Showing posts with label Stress. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stress. Show all posts

Sunday, 25 September 2022

5 Choices That Support Mental Health


When a person suffers from a mental health illness, such as depression or anxiety, the first-line treatments are usually mental therapies and medicines. What isn't always talked about are the variable lifestyle choices that affect our mental health. 

 

According to Psychology Today, "That’s a lamentable oversight because lifestyle changes—things as simple as nutrition and exercise—can have a significant impact on quality of life, for any of us, but especially for those dealing with issues such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. They can also help minimize the development of risk factors that can lead to conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension, all of which are seen at higher rates in those with mental illness, the study noted."

 

Making beneficial life choices can be uplifting. While time and financial constraints may restrict a few people's capacities to make such choices, we all can make small but significant changes.

 

Here Are Five Lifestyle Choices To Get You Started:

 

1. Make Healthy Diet Choices

 

According to studies, our diet can impact our mental health, both positively and negatively. According to new research from the University of Warwick, fruits and vegetables are associated with improved mental health. 

 

This is significant because mental well-being—feelings of enthusiasm, joy, self-esteem, and resilience—can help to safeguard not only against mental health issues but also physical illnesses.

 

2. Cut Back On Your Vices

 

Managing problem drinking or substance abuse is a no-brainer in terms of both mental and physical health. People with alcohol and drug problems are more likely than the general population to suffer from a mental illness, and their health outcomes are far worse. 

 

According to the Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration, SAMHSA,

 

In 2020, 50.0% of people aged 12 or older (or 138.5 million people) used alcohol in the past month (2020 NSDUH)

 

Among the 138.5 million people who were current alcohol users, 61.6 million people (or 44.4%) were classified as binge drinkers and 17.7 million people (28.8% of current binge drinkers and 12.8% of current alcohol users) were classified as heavy drinkers (2020 NSDUH)

 

According to the WebMD, side effects of alcohol consumption include:

 

  • Worsening of mental health after the calm feeling fades
  • Hangovers including headaches and nausea and vomiting
  • Post-alcohol anxiety and/or depression

 

3. Spend Time In Quiet

 

We live in a noisy world. When we are outside, we are encircled by cars honking and public noises created by individuals, and the general hustle and bustle of the surroundings. When we are inside all day, such as at a desk, we are encircled by sounds from dialogues, texting, cell phones, office equipment, and so on. 

 

We also have noises from TVs or radios inside our homes. Our phones are always buzzing, with notifications and of course the very loud call of social media. 

 

Getting some quiet private time can do wonders for our mental health. This will result in more focused thoughts throughout the day. You can even try meditation, which promotes mental health.

 

4. Use Stress Reduction Methods

 

Mental illness sustains stress, and stress sustains mental illness. Taking measures to reduce stress in your life can help to break this destructive cycle. 

 

According to LifeHack, "There are many forms of stress. People do not even realize they suffer from stress. Still, the buildup of small and regular negative thoughts and energy could negatively impact your mental and even physical health. Stress can cause poor mental health in various disorders such as depression and anxiety, personality changes, bipolar disorder, problem behaviors, cognitive (thinking) problems, etc."

 

Effective Stress Management Techniques:

 

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Rest and relaxation
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation
  • Deep Breathing
  • Eliminating sources of great stress
  • Distractions
  • Tai Chi
  • Unplug
  • Spend time doing things that bring you joy

 

5. Discuss Your Problem With Someone

 

If you have things or an issue on your mind, getting it off your chest can help you a lot. It is important to remember that desiring assistance implies strength, not weakness. It has been said that an issue that is partially shared is an issue that is half solved. 

 

When you suppress negative or hurtful thoughts, such as frustration, your mental health suffers. You will feel stressed and tense, and you may not get enough sleep at night. These emotions accumulate quickly, resulting in a somewhat desperate state that you cannot resist, such as depression or stomach ulcers.



4 Benefits of Connecting with Nature


You know how good it feels to get out and relax in nature, right? It’s time out from the stresses of everyday life, space and clean air, to breathe and take some time for yourself. But did you also know that there are scientifically proven health benefits to connecting with the natural world? It’s so beneficial you could even call it nature therapy! Here’s how being in the great outdoors is great for you.

 

Nature reduces stress and anxiety

 

Being out in nature has a measurable effect on your stress levels. They go right down, also lowering your risk of anxiety and depression. Even if you live and work in high rise glass and steel buildings, having a dose of the natural world can help lift your mood, your cognitive function, and your mental health. Whether it’s a walk in the park or even having a plant on your desk or being able to look out of the window, any connection with nature will help. 

 

Connection with nature is healing

 

Studies have shown that even being able to see a natural landscape can help hospital patients recover faster. 

 

It also helps your immune system function better. Scientists have found more than twenty pathways or connections between exposure to nature and improved health, protecting you from heart disease, depression, and diabetes.

 

Nature changes your perceptions of the world

 

Researchers have found that walking through a rural area changed the study participants attitude toward their to-do list. They saw their tasks as more manageable than participants who walked through city streets. 

 

People who exercise outdoors move faster, have a lowered perception of effort, enjoy their exercise more, and are more likely to stick to their routine than people exercising in a gym. 

 

Nature is great for your mental health

 

Remember how good it feels to be near the ocean, a river or a waterfall? That’s because the air near moving water is full of negative ions that can act as natural anti-depressants. It’s the same effect as the change in the air after a thunderstorm when the air is no longer oppressive but clear and fresh. 

 

There are now many studies which show that people living in green areas, or who have access to green spaces in cities, have significantly better mental wellbeing than people who live cut off from nature. 

 

Even having an aquarium, houseplants, or a view onto green space can help. 



Sunday, 11 September 2022

5 Tips for Delegating Effectively


One of the quickest ways to burnout is trying to do everything yourself. You need to be able to recognize what is absolutely necessary for you to be doing, and what you can give others to do. In fact, good delegation can result in improved productivity, efficiency, and reduced stress. 

 

In what follows, are tips for delegating.

 

1. Always be very clear about what you expect

 

If you do not do this, then the work that gets done is surely not going to match your expectations. Be very specific. For example, if you want someone to write a letter for you, be sure to tell him that you expect an introduction, a conclusion, tips written out in point form, saved in doc format, and so forth. You may even want to give him an example of another letter so that he can see what you are talking about.

 

At home, if you are delegating some of the chores to your children, be sure to provide them with a checklist that reminds them of everything that you are expecting them to do. For example, if one of your children is responsible for cleaning the bathroom, then be sure to list all tasks that need to be completed such as wiping down the countertops, cleaning the sink, changing the hand towel, etc. Otherwise, without this list, something is sure to be forgotten. 

 

2. Create standard operating procedures

 

If you plan to delegate use of a particular type of software, for example, you might want to document step by step how to use it or what you need done. An affordable program that would allow you to document procedures is "Clarify", as it allows you to take screenshots and add text explanations. 

 

3. Do not over-delegate

 

You need to recognize the difference between the tasks that require your input and those that do not. In other words, delegate those tasks that do not require your expertise, but you do the work that requires your skills and expertise. 

 

An example might be an Occupational Therapist working in a nursing home. The Occupational Therapist is the only one with the knowledge and expertise to prescribe the right kind of wheelchair and cushion for a resident who is leaning severely and is at risk of long-term postural issues, but it is not necessary for that Occupational Therapist to be fixing the wheel locks on the wheelchair when that can be delegated to maintenance, a Rehab Assistant, or the equipment vendor from which it was purchased. 

 

4. Continue to be involved even when you delegate

 

Do not expect just to hand off a task to someone, and expect it to come back to you a month later exactly as you wanted it. To ensure that the work gets done the way you want, be sure to check in on a regular basis with the individual that you are delegating the work to. This will ensure that if there are any problems, you catch them early so that they can be corrected. In saying this, you also have to be careful that you do not micromanage everything either. Otherwise, you are setting both of you up for frustration and failure. 

 

5. Show your appreciation

 

People want to feel appreciated, and like they are valued for their input. Be sure to say "thank you," and show your appreciation to those you delegate your tasks. 

 


Using Stephen Covey's Methods to Set Priorities to Prevent Burnout


A huge factor in burnout is the stress related to feeling like you do not have enough time to get everything done in a day. It can feel like everyone wants you to attend to things immediately, even things that are not really that important! Our bodies are not machines, and it is important to remember that we cannot treat them as such. This is why learning how to set priorities is so important. 

 

Surprisingly, there are many people who do not know how to do this effectively. In what follows are methods to set priorities in your life.

 

"The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities." – Stephen Covey

 

Stephen Covey has created a quadrant grid that is helpful in determining where you are currently spending your time, and where you should be spending your time. 

 

According to Covey, tasks can be separated into:

 

1. Urgent and Important

 

These are the things that absolutely need to get done right away. For example, if you are at work and a report is due by 2 p.m. when you have a meeting to attend, that becomes the priority.

 

2. Not Urgent and Important

 

These are the things that most people do not spend enough time doing. These are the kinds of tasks that are important for long-term growth and development. An example may include wanting to create a more efficient system of getting your work done, but it always seems to get thrown to the bottom of the pile because the urgent tasks (both important and unimportant) always get attended to first.

 

3. Urgent and Not Important

 

These are the things that are not important, but someone else wants you do deal with it immediately. An example may be that your television, which you never watch, breaks down, and your spouse wants to go out and buy a new one immediately even though you don't feel the same way about the situation.

 

4. Not Urgent and Not Important

 

These are tasks that you do, but are often time wasters or meant to be a distraction. A good example might be Facebook. 

 

Now, you want to create a list and figure out where your "to-do" daily tasks fit in these categories. You can get back more hours in your day and week by simply tweaking what you are already doing, and reorganizing and regrouping your list. This can result in less stress, and less chance for burnout in the long run. 

 


5 Ways to Avoid Burnout When you Work for Yourself from Home


Working from home has many perks such as flexible hours, avoiding being stuck in traffic, and increased career satisfaction and happiness. If there is one disadvantage to working from home though, it would be that it is harder to separate your work life and your personal life as both often co-exist in the same space. Although most people would agree that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, burnout is still a possibility for those who work from home. In what follows, are ideas of ways to avoid burnout if you are working from home.

 

1. Set work hours and stick to them

 

Although your hours may be flexible, it is still a good idea to set your hours and stick to them as much as possible. When you have worked those hours in the day, then you are done your workday, and it is time to put work away until the next day. Because you work from home, it can be very tempting to work long hours, but do not get stuck in this rut on a regular basis. 

 

2. Treat your work hours seriously

 

When you set your own hours, sometimes your family and friends may not understand that just because you are home, that you are not available. For example, just because you are home, does not mean that you are automatically the backup sitter if your sister's daycare worker suddenly calls in sick. It can also be tempting to meet up with a friend for coffee, but if that coffee date turns into a two-hour visit, that is two hours gone during your workday. Instead, plan for meeting with friends outside of your set work hours. 

 

In addition, be sure that you are not running errands during your work hours for your spouse, or that you spend your time doing laundry and the dishes instead. 

 

Furthermore, if you have young children of your own, make sure that they attend daycare during your work hours as it is next to impossible to get much work done when they also need your attention. 

 

Because no one is watching you, it is also easy to waste time checking Facebook and email messages. Be sure to limit your time with these activities. 

 

3. Plan and schedule family and personal time

 

In the previous two points, we have discussed planning and setting your work hours. However, you need to remember to plan and schedule the rest of your life too. Be sure to plan family game nights and exercise sessions into your schedule. Write them down or put them in your phone's calendar and be sure to follow through with them. 

 

4. Plan rest periods during your workday

 

If you really like the work you do from home, then it probably does not even feel like work. However, it is still important to give your body and brain a rest by taking breaks. You may need to set a timer to remind you every two hours to get up and do something else. A good break may be getting up and running on the treadmill while you watch your favorite television program. 

 

5 .Do not skip meals

 

This seems like common sense, however it is easy to do when you are alone at home. After all, a large component of meals is the socialization aspect, and there is no one to socialize with when you are by yourself. There is also no cafeteria like you find in a lot of work sites, so you also have to prepare your own food at home.

 

By ensuring you eat healthy meals and snacks throughout the day, you are ensuring that your body is getting the right nutrients and energy it needs. 

 


Sunday, 4 September 2022

Are Your Fears Holding You Back?


Fear is an emotion that can hold you back from reaching your goals and levels of success in your career – or even in school. Taking risks is part of everyday life but can be hindered if you are fearful of the unknown. How often do you say no to something just because you are fearful of what you think could happen?

 

Five Types of Fear

 

The top five fears that may be holding you back could include the following:

 

  • Feeling inadequate – Do you fear you are not good enough or lack the skills to pursue your dreams? You can overcome this fear by knowing and understanding your importance in a particular area of your life. 
  • The unknown – Do you have the common fear of the unknown? You can overcome this fear by having a vision for yourself and your future. 
  • FOMO – Fear of Missing Out is when you wish you were doing what others are doing because it looks better than what you’re doing. This type of fear is a distraction that can keep you from forming real relationships. 
  • Change – Fear of change can steal your joy and peace. To overcome this fear, take time to enjoy the moment you are in. Doing this can help you appreciate your life and relationships in a deeper manner. 
  • Being judged – No one wants to be judged by others and being vulnerable opens you up for the possibility of being judged. Adam Kirk Smith, Author of “The Bravest You” says “embrace your personal story” to overcome this fear. 

 

Fear can be crippling and can hold you back from your true potential. Though you may never live a completely fear-free life, there are ways you can overcome the fears in your life. 

 

It’s important to be open and honest with your fears too. You could even journal those fears so you can write down the ways to overcome them. The majority of fear comes from the unknown or even the thought of taking a risk. No one wants to be judged so it comes naturally to stay away from these types of situations. Lack of self-esteem or self-confidence can be an underlying cause of such fears. 

 

Overcome Your Fears

 

Begin by establishing a purpose for taking a risk; doing so this can remove that fear. Knowing your purpose will help you overcome many fears in your life. Purpose and meaning in life can help you move past your fears and guide you along your life’s journey.

 

Consider using positive affirmations when you are faced with a fear. Knowing where you are and what you want can help move you from a state of fear to a position of success. 

 

Finally, understand that not all fear is negative. Some fear can save your life and help you through a life-or-death situation. According to PsychologyToday.com “Real fear can save our lives, embrace it. Manufactured fear divides us, let it go. And, be sure to give fear the attention it needs so you can distinguish between the two.”



Signs You Might Be Experiencing Impostor Syndrome


Impostor syndrome is defined as, “anxiety or self-doubt that results from persistently undervaluing one’s competence and active role in achieving success, while falsely attributing one’s accomplishments to luck or other external forces.” Now that you know what impostor syndrome is, how do you know if you are living with it?

 

Five Signs You Have Impostor Syndrome

 

Here are five common signs that you are living with impostor syndrome.

 

  • You cannot assess your skills and abilities realistically because you are giving yourself unrealistic goals to accomplish. 
  • You connect your success to the outcome, giving no thought to the amount of work you put forth.
  • You put down your own efforts and accomplishments by shrugging them off as if they were “not that good”. 
  • You live in constant fear of failing to meet your own expectations, but fail to acknowledge the goals you’ve reached. 
  • You engage in activities that self-sabotage potential success by choosing to deliberately procrastinate. 

 

Many people with impostor syndrome look for ways to protect their ego and self-esteem when faced with tough situations. There are negative side effects to living with impostor syndrome, such as hindering your chance of success by choosing to create a barrier. Some individuals use their limiting beliefs, or feelings of impostor syndrome, for motivation.

 

External Proof versus Internal Thoughts

 

Impostor syndrome keeps you from internally accepting or believing your abilities or successes. The more you accomplish and succeed, the stronger the negative thoughts can become. 

 

Do you struggle with thoughts or feelings of being a fraud in your career or at school? Have you reached a goal yet you don’t feel you did it well enough? These are examples of how individuals with impostor syndrome feel. Even though you accomplished the goal you set out to do, you can’t seem to internally believe it was good enough. 

 

Internal feelings can increase the anxiety and could lead to intense feelings of being a fraud. This creates a vicious cycle and it may require the help of a psychologist or therapist to overcome this phenomenon. If the impostor syndrome is not correctly handled, it can lead to feelings of isolation or even feelings of dread. 

 

Impostor syndrome is often passed down to a person from their family, unknowingly. It may not be evident until later in their teens or adulthood. Another potential cause may be from entering a new career field where you internally compare your skills to those who have been at the job longer than yourself. There could also be a number of external factors that could cause a person to be inflicted with impostor syndrome. 

 

Once you realize you have impostor syndrome, you can take steps to overcome it. Some of these steps include sharing your feelings and fears with trusted individuals. Ask yourself if your thoughts are honest and rational. Assess whether you are comparing yourself to others without even realizing it. Keep in mind that successful people struggle with impostor syndrome and often relate their success to luck instead of hard work. Let your guard down and let others see you for who you really are. 

 


Success Is Not Luck, It’s You!


Do you have feelings or worries that your co-workers or friends will think you're a fraud? Do you often feel like you don’t belong? These are feelings of impostor syndrome and an estimated 70% of successful people experience this in their lives. 

 

Impostor syndrome can cause you to feel that you only accomplished your goals due to luck. Maybe you think you aren’t as good as your boss thinks you are and you worry that you’ll be found out. 

 

Research shows us that both men and women battle impostor syndrome and are unable to acknowledge and own their successes. 

 

Five Patterns of Impostor Syndrome

 

According to the impostor expert Valerie Young and author of “The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women”, there are five patterns that can be found in those who suffer from this phenomenon.


  • You set unrealistic goals for yourself and are often considered a perfectionist. 
  • You are afraid to speak up or answer questions due to fear of not knowing the answer.
  • You are afraid to ask for help because you think you’ll look like a failure to others.
  • You feel like a fraud if the answer doesn’t come naturally.
  • You push yourself hard than your peers in order to prove yourself. 

 

Individuals that live with impostor syndrome think that things happen to them due to luck rather than their own hard work or abilities. This then leads to a cycle of negative thinking that can hold them back from moving up the corporate ladder. They may even end up working harder than necessary, which could lead to increased feelings of failure or burnout.

 

Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life

 

If you are living with impostor syndrome you may struggle with accepting your own success. Perhaps you feel that you don’t deserve your corporate position or an award of accomplishment. If you can relate to this, then there are some suggestions on how you can fix your inner impostor. 

 

  • Change your mindset to accept your shortcomings instead of seeking a perfect outcome with every project or goal. 
  • Embrace your imperfections and learn to accept yourself the way you are. Remind yourself that you did your best. 
  • Keep a list of realistic goals. If you have a list of goals already then look through them with honesty.
  • Believe the effort you’ve put forth regardless of the outcome. You may have worked hard towards a goal just to fall short of the desired outcome. This is an opportunity to accept the outcome and still be proud of the work you put into it. 
  • Create a focused goal instead of trying to divide your attention energy between unrelated topics. Be okay with having someone else work on a particular area of a task so you are free to focus on what you enjoy.

 

Impostor syndrome can cause the strongest and most successful individuals to feel like they are not good enough. This syndrome has a negative effect on all areas of your life. So take time to assess where you are and what you can do to move forward in your life. 



What Is Impostor Syndrome?


Impostor syndrome is best described as the fear of being considered a fraud or doubting one's accomplishments. Even those who have reached a level of success in their chosen field are often full of anxiety and crippling thoughts of being considered a fraud. According to the Journal of Behavioral Science, it is estimated that 70% of people in the U.S. experience impostor syndrome. 

 

Impostor syndrome (IS) is an internal feeling that you believe you are not as qualified as other may think you are. This is often connected to thoughts of perfectionism and can be applied to your intelligence or achievement. If you have feelings of being a fraud or that you did not deserve that raise, then you could be dealing with impostor syndrome. 

 

Four Characteristics of Impostor Syndrome

 

Those who suffer with impostor syndrome doubt their own skills and accomplishments despite the evidence of the success. Below are four common indicators you may be dealing with impostor syndrome.

 

  • Deep-seated feelings of fear that you aren’t able to meet expectations.
  • Undermining your achievements even when you worked diligently towards that goal.
  • Setting unrealistic goals and then feeling disappointed if you do not meet those goals.
  • Doubting yourself no matter what you’re working on or working towards.

 

If you recognize any of the above, there some things you can do to move past these feelings. Begin by confronting your feelings and any beliefs you hold about yourself. If you struggle with any of this, consider speaking with a professional or close friend. Confiding in someone can help you gain clarity on your feelings and beliefs. 

 

Impostor syndrome can be ingrained in you as a child and continue well into adulthood. Struggling with feelings of being a fraud can happen to anyone but is seen mostly in successful women. According to research done with Psycnet.apa.org, “despite their outstanding academic and professional accomplishments, women who experience the impostor phenomenon persist in believing that they are really not bright and have fooled anyone who thinks otherwise.”

 

Do You Have Impostor Syndrome?

 

So, how do you know if you suffer from impostor syndrome? One way to know if you are dealing with it is to take a free online test. Simply answer the questions that you can find through a quick online search, or try the free test on at Psycom.net.  

 

You can remove impostor syndrome by first recognizing it in your life and seeing how it is affecting you. Progressively work towards breaking those limiting beliefs by thinking of the quality of work you are performing versus the quantity. 

 

If someone pays you a compliment, remind yourself that it is a fact and that you deserve it. Begin to recognize your own successes and take time to celebrate the wins in your life. Eventually your inner voice will support your new positive thoughts so you can overcome the feelings of impostor syndrome.



Your Childhood May Have Contributed to Impostor Syndrome


Do you have repeated thoughts you haven’t rightfully gained your job or an award? Do you fear being outed or exposed for not being as talented or enough in your career?

 

Impostor syndrome is a habitual thought pattern, according to PsychCentral, and may stem from your family background. Impostor syndrome can bring on feelings of chronic self-doubt and even a lack of celebration of their achievements. 

 

Imposter syndrome can limit your belief in your abilities, talents, and even accomplishments. This can then lead to increased anxiety and low self-esteem. Many adults live with limiting beliefs because of their family upbringing and often do not know that this is even an issue until later in life. 

 

Where Does Impostor Syndrome Come From?

 

Impostor syndrome can come from receiving praise or acknowledgment for something that you didn’t deserve, and this can directly influence your thoughts into causing feelings of being a phony. There may be a variety of reasons why you battle thoughts of feeling like a fraud or have the feeling of being an impostor in your life. 

 

Impostor syndrome can hinder your self-esteem and even keep you from trying new activities in life. If you frequently battle feelings where you don’t deserve recognition for a job well done, then you could be living with it. It is reported that many individuals are known to have this syndrome without realizing it. 

 

Five Reasons You May Battle Impostor Syndrome

 

There are five common reasons why you may be battling impostor syndrome, such as:

 

  • You may have received praise or recognition for something that you did not deserve, such as a blue ribbon for a project when you know you did not do your best.
  • You may have been praised for being good in a skill that you actually were not good at just so you would not be left out. 
  • You may have never received any type of positive reinforcement for a job well done even though you worked to your best ability.
  • You may not feel deserving of something of value because you were told you were not good enough or should have done better regardless of how much effort you put forth.
  • Did your family assign you a label such as “the sporty one” or “the smart one” without recognizing other areas you excelled at?

 

These labels or ingrained life lessons could cause you to grow into an adult that suffers from impostor syndrome. 

 

Once you can relate to one or more of these life experiences, you can change your own life. For example, if they labeled you the “smart one” of your family, then you could begin by recognizing a job well done in another area of your life. Perhaps trying out for a sports team or taking part in a community event can be the beginning of self-recognition and the shedding of your impostor syndrome feelings. 

 

Take time to recognize your own achievements, as this can build your self-esteem and help you shed that label.



Sunday, 28 August 2022

Deep Breathing to Manage Stress


Sadly, we’re bombarded with multiple stress-inducing factors on a daily basis. From incessant pressure at work to responsibilities at home that never seem to end, life is hard.

 

That said, stressors don’t have to be small things that build up over time. They can also be one big life event that comes out of nowhere and turns your world upside down.

 

Whichever way stress burrows into your life, the problems of dealing with it are the same. Luckily, one technique that’s proven to be successful at managing stress is deep breathing. This calming technique has many benefits besides lowering stress levels, such as improved blood flow and helping you sleep better.

 

So, keep reading to discover how deep breathing can make you healthier, stronger, and less anxious.

 

What Is Deep Breathing?

 

Deep breathing is a technique used to help you achieve inner peace and a sense of calm. The whole point of deep breathing is that it allows you to breathe through your abdomen, rather than the shallow breathing we typically do through our chest.

 

What abdominal breathing does is help control the nervous system by reducing the release of stress hormones. Thus, it encourages the body to calm down and relax, decreasing anxiety levels.

 

Consequently, this enhances your overall well-being. Deep breathing through the abdomen also prevents various illnesses and conditions, like high blood pressure, obesity, and Type-2 diabetes.

 

Moreover, deep breathing helps you focus more on what you’re doing. So, rather than make rash decisions, you can take your time to think things over.

 

How Does Deep Breathing Work?

 

Deep breathing allows you to boost the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream. Having more oxygen means your cardiovascular system works double time.

 

Then, as soon as your brain detects this substantial amount of oxygen in your system, it responds by doing several things. The first of these things is that it reduces the concentration of stress hormones. So, as a result, you calm down, and you become less stressed.

 

Follow these steps to perform basic deep breathing exercises:

 

  • First, put your right hand on your abdomen near your navel.
  • Next, place your left hand on the center of your chest.
  • Some people find it helpful to close their eyes, so you can try that and see if you feel comfortable.
  • Inhale and exhale fully a couple of times to shift from chest to abdominal, or diaphragmatic, breathing.
  • Next, inhale deeply while focusing on the rising of the abdomen as the lungs fill with air.
  • As you do this, it should cause your belly to expand about an inch.
  • Then, slowly let out your breath.
  • While exhaling, most of the movement should be in the area underneath your right hand. Your chest should only move slightly.
  • Each time you breathe in and out, focus on how you feel.
  • Repeat anywhere from 5–7 times.

 

Benefits of Deep Breathing

 

When you’re calm and relaxed, you breathe through your nose and take slow, even breaths. But then, something stresses us out, and our ‘fight or flight’ response kicks in.

 

This is when our breathing becomes more rapid and shallow to increase our oxygen supply. More oxygen means more blood rushing to our extremities, allowing us to run for cover or fight for our lives.

 

Yet, in today’s modern world, we neither run nor fight. Instead, we create this imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide that has no way of escaping, which affects our health and well-being.

 

Here are a few physiological benefits of controlled, deep breathing:

 

  • Lowered heart rate and blood pressure
  • Reduced build-up of lactic acid in muscle tissue
  • Stronger immune system
  • A boost in physical energy
  • Reduced levels of stress hormones
  • A renewed blanched of oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood
  • Increased feelings of calm and relaxation

 

Deep Breathing Tips and Tricks

 

Here are some tips and tricks you can use the next time you’re using the deep breathing technique to help you reverse your stress responses and feel calmer.

 

  • The trick to going from chest breathing to abdominal breathing is those first two full exhalations.
  • Pushing out the air from the bottom of our lungs creates a vacuum that will allow you to switch to abdominal breath on your next inhalation. Next, pause for a second or two before inhaling slowly.
  • The recommended breathing is through the nose. Yet, it takes a while for some people to get used to nostril breathing. So, in the meantime, you can breathe through your mouth until you’re more comfortable.
  • Avoid taking more than five deep breaths. More than five breaths make most people feel light-headed. If this sounds familiar, take 2–3 breaths at a time to avoid feeling giddy or off-balance.