are facing a threat or not.
Even though we experience negative situations in our lives, this does not necessarily make them a threat to our physical well-being.
Situations involving personal relationships, work responsibilities, work promotions, verbal arguments with others, and bad news about your health or the health of loved ones are just a few scenarios that can trigger the flight or fight response.
Despite the fact that all of these situations may be emotionally hurtful or painful, our body’s nervous system may interpret them as physically threatening. As such, our bodies activate the natural FFF response to get us ready to fight or run away.
Triggering the Opposite Reaction
In order to tell our biological systems that the situations we’re facing don’t require a fight or flight response, we must trigger the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system produces the opposite response to the FFF, causing a relaxation response instead.
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One other important aspect of the Fight or Flight Response is the way that it diverts your blood flow. To prepare you to fight or to get ready to run from a perceived threat, blood is diverted away from the brain to the extremities in the body, such as the arms, legs, hands, and feet.
Deep Breathing Reverses This Process
Breathing exercises send the blood supplies back from the extremities (since we’re not concerned with running or fighting) to the areas of the brain that allow us to think, reason, and problem solve.
TIP: When you notice that your blood pressure is high, take slow deep breaths for at least 10 repetitions. Then take your blood pressure again. You will notice a drop in the reading just with deep breathing. Although this may not be the ultimate solution for controlling high blood pressure it can at least help you deal with it for the moment.
This is why breathing exercises work to calm us when we experience acute stress, anger, or frustration. Blood is returning to the brain and it becomes easier for us to think.
How to Practice Deep Breathing
There are several ways in which you can practice deep breathing to relax both your body and mind.
The simplest way to practice in times of stress or anger is to:
1. Close your eyes. This eliminates distractions in your surrounding.
2. Tense your whole body for four seconds while inhaling deeply: In through your nose.
3. Exhale slowly. This is out through your mouth, slightly pursed lips to regulate the volume of airflow.
4. Repeating this three or four times can take you back to a state of relaxation and calm.
When you are calm, your brain is clearer which helps with being able to think better and make more rational decisions and actions.
As you can see, the body’s natural ability to fight or flee from a perceived threat has been useful throughout the ages and is still useful today.
However, reversing the process through breathing exercises place you in a better position to think more clearly and reason about the stress or issue that you’re facing.
Set your Fitbit or Apple watch to remind you to take deep breaths throughout the day!
Until next time folks!