Powerful Deep Breathing, Au Revoir 2021

A great way to improve your health is to create an intention or lifestyle adjustment. An intention gives voice to a way of life enhancement that aligns with your current style of living.

Breathing is a perfect function to change. It is much more than inhaling and exhaling, there are a lot of things that happen within our body that react to the way we breathe. Just like the difference between living unconsciously or consciously, how we take a breath impacts our health. The first breath we take when we are born is diaphragmatic and that is how we should breathe our entire life, but as we become adults our breathing becomes shallow. Shallow breathing increases our heart rate, blood pressure and a variety of unhealthy lifestyle conditions. One dimensional breathing allows about two cups of air into your lungs, diaphragmatic breathing allows about two or three more liters or twice as much air into your system, reducing headaches, hypertension, insomnia and muscle tension.

Typical breathing patterns are reactive, quick and shallow. Modern day lifestyles that prompt shallow breathing puts the human body in a cyclical state of stress. If you make this small lifestyle change, you’ll feel more at peace and energetic and your overall health will improve. The best and most effective way to counteract short, fast breathing is to train yourself to draw deep breaths through your nose, from your belly. Deep breathing doesn’t eliminate challenges in your life, but it does naturally calm you so you can handle whatever you’re faced with.

How breathing works:

“The trachea, or windpipe, is like the trunk of the tree,” Hoyt said. “From there, the airways divide and divide, like branches of a tree. At the end of a tree’s branches are leaves; similarly, the ends of the bronchioles have alveoli also known as air sacs, where gas exchange takes place.”

In the air sacs, freshly inhaled oxygen is passed to the blood, which is then pumped through the body; the air sacs also absorb carbon dioxide, which is then removed from the body through exhalation.

The diaphragm, a thin muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavities, tightens and pulls down as you breathe in, opening the chest cavity and allowing the lungs to expand. To breathe out, your diaphragm relaxes and moves upward, pushing air out. Dr. James Hoyt, Pulmonologist

A Deep Breathing Journey That Changed My Life

As the stress increased in my career, I developed a heart racing problem. As I became more anxious, it would trigger my heart and it would race throughout the day, at times it pounded so hard that it scared me. Then about 10 years ago I learned the difference between shallow and deep breathing. A group of entrepreneurs I was in learned how to breathe through our lungs and diaphragm, deep breaths in through our nose and how to force breathe the carbon dioxide out. This practice changed the way I breathe and has eliminated the heart racing, headaches, greatly reduced stress, brought mental clarity and its become a lifestyle routine that is a part of my better health regimen.

EBKids: Respiration inhale/ exhale jrespir021j4 390 by 300 pixels by Katherine D. Burgess 23rdof March 2006

The Teachers

Dr. Andrew Weil is a doctor who practices integrative medicine. I’ve learned him for years, he offers not only benefits but the simplicity of the deep breathing method for de-stressing and avoiding many health issues that come with shallow breathing. The deep breathing exercise that takes moments to learn is described at the end of the second video, the Tedx Talk by Max Strom.

Take a few moments to begin deeper breathing for your better health:

  • Choose a place to do your breathing exercise. It could be in your bed, on your living room floor, or in a comfortable chair
  • Don’t force it. This can make you feel more stressed
  • Try to do it at the same time once or twice a day
  • Wear comfortable clothes
  • Deep breathing will eventually become your way of breathing without thinking about it

The following benefits of diaphragmatic breathing have been medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT — 

  • It helps you relax, lowering the harmful effects of the stress hormone cortisol on your body.
  • It lowers your heart rate Trusted Source.
  • It helps lower your blood pressure Trusted Source.
  • It helps you cope with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • It improves your core muscle stability.
  • It improves your body’s ability to tolerate intense exercise.
  • It lowers your chances of injuring or wearing out your muscles.
  • It slows your rate of breathing so that it expends less energy.

One of the biggest benefits of diaphragmatic breathing is reducing stress.

Deep breathing is a natural, no cost practice that takes minutes to learn for a lifetime of better health.

HEALTH DISCLAIMER

This blog provides general information that discusses health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.

Happy New Year

Self-Care Has Never Been More Essential

“When we care for ourselves as our very own beloved—with naps, healthy food, clean sheets, a lovely cup of tea—we can begin to give in wildly generous ways to the world, from abundance. —Anne Lamott, author

Since 2020 there have been so many uncommon adversities that we’ve all had to deal with that self-care which was once dismissed as a luxury should now be considered a vital daily practice. It takes effort to feel tranquil, balanced and collected which happens when we create practices to care for ourselves. Self-care is a very personal and intentional practice of improving our physical and mental health.

I believe in leading by example, so I’ll share my recent journey of introducing self-care into my daily practices, hopefully it will inspire you. Since I’ve healed from my self-created back injury, I’ve taken time to reflect on how I was thinking and why I was filling my days with a rigid agenda and unreachable ideals. To change that I knew I had to take some serious steps. So, starting that week I began spending more time doing things I used to consider luxuries. Since then I’ve added an assortment of simple and doable self-care practices and so far I’m more aware, tranquil and really enjoy each day. I can now say without a doubt that I am happier than I’ve been in a very long time. Even though the chaos continues in the outside world, there are ways to soothe and pamper ourselves that I believe can only make us a better person for ourselves and those around us.

If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete. Jack Kornfield

If you’re ready to begin your journey, start by carving time into each day to indulge your five senses with purposeful self-care. There is no wrong way in doing self-care, the list I created below are my ideas, you can create from this or create your own ways of pampering yourself. Caring for yourself doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated, this is just about finding simple ways to give attention to yourself. Practicing self-care is about doing something for yourself that evokes positive emotions. I sincerely believe that if we feel good and are at peace, we can bring that into everything we do. And if for no other reason, Adam Feldman says, “Self-care also helps us sharpen our mental and physical health through better self-esteem, stress management, and overall well-being.”

Luxury at Home – Nurture Yourself

  • Get plenty of sleep, when you can, turn off your alarm
  • Spend time with your pet(s)
  • Have a good cry
  • Take time when eating to enjoy the taste of the food, savor the joy of nourishing your body
  • Scented or unscented candles and flowers can make any room feel special
  • Set some time aside to read a funny story, watch videos or shows that make you laugh out loud
  • Enjoy a midday break, treat yourself to enjoyable refreshments
  • Make your shower or bath luxurious by using a special soap, scented lotion, include items to slough your skin, play music, use soft lighting, have live plants and super soft towels
  • Give yourself spa treatments, a manicure or pedicure, a facial treatment, a foot massage, a footbath, or a soothing body massage,
  • Spend some quiet time reading, meditating or writing
  • Take a leisurely walk
  • Read a book
  • Educate yourself on something you’re interested in
  • Declutter, add live plants, some pictures or colorful items to lift yourself
  • Take some time to appreciate yourself, compliment yourself, it’s a healthy and simple thing to do that will lift your spirits
  • Set time aside to do nothing
  • Make an indulgent meal, something that you might usually have for a special occasion
  • Plate your meal for presentation as you’d receive it in a fine dining restaurant
  • Use linen spray in a scent you love
  • Enjoy time in nature
  • Rub CBD oil where you may have aches
  • Put on comfortable Loungewear
  • Take a nap

True luxury is being able to own your time – to be able to take a walk, sit on your porch, read the paper, not take the call, not be compelled by obligation. Ashton Kutcher

The following lists are from Alastin Skin Care

The Psychological Benefits of Self-Care

  • Reduces feelings of anxiety and anger
  • Reduces instances and feelings of depression
  • Improves your thought life and direct it to more positive things
  • Increases your sense of optimism and hopefulness
  • Reduces negative thoughts and feelings
  • Changes your mood from bad to good
  • Helps you build stronger connections with yourself and others
  • Increases your self-awareness and ability to self-reflect
  • Helps you respond better to challenges
  • Increases your patience and tamp down on a short fuse
  • Increases your focus and productivity (so you can do all the things!

The Wellness Benefits of Self-Care

  • You’ll sleep better
  • You’ll strengthen your immune system
  • Your relationships will improve
  • Better finances
  • You’ll be able to think clearly and refocus
  • You’ll freely and copiously give more of yourself

“Practicing self-care can help you sleep better, improve focus, and strengthen relationships. That positive daily routine can support a happier, healthier outlook so you can enjoy the good times, too.” findyourwords.com

Thank you for reading my post, I sincerely appreciate your taking the time.

Will You Join Me – Home Cooking, a Benefit of Pandemic Coping

“At a scale not seen in over 50 years, America is cooking, a healthy move in the middle of a pandemic.” Hans Taparia/New York Times

The kitchen is my second favorite room in the house. I consider it a place where my creativity and love of delicious food unite to create a combination of ingredients to nourish myself and share great tasting food. Cooking and being in the kitchen gives me comfort and peace in such a strange and difficult time. My mother who created wonderful meals led the way for me, she was my teacher in the process of making food with love. While my mom passed away in 2013 she’s never left my side, whenever I cook she’s right there with me. I cannot imagine a more soul satisfying way to spend days at home then enjoying the process of making delicious, healthy meals that satisfy my intention to eat mindfully.

While there have been many negatives with COVID-19, there are a few benefits, one most prominent is the return to the core of family and cooking and serving real meals at home. Cooking at home isn’t only a means of satisfying our appetites, it is a cultural pillar of socialization that stems from the love of family, friends and the essential human bond of togetherness. This terrible situation has forced people to return to family closeness and better health.

When I was growing up, going out to eat was uncommon, our togetherness and the terrific food were matchless. Did you know that since the inception of the pandemic over 100,000 restaurants have closed, not just independently owned, but many major chains have had to close either some or all of their restaurants? My personal opinion is that eating out has become too common, as ordinary as filling a car with fuel. I see this pandemic as an opportunity for people who treat food as necessary to discover homemade food as a personal link to the care of their body as well as a fun and creative way to enjoy food.

A simple but lovely prayer that I found:

May this food that you provide
and that I prepare
bring nourishment to our bodies
and renewal to our souls.
Amen (Simon Carey Holt)

Cooking at home is a primary element to good health. A few people who have tried to promote the benefits of cooking at home made far less impact then COVID-19. A turn of events that has the potential to improve the overall health of many Americans who had previously relied on take out and restaurants in place of cooking at home. Around 30.3 million people in the US have type 2 diabetes and 84.1 million are prediabetic. making this pandemic a perfect storm to take the time to learn to cook and find ways to improve our health through fresh and healthy ingredients.

The need to home cook has never been higher, since the coronavirus has been most threatening to people with food-related chronic diseases. About 90 percent of those who become seriously ill due to the virus have an underlying condition — hypertension and diabetes being the most common. New York Times

Above and beyond the nutritional and health benefits is the connection with the ingredients that feed your body. We are evolving away from institutional, commercial food to fresh food. A better environment is created when meals are made and enjoyed at home and mental health benefits are considerable. We pay more attention to what goes in our meals and the way we feel when we eat. For instance, I’ve been slowly reducing the amount of sodium in my food to adding no salt recently. So, I’m ramping up the herbs and spices to make healthier food that is full of flavor and it’s a big success. I consider myself a home chef because I am able to create many meals without the use of a recipe, so I followed the chef standard of adding salt to everything, even sweets so this was a big change for me, but one that is driving a new creative path and a new relationship with the ingredients.

I recently watched a show where a group of people, a historian and archaeologists left the 21st century to immerse themselves in the simple and hard life on a farm in the Victorian era for a year. If you think cooking is a challenge now, just consider the life of someone who cooked using a charcoal fueled stove and oven, preparing food from scratch that they gathered from their garden where animals were butchered that they’d hand raised. That is the true spirit of home cooking embodied in a life lived naturally and self-sufficiently.

The act of cooking should be a spiritual practice that fuels the soul. Create a kitchen that is not only peaceful and beautiful but a sacred space. Here are some methods to connect the kitchen and preparation of food to the earth and all of life.

  • Declutter your kitchen, keep it clean
  • Keep in mind that this is a space where everyone will participate in the important rituals of treating their body and heart with special care
  • Make the meal cooking process an event, whether you’re cooking with someone or you’re on your own
  • Turn off and remove any electronic communication devices to increase your consciousness around the food you’re preparing
  • Be respectful of the room, of the food that is created and what the room represents, your loving care will be predominate
  • Organize the counters and cupboards for beauty and ease of use. What I had duplicates of or didn’t need, I donated. Whatever changes you make do it so you feel inspired such as adding candles, pots of herbs or flowers
  • Cook mindfully and with love paying attention to all of the dishes that you’re making. Always keep in mind that your energy effects everything around you including meal preparation

Finally, think about how you show up in the kitchen, just as you do in your relationships with people, be thoughtful and mindful of your relationship with the room and the process of preparing food. Fall into step with nature and the beauty of creating meals whether simple or complex. Enjoy and celebrate the food that you make. Let your imagination soar, with access to millions of recipes on the internet, anything is possible in the kitchen.

Close Your Eyes, Take a Deep Breath, Let Nature Comfort You

I love being outdoors, the musical sounds of the birds, the warmth of the sun on my face, the beautiful blue sky, I could go on forever.  When I was a girl, I loved being outdoors so much that even when the street lights came on my sisters, brother and I would beg our mom to let us stay out just a bit longer.

Can’t you just smell that rose?

Can’t you just feel the sand between your toes?

Scientific evidence shows time in nature:

  • Helps you to feel better
  • Helps you to pay more attention to the present
  • You’ll de-stress and slow down
  • Enhances your sense of belonging, happiness, resilience
  • Improves short-term memory
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Increases sharper thinking
  • May improve vision in children
  • Improves concentration
  • Boosts the immune system

Remember that being outdoors should be your time to enjoy the beauty of the world around you. Talking on your cell or texting cancels any of the benefits you’re mind and body would get. There has to be some time of quiet and being disconnected from all of the stress and anxiousness that life can bring so our mind and body can experience a state of complete relaxation.

There are additional benefits that are essential to a longer, healthier life.  You’ll get some natural Vitamin D; natural light helps with a better night’s sleep, fresh air improves blood pressure, increased fresh oxygen increases your sense of well-being and the physical activity increases your endorphins. Even taking your shoes off and walking in the sand or the grass is beneficial because the bacteria in the soil boosts your serotonin levels.

Find a way to nurture your spirit by:

  • Going for a walk
  • Taking a bike ride
  • Getting a camera or using your cell phone camera to capture nature
  • Driving to a park and having a picnic
  • Sitting in your yard to relax
  • Gardening
  • Joining a walking group
  • Eating your meals outside
  • Walking to a friend’s house
  • Getting a walking buddy

“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”— John Muir, Our National Parks

Thank you for stopping by, Namaste

 

What We’ve Been Taught About Aging is Wrong

aging-reversal

Growing older is portrayed as if it is an unavoidable disease. What do you believe about aging and why?  Why do you believe that as you grow older you will become decrepit, diseased and feeble-minded?  We’ve been wrongly taught to believe that when we grow older we deteriorate. We’ve come to expect dementia, disease and physical weakness in our elder years.

From Dr. Bruce Lipton: “There is shocking new science proving that DNA does not control our life span; humorists, who keep us laughing at ourselves; spiritual teachers who emphasize the rich harvest of wisdom that we inherit in the second half of life; and social commentators who point out the beautiful gifts of community that engaged elders can create. Alternately personal and global practices are on the forward edge of the revolution that is transforming elderhood.”

To reverse long-held beliefs and the effects they’ve had, we can start with these very simple practices:

  • purposeful and conscious living
  • correction of diet
  • anti-oxidants
  • removal of toxins from the body
  • exercise
  • yoga
  • deep breathing techniques
  • meditation

I was very blessed to have had a beautiful mother who always lived agelessly. I’ve naturally lived the same way. I do not factor my age into the choices I make; I’ve never seen a reason to include it in the way I live. My birthdays are a celebration of my life never about what age my body is. A testament to living this way, in part, is my vibrant life and state of well-being.

Our bodies are not mindless machines, there is undeniable evidence to the contrary. Death rates from cancer and heart disease are lower among people who have a strong sense of purpose and well-being. What we believe and how we see our body shapes our world, externally and internally. Our state of health is first created in our mind and then shows up in our body. Our physical strength and level of intelligence doesn’t have to diminish because of the number of years we’ve been alive.

I am currently reading and suggest Deepak Chopra’s book, Ageless Body, Timeless Mind. It provides a wealth of information to help us live differently.  In it he talks about the new paradigm focus on quantum physics that began early in the 20th century and how by changing our way of believing of living in an older, not aging body we can have a more productive and better life.

From Dr. Christiane Northrup, practicing physician and author of, “Goddesses Never Age:

7 steps for getting older without aging

1. Reframe the term ‘aging.’ In the PBS special, Northrup describes a study by Dr. Ellen Langer in which two groups of men in their 70s and 80s were taken to a monastery and split into two groups. One was told to live in the present while the other was placed in a setting that re-created the era of their youth, the 1950s, and told to behave as if they were young again. Within one week, the group living as if they were younger not only looked a decade younger but also had test results that showed measurable physical improvements to their eyesight, hearing, memory, and muscle mass.

2. Change your cultural programming. Northrup says milestone birthdays can be a millstone. She cites one study showing that simply having positive attitudes about growing older and looking forward to things can add 7.5 years to your life. Plan for future activities to keep yourself on a positive path.

3. Stop participating in aging. Northrup recommends celebrating the wisdom that comes with growing older and banishing terms such as “anti-aging” or “having a senior moment” from your vocabulary.

4. Enjoy a sweet life while keeping your blood sugar stable. Growing older with vitality requires physical health as well as mental health. While Northrup doesn’t focus solely on a specific diet, she stresses the importance of paying attention to your blood sugar.

5. Don’t take life sitting down. Besides diet, we all know that exercise is important to staying healthy while growing older. Northrup emphasizes the importance of functional fitness, which means things like getting up to move to music to avoid sitting too long, maximizing exercise with interval training, and doing some basic exercises to improve balance.

6. Develop centenarian consciousness. Northrup reviewed research by Dr. Mario Martinez on healthy 100-plus-year-olds around the world that reveals the importance of being future-oriented, savoring life, and engaging in pleasurable, sustainable rituals such as a standing date with a friend, listening to music you love, or pursuing a creative passion.

7. Develop a subculture of agelessness. Staying connected to a group of like-minded people, which Northrup calls “tribes,” and nurturing those relationships helps women—and men, who tend to have more difficulty maintaining close friendships—stay physically and mentally healthy. As she says, “community equals immunity.”

The way we see aging will be forever changed when we alter our beliefs and commit to living an ageless, vibrant and exciting life. Thank you for stopping by, Namaste

Scientific Evidence that You can Help Heal Yourself

mindovermedicine

For years I’ve done research and written about ways to be involved with our state of health by implementing practices that are natural instead of being completely dependent on mainstream medicine.

Rather than relying on someone else to take our lives in their hands, we should participate in the healing process so we can enjoy our true state which is vital and healthy.

When we take steps on our behalf using natural and scientifically proven techniques with the support of a nurturing healthcare provider, we can reduce our reliance on pharmaceuticals and western medicine to live a healthful life.

Dr. Lissa Rankin was a conventional medicine doctor when she discovered that when we participate in our state of well-being, we can transform our health.  She has created her own mind, body practice, The Whole Health Institute.  It is well worth your time to listen to Lissa to learn practical and simple ways to be involved in your state of wellness.

You can learn more at http://lissarankin.com/, also be sure to check out her blog http://lissarankin.com/blog.

Your Heart’s Wisdom – The Power of Belly Breathing

deep-breath-final

Several years ago I learned to breathe through my diaphragm the way we breathe when we are born, it literally changed my health.  The heart’s wisdom is only improved when we take the steps to create a healthy environment for it to live in. Along with bettering your overall heart health, diaphragmatic breathing also improves many other vital functions and helps your body to become stronger and more able to withstand the daily stresses of life and even reverse some already present medical problems.

Here are more facts supporting breathing through your diaphragm instead of your lungs. I’ve also included informational resources for you to read to understand the process and benefits.

To help you realize the importance of deep diaphragmatic breathing, here are 12 benefits to regularly practicing this healthy habit:

  1. Reduces the risk factors for heart disease such as lowering bad cholesterol (LDL), raising good cholesterol (HDL), lowing blood pressure and stabilizing blood sugars
  2. Cuts chances of cancer by as much as 400%
  3. Reduces negative stress by lowering the stress hormone cortisol)
  4. Helps reduce cravings for processed carbohydrates (junk food)
  5. Cuts chances of diabetes by strengthening the insulin beta receptor sites
  6. Improves quality of sleep by improving stage 1 and stage 4 sleep cycles
  7. Lengthens the cell’s life span by cleansing the cells more thoroughly through increased lymphatic flow
  8. Slows the aging process by increasing the secretion of human growth hormone (the anti-aging hormone)
  9. Optimizes the immune system by strengthening T-cell formation and improving lymphocyte production
  10. Improves your mood by elevating the “feel good” hormone, serotonin, and other positive endorphins
  11. Improves mental focus and concentration by increasing blood flow to the Pre-Frontal Cortex of the brain
  12. Improves the quality and effectiveness of meditation by changing brain wave activity from the more stressful beta wavelengths to more relaxing and healthier alpha and theta brain wavelengths.

Here’s how to reap the amazing benefits of deep diaphragmatic breathing.· Sit in a comfortable chair with your eyes closed and inhale very slowly thru your nose using your diaphragm (your belly should expand while you inhale with little or no chest movement).· Once your lungs are full and your belly has expanded, hold your breath for about 6 to 12 seconds. ·Then slowly exhale thru your mouth making sure you use your belly to push the air out.· Once your lungs are empty and your belly is contracted, repeat the cycle.· Your goal is to complete 10 cycles· (inhale, hold, exhale) or 8 to 10 minutes of deep diaphragmatic breathing a day.The best times to practice this type of deep breathing is first thing in the morning and right before you go to bed.· To enhance the benefit of deep breathing, I suggest visualizing your goals or picturing your ideal life while practicing this habit.· Personally, I pray while practicing deep diaphragmatic breathing.

For the next 30 days, I challenge you to practice deep diaphragmatic breathing for at least 10 minutes a day everyday.· This is one of the best prescriptions for improving your health and optimizing your wellness.· Good luck and good breathing. (from http://www.samvarner.com/physical-wellness/deep-breathing.html)

Mainstream medical professionals are promoting the natural and simple process of slow, deep breathing for ultimate health and peace of mind.

Here are a few resources to help you to learn more about it:

From Harvard Health Publications:

Relaxation techniques: Breath control helps quell errant stress response

http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-errant-stress-response

From Psychology Today:

The Science of Slow Deep Breathing

Learn about the powerful health benefits of slow deep breathing

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-neuroscience-mindfulness/201602/the-science-slow-deep-breathing

From the Chopra Center:

Breathing for Life: The Mind-Body Healing Benefits of Pranayama

http://www.chopra.com/articles/breathing-for-life-the-mind-body-healing-benefits-of-pranayama

Thank you for stopping by, namaste.

Be Invincible

This inspirational video is less about Jared’s problem and more about his journey.  We all have overwhelming problems that seem to be the way our life is and nothing ever seems to change.  We are so close to our problems that we don’t see that no one but us can change it.  When we finally decide to do something, we encounter what seem to be roadblocks to our outcome, when it’s all there to help us become what we are striving toward, in God’s way, love.

Jared’s story is an inspiration to us all to be unstoppable, determined and love ourselves enough to want to be the best we can be on regardless of what barriers are put in front of us.