I used to be stressed all the time. Especially when trying to manage life with one or two chronic conditions.
Now it’s occasional stress and pain all depends…..
But I have found some relief and I believe it’s because I have learned to relax using a variety of methods. My favorite is breathing 4-7-8 I read about this from Dr Andrew Weil .
This is followed by the five-step procedure listed below:
1 Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
2 Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
3 Hold your breath for a count of seven.
4 Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
5 This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
Dr Andrew Weil emphasizes the most important part of this process is holding your breath for eight seconds. This is because keeping the breath in will allow oxygen to fill your lungs and then circulate throughout the body. It is this that produces a relaxing effect in the body.
I personally find it relaxing and you can use it anytime you feel stress and or anxiety.
I’ve tried a few things and this is the topic for today.
Daily I use
I use breathing 4-7-8i
I also am grateful for everything
EFT Tapping (more about that below)
I also practice mindful meditation a few days a week when I walk especially.
I want to share with you ways that helped me, and maybe they can help you.
Make sure you get the ok from your doctor before starting anything new.
Using the Relaxation Response to Relieve Stress
For many of us, relaxation means zoning out in front of the TV at the end of a stressful day. But this does little to reduce the damaging effects of stress that add to disease and poor health. To effectively combat stress, we need to activate our body’s natural relaxation response.
You can do this by learning and practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, rhythmic exercise, and yoga.
Adding one or all of these activities into your life can help really reduce your everyday stress, and it will boost your mood, and improve your mental focus and physical health.
What is the relaxation response?
When stress overwhelms your nervous system, your body is flooded with chemicals that prepare you for “fight or flight.
Your stress response can be lifesaving in emergency situations where you need to act quickly. But when it’s constantly activated by the stresses of everyday life, it can wear your body down and take a toll on your-health both physical and emotional.
I was at my Naturopath’s a few months ago and she did what she called tapping. I felt this sense of peace and relief, like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulder.
If you’re like me and many other people, you feel trapped, whether it’s due to daily stress , work or school stress, family stress , stress that comes with having a chronic condition etc…we all can get caught in this cycle. The Stress Cycle
You’re tired of feeling sad, depressed, anxious, discontent, and unwell. You’re sick of the expensive and ineffective treatments. You’re fed up with relinquishing the power over your health and happiness to doctors.
You want to be your best, living a life that is filled with peacefulness, joy, and fulfillment, from day to day and moment to moment.
These can all help I will post some links below to help you learn more.
No one can avoid all stress, but you can learn to how to counteract its detrimental effects in the body mind and spirit.
The relaxation response puts the brakes on stress and brings your body and mind back into a state of equilibrium.
When the relaxation response is activated, your:
•heart rate slows down
•breathing becomes slower and deeper
•blood pressure drops or stabilizes
•blood flow to the brain increases
In addition to its calming physical effects, the relaxation response also increases energy and focus, combats illness, relieves aches and pains, heightens problem-solving abilities, and boosts motivation and productivity. Best of all, anyone can reap these benefits with regular practice.
There is no single relaxation technique that is best for everyone. The right relaxation technique is the one that resonates with you, fits your lifestyle, and is able to focus your mind and interrupt your everyday thoughts to elicit the relaxation response.
You may even find that alternating or combining different techniques provide the best results.
How you react to stress may also influence the relaxation technique that works best for you:
The “fight” response. If you tend to become angry, agitated, or keyed up under stress, you may respond best to stress relief activities that quiet you down, such as meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, or guided imagery.
The “flight” response. If you tend to become depressed, withdrawn, or spaced out under stress, you may respond best to stress relief activities that areenergize your nervous system, such as rhythmic exercise, massage, mindfulness, or power yoga.
The immobilization response. If you’ve experienced some type of trauma and tend to “freeze” or become “stuck” under stress, your challenge is to first rouse your nervous system to a fight or flight response (above) so you can employ the applicable stress relief techniques. To do this, choose physical activity that engages both your arms and legs, such as running, dancing, or tai chi, and perform it mindfully, focusing on the sensations in your limbs as you move.
With its focus on full, cleansing breaths, deep breathing is a simple yet powerful relaxation technique. It’s easy to learn, can be practiced almost anywhere, and provides a quick way to get your stress levels in check. Deep breathing is the cornerstone of many other relaxation practices, too, and can be combined with other relaxing elements such as aromatherapy and music. All you really need is a few minutes and a place to stretch out.
How to practice deep breathing
The key to deep breathing is to breathe deeply from the abdomen, getting as much fresh air as possible in your lungs. When you take deep breaths from the abdomen, rather than shallow breaths from your upper chest, you inhale more oxygen. The more oxygen you get, the less tense, short of breath, and anxious you feel.
•Sit comfortably with your back straight. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
•Breathe in through your nose. The hand on your stomach should rise. The hand on your chest should move very little.
•Exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, but your other hand should move very little.
•Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to inhale enough so that your lower abdomen rises and falls. Count slowly as you exhale.
If you find it difficult breathing from your abdomen while sitting up, try lying down. Put a small book on your stomach, and breathe so that the book rises as you inhale and falls as you exhale.
Rather than worrying about the future or dwelling on the past, mindfulness meditation switches the focus to what’s happening right now, enabling you to be fully engaged in the present moment.
By focusing your attention on a single repetitive action, such as your breathing, other forms of mindfulness meditation encourage you to follow and then release internal thoughts or sensations. Mindfulness can also be applied to activities such as walking, exercising, or eating.
A basic mindfulness exercise:
1. Sit on a straight-backed chair or cross-legged on the floor.
2. Focus on an aspect of your breathing, such as the sensation of air flowing into your nostrils and out of your mouth, or your belly rising and falling.
3. Once you’ve narrowed your concentration in this way, begin to widen your focus. Become aware of sounds, sensations, and thoughts.
4. Embrace and consider each thought or sensation without judging it good or bad. If your mind starts to race, return your focus to your breathing. Then expand your awareness again.
Rhythmic movement and mindful exercise
The idea of exercising may not sound particularly soothing, but rhythmic exercise that gets you into a flow of repetitive movement can be very relaxing. Examples include:
For maximum stress relief, add mindfulness to your workout
While simply engaging in rhythmic exercise will help you relieve stress, if you add a mindfulness component on top, you’ll get even more benefit.
As with meditation, mindful exercise requires being fully engaged in the present moment—paying attention to how your body feels right now, rather than your daily worries or concerns. In order to “turn off” your thoughts, focus on the sensations in your limbs and how your breathing complements your movement.
If you’re walking or running, for example, focus on the sensation of your feet touching the ground, the rhythm of your breath, and the feeling of the wind against your face. If your mind wanders to other thoughts, gently return to focusing on your breathing and movement.
Visualization, or guided imagery, is a variation on traditional meditation that involves imagining a scene in which you feel at peace, free to let go of all tension and anxiety. Choose whatever setting is most calming to you, whether it’s a tropical beach, a favorite childhood spot, or a quiet wooded glen.
You can practice visualization on your own or with a therapist (or an audio recording of a therapist) guiding you through the imagery. You can also choose to do your visualization in silence or use listening aids, such as soothing music or a sound machine or recording that matches your chosen setting—the sound of ocean waves if you’ve chosen a beach, for example.
Close your eyes and imagine your restful place. Picture it as vividly as you can—everything you can see, hear, smell, taste, and feel.
Just “looking” at it like you would a photograph is not enough. Visualization works best if you incorporate as many sensory details as possible.
For example, if you are thinking about a dock on a quiet lake:
•See the rise or set
•Hear the birds singing
•Smell the pine trees
•Feel the cool water on your bare feet
•Taste the fresh, clean air
Enjoy the feeling of your worries drifting away as you slowly explore your restful place. When you are ready, gently open your eyes and come back to the present.
Don’t worry if you sometimes zone out or lose track of where you are during a visualization session. This is normal. You may also experience feelings of heaviness in your limbs, muscle twitches, or yawning. Again, these are normal responses.
Yoga and tai chi
Yoga involves a series of both moving and stationary poses, combined with deep breathing. As well as reducing anxiety and stress, yoga can also improve flexibility, strength, balance, and stamina. Since injuries can happen when yoga is practiced incorrectly, it’s best to learn by attending group classes, hiring a private teacher, or at least following video instructions. Once you’ve learned the basics, you can practice alone or with others, tailoring your practice as you see fit.
If you’re unsure whether a specific yoga class is appropriate for stress relief, call the studio or ask the teacher.
If you’ve seen a group of people in the park slowly moving in synch, you’ve probably witnessed tai chi. Tai chi is a self-paced, non-competitive series of slow, flowing body movements. By focusing your mind on the movements and your breathing, you keep your attention on the present, which clears the mind and leads to a relaxed state.
Tai chi is a safe, low-impact option for people of all ages and fitness levels, including older adults and those recovering from injuries. As with yoga, it’s best learned in a class or from a private instructor. Once you’ve learned the basics, you can practice alone or with others.
You’re probably already aware how much a professional massage at a spa or health club can help reduce stress, relieve pain, and ease muscle tension. What you may not be aware of is that you can experience many of the same benefits at home or work by practicing self-massage—or trading massages with a loved one.
Try taking a few minutes to massage yourself at your desk between tasks, on the couch at the end of a hectic day, or in bed to help you unwind before sleep. To enhance relaxation, you can use aromatic oil, scented lotion, or combine self-message with mindfulness or deep breathing techniques.
Start a regular relaxation practice
Learning the basics of these relaxation techniques takes regular practice to truly harness their stress-relieving power.
Most stress experts recommend setting aside at least 10 to 20 minutes a day for your relaxation practice I mean we surely can find 10 minutes….If you’d like to maximize the benefits, work toward 30 minutes to an hour…I am still working on this myself. I’m good for 15 minutes.
Tips for making relaxation techniques part of your life
Set aside time in your daily schedule. If possible, schedule a set time once or twice a day for your practice.
If your schedule is already packed, remember that many relaxation techniques can be practiced while you’re doing other things.
Try meditating while commuting on the bus or train, taking a yoga or tai chi break at lunchtime, or practicing mindful walking while exercising your dog.
Just don’t practice this stuff when you’re sleepy. These techniques are so relaxing that they can make you very sleepy I have fallen asleep many times when learning to meditate or use sounds to help me relax.
However, you will get the most benefit if you practice when you’re fully alert.
Expect ups and downs. Don’t be discouraged if you skip a few days or even a few weeks. Just keep trying.
If you exercise, improve the relaxation benefits by adopting mindfulness, try focusing your attention on your body. If you’re resistance training, for example, focus on coordinating your breathing with your movements and pay attention to how your body feels.
Now tapping this provides relief from chronic pain, emotional problems, disorders, addictions, phobias, post traumatic stress disorder, and physical diseases. I read Tapping is newly set to revolutionize the field of health and wellness, the healing concepts that it’s based upon have been in practice in Eastern medicine for over 5,000 years.
Like acupuncture and acupressure, Tapping is a set of techniques which utilize the body’s energy meridian points. You can stimulate these meridian points by tapping on them with your fingertips – literally tapping into your body’s own energy and healing power.
The basic technique requires you to focus on the negative emotion at hand: a fear or anxiety, a bad memory, an unresolved problem, or anything that’s bothering you. While maintaining your mental focus on this issue, use your fingertips to tap 5-7 times each on 12 of the body’s meridian points.
Tapping on these meridian points – while concentrating on accepting and resolving the negative emotion – will access your body’s energy, restoring it to a balanced state.
You may be wondering about these meridians.
Put simply, energy circulates through your body along a specific network of channels. You can tap into this energy at any point along the system.
This concept comes from the doctrines of traditional Chinese medicine, which referred to the body’s energy as “ch’i.” In ancient times, the Chinese discovered 100 meridian points. They also discovered that by stimulating these meridian points, they could heal.
Call it energy, call it the Source, call it life force, call it ch’i… Whatever you want to call it, it works.
In some ways, Tapping is similar to acupuncture.
Like Tapping, acupuncture achieves healing through stimulating the body’s meridians and energy flow.
However, unlike Tapping, acupuncture involves needles! “No needles” is definitely one of the advantages of Tapping.
Here is a video of how to begin tapping to ease pain another video is to help anxiety
For Pain Relief. https://youtu.be/5hYE0Wt4Sxs,
Tapping helps to heal-many parts of your life TEDx
Some other links for meditation