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Dr. Corinne: Beating Quarantine Stress by BREATHING, and Other Tips
Dr. Corinne Weaver : May 8, 2020 DrCorinneWeaver.com
During these times, are you making time to Breathe?!
There is one sure-fire way to stop stress in its tracks, breathing! We tend to breathe shallowly throughout the day, and stress can naturally make that breathing quicker and even more shallow. However, when we take a moment to breathe more deeply, fully utilizing our lung capacity, our entire physiology changes. When you breathe deeply, your brain responds by sending the body a message to calm down and relax. (Image: Pixabay)
Let's review some simple breaths anyone can master to instantly reduce stress.
Diaphragmatic breathing, or belly breathing, can lower your stress levels, reduce your blood pressure, and regulate other important bodily processes.
Here's the basic procedure for diaphragmatic breathing:
First, sit or lie in a comfortable position with your shoulders relaxed.
Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
Inhale through your nose for about two-four seconds. You should experience the air moving through your nostrils into your abdomen, making your stomach expand. During this type of breathing, make sure your stomach is moving outward while your chest remains relatively still. Purse your lips, as if you're about to blow out a candle, and press gently on your stomach as you exhale slowly for about two-four seconds.
Repeat these steps several times for the best results.
Once you've mastered belly breathing, you can try a more advanced technique, such as 4-7-8 breathing.
Here are the basics:
Take a deep, slow breath from your belly, and silently count to 4 as you breathe in.
Hold your breath, and silently count from 1 to 7.
Breathe out completely as you silently count from 1 to 8. Try to get all the air out of your lungs by the time you count to 8.
Repeat 3 to 7 times or until you feel calm.
Now that you have the breathing down...let's talk about food.
When feeling stressed, it's not uncommon to turn to food. Unfortunately, seeking comfort from food can cause negative feelings in the long run. Relief from overeating or overindulging in rich treats will be short-lived, potentially leading to requiring increasingly more to be satisfied. Instead of stress eating, you can eat to reduce stress.
Did you know leafy greens contain folate, a vitamin that helps produce the feel-good brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine? Asparagus, broccoli, citrus fruit, Brussels sprouts, and garbanzo beans also contain folate.
Salmon, flax, and chia are seeds containing omega-3 fats, which have been shown to combat the stress hormone cortisol. Blueberries contain antioxidants and help produce the stress-fighting chemical dopamine. Add blueberries to your morning oatmeal, which is great for a serotonin boost.
It's no secret that we all should be active daily. From maintaining mobility and reducing injury to improving mental health, there are countless benefits of physical activity.
The physical effects of stress can manifest in a number of different ways, such as headaches, insomnia, anxiety, weight gain, muscle aches and pains, crankiness, and difficulty focusing.
While removing all stress from our lives isn't possible, managing stress can help you avoid the negative symptoms. One of the best forms of stress management is exercise.
Doing something physical helps get your mind and body out of the fight or flight stress response, so your body feels better. Virtually any form of exercise or movement can increase your fitness level while decreasing your stress. The most important thing is to pick an activity that you enjoy!
For structured activity, try cardio, interval training, or strengthening exercises.
Unstructured activities like yard work, washing the car, gardening, and organizing or cleaning your home are also great ways to get moving.
Sleep is a crucial aspect of stress management and physical self-care. Adults need anywhere from 7-9 hours each night. Stress can be the cause of troubled sleep. However, the lack of sleep often leads to increased stress levels.
To ensure a good night's rest, try creating a bedtime routine to help signal your body, it's time to wind down. Try to go to sleep and wake at the same time each day, even on weekends.
Some relaxing activities you may want to try:
Deep breathing exercises
Taking a hot bath
Drinking a cup of warm tea
Try to avoid using electronics 30 minutes before sleep and resist the urge to scroll through social media or check work emails. Lastly, avoid vigorous activity, large meals, and caffeine close to bedtime.
Social health refers to your relationships and the connections you have with the people in your life.
Out of necessity, we've evolved into social beings. Cooperation with one another enhanced our ability to survive under harsh environmental circumstances.
Deep connections to others is a vital aspect of well-being. The best way to cultivate and maintain close relationships is to put time and energy into building your relationships with others. We all have different social needs, meaning this isn't a set amount of time we require social interaction to benefit.
Unfortunately, it's easy to neglect your relationships when life gets busy, and before you know it, stress and loneliness can creep in.
The good news is no matter where in the world your loved ones are located, remaining connected is easier than ever before.
Here are some ways to cultivate connections with others right from your home:
Text messaging. Sending a quick 'Hi I'm thinking of you' is a quick and easy way to share a moment with a loved one.
Video chat. There are countless platforms available that allow you to get in some face-time without leaving your home. WeChat, Whatsapp, and Facebook Messenger are great apps for some free face to face conversations.
Group chats. Get together with the whole family virtually with video conferencing. Skype, Zoom, and Google Meet are tools for multi-user interactions.
Write a letter. This old-fashioned method of communication can be a fun way to interact. Ask the sender to write back!
Share an experience. Pick a book, TV show, or activity you and a loved one both enjoy and set a date to discuss your experiences.
Communication is a key aspect of staying connected. When we're feeling stressed, anger and frustration can take over quickly. This can have a negative effect on your communication skills.
Sharing your feelings of stress with others can help relieve stress. Listening to others discuss their stress can also help you feel less alone.
Allowing yourself to open up and be vulnerable to loved ones is a restorative form of self-care. Here are some tips to help:
- Value yourself and your options.
- Know your needs and wants.
- Express negative thoughts in a positive way.
- Receive feedback positively.
- Listen when others are speaking.
In today's society, we're continually bombarded with information, and that information overload can cause stress and tension. From written media to television, radio broadcasts, and social media, it can be hard to escape.
When something that is out of your control is the cause of your stress, a national tragedy, a big news story, etc. you have the option to unplug.
Take time to turn off your notifications, silence your phone, and focus on something you enjoy without interruptions for the latest breaking news.
Those who have a relationship with our Heavenly Father have more inner peace, deeper relationships with other people, and joy. Sharing the relationship you have with Jesus with others is vital. People are searching for answers and are desiring what you have so now is the time to share the love.
Our emotions are essential indicators of how we're feeling, but it's important to remember our emotions are not who we are.
Emotions change from moment to moment, depending on our thoughts, actions, environment, and even the food we eat. It's important to have healthy coping skills to deal with uncomfortable emotions, like anger, anxiety, and sadness.
Life is too short and valuable to remain stuck in patterns that don't serve you. When you are unable to forgive someone, it holds you back from fully experiencing life.
Energy used to maintain a grudge can cause a continual release of stress hormones. Forgiveness isn't about 'letting someone off-the-hook.' It's a gift you give to yourself to allow the release of negative emotions.
Don't forget to forgive the most important person, YOU.
Gratitude is the quality of being thankful. Gratitude is also a healing and supportive emotion. When you're struggling with stress, the practice of gratitude can help you.
A gratitude practice begins with paying attention. Take notice of all the good things in your life. We can quickly become consumed by negativity and forget good and bad exist in unison.
A great way to help you organize your thoughts, accept experiences, and put them into context is to journal. By writing, you can magnify and expand on the sources of goodness in your life, and think about what resources you've gained from your experiences, even bad ones.
To take your gratitude even further, express it to others. Many people in your life have helped you in one way or another. Thanking them completes the feeling of connection.
I know during times of stress, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I assure you it's there. My mission is to help you get healthier without needing more medications. If you or someone you know needs help, make sure you reach out. Let's continue to share Hope in this world and get on our knees to pray to our Heavenly Father asking Him to strengthen us daily realizing it's impossible to live the Christian life without Him. Subscribe for free to Breaking Christian News here
Dr. Corinne Weaver is a compassionate upper cervical chiropractor, educator, motivational speaker, mother of three, and internationally bestselling author. In 2004, she founded the Upper Cervical Wellness Center in Indian Trail, North Carolina. Over the last 13 years, she has helped thousands of clients restore their brain to-body function. When she was 10 years old, she lost her own health as the result of a bike accident that led to having asthma and allergy issues that she thought she would always have to endure. Then, after her first upper cervical adjustment at age 21, her health began to improve thanks to upper cervical care and natural herbal remedies. This enabled her to create a drug-free wellness lifestyle for herself and her family, and she also enthusiastically discovered her calling to help children heal naturally.
Dr. Weaver was named one of Charlotte Magazine's "Top Doctors" in 2016 and is now a number-one internationally bestselling author to two books: Learning How to Breathe and No More Meds.
Upper Cervical Wellness Center is known for finding the root cause of health concerns through lifestyle changes, diagnostic testing, nutraceutical supplementation, and correction of subluxation (as opposed to just medicating the symptoms). The practice offers cutting-edge technological care at its state-of-the-art facility, including laser-aligned upper cervical X-rays, bioimpedance analysis (measures body composition), digital thermography (locates thermal abnormalities characterized by skin inflammation), and complete nutritional blood analysis, which is focused on disease prevention.
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