Natural healings can be used in addition to medical treatment for those with asthma.

According to the Mayo Clinic, asthma is a “condition in which your airways narrow and swell and may produce extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, a whistling sound (wheezing) when you breathe out and shortness of breath.”

While often thought to be oxygen-related, the issue lies in the ability to release CO2. Hyperventilation can occur with asthma while trying to catch the breath taking quick breaths.

The Mayo Clinic recommends early treatment to possibly prevent long-term lung damage and to stop the condition from getting worse. In addition to seeing a provider, there are some natural therapies thath may prove beneficial in preventing asthma attacks:

Belly Breathing

Breathing techniques are used to help alleviate or prevent attacks. Positive results in a breathing study include nose breathing and deep diaphragmatic breathing.

Deep diaphragmatic breathing is also known as belly breathing, which is breathing deeply into the belly and lungs and slowly exhaling. While breathing, place one hand on the chest and one hand on the belly. You will see the belly rise. The hand on your chest will either be still or move very little, and the belly should expand out.

Inhale through the nose and watch the belly expand. Then exhale slowly either through the nose or the mouth if nose breathing is not an option. Do this several times to help release the CO2 and help strengthen the diaphragm muscles for easier breathing.

There are different levels of asthma, from mild to severe, and some people require medication as part of their treatment plan. There are some nutrients that one may try to see if it helps in preventing future attacks.

While none of these methods claims to be a cure there are some studies that indicate adding these nutrients may help in addition to the treatment plan by a provider. Some studies even showed reduced steroid use with the addition of these nutients.

Vitamins A, C, D, E and the Mineral Zinc

According to the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, a study revealed that children with asthma had lower intakes of fruits and vegetables and were deficient in vitamins A, C, D, E and zinc. Other studies revealed that pregnant women who had high dietary intake of vitamins D and E while pregnant showed protection in the prevention of wheezing.

Magnesium

Magnesium in other studies also showed that some asthma patients were deficient in magnesium and that adding the magnesium helped the lungs ability to move air out of the lungs.

Fish Oil

Fish oil has been shown to help reduce inflammation and also help provide relief to patients with asthma.

Ginger

According to a study in the American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, ginger has been shown to assist with asthma by relaxing airways smoothing muscle and reducing inflammation.

Basil

An article in the Frontiers in Pharmacology showed that basil has been used in old traditional medicines for the treatment of respiratory disorders and lung issues across many cultures.

Air Purifier

The last and final alternative treatment listed here for asthma includes adding an air purifier. According to the Yonsei Medical Journal, utilizing air purifiers can significantly help with asthma patients.

While some people are utilizing medical regimens, these adjective therapies — in addition to the medical treatment — may offer additional benefits in helping to control and prevent attacks. In some studies, participants were able to reduce the volume of steroids used with the additional dietary treatments.

Finally, in some cases, preventing vitamin deficiencies and adding more fruits and vegetables to the diet may prevent the development of asthma. Patients should talk with their doctor or health-care provider to see what’s best for them.

— Marcy DiGregorio is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator who loves helping people with their nutritional needs, enjoys cooking, and also teaches yoga. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.



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While advanced technological and infrastructural developments have made life easier for all of us, they have also had a disastrous impact on the environment, particularly on air quality. Air pollution has become one of the biggest problems of our time. Fine particulate matter polluting the air can easily penetrate your bloodstream and adversely impact your overall health, especially your lungs. According to the data collected by the World Health Organization (WHO), ambient air pollution was the cause of 4.2 million deaths in 2016 and is estimated to lead to about 16 percent of all lung cancer deaths.

So, how can you keep your lungs healthy while living in a polluted city? Here we’re revealing how a few lifestyle tips can keep lungs healthy.

Follow these 9 tips to keep lungs healthy and strengthen them to fight pollution:

1. Keep an eye on pollution forecast

There are many applications and websites that provide nearly accurate predictive outdoor air quality reports every day. With their colour-coded system, these apps help you comprehend just how much pollution you will expose yourself to when you step outside that day.

2. Stay indoors on bad AQI days

Spend as much time indoors as you can, particularly on days when the pollution forecast or the AQI (air quality index) shows an alarming number. In case you need to step out, wear a high-quality face mask at all times to avoid inhaling harmful particles in the air.

3. Don’t exercise outdoors

Whenever the pollution levels are high, avoid exercising outdoors. Walking, jogging or any other strenuous activities that might increase your breathing rate can lead to the inhalation of harmful particles present in the air.

4. Drink enough water

Drinking enough water can help in flushing toxins out of your body. It is advisable to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water every day to stay hydrated.

tips to keep lungs healthy
Don’t reduce your water intake. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Maintain a healthy diet

One of the best ways to resist harmful effects of air pollution is by building up your immunity against infections. For this, maintaining a healthy diet rich in vital nutrients like vitamins C and E is essential. Make sure that your diet is packed with the nutrients to keep up the health of your respiratory tract.

6. Quit smoking

You need to quit smoking now, especially if you live in a polluted city. Nothing is more damaging to your lungs than smoking cigarettes. The harmful chemicals in cigarettes compounded with the harmful particles in the air can be immensely damaging to your lungs.

7. Get an air purifier

The air inside your home can also be polluted, sometimes even more than the air outside. For this reason, it is a smart choice to invest in an air purifier. Make sure to keep your air purifier clean and replace its filter frequently.

8. Practice breathing exercises

Practicing breathing exercises every day can prove to be helpful in improving lung functions. Some of these exercises include belly breathing and pursed lip breathing.

tips to keep lungs healthy
Breathing properly in the morning can improve lung health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

9. Go green!

Make sure you do everything you can towards reducing air pollution and improving air quality. To do your bit, you can consume less energy in your homes, use hand-powered equipment, and take a bike, walk, or carpool whenever possible.

Takeaway

With air pollution posing such a huge risk to your lung health as well as overall well-being, it is best to follow the above-mentioned measures, especially if you are living in a polluted city. If you experience any respiratory problems or symptoms of lung issues, consult with a doctor right away.

Air pollution, if not more, is as dangerous and harmful to the human body as has been smoking over the years. It’s time we realize it is harmful and take preventive measures to safeguard ourselves from this growing menace.

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Have you ever taken the time to figure out what you do with all the minutes in your day? If you are like me, you wonder where they go and why they go by so fast. What if I told you that spending just six minutes each day could dramatically reduce pain in your life and help you to feel calm and relaxed?

Did you know that over 25 million adults suffer daily with pain? Are you one of them? It could be joint pain, muscle pain, headaches, pain from arthritis, fibromyalgia or nerve pain, to name a few. We are a nation full of pain sufferers, and relief for many is found in the form of over-the-counter and prescription pain medicine.

Dangers of Painkillers

Many types of chronic pain are inflammatory in nature. To combat this, some people use anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS), both prescription and over the counter, to relieve it. While these drugs do not possess the addictive nature of opioids, they do carry some potentially dangerous risks.

In the case of all NSAID drugs, the most common side effect is gastrointestinal tract damage. According to Dr. Byron Cryer of the American Gastroenterological Association, over half of all bleeding ulcer instances can be traced back to NSAID use. Other side effects of NSAIDs include severe allergic reactions, kidney damage, and high blood pressure.

Many people who experience chronic pain are prescribed opioid painkillers by doctors. These are a popular option because this class of drug is very potent, and may temporarily eradicate many types of pain. However, these drugs come with a substantial cost in the form of some extremely nasty concerns and side effects.

The primary reason one may want to avoid opioids is their high potential for addiction. Opioid addiction is an epidemic in our nation. The Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control reported that approximately 2.1 million people in the United States alone abused prescription opioid drugs in 2012.

Opioids also carry a high risk of overdose. The CDC reports that in 2010, just under 17,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses. That’s more deaths than from heroin and cocaine put together.

Aside from the frightening risks of addiction and overdose, opioid drugs are accompanied by a lot of potential side effects. One includes slow, shallow breathing, which can lead to death in the case of overdose. Other side effects include irregular heart rhythms, drowsiness, sleep disorders, digestive issues, lowered sex drive, osteoporosis (when taken long term) and tooth decay. It can even cause hyperalgesia, an instance where taking opioids leads to more pain, not less.

Do You Have Six Minutes a Day to Spare?

I hope that your answer to this question is an inequitable, yes! If you can manage to carve out just 2 minutes each morning, midday and evening, you may well be on your way to pain relief, and relaxation like you have never experienced before.

This is Something Most People Don’t Do Well

Breathing sustains life, breathing correctly revitalizes and can improve the quality of life while minimizing pain and maximizing relaxation. Most people don’t take the time to think about breathing; it is just one of those things that happen, all on its own. While this is true – taking the time to breathe correctly, even for six short minutes each day, can make a world of difference to your health.

Belly breathing or “diaphragmatic breathing,” is the ancient practice of breathing in which we can actually control our mind and body. According to the London Pain Clinic, diaphragmatic breathing is known as the act of breathing deeply into the lungs by flexing the diaphragm, not the rib cage which results in shallow breathing. As noted in the name belly breathing, when you breathe deeply there is an expansion of the stomach, not the chest.

Even taking the time to breathe deeply for six minutes each day can make a tremendous difference in your health.
Here are just five reasons why we should all belly breathe daily.

Belly Breathing Alleviates Pain

Do you notice that your pain increases when you are under stress? Belly breathing is the perfect answer to reducing the stress in your life that may be causing pain flare-ups. Deep breathing alters your psychological state and makes pain diminish in intensity.

Did you know that your brain is capable of making its own morphinelike pain relievers that are called endorphins and enkephalins? These hormones promote happy and positive feelings that can transmit messages to “stop the pain” through the body. Breathing deeply also oxygenates the blood, triggers the release of endorphins and decreases stress hormones which slow the heart rate.

Belly Breathing Improves Respiration

If you have ever watched an infant or a dog or cat breathe, you would notice something interesting. There is a tremendous amount of 3-dimensional expansive movements around the body – especially the abdomen. As we age, we become less likely to breathe expansively or efficiently. We grow stressed, wear tight-fitting clothing and live a lifestyle that pushes breathing to the bottom of the priority list because it “just happens.”

Our cells suffer when we breathe shallowly. They are not able to get the nutrients they need, and this can cause things like fatigue, brain fog, and even longterm illness and chronic pain.

On the other hand, deep breathing profits the entire body because of improved respiration and nutrient uptake.

Belly Breathing Promotes Relaxation

When we are living in a hurried state, like most of us are, we are often in what is known as a “fight or flight” mode. In this gear, we are engaging the sympathetic nervous system.

The only way we can access the autonomic nervous system is through deep breathing. This automatically increases the efficiency of our heart and digestion.

When we choose the relaxation response over the stress response, we can keep anxiety at bay which reduces our risk of stress-related illnesses such as heart disease, depression, digestive disorders and more.

Belly Breathing Improves Posture

Belly breathing encourages you to sit tall. This allows all of your organ systems to work efficiently. Food is easier to digest, your heart works more efficiently, your nerves and blood vessels are less likely to be pinched. This releases hormones that help you feel more confident, causing you to sit even taller.

Belly Breathing Stretches and Strengthens Core Muscles

Core muscles include the abdominals, erector back muscles, diaphragm, and the pelvic floor. When we breathe from our belly, the three-dimensional movement keeps these core muscles in good shape.

How to Belly Breathe

The best way to begin proper breathing is to lie on your back. Take slow, relaxed breaths that fill your entire lungs and expand your belly. Place your hands on your belly to feel the rise and fall. When you can do this easily lying down, try it standing up, it is a lot more difficult! As you progress, a great exercise to strengthen the diaphragm muscle is panting with your tongue stuck out like a dog. Seriously, the rapid motion engages the diaphragm for a quick 10-second breath workout!

To make proper breathing a daily habit, take slow, relaxed breaths for 2–5 minutes several times a day.
Breathing correctly benefits your health in surprising ways. You not only feel more relaxed, but you will have better nutrient absorption, lower blood pressure, and feel more energized. You may even drop a few excess pounds since your body requires a considerable amount of excess oxygen to dispose of fat. With all the benefits of breathing properly, it’s time to make the practice a priority and get started today.

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Stress relief techniques are the need of the hour. It's no secret that emotional and psychological stress can wreak physical havoc on the body.

We’ve all heard about the mind-body connection and probably have our own stories of how things can go downhill physically and mentally during times of stress. Current scientific research has found evidence of stress having a link with physical and mental ailments.

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Top Stress Relief Techniques for Mental Health

Throughout our lives, we encounter stressful events, which can range from simple annoyances like traffic jams to more significant concerns, like a loved one's sickness.

Stress releases a barrage of hormones into the body, regardless of the reason of stress. That causes breathing to accelerate, muscles getting tensed up, and the heart pounding.

Fortunately, there are ways to reduce stress and enhance mental health. Here's a look at six such techniques:

1) Breathwork

Breathwork is a straightforward yet effective technique. The process is not complex and can be as easy as taking long, calm, deep breaths (also known as abdominal or belly breathing).

Breathing helps you gradually detach your mind from bothersome ideas and sensations. People with eating problems can benefit most from breath concentration, as it can help them focus on their body in a positive way.

This strategy, though, may not be ideal for people who have health issues that make breathing difficult, such as respiratory diseases or heart problems.


2) Yoga, Tai chi and Qigong

These three ancient arts combine rhythmic breathing with a series of postures and flowing movements.

The physical aspects of these practices offer a mental focus that can help distract you from racing thoughts. They can also enhance flexibility and balance.

However, if you're generally not active, have health problems, or have a painful or disabling condition, these relaxation techniques might be too challenging to begin with. Check your readiness with a doctor before starting them.


3) Engage in More Physical Activity

The trick to stress management is movement. Get moving! (Image via Pexels/ Andrea Piacquadio)
The trick to stress management is movement. Get moving! (Image via Pexels/ Andrea Piacquadio)

Consistently moving your body can help if you're feeling stressed. In a six-week study involving 185 university students, aerobic activity for two days a week was found to considerably lower the stress brought on by uncertainty.

Self-reported depression is dramatically reduced by the exercise program. Additionally, regular exercise has been shown to lessen the symptoms of common mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.


4) Spend Time with Nature

Spending time outside is a crucial stress relief technique. (Image via Pexels/Mikhail Nilov)
Spending time outside is a crucial stress relief technique. (Image via Pexels/Mikhail Nilov)

Spending more time outside can help alleviate stress. Studies have shown that being in nature and spending time in green areas, like parks and forests, are excellent ways to manage stress.

According to a meta-analysis of 14 studies, individuals in college can benefit psychologically and physically by spending as little as ten minutes in a natural environment.

These markers include perceived stress and happiness. Although hiking and camping are excellent possibilities, some people don't like them or don't have access to them. You can look for green areas, like neighborhood parks, arboretums, and botanical gardens even if you reside in a city.


5) Mindful Eating and Drinking

By being mindful of what you consume, you reduce mental health concerns significantly. (Image via Pexels/Askar Abayev)
By being mindful of what you consume, you reduce mental health concerns significantly. (Image via Pexels/Askar Abayev)

Some of us turn to alcohol or binge eating to combat stress. Although these actions may appear to reduce stress in the short term, they may fact increase it. Stress effects can be exacerbated by caffeine as well but having a balanced, healthy diet can assist in reducing stress. Every aspect of your health, including mental health, is impacted by your diet.

Research has shown that people who consume a lot of ultra-processed foods and added sugar have greater perceived stress level. Chronic stress can cause you to overeat and gravitate towards meals that are very tasty, which can be detrimental to your general health and mood.


6) Awareness of Triggers

You become what you surround yourself with. If you are like most people, your life may be filled with too many demands and too little time.

For the most part, these demands are the ones we have chosen. However, you can free up time by practicing time management skills, like asking for help when it’s appropriate, setting priorities, pacing yourself, and reserving time to take care of yourself.

If we set unrealistic expectations and try to meet these demands, they can become triggers for stress, anxiety, and other mental health concerns.


Takeaway

Although stress is an unavoidable part of life, chronic stress takes a toll on physical and mental health.

Fortunately, several evidence-based strategies can help reduce stress and improve psychological well-being. Exercise, mindfulness, spending time with a pet, minimizing screen time, and getting outside more often are effective ways to add to your stress management tool kit.


Janvi Kapur is a counselor with a Master's degree in applied psychology with a specialization in clinical psychology.


What do you think of this story? Tell us in the comments section below.





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When I wrote about Laura Harrier yesterday, it was only about her engagement news, so this full interview with Cosmo filled in a lot of the blanks about her and some about her fiancé (he’s French and they met in 2019) as well. In addition to being beautiful (the photos are great, I can see why she modeled), Laura seems smart and thoughtful and passionate about her beliefs. She and the interviewer talk about home decor, her engagement, acting, mental health, and politics. The interview is worth a read in its entirety, but some highlights that stuck out to me below:

On being aware, but disconnecting when necessary: It’s so important to know what’s happening in the world and to be active and to use your voice for the greater good and for causes that you believe in. But sometimes doing that can really take a toll. Sometimes I have to not read the news, not check my New York Times app, turn off Instagram because these are really tough times that we’re living in. And it’s easy to get so caught up in the collective anxiety of the world that you can forget that you also need to protect yourself and protect your own wellness. I don’t think that you can make a change and help other people if you’re not taking care of yourself.

On “self-care” strategies: I can’t say that I’m the best with my track record of doing it every day, but I try to at least do some deep breathing. I noticed I literally forget to breathe, which sounds wild, but sometimes I’m like, “Wait, I haven’t taken a real breath all day,” and just taking 30 seconds to sit and do deep belly breathing is a game changer. Also, I think it’s so common to talk only about self-care as meditation, yoga, and working out, which are all important, but sometimes self-care is having a glass of wine with your best friend and laughing and watching shitty reality TV. Watching The Bachelor and drinking wine with my girls is awesome. Sometimes that’s the self-care that you need.

On colorism and being confused with Zendaya: Some of the most successful actresses of color tend to be on the lighter side and that’s definitely not okay. There are so many facets to the Black experience. There are so many ways that Black people look, and only having one narrow view is something that I think is ultimately putting everybody at a disadvantage—we’re only shortchanging ourselves when we don’t show a diverse range of stories and a diverse range of people onscreen. I do think it’s something that’s slowly starting to change, but even when we were doing Spider-Man, I would get called “Zendaya” all the time. People wouldn’t even take the time to differentiate us.

[From Cosmopolitan]

What Laura said about sometimes disconnecting from the news and social media to take care of yourself really resonated with me. It’s been said before, but the way she phrased it made me feel less guilty about changing my engagement with the news these past two years. Like, I turned off news alerts during covid and don’t follow certain things as minutely as I once did because it was draining. But then I felt guilty about still being aware, but less engaged, and what she says makes me feel better about that. I also whole-heartedly agree with what she says about “self-care” strategies (though I inexplicably hate the term “self-care” and “it’s giving,” which was was also in this interview) except for the “sh-itty” qualifier in front of reality TV. I am a reality TV defender! Sometimes having wine and consuming distracting, light-hearted entertainment can make a world of difference when things are tough in your own life/the world. And I included the part about colorism because I think it’s important that Laura acknowledged it, being that she likely benefited from it. The narrow view does put everyone at a disadvantage and representation matters. And it’s not surprising that she’s been confused with Zendaya — that’s happened to all of us. It kind of sounds like it happened on set or in a professional capacity too, which makes it even worse (but again, that’s happened to all of us).

photos credit: Cover Images, Backgrid and via Instagram/Cosmopolitan



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DEADLINE, THIS word alone instills fear and anxiety. Students often have their calendars filled with deadlines for various papers and projects. It is no surprise that deadlines are a common cause of stress in students.

Whether you’re working on a last-minute essay or have days until your paper is due, deadlines feel equally intimidating. The pressure associated with them often makes you feel overwhelmed and stressed out.

Yet, deadlines aren’t inherently negative. Stress comes from a student’s attitude towards their assignment and their workflow organization. Read on for five methods to eliminate the stress associated with deadlines and stay calm.

  1. Reach Out for Help

All students are familiar with a situation when you have a looming deadline, and the only way to meet it is to sacrifice your sleep entirely. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon for young people to experience sleep deprivation or other negative consequences of overworking, like an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise.

Not only does this routine increase your stress levels but also negatively affects your mood, productivity, and overall quality of life. Therefore, it’s never an option to sacrifice your well-being to get good grades, especially when you can meet any assignment deadline by relying on the best essay writing service. Professional writers will help you avoid deadline stress entirely while making sure you maintain good academic performance.

  1. Break Down Assignments Into Smaller Tasks

What seems less stressful: submitting an essay in three weeks or coming up with an essay outline in a week? A study proved that by dividing a task into several smaller ones, you make it less stressful and more manageable. The study involved three groups of participants. The first group had three tasks, each given a separate deadline every week. The second group had one final deadline for all tasks. The participants of Group 3 were free to set their own deadlines. The study results revealed that Group 1 was much more successful in completing assignments on time and made fewer mistakes.

This leads to a study tip: instead of focusing on one final deadline, give yourself smaller goals. For example, if you need to submit a paper by Nov 30, plan to do research by Nov 7, come up with an outline by Nov 12, complete your first draft by Nov 17, and finish editing by Nov 25. Then, enjoy some buffer time to improve your paper or simply relax.

Small self-imposed deadlines are an effective way to optimize your schedule. They give you a sense of accomplishment as you progress, motivate you, and make deadlines less intimidating.

  1. Manage Your Perfectionism

While trying to improve your skills and perform better is an admirable goal, perfectionism has an opposite side. Students who always want to deliver impeccable work put extra pressure on themselves. If you don’t keep your perfectionism in check, you risk setting unrealistic standards for yourself. This makes you spend 6 hours on a task that normally takes 3 or overthink an assignment making it seem more complicated than it is. Thus, perfectionism often leads to excessive stress.

Instead of perfection, aim for more manageable and measurable goals. Remember that sometimes it’s enough to get the work done. Not every task needs to be perfect.

  1. Optimize Your Study Process With Smart Tools and Services

Deadlines often seem stressful because they involve dealing with complex tasks. You have to keep a lot of things in mind: due dates, task requirements, meetings, etc. The fear that you might forget something makes you constantly think about your to-do list. Then, it seems larger and more complicated than it is in reality.

You can get rid of this stress by using digital tools to organize your workflow. For example, Google Calendar will keep all important events in one place and remind you when you need to submit a paper or have a meeting with your research advisor. An academic writing service for students can write that paper for you in case you forgot or had other priorities. If you need help organizing your research, check Scrivener. Need a tool to avoid distractions and increase your productivity? Freedom or Forest could come in handy.

There are tools for almost any task. They do some of the work for you, giving you more time to relax and get rid of stress.

  1. Add Relaxation Activities to Your Daily Routine

When you have to deal with deadlines on a daily basis, stress tends to accumulate. It causes different physical and mental symptoms like headaches, tension, upset stomach, and panic attacks, to name but a few. To prevent that, incorporate a few relaxing habits into your routine. Here are a few examples:

  • Herbal teas like chamomile, peppermint, and lavender have a calming effect. Besides, taking a break for a few minutes to prepare and enjoy your drink is therapeutic in itself.
  • Get an essential oils diffuser. Aromatherapy is helpful in reducing stress levels.
  • Try breathing exercises like alternate-nostril or belly breathing. It gives your body more oxygen and relaxes muscles.
  • Exercise regularly. A study shows that physical activity is a powerful stress reliever and has an energizing effect. If you don’t have enough time to go for a run or visit the gym, you can stretch at your desk.
  • Do a simple yoga routine during study breaks. It combines exercise and mindfulness for your physical and mental health.

Final Thoughts

Deadlines are stressful only if a student struggles to manage them. With these tips, you can learn to organize your study process to approach your deadlines with confidence. Not only will this make you more productive and successful as a student, but it will also give you peace of mind and motivation to study!

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There are no shortage of anxiety-inducing situations to keep us up at night, from the stress of our own day-to-day lives to the collective concerns of disease outbreaks, political unrest and disturbing news.

When you begin to feel the weight of these stressors, psychologists say feeling calmer is a matter of something you likely take for granted: your breath.

Change it and you can change your emotions by altering the signals that go to the brain, said Dr. Patricia Gerbarg, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at New York Medical College and coauthor of “The Healing Power of the Breath.”

“The brain listens to the lungs, so the way that we breathe has a tremendous effect on how the brain functions for many different mechanisms,” Gerbarg told TODAY.

“The messages from the respiratory system are very powerful and very rapid, and we think they have top priority.”

Need proof? If you’re hungry and happen to stub your toe and then choke on gum at the same time, which of those three signals is the brain going to pay attention to? Breathing, of course, because otherwise you’d be dead in a few minutes.

Breathing is also the only automatic body function for which we have voluntary control.

“We can’t just change our heartbeat or our digestion, but we can change our breathing pattern by thinking about it,” Gerbarg said.

“If you use your body to communicate with your brain, the messages bypass all of the worrying and obsessing. They just go straight into the main regulatory centers of the brain.”

Brain scans show slower breathing reduces anxiety and fear, while increasing the ability to reason — so the thinking mind restrains the emotional part of the mind, helping a person evaluate the situation better, Gerbarg noted.

Deeper, slower breathing can also let your body know to come out of fight-or-flight mode, said Anne Bartolucci, a clinical psychologist, adjunct assistant professor at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and author of “Better Sleep for the Overachiever.”

“It’s a nice, quick way to calm down and it’s also a way to signal to yourself that you’re taking care of yourself,” Bartolucci said.

Here are three breathing techniques you can employ right now to destress and relax.

Belly breathing

Also known as diaphragmatic breathing, this exercise can help you turn on the parasympathetic — or the calming “rest and digest” — part of the autonomic nervous system, Bartolucci said.

Babies are natural belly breathers, while adults usually become chest breathers — a less efficient way to take in oxygen. To return back to basics, Bartolucci instructs her patients to:

  • Find a comfortable position — lying down may be easier because you get a better range of motion.
  • Inhale slowly with the belly for four seconds. The abdomen should rise, while the chest moves minimally or not at all.
  • Exhale for four seconds or longer.
  • Do this practice every day, working up to five minutes of belly breathing. Also use it in the moment when you need to relax.

Bartolucci prescribes this breathing technique to her patients and does it herself to calm down.

“My husband can tell when I’m getting annoyed with him because he sees my belly start moving,” she said.

Coherent breathing

A typical adult takes about 15-20 breaths per minute, but the sweet spot of experiencing relaxation and optimal brain function is to slow that down to five breaths per minute, Gerbarg said. This pace lets the brain know everything is safe and fine.

She recommended these steps:

  • Download any breath pacing app that will give you cues about when to breathe in and out. Similar instructions can also be found online. The idea is to not think about counting or anything else, but just focus on breathing.
  • Follow the cues and breathe softly, preferably through the nose, with your eyes closed so you can focus inward and block out external distractions.
  • “Just move the air very slowly — it’s not really a deep breath. It’s a slow, gentle breath,” Gerbarg advised. Your belly will naturally expand.
  • Work up to doing about 20 minutes of this technique per day. You can also employ it whenever you’re feeling anxious and at night if you’re having trouble falling asleep.

After you become familiar with this type of breathing, Gerbarg also advised practicing during the day with your eyes open so you can do it anywhere without others noticing.

“It’s very powerful,” she said.

Box breathing

This is one of the daily routines practiced and recommended by Mark Divine, a retired U.S. Navy SEAL commander who believes awareness and control of your breath “is the best tool to bring initial control over our mind.”

Here’s how to do it:

  • Start in a seated position and exhale all of your air.
  • Inhale for a count of five.
  • Hold your breath for a count of five.
  • Exhale for a count of five.
  • Hold your breath for a count of five.
  • Keep the pattern going and repeat this cycle five times.

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Take a deep breath before reading

Just ten minutes of conscious deep breathing a day could reduce your stress levels and improve your mental wellbeing.

Because of our busy, fast-paced society, we often experience some form of stress. Our stress response, often termed ‘fight or flight’, exists for a purpose, whether that be jumping out of the way of a moving vehicle or preparing for a job interview.

In some cases, elevated stress levels can help us complete challenging tasks through a heightened focus and drive and in critical circumstances could be the difference between life and death.

The problem is this response is not designed to be turned on long-term.

Release of our stress hormone cortisol elevates heart rate and blood pressure, pupils dilate, breathing rate quickens but shallows and our body releases energy into our bloodstream priming us to fight back or get out of there.

This heightened state is activated by our sympathetic nervous system but the ‘yin’ to this ‘yang’ is our parasympathetic nervous system which is involved in the conservation of energy and is active during rest and relaxation.

Both branches work together to keep us safe and, if necessary, calm. Unfortunately, our brain does not always recognise the difference between dangerous stressors and less threatening situations. In both cases, the body may engage in hyperarousal symptoms activated by the sympathetic nervous system which in the short term can lead to feelings of anxiety but over time can lead to lowered mood or depression.

Luckily, we have a way to encourage our relaxation response by activating the parasympathetic branch of our nervous system through meditation, mindfulness and breathing techniques.

Deep diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing or abdominal breathing,  activates our relaxation response and reverses the fight or flight response.

In addition, we observe an energy boost by improving the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the body’s tissues through a more efficient circulatory system and return of blood to the heart. It also strengthens our immune system and can help to prevent infections in the lungs.

It also might give you a few minutes’ head peace to chill out and re-set and we all know the benefit of that when life becomes a little crazy.

So how do we do it? Perhaps start with this exercise while sitting in a chair:

  •  Sit comfortably, with your knees bent and your shoulders, head and neck relaxed.
  •  Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your rib cage. This will allow you to feel your diaphragm move as you breathe.
  •  Breathe in slowly through your nose so that your stomach moves out against your hand. The hand on your chest should remain as still as possible.
  • Tighten your stomach muscles so that your stomach moves back in as you exhale through pursed lips. The hand on your upper chest should remain as still as possible.
  • Repeat 20 times.
  • Try playing soothing tunes to get yourself into the correct mind set. Good luck.

For further advice on breathing techniques and many other aspects of health and wellbeing you can refer to Healthy Options Thrive with further information available at www.lornhealthyoptions.co.uk

Ian Milarvie, Exercise Professional, Lorn and Oban Healthy Options.

 

 



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Dyspnea, commonly known as shortness of breath, is one of the common problems faced during pregnancy. Shortness of breath can also be considered as an early symptoms of pregnancy. Generally, dyspnea doesn’t cause any harm to the mother and the growing baby. But still, in some severe complicated conditions, it can lead to difficulty in breathing.

Reasons of breathlessness during pregnancy

An increase in levels of progesterone is the main cause of increase in shortness of breath during the first trimester of pregnancy, explains Dr. Anjali Chaudhary (PT), senior executive physiotherapist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Noida.

it is basically due to increased capacity of lungs. The body adjusts itself to the new hormonal changes. However, other medical conditions such as asthma, anemia and pulmonary embolism, too can contribute to the same. Suitable precautions should be taken for the treatment of asthma and other underlying conditions.

shortness of breath
Keep a check on breathing patterns. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

As the size of the baby grows, other organs get compressed and start changing their position. At around 31st week to 34th week, the growing size of the belly exerts pressure on the diaphragm (the main muscle for breathing). This increase in the size restricts the lungs to expand fully and take in air.

Towards the end of pregnancy, the foetus head settles into the pelvis and eventually exerts less pressure on the diaphragm muscle. Therefore, the shortness of breath eases during the last few days of pregnancy.

How to handle the shortness of breath during pregnancy

You can try various breathing techniques and tips to manage and cope up with the situation of dyspnea or shortness of breath. By following these simple tips you can ease down the breathlessness.

1. Maintain a good posture:

Posture during pregnancy is important. Slouching while sitting will affect your lungs as lungs will not get enough space for expansion while breathing in. This may result in less oxygen intake. Sitting on a chair with your chest slightly bent forward can help relaxing the body and in creating extra space for breathing.

Standing with your back well-supported by a wall and body slightly leaned forward can also help relieve shortness of breath.

2. Sleep in a relaxed position

Dyspnea often leads to inability to sleep at night, leading to waking up several times and creating disturbance in sleep. To avoid this, sleep on the back with head elevated using extra pillows and knees bent with pillows below the feet. The right sleeping posture during pregnancy helps in keeping the airway relaxed and making breathing better.

sleeping posture during pregnancy
The right sleeping posture during pregnancy is important. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Pursed lip breathing:

A very easy and a simple breathing technique that makes each breath deeper by helping release trapped air in the lungs, can help to manage shortness of breath during pregnancy.

Follow the simple steps to perform pursed lip breathing:
* Sit with shoulders relaxed.
* Slowly take in air through nose and keep the mouth closed while inhaling.
* Gently exhale or blow out air with pursed lips as if about to blow a candle.
* Practice for 5-10 minutes for about three to four times a day.

4. Diaphragmatic breathing:

Diaphragmatic breathing is basically deep breathing exercise which is also known as abdominal breathing or belly breathing.

To do diaphragmatic breathing or belly/abdominal breathing, follow these steps:

* Sit on a chair or simply lie down comfortably with knees bent and upper body relaxed.
* Place one hand on the chest and other below the rib cage (over the abdomen/belly) so that you can feel your diaphragm movement while breathing in and breathing out.
* Breathe in slowly and steadily so that the abdomen rises fully while doing so, making the hand to rise. Make sure the hand on the chest stays still.
* Then slowly exhale through pursed lips but make sure the abdomen lowers down while doing so and the hand on the chest remains still.
* Start practicing this exercise for 5-10 minutes for about three to four times a day. Gradually increase the number of times and even place a book over the abdomen to increase the efforts.

deep breathing
Deep breathing is good for lungs. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Deep breathing with arm raise:

Deep breathing exercise with raised arms raises the diaphragm to open up the lungs. This helps to increase the capacity of the lungs and results in more oxygen uptake. It is similar to deep breathing, but along with breathing, hand movement is added.

* Stand and take a deep breath while raising arms slowly over your head. Exhale as you lower your arms. Repeat several times a days or whenever you feel breathlessness.
* Seeking Medical Help for Shortness of Breath during Pregnancy

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For someone struggling with IBS symptoms, there are methods they can try that may regulate their stress levels, with one of these methods being exercise. Dr. Riehl told Everyday Health that exercising releases feel-good endorphins while reducing cortisol levels. Levels of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that alleviates stress, increase during exercise. As a result of these biochemical changes, people with IBS may feel less stressed after exercising. According to WebMD, physical activities like walking, running, and swimming can help keep the bowels from overreacting. 

Deep breathing may also alleviate stress related to IBS symptoms. Dr. Riehl suggests diaphragmatic breathing in particular, which has a direct influence on the brain as well as the cardiovascular, respiratory, and gastrointestinal systems. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the diaphragm is a muscle at the base of the lungs that is essential for breathing. Also known as belly breathing, diaphragmatic breathing has a number of health benefits, such as promoting relaxation and lowering blood pressure and heart rate. 

The Harvard Gazette adds that meditation can also reduce the severity of IBS symptoms. By triggering the body's relaxation response, meditation can relieve stress and affect the body's physiology, such as heart rate and oxygen consumption. Although you can practice deep breathing and meditation on your own, WebMD shares that there are online and in-person courses. If you would like to meet other individuals living with the condition, you might find it helpful to consider joining an IBS support group. 

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Did you focus on your breath today? Typically, this is not something that we focus on throughout the day. It is probably something we all take for granted, like digestion or blinking our eyes. These are things that we don't need to 'work' on, they just occur. However, breathing is different. There are ways we can do it intentionally. Certain patterns of breathing can change how you feel internally.

We now live in a digitally-obsessed, escape-based society. Looking at the present studies on happiness, it seems we are not a happy society. Around 25% of women in the US are on anti-anxiety medications or anti-depressants. Sleep dysfunction, according to recent studies, is at an epidemic level. This is not a problem limited to the US but a global one.

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What is breath work?

Numerous breathing exercises and methods fall under the umbrella of "breath work." Although mindful breathing has been around for a while, the term "breath work" and some breathing techniques - especially those that don't involve movement, like yoga - have recently gained popularity.

Even a little knowledge of physiology can help explain why controlled breathing can have a calming effect. The impact different emotions can have on the body is common knowledge. For example, when you're delighted, your mouth's corners naturally rise, and the corners of your eyes wrinkle distinctively. Similarly, your breathing slows and deepens when you're relaxed, at ease, or having a great conversation.


Ways in which breath work improves mental health

It might seem more difficult than ever to attain peace of mind in a world where taking a breath feels like a luxury. However, staying composed and focused is easier than you think. Simple exercises like deep breathing can significantly impact your health and well-being.

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Consider these advantages of deep breathing if you're prepared to try it.


1) Signals the parasympathetic system

Our nervous system becomes active when we are worried, anxious, or terrified. There are two branches of our nervous system: the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. Our fight-or-flight reactions are controlled by the sympathetic nervous system, whereas the parasympathetic nervous system manages our "rest and digest" states.

Many of us breathe quickly, shallowly, and unconsciously throughout the day. However, when we inhale deeply, we tell our parasympathetic nervous system to relax the body. This results in a more relaxed state where we can better control our stress responses, thus reducing worry and dread.


2) Improves sleep

A study used heart rate variability (HRV) under controlled breathing to measure the cardiac neural activity of 14 self-identified individuals with insomnia and 14 excellent sleepers.

According to the study, people with insomnia have autonomic dysfunction, especially regarding vagal activity. The study showed that 20 minutes of slow breathing exercise (6 respiration cycles before bed) significantly improves sleep.

Did you consciously breathe today? (Photo via Unsplash/ Max Oetelaar)
Did you consciously breathe today? (Photo via Unsplash/ Max Oetelaar)

3) Relieves stress

While there are various techniques to manage stress, breathing is one of the simplest and most practical strategies because we do it without even realizing it. When feeling overwhelmed, breathing exercises are a great intervention or coping tool because they can be done anytime, anywhere, and they're supported by science.

According to studies, practicing mindfulness and breathing techniques can reduce stress and sadness, improve mental health, and elicit happy emotions. Additionally, breathing exercises help you think more clearly and feel less anxious.

Simple breathing has shown significant improvements in mental health. (Photo via Pexels/ Tara Winstead)
Simple breathing has shown significant improvements in mental health. (Photo via Pexels/ Tara Winstead)

4) Manage symptoms

Chronic stress is a common issue that has worsened since the COVID-19 pandemic. This stress can disrupt the regular breathing rhythm, which in turn can aggravate anxiety and other mental health issues. By practicing mindful breathing techniques, people can begin to reset their breathing system, which can enhance how they feel and think.

In one small study, participants were taught belly breathing (another name for diaphragmatic breathing) for 20 sessions over eight weeks, which led to noticeably decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol and significantly higher sustained attention rates.

Breathing and meditation can relieve symptoms of distress. (Photo via Unsplash/ Darius Bashar)
Breathing and meditation can relieve symptoms of distress. (Photo via Unsplash/ Darius Bashar)

5) Higher energy

You might believe that deep breathing doesn't do anything but make you feel exhausted. However, the exact opposite is true. Breathing deeply can help enhance your energy by supplying the blood with more oxygen. This helps you feel happier and more awake throughout the day by playing a significant role in mood enhancement.

Breathe in breathe out. (Photo via Pexels/ Arthouse studio)
Breathe in breathe out. (Photo via Pexels/ Arthouse studio)

It can be incredibly empowering to focus on and become aware of breath's function in our daily lives. Breathwork can have a significant positive effect on mental health and wellness since it is a potent self-regulation tool and coping skill.


What do you think of this story? Tell us in the comments below..



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Practicing belly breathing can help you hold your breath longer (and bring down your stress, too).

Image Credit:
damircudic/E+/GettyImages

Is it bad to only be able to hold your breath for 30 seconds? What about 45 seconds or a minute?

Lots of things can affect your ability to hang on to a big gulp of air, and it's normal for different people to be able to hold their breath for different lengths of time.

Here's what's typical, plus what you can do to boost your lung capacity and hold your breath for longer.

What's the Average Time to Hold Breath?

Different people can hold their breath for different amounts of time. "Most people can hold their breath for 30 to 90 seconds without any difficulty," says registered respiratory therapist Mandy De Vries, MS-RCL/Ed, director of education at the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC).

However, that time can vary based on a number of factors.

What's the World Record for Holding Breath?

In March 2021, a Croatian man named Budimir Šobat held his breath for 24 minutes and 37.36 seconds, according to Guinness World Records, surpassing the previous world record by 34 seconds.

Factors That Affect How Long You Can Hold Your Breath

You may not be able to hold your breath for that long if you smoke or have an underlying medical condition. For example, people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma usually can't hold their breath as long.

Infections like COVID-19 can factor in too. Even mild cases can cause temporary shortness of breath, while more severe ones can lead to permanent lung scarring that may reduce your lung capacity, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

People who regularly engage in aerobic exercise, especially activities like swimming and running, tend to have greater lung volumes that makes it easier to hold their breath for longer, De Vries explains.

Taller people tend to have greater lung capacities compared to those who are shorter.

Carrying excess abdominal fat, on the other hand, can reduce your lung volume by compressing your chest wall, according to a February 2017 paper in ​Multidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine​.

Lung volume can even (temporarily) shrink during pregnancy, as a person's expanding uterus can put extra pressure on the lungs.

Finally, don't discount age. Starting at age 35, our lung volume and pulmonary function start to slowly decrease, per the ​Multidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine​ paper. So younger adults may be able to hold their breath longer than older adults.

The Benefits of Greater Lung Capacity

The lungs are responsible for taking in oxygen and removing carbon dioxide from the blood. So when your lung capacity is healthy, you'll experience healthier physical function and feel your best overall.

You may also be less prone to breathing issues. "People with greater lung capacity tend to have lower rates of respiratory problems, such as asthma and bronchitis," says De Vries.

Being able to take in more oxygen can improve your exercise performance, too, especially when it comes to endurance activities like running or swimming. So you'll be able to push yourself longer and harder and need less time to recover, De Vries says.

How to Increase Your Lung Capacity and Hold Your Breath Longer

Anyone can boost their lung capacity. How you go about doing it depends on your current fitness level and overall health.

Whether you're looking to take your workouts to the next level or just make everyday activities like walking or stair-climbing a little easier, here's what to do.

1. Prioritize Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic activities force your heart and lungs to work harder to supply your muscles with more oxygen. When done consistently, your cardiovascular system becomes more efficient at delivering oxygen to your muscles, so you're less likely to feel out of breath, according to the American Lung Association (ALA).

Exercises that involve deep breathing, like running or swimming, are the most effective for increasing lung capacity, De Vries says. "Interval training, which alternates periods of high-intensity activity with periods of rest, has been shown to be particularly beneficial," she adds. (This 20-minute HIIT workout will give you a big aerobic bang for your buck.)

That said, you don't have to go full throttle to reap the benefits of aerobic exercise. Even walking can make a difference, as long as you maintain a pace where you're moderately breathless (you should be able to talk but not sing).

Warning

Always make sure to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you're new to physical activity or have a long-term lung condition.

2. Practice Breath-Holding Training

Breath-holding training involves gradually increasing the amount of time you can hold your breath. "It has been shown to be an effective method for increasing lung capacity," De Vries says.

Best of all, it's easy to do — follow these steps:

  1. Sitting up straight, open your mouth and inhale as deeply as possible.
  2. Then close your lips and hold your breath for as long as you can, keeping track of the seconds with a watch or your phone.
  3. Repeat the process, gradually working to hold your breath for a few more seconds each time. (But stop if you feel dizzy or faint.)

3. Try Pursed Lip Breathing

Pursed lip breathing, which reduces the number of breaths you take to keep your airways open longer, is a common exercise used to help people with long-term lung conditions like COPD or emphysema improve lung capacity, per the ALA. (Other healthy habits can help you breathe easier with these conditions, too.)

To try it, inhale through your nose and exhale for twice as long through your mouth while keeping your lips pursed. (If you inhale to the count of two, for instance, you'd exhale to the count of four.) Repeat several times.

4. Take Deep Belly Breaths

Like pursed lip breathing, belly breathing can be used to increase your lung capacity, the ALA says. (It's a good stress-buster, too.) Here's how:

  1. Inhale through your nose while placing your hands on your stomach, so you can feel your belly rising and falling. Keep your neck and shoulders relaxed.
  2. Exhale through your mouth for two to three times as long as you inhaled. (If you inhale to the count of two, for instance, you'd exhale to the count of four to six.)
  3. Repeat several times.

5. See a Respiratory Therapist

If your breathing problems are making it harder to carry out everyday activities, talk with your doctor about seeing a respiratory therapist.

"They can provide treatments that can help improve airflow and lung function," De Vries says. "They can also teach you how to properly use inhaled medications and manage your condition."

That in turn can help you breathe easier and increase your activity level — and improve your overall quality of life.

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If you’ve ever been stressed or anxious (let's be honest, that's all of us at some point), you’ve probably been told to take a deep breath. In the moment, it can be hard to do. But science shows that deep breathing techniques are an effective way to immediately calm your nervous system and reduce anxiety.

Whether you’re feeling anxious about an upcoming event or you’ve just had a stressful day, breathing exercises are an easily accessible tool you can lean on to cope. A few minutes focused on your breathing not only helps in the moment, but can have cumulative effects over time: Yoga breathing has been known to improve quality of sleep and mindfulness, both of which can help to improve mental health.

In fact, I became interested in getting my certification in yoga because of the positive benefits yoga had on my sleep and anxiety levels. I no longer needed my anxiety or sleeping medication once I started practicing yoga regularly! I attribute that mostly to the breathwork that I learned in my yoga classes and practiced daily.

So what exactly is yoga breathing? You will breathe in through the nose for a few-second count and then out through the nose, keeping the mouth closed. This is supposed to gather your prana, or energy, and make it more focused. It’s also calming and allows the nervous system to relax.

Related: Breathing techniques, meditations and expert tips to relieve stress and anxiety.

I’ve prepared a list of my favorite yoga breathing exercises for you to try. Whether you perform them in the morning, before bed or throughout the day (like when you're stuck in that traffic jam!), you’ll feel a release of unneeded stress and a sense of calm.

Deep belly breathing

Deep belly breathing utilizes the diaphragm to maximize lung expansion. The movement of the diaphragm naturally controls the airflow through your body, forcing the air to move deeply into your belly.

Start in a comfortable position either lying on the floor or sitting in a chair. Place one hand on your chest while placing the other just below the rib cage so that you can feel the movement of your diaphragm. Slowly breathe in through your nose for a count of five. Feel the air move in your body as your stomach rises. Then exhale the air through your mouth for a count of five, feeling your stomach relax inward.

Alternate nostril breathing

Alternate nostril breathing is a little less common than deep belly breathing, but it can be a great way to practice controlled breathing. Plus, this exercise is the perfect addition to any sort of meditation practice.

Sit in a comfortable position with your legs crossed. Once you finish exhaling, place your right thumb over your right nostril. Inhale for a count of five through your left nostril. Then, cover your left nostril and uncover your right nostril before exhaling for a count of five. Now, inhale through the right nostril, keeping your thumb on the left nostril. Then, cover your right nostril and exhale through the left. Continue alternating between the nostrils for a few minutes.

Breath retention

Breath retention involves holding your breath without inhaling or exhaling for a period of time. Retaining your breath for a short period of time can help with relaxation and stress reduction. I recommend holding the air in for 10 seconds before exhaling, and then taking a few regular breaths before repeating the exercise.

Begin sitting with your legs crossed on the floor. Keeping your back straight, breath in through your nose for five seconds. Hold the air inside your lungs for 10 seconds. Once you’ve reached 10 seconds, exhale slowly through your mouth. Take a few normal breaths before repeating the process.

Breath of fire

The breath of fire involves gently inhaling and forcefully exhaling. This exercise helps relieve stress, improve concentration and increase mindfulness.

Sit with your legs crossed on the floor, keeping your back straight. Inhale through your nose for a count of five while placing your hand on your stomach so you can feel it rise. As soon as you finish inhaling, exhale forcefully through your nose, engaging your abdominals. Make sure that your inhale and exhale are the same length, even though they are done with different amounts of force. Repeat this 10 times quickly.

Related: Yes, just five minutes a day can have positive effects on your physical and mental health.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com

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A Stanford professor and Neuroscientists recently explained that breathing in through the nose and exhaling through the mouth can increase the heart rate in a process known as respiratory sinus arrhythmia

A Stanford professor and Neuroscientists recently explained that breathing in through the nose and exhaling through the mouth can increase the heart rate in a process known as respiratory sinus arrhythmia.

Photo : iStock

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  1. The best way to breathe to beat stress is double inhalation through the nose followed by a long and extended exhale through the nose.
  2. This hack can be particularly helpful in a claustrophobic environment and one does it every one to three minutes during sleep.
  3. When not breathing enough, the alveoli – tiny sacs of the lungs – flatten out like empty balloons and collapse.
New Delhi: Stressed, anxious or angry – the minute any such episode kicks off, the first recommendation which comes in the way is deep breathing. Taking a few deep breaths to calm the nerves has been a go-to mantra of many for a long time. But how wise is it? Deep breathing for long has been a coping mechanism for stress and anxiety – however, a scientist now associates the act with the worsening of symptoms.
Shocking as it may sound, turns out that the stress coping mechanisms have been messed up all this while. Instead of making things better, deep breathing could worsen the symptoms by increasing the heart rate. A Stanford professor and Neuroscientists recently explained that breathing in through the nose and exhaling through the mouth can increase the heart rate in a process known as respiratory sinus arrhythmia. Alternatively, one can get relief from stress by breathing through the nose twice – experts call it the best and fastest way to regulate stress in real time.

How to breathe the right way to reduce stress?

The best way to breathe to beat stress is double inhalation through the nose followed by a long and extended exhale through the nose. This hack can be particularly helpful in a claustrophobic environment and one does it every one to three minutes during sleep.

When not breathing enough, the alveoli – tiny sacs of the lungs – flatten out like empty balloons and collapse. Consequently, ample oxygen does not enter the bloodstream, carbon dioxide builds up and stress levels increase. Double nose inhale can help inflate these sacs. This activates the neural circuits in the brain and body.

The automatic nervous system is made up of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems – the former activates a fight or flight response while the latter restores the body to a state of calm. For most people, this trick works best to return to a state of calm.

Why breathing through the nose is a healthy habit?

The nose is a better filter for various viruses and bacteria than the mouth thereby mitigating disease and infection risk. It is designed to breathe safely as it filters foreign particles through nasal hair. To improve its functioning, one can try alternative nostril breathing and belly breathing. These techniques help improve nose breathing while lowering stress and enhancing lung function.

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.

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WHEN stressed or anxious, a common coping mechanism is to take a deep breath.

But a scientist has claimed this could be the wrong approach, and make your symptoms worse.

A deep breath won't relieve stress, an expert has claimed

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A deep breath won't relieve stress, an expert has claimedCredit: Alamy

Neuroscientist and Stanford professor Dr Andrew Huberman explained the “breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth” method could increase your heart rate.

On a recent episode of Mayim Bialik's Breakdown podcast, he said: "If somebody is stressed, or if you are stressed, taking a deep breath is not the best solution. 

“If you just take a deep breath, actually you will increase your heart rate through a process called respiratory sinus arrhythmia."

Dr Huberman said the best and fastest way to regulate stress in real time is to breathe through your nose twice. 

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He suggested taking a double inhale through the nose, and a long, extended exhale through the nose.

“It’s not a hack - this is what you do when you are in a claustrophobic environment and you do it every one to three minutes during sleep,” Dr Huberman said. 

When a person is not breathing enough, the tiny sacs of the lungs, called alveoli, “collapse and flatten out like empty balloons”.

The consequence is that you don’t get enough oxygen into the bloodstream, and instead “carbon dioxide builds up, and if you’re stressed this happens even more”.

The podcaster explained that when doing a double inhale, it helps the alveoli to properly inflate. 

“When you do that, you naturally activate the neural circuits in the brain and body that shift that seesaw from sympathetic (alertness and stress) to parasympathetic,” he said.

The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems make up the autonomic nervous system.

While the sympathetic nervous system activates the fight or flight response, the parasympathetic nervous system restores the body to a state of calm.

“For most people it takes only one so-called physiological sigh - double inhale through the nose, long full exhale through the lungs - to completely return to a calm state,” Dr Huberman said.

“This is, as far as I know, the fastest way to shift your way from stressed to calm.”

Dr Huberman said some people struggle or fail to breathe through their nose enough day-to-day, and mouth breathing is linked to health problems. 

The nose is a better filter for viruses and bacteria than the mouth, therefore may prevent illness.

Dr Zac Turner, a medical practitioner in Australia, told the website news.com.au in July: “The beauty of your nose is that it’s perfectly designed to breathe safely. 

“It can filter out foreign particles due to its nasal hairs. It can humidify inhaled air which makes it easier for your lungs to use, and it produces nitric oxide which is a vasodilator. 

“That’s just a scientific way of saying it widens blood vessels to help improve oxygen circulation in your body.

“Your mouth is perfectly designed to eat, drink and talk, but it doesn’t have any of the nifty features your nose has.”

Dr Turner said to improve your nose breathing and lung efficiency, try exercises like alternate nostril breathing, belly breathing, and Breath of Fire. 

“These techniques may help you master nose breathing while enhancing your lung function and reducing stress,” he said.



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Posted on Aug 24, 2022 | Author Dr. Bhavna Barmi & team

Almost everyone will feel nervous or experience some level of anxiety when faced with an exam, assessment, or performance situation. It is kind of a natural response for many students during the preparations of exams.

Also, a moderate level of anxiety or stress is decisive to perform well as it helps us to be psychologically and physically alert in an exam or assessment type of situation. The challenge is when our level of anxiety increases and interferes with our performance. 

When anxiety is too intense, we may have difficulty learning and remembering what we need to know for the exam, find it hard to focus on questions, or demonstrate our knowledge or skills during the exam.

Even if you identify high levels of exam anxiety in yourself, the good news is that it’s possible to learn effective ways to manage this so that it doesn’t take over or get in the way of your performance.

Test anxiety is the experience of an intense feeling of fear or panic before and/or during an exam or assessment.

There are two types of anxiety:

Low anxiety: Students who experience low anxiety may feel a little nervous about the upcoming exam, but are still able to focus their attention on their studies or the questions asked during the assessment. Students with low anxiety are usually not affected by intrusive thoughts or feel debilitated by the exam.

High anxiety: students who experience high anxiety show an immediate anxiety response when exposed to a feared test situation. They try to avoid the situation by not appearing for the exam, or they may pass it but with extreme fear. High anxiety can send some into a sense of panic: “I really can’t handle this.”

Students with high or low anxiety may respond to tests in different ways. It's also shown by researchers that effectively managing anxiety can actually help with exam performance.

The challenge is to recognize when your anxiety has exceeded an optimal level so that it starts to affect your ability to complete the exam – that is a high level of anxiety.

Some physical reactions to high anxiety include a racing heart, clammy hands, shortness of breath or rapid breathing, and feeling nauseous. A physical response is usually experienced at high levels of anxiety when the fight or flight response is triggered. This is how our bodies react to a perceived threat – and while it is unpleasant, it is not harmful.

What causes exam anxiety?

The skills that will help you most in managing test anxiety will depend on what factors may be contributing to it. Test anxiety can be related to:

• Negative past exam experience.

• Lack of adequate preparation or knowledge of test-taking techniques or study methods.

• Excessive pressure to achieve and/or perfectionism.

• Strong fear of failure.

• Poor self-care, including not getting enough sleep, unhealthy eating, lack of exercise or relaxation.

• Taking some time to understand and identify what is contributing to your particular experience of anxiety can help you create an effective plan to deal with it.

• Prepare as best you can: This means studying for the exam early enough and using effective study techniques to help you learn, understand and remember the information. Good preparation will help you feel confident about the study material, which can ultimately keep stress under control.

Symptoms

There are many symptoms that people can have when they experience test anxiety, and these can occur before, during, and/or after exams. Below are some of the commonly reported symptoms.

Emotional

? Feeling nervous, restless or overwhelmed.

? Feeling panicky or having panic attacks.

? Feeling down or helpless.

? Feeling shame or guilt.

? Increased heart rate.

? Muscle tension throughout the body.

? Nausea and/or digestive changes.

? Fatigue without physical exertion.

? Increased sweating.

? Difficulty breathing or chest tightness.

? Loss of appetite or overeating.

? Light-headedness or feeling dizzy.

? Changes in sleep (excessive or insufficient sleep or disturbed sleep).

? Difficulty concentrating and/or paying attention.

? Difficulty retrieving or processing key information (remains blank).

? Racing or disorganized thoughts.

? Irrational or unhelpful thoughts.

? Preoccupation with thoughts of failure or embarrassment.

? Concerns about time constraints or exam results.

? Comparison with others during the test situation

? The ability to recall the answers to the exam after the exam is over.

? Stimulation or restless behaviour (leg tremors, increased activity).

? Cramming or staying up the night before in hopes that it will help improve your grades or reduce anxiety.

? Withdrawing from others or obsessing over studies

? Procrastination and avoiding cues related to exams including studying.

? Making simple mistakes on an exam despite knowing the content

? Don’t go to exams.

? Leaving the exam as soon as possible or before completion.

? Using alcohol or other substances to distract from stress/studies.

 

Importance of physical health for a healthy mind

When we are busy, we eat well, sleep regularly, and exercise can easily be neglected. Yet they are essential for us to be at our best physically, mentally and emotionally. For example, sleep is important for concentration and memory.

When planning your study plan, prioritize basic self-care—that means making time for things like healthy meals, getting enough sleep, consistent exercise, and social, fun, or relaxing activities first. You can then plan study tasks around them.

 

Dealing to manage the physical symptoms and sign of Anxiety

It is important to know that the physical symptoms we experience with anxiety are unpleasant but not dangerous. You can learn and practice relaxation techniques such as belly breathing or progressive muscle relaxation to calm your body or relieve tension.

It is a good idea to practice them regularly when you don’t feel too overwhelmed to begin with, so that the strategies feel more natural and easier to use during more intense times (like when you are sitting in the exam hall).

Make stress work for you by reframing your thoughts

How you interpret test anxiety can affect your academic performance. A moderate amount of stress energizes and motivates us, helping us focus and stay alert. When we find stress useful in studying because it gives us strength and energy to overcome challenges, it can reduce emotional exhaustion during the exam and improve our performance.

Be your own motivational coach

When we get caught up in negative or self-critical thoughts, we can feel more overwhelmed and undermine us from taking positive action. Remind yourself that test anxiety is a normal experience and that it can be managed. Validate yourself by focusing on the studies you have completed and the helpful steps you have taken in the past to complete your exams.

Connect with people who support you

Some people find studying together with other students who are in a similar situation both comforting and motivating. It is also okay to take a break from others if others are stressing you out. It can also be important to reach out to other helpful friends or family to talk about how you are feeling or things outside of your studies.

To find out more about how to keep stress under control at exam time, The University of Melbourne Peer Health Advocates and Bupa have also put together their top tips for managing exam stress.

So, how can I cool my exam nerves?

If you distinguish tall uneasiness in yourself, you will be able to learn ways to oversee it so that it doesn’t take over your exam performance.

The abilities you discover most supportive in overseeing your exam uneasiness will shift depending on what triggers may be contributing to your tall levels of anxiety. If understudies encounter tall levels of uneasiness some time recently during an exam, they ought to lock in in self-care procedures amid this time by keeping an eye on resting through the night, nourishment, work out, and actualizing many unwinding routines. Students now and then disregard these little steps as they can feel devoured by the fear of the exam.

Relaxation training

Psychologists and school wellbeing teams have a range of techniques to help you manage test anxiety - and can also recommend ways to improve your study 0+1 skills.

The techniques aim to help students understand the nature of their anxiety so they can cope more effectively with upcoming assessments.

This may include a behavioural intervention to teach relaxation training such as mindfulness. Mindfulness is where the student tries to focus on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting their anxious feelings, thoughts, and physical reactions.

Relaxation training can be used alongside the process of systematic desensitization – where the person visualizes the scene completely relaxed and the mental image evokes some of the feelings of the actual scene.

The idea is that if you learn to relax while visualizing yourself taking the exam, you can also learn to relax while taking the exam itself.

Support through special consideration: Some students who experience high levels of anxiety (intense panic or fear of an exam that results in them not being able to take the test) may receive additional support through special attention at their school.

However, some students may need access to a separate room to complete exams, regular breaks during the exam, or more time. To access this type of consideration, contact your school’s mental health team or a psychologist (see resources below) to help you create an individualized plan during the exam period.

Learning to work with test anxiety can have a number of positive effects, including:

• Improved academic performance.

• Reducing stress and anxiety.

• Increased sense of control and confidence.

• Reduced frustration.

 

Tips for coping with exam anxiety

When preparing for exams, try to:

• Prepare in advance by working on pieces of content each day.

• Use practice exams as an opportunity to manage anxiety.

• Identify your anxiety early by noticing your physical reactions.

• Try replacing unhelpful thoughts with more encouraging self-talk by challenging your worried and negative thoughts.

• Practice focusing your attention on the task at hand (mindfulness) rather than getting caught up in your anxiety and thinking about “what ifs”.

• Learn some skills to reduce physical reactions to anxiety.

• Remember to take good care of yourself: pay attention to sleep, nutrition, exercise, relaxation routines and reach out to social support.

 

Conclusions

Conclusion, test uneasiness is the result of numerous interrelated convictions and encounters. Ineffectual ponder strategies, and lingering can lead to uneasiness and a brought down self-image.

 

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Breathing exercises may sound strange to you if you've never come across yoga and pranayama. However, they are useful if you're looking to maintain good mental and physical health.

Breathing is the essence of life. It's the act of taking in air rich with oxygen, enriching the cells to perform various activities, and expelling air rich in carbon dioxide, which is a by-product of cells metabolizing glucose to produce energy.

The exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide can be messed up by bad breathing, which can lead to anxiety, panic attacks, fatigue, and other physical and emotional problems.

There are breathing exercises that can help relieve stress and anxiety through techniques that mimic the calming effects of meditation. Read on to know more.


Deep Yoga Breathing Exercises for Stress and Anxiety

Here's a look at six such workouts:

1) Belly Breathing

Twenty to thirty minutes of belly breathing can help reduce stress and anxiety. Find a place that's comfortable and quiet to sit or lie down. You can sit in a chair, sit cross-legged, or lie on your back with a small pillow under your head and another under your knees.

Here's how you do this exercise:

  • Put one hand on the top of your chest and the other below the ribcage on your belly.
  • Let your belly relax, and don't squeeze or clench your muscles to make it go in.
  • Slowly take in the air through your nose. The air should move into your nose and down, making your stomach rise and fall with your other hand (towards your spine).
  • Slowly breathe out through lips that are slightly closed. Note that the hand on your chest should stay still for the most part.
  • The number of times you do the sequence will depend on your health. Most people start by doing it three times and work up to doing it five to ten minutes one to four times a day.

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2) Box Square Breathing

Box breathing, which is also called 'four-square breathing', is easy to learn and do. If you've ever noticed that you breathe in and out to the beat of a song, you've already done this type of paced breathing.

Here's how you do this exercise:

  • Exhale for four counts. Hold the air out of your lungs for four counts.
  • Take a four-count breath in. Hold your breath for the count of four.
  • Exhale, and start the steps all over again.

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3) 4-7-8 Breathing

The 4-7-8 breathing exercise, which is also called the 'relaxing breath', calms the nervous system in a natural way. At first, it's best to sit down with your back straight, and do the exercise. Once you know how to do this breathing exercise better, you can do it while lying in bed.

Here's how you do this exercise:

  • Put the tip of your tongue on the ridge of the tissue behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there for the entire exercise.
  • Make a 'whoosh' sound as you let all your breath out through your mouth.
  • Close your mouth, and take four slow, quiet breaths through your nose.
  • Hold your breath till you hear the number 'seven'.
  • Make a whooshing sound with your mouth for eight counts as you let all the air out.

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4) Mindful Breathing

Mindfulness meditation is when you pay attention to your breathing and the present moment without letting your mind wander to the past or future.

Choose a calming focus, like 'om', 'peace', or 'breathe in calm, breathe out tension', which you can repeat silently as you inhale or exhale. Give up, and chill out.

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When you realize your thoughts have wandered, take a deep breath, and bring them back to the present.


5) Pursed-Lip Breathing

A simple way to make deep breaths slower and more deliberate is to breathe with your lips together. People with lung diseases like emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who suffer from anxiety can benefit from this breathing (COPD).

Here's how you do this deep yoga breathing exercise:

  • Relax your neck and shoulders, and find a good place to sit.
  • Close your mouthm and take a slow, two-second breath in through your nose.
  • Exhale through your mouth for four seconds while making a kissing face with your lips.
  • When you breathe out, keep your breath slow and steady.
  • Do the exercise four to five times a day to get the right breathing pattern.

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6) Resonance Breathing

Resonance breathing, which is also called coherent breathing, can help you calm down and feel less anxious.

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Here's how you do this breathing exercise:

  • Close your eyes, and lie down.
  • Close your mouth, and take six slow, deep breaths through your nose. Don't get too much air in your lungs.
  • Allow your breath to leave your body slowly and gently without forcing it for six seconds.
  • Keep going for as long as ten minutes.
  • Spend a few more minutes being still and paying attention to how your body feels.

Takeaway

To make deep breathing work for you, pay attention to your body, and be aware of how anxiety affects your daily life. If you still feel very anxious after practicing deep breathing, you might want to talk to a mental health professional or a doctor to get an evaluation and suggestions for treatment.


What do you think of this story? Tell us in the comments below..



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There is a mental health and hygiene practice that you should be doing at least as regularly as brushing your teeth. Not only is there a broad range of research demonstrating its effectiveness for improving your physiological and psychological health, but it is non-invasive and free. You're doing it right now… the missing ingredient might just be your intentionality.

Breathing.

Nervous System Functionality

Breath rests on the border of the conscious and unconscious. Now that it has your attention, you're likely more aware of it and may even find yourself changing its flow. Moments ago, perhaps not so much. Yet, you were still breathing.

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Woman with curly hair, eyes closed, looking to be peacefully breathing.

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This is because your breath is controlled by your Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). The same system controls your heart rate, blood flow, and digestion, amongst other bodily functions. These systems speed up or slow down as your body attempts to cultivate homeostasis, your internal balance. The ANS is divided into two parts, the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS). When you sense danger, your SNS elicits a fight or flight response. In contrast, a safe and calm environment evokes the PNS, a rest and digest response.

Like most unconscious processes, these responses are evolutionarily driven with a focus on survival. You don't get to 'choose' which system takes the physiological reigns because, on the savannah, a moment of hesitation would have seen you land in the jaws of a tiger. The challenge is that in our modern world, we're dealing with emails rather than tigers and our evolved brains frequently imagine detailed catastrophes. While they exist only in the mind, these imaginings turn 'on' that same 'fight or flight' response, even though you can't run from these fears.

Given that stress levels are rising globally, we know the SNS is likely being turned on regularly – chronically even. The SNS has high energetic demands, resulting in an allostatic load. The heavier it is, the more vulnerable one is to physical and psychological ails.

The Mind-Body Connection

Western science has long disbanded the historical dichotomy between the mind and body. Fields like psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) have evolved, reflecting how "bidirectional pathways connect the brain and the immune system and provide the foundation for neural, endocrine, and behavioural effects on immunity," (Ader, 2001). This means that stress not only leaves your heart rate pumping and pupils dilated but increases your susceptibility to immunologically-mediated diseases. In practical terms, you're more likely to get sick after periods of high stress.

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Person sitting down at computer. Their head held in their hands looking like they are experiencing stress.

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No, getting sick after exams or following a big project deadline isn't ideal. Yet, what is even more concerning is when the stress is unrelenting – chronic stress. Within the field of PNI, chronic stress is recognised as a significant contributor to coronary heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidental injuries, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide. Increased levels of inflammation mark this. The purpose of the increased inflammation is that historically high stress signalled one could become more vulnerable to an infection, like a tiger bite or battle wound. Given the bi-directional nature of your bodily communication, these immune markers then utilise a common molecular language to tell your brain that your immune system is activated. The brain interprets this as a warning to be on 'alert'. Suddenly, you're more likely to perceive otherwise neutral stimuli as threats (like an ambiguous text message or email). You'll become more stressed, perhaps experiencing clinical levels of anxiety, going on to a depressive episode, further impacting the biophysiological systems of your body.

Given your brain evolved to scan for environmental threats, and your body evolved to react in consort, what's the antidote?

The Benefits of Breathing

The breath. Remember that it rests on the border of the conscious and the unconscious. So while you (probably!) cannot consciously slow your heart rate or normalise your immune function, you can control your breath. Used effectively, it can break the chain between the various behavioural, neural, endocrine and immune processes unfolding in your body.

Chances are, too, that you've recently heard a lot about breath work. From the seemingly superhuman feats of The Ice Man Wim Hoff to the bestselling book Breath by James Nestor, folks are coming to understand that the breath has power. But why?

The current hypothesis around the mechanism identifies the stimulation and toning of the vagal nerve through respiration. The vagus nerve is the biggest nerve in your body and is the primary nerve of the PNS, governing your rest and digest response. When it is 'toned' (like a muscle), you are physiologically more able to shift back into a relaxed state following a SNS trigger. This relaxation response has long been coveted as a vital antidote to stress. The result is that your system experiences less allostatic load. Knowing chronic stress's damaging effects, this could be a mortality-buffering state.

Interestingly, respiratory vagal nerve stimulation (rVNS) captures one mechanism for the broad PNI benefits associated with contemplative practices, including meditation and mind-body exercises like yoga and tai chi. But not only do I teach breathing to both invigorate and relax on the yoga mat (known as pranayama), breathing exercises are very much a part of clinical intervention in the therapy room. This is because you can effect your emotional state by changing your breathing.

I suggest that if you are experiencing chronic stress, like so much of the population, you start by exploring diaphragmatic breathing. This is also called 'belly breathing', where you slowly draw the breath down into your belly. Gently release it with a slightly longer exhale, all the while using your nose to breathe. I'll explain more about this practice in a subsequent post, knowing that having read this article you are already more aware of your breath. Set an intention to cultivate a rhythm and flow that feels healthful to you, both physiologically and psychologically.

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DEADLINE. This word alone instills fear and anxiety. Students often have their calendars filled with deadlines for various papers and projects. It is no surprise that deadlines are a common cause of stress in students.

Whether you’re working on a last-minute essay or have days until your paper is due, deadlines feel equally intimidating. The pressure associated with them often makes you feel overwhelmed and stressed out.

Yet, deadlines aren’t inherently negative. Stress comes from a student’s attitude towards their assignment and their workflow organization. Read on for five methods to eliminate the stress associated with deadlines and stay calm.

  1. Reach Out for Help

All students are familiar with a situation when you have a looming deadline, and the only way to meet it is to sacrifice your sleep entirely. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon for young people to experience sleep deprivation or other negative consequences of overworking, like an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise.

Not only does this routine increase your stress levels but also negatively affects your mood, productivity, and overall quality of life. Therefore, it’s never an option to sacrifice your well-being to get good grades, especially when you can meet any assignment deadline by relying on the best essay writing service. Professional writers will help you avoid deadline stress entirely while making sure you maintain good academic performance.

  1. Break Down Assignments Into Smaller Tasks

What seems less stressful: submitting an essay in three weeks or coming up with an essay outline in a week? A study proved that by dividing a task into several smaller ones, you make it less stressful and more manageable. The study involved three groups of participants. The first group had three tasks, each given a separate deadline every week. The second group had one final deadline for all tasks. The participants of Group 3 were free to set their own deadlines. The study results revealed that Group 1 was much more successful in completing assignments on time and made fewer mistakes.

This leads to a study tip: instead of focusing on one final deadline, give yourself smaller goals. For example, if you need to submit a paper by Nov 30, plan to do research by Nov 7, come up with an outline by Nov 12, complete your first draft by Nov 17, and finish editing by Nov 25. Then, enjoy some buffer time to improve your paper or simply relax.

Small self-imposed deadlines are an effective way to optimize your schedule. They give you a sense of accomplishment as you progress, motivate you, and make deadlines less intimidating.

  1. Manage Your Perfectionism

While trying to improve your skills and perform better is an admirable goal, perfectionism has an opposite side. Students who always want to deliver impeccable work put extra pressure on themselves. If you don’t keep your perfectionism in check, you risk setting unrealistic standards for yourself. This makes you spend 6 hours on a task that normally takes 3 or overthink an assignment making it seem more complicated than it is. Thus, perfectionism often leads to excessive stress.

Instead of perfection, aim for more manageable and measurable goals. Remember that sometimes it’s enough to get the work done. Not every task needs to be perfect.

  1. Optimize Your Study Process With Smart Tools and Services

Deadlines often seem stressful because they involve dealing with complex tasks. You have to keep a lot of things in mind: due dates, task requirements, meetings, etc. The fear that you might forget something makes you constantly think about your to-do list. Then, it seems larger and more complicated than it is in reality.

You can get rid of this stress by using digital tools to organize your workflow. For example, Google Calendar will keep all important events in one place and remind you when you need to submit a paper or have a meeting with your research advisor. An academic writing service for students can write that paper for you in case you forgot or had other priorities. If you need help organizing your research, check Scrivener. Need a tool to avoid distractions and increase your productivity? Freedom or Forest could come in handy.

There are tools for almost any task. They do some of the work for you, giving you more time to relax and get rid of stress.

  1. Add Relaxation Activities to Your Daily Routine

When you have to deal with deadlines on a daily basis, stress tends to accumulate. It causes different physical and mental symptoms like headaches, tension, upset stomach, and panic attacks, to name but a few. To prevent that, incorporate a few relaxing habits into your routine. Here are a few examples:

  • Herbal teas like chamomile, peppermint, and lavender have a calming effect. Besides, taking a break for a few minutes to prepare and enjoy your drink is therapeutic in itself.
  • Get an essential oils diffuser. Aromatherapy is helpful in reducing stress levels.
  • Try breathing exercises like alternate-nostril or belly breathing. It gives your body more oxygen and relaxes muscles.
  • Exercise regularly. A study shows that physical activity is a powerful stress reliever and has an energizing effect. If you don’t have enough time to go for a run or visit the gym, you can stretch at your desk.
  • Do a simple yoga routine during study breaks. It combines exercise and mindfulness for your physical and mental health.

Final Thoughts

Deadlines are stressful only if a student struggles to manage them. With these tips, you can learn to organize your study process to approach your deadlines with confidence. Not only will this make you more productive and successful as a student, but it will also give you peace of mind and motivation to study!

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New Delhi: Qigong, which is typically called “chi gong,” is a type of ancient exercise method that dates back thousands of years to China. It includes using physical activity to manage energy flow across the body, mind, and spirit in order to enhance and maintain health and wellbeing.

The control of the mind, breath, and mobility of the body are all included in qigong. Both psychological and physical factors are present. Breathing must be slow, progressive, and deep during qigong. From belly breathing to breathing in time with spoken sounds, breathing patterns can shift. The strokes often have a gentle, flowing motion with the intention of relaxing. Examples of mind management include imagery and concentration.

There are two different categories of qigong:

1. Wai Dan: Exercise and concentration are necessary (External Elixir)

2. Nei Dan: Guided imagery or visualisation during seated meditation (Internal Elixir)

Qigong includes slow-paced exercise, just as yoga. It’s anticipated that the entire experience would be meditative. Qigong is therefore conducted in three different stages of meditation:

1. Mediation while seated:

This is what falls under the category of traditional meditation having the closest similarities. The individual must sit comfortably and straight for this. There is little to no movement involved in this kind of meditation. Breathing and visualisation are the main movements in this kind of qigong. The treatment of mental illnesses and overall mental health can be greatly improved by this kind of meditation. Everyone can accomplish this because it takes little to no movement.

2. Silent meditation:

The name of this meditation implies that there is no need for movement. The person is required to adopt a specific position and remain. Strengthening limbs and enhancing energy flow are the two goals of still meditation.

3. Exercise meditation:

If you want to practise qigong to improve your mobility or lose weight, this sort of meditation under qigong is the most effective. This includes body movement and postures that move slowly, as well as coordinated breathing.

In addition, the three main goals of qigong practise may determine its structure and method.

4. Qigong spiritual:

Emphasises developing the mind. includes breathing exercises, visualisation, and seated meditation. The goal of this exercise is to bring about enlightenment.

5. Health qigong:

Concentrates on moving the body and working out the body. includes both motionless and still meditating. incorporating a range of postures, movements, and breathing exercises. Healing oneself and others is the goal.

6. Martial arts qigong:

This type of qigong focuses on increasing physical and bodily stamina.

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