Breathwork is a powerful way to access your body’s innate intelligence to heal itself. Breathwork, the conscious awareness of your breath, is a practice that is thousands of years old, and while there are many variations, styles, and names, all types of breathwork offer the chance for personal transformation through improved mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. Our breath, or prana, is literally what keeps us alive, and yet, so often, we go through the day chronically shallow breathing, denying ourselves our full life force which often keeping us in a state of anxiety, or fight or flight. Breathwork, or the process of deep rhythmic breathing, moves us out of fight or flight and into the parasympathetic nervous system. It is said that how we breathe is how we live, and so to live life to its fullest, we believe we should breathe to our fullest. And that’s where a breathwork practice comes in. Because breathwork literally raises our energy (our frequency) it’s one of the key therapeutic modalities we utilize at FREQUENCY as part of our Emotional Fitness Architecture to create emotional well-being and emotional resilience. Breathwork bridges ancient wisdom with modern science to help you unlock your full potential.
1. REDUCES STRESS, ANXIETY AND GRIEF, DEPRESSION AND ANGER
In today’s modern world, there are few of us who haven’t struggled with anxiety or depression. Breathwork offers a very safe way to address stress, anxiety, grief, depression and anger head on so that our moods don’t start to take over our personal and professional lives. How we breathe often indicates how we feel. In the way shallow rapid breaths make us anxious and tired, long deep breaths that originate in the abdomen can help us feel calm, centered, grounded and energized. The reason for this is because deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which takes us out of fight or flight (the sympathetic nervous system). By activating your parasympathetic nervous system, which slows down your heart rate and lowers your blood pressure, you’re creating a deep feeling of calm and reducing your overall stress and anxiety.
So we now know that breath positively affects the nervous system but it actually goes beyond the nervous system. Changing your breath literally changes your brainwaves! Neuroscientists have made a direct correlation between an increase of alpha brain waves and reduced symptoms of depression. There are five types of brainwaves that we move through during a given day. Breathwork is an effective way to shift your brainwaves from beta to alpha and even theta, thereby decreasing negative thought patterns, stress and depression levels.
2. INCREASE YOUR ENERGY LEVELS AND BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Breathwork improves oxygen capacity in the blood which leads to overall improved energy levels and stronger stamina. The amount of oxygen that we inhale through our breathing directly influences the amount of energy that is released into our cells. The body can use this extra energy to boost your immunity or give you needed energy if you didn’t get a good night’s sleep or are having a day fraught with worry or anxiety (which also drain your energy). It also affords you the ability to push your physical workout to a new level because you’re flooding your body with oxygen. With a daily breathwork practice you can begin to learn to consciously control your energy levels and your immune system.
3. INCREASE SELF-AWARENESS, PRESENCE, HAPPINESS AND JOY
In breathwork, we’re breathing through our mouth, which creates Breathwork creates an experience of deep presence and self-awareness by giving yourself the space to go within, where time almost ceases to exist. In this expanded space and state, our brainwaves have a chance to slow down from the thinking and doing state of Beta and Alpha to a more dreamlike state of being, the Theta brainwave. In this state of being in the present moment, in the now, no longer bound by the past or the future, people often describe feelings of happiness and joy wash over them, as they experiences a shift in consciousness.
4. INCREASE SELF-LOVE
So many of us struggle to fully love ourselves. We often get stuck in our head with feelings of unworthiness or not being enough. What breathwork does so beautifully and effortlessly is allow us shift out of our mind and intellect and into our body, by switching from nostril breathing to mouth breathing. And while increased self-love is hard to measure scientifically, it is one of the most direct felt experiences of breathwork. When your body is vibrating during breathwork and you are fully in the experience, it is hard not to feel that deeper connection with yourself. And simply by fostering a deeper relationship with yourself, you are beginning the process of self-love.
5. IMPROVE SLEEP
Between our phone and social media overuse, the coffee we drink and the sugar in our food (all of which act as stimulants), as well as the low grade stress and anxiety we carry with us each day, there are many stimulating factors negatively impacting our sleep. Thankfully, the deep breathing we practice in breathwork helps to calm the nervous system, which in turn reduces the effects of stimulants and calms the stress, allowing you to get a better night’s sleep. Additionally, quieting the mind, which breathwork does so well, allows you to fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply.
6. RELEASE TRAUMA AND FEAR STUCK IN THE BODY
Unprocessed negative emotions, fear and trauma can get trapped and stored in the body and become energetic blocks that often take a physical toll on the body. Talk therapy often helps us to identify these fears and traumas, but isn’t always able to dislodge them from the body. These traumas and blocks can stay in the body since childhood and hold us back from leading the life we want to live. Breathwork is an incredibly powerful tool to help unblock, unravel and release fear, traumas, limiting beliefs and negative emotions.
7. HELP REDUCE PAIN
If you have chronic pain, you likely have tried to distance yourself from your body in an effort to ignore your pain. But by distancing yourself from your body, you’re actually distancing yourself from your body’s innate ability to heal itself. What breathwork does so effortlessly is to reconnect you with your body, which actually helps you jumpstart the healing process. Additionally breathing deeply causes the body to release endorphins, which reduces sensitivity to pain and boosts pleasure, resulting in a feeling of well-being. It also helps reduce pain because deep breathing changes the acidity level of the body, making it more alkaline. Breathwork also reduces cortisol, which reduces stress, which reduces the feeling of pain. Deep belly breathing has a very therapeutic effect on chronic pain because it relaxes the muscles which otherwise tense up as a result of pain and in turn further aggravate the pain itself.
8. RELEASE TOXINS FROM THE BODY
Deep breathing helps detoxify your body, boosts your lung efficiency and promotes a healthy heart. Over 50% of the toxins your body stores are meant to expelled through breathing. The main toxin that’s being expelled through the breath is carbon dioxide. Through the practice of deep rhythmic breathing you’re expanding your diaphragm which relaxes the body and massages your lymphatic system which helps the elimination of toxins. You are also strengthening your lungs, which directly affects your toxin release. Additionally, by breathing deeply more often, you’re able to expel the toxins more effectively. This allows the cells to take in more oxygen-rich blood. Lastly, because breathwork improves your oxygen capacity, it means your physical workout routine will benefit, which also helps to expel toxins. Deep breathing also assists the circulatory system, improving blood circulation, another major channel of elimination and detoxification.
9. IMPROVE DIGESTION
Breathwork can help the digestive process by stimulating and increasing blood flow throughout the digestive track and also improving intestinal activity. Breathwork also reduces the uncomfortable symptoms of bloating and gas. Additionally, breathwork creates a positive feedback loop by reducing stress, which reduces cortisol, which reduces gut inflammation. Lastly, on an emotional level, because you’re reducing your overall stress and anxiety levels when you practice breathwork, you set yourself up to make better food choices, and thus are less likely to overeat and/or eat the wrong foods that trigger digestion issues in the first place!
10. EXPLORE ALTERED STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS, CONSCIOUSLY
Breathwork creates a powerful space for self-exploration, spiritual awakening and a deeper connection to yourself, others and the universe. Like plant medicine, a breathwork experience can even be psychedelic, and can help you connect to your spirit (otherwise known as your higher self or source) in a completely safe and legal way. It is not uncommon to experience a deep sense of oneness, bliss, a connection with the divine and a feeling of deep safety and surrender. Breathwork also impacts the way our consciousness and subconscious minds interact, allowing our creativity to be accessed in new and deeper ways, providing greater insights and inspiration which give us more direct access to the present movement from which we can create a new reality.
Gong meditations, a type of Sound therapy, have been around for thousands of years as a way of healing. It is said that this particular therapy aids in stress reduction, breaking up emotional blockages within each person that practices this technique.
Gong meditation is a unique type of sound practice that involves using therapeutic gong sounds and vibrations to bring about healing. This practice is also sometimes referred to as a “gong bath” because participants are “bathed” in meditation gong sound waves. The goal of “gong meditation” is usually therapeutic, whereas mindfulness meditation has many therapeutic benefits, but its deeper goal is awareness and non-judgmental appreciation of the present moment.
Sound therapy has long been used to manage a broad range of health conditions. The treatments are based on the understanding that all forms of matter – including our body’s cells – vibrate at different frequencies. Factors such as stress, depression and disease cause cells and organs within our bodies to vibrate at non-optimal frequencies.
How is gong meditation practiced?
Most people who participate in gong baths are lying down on meditation mats. Add a pillow and a blanket and all you’ll need to do is rest in a comfortable position, relax and close your eyes. Your instructor will guide you through the session. Initially, the gong is played very softly; as the meditation session progresses, the volume is gradually increased. Since the purpose of the meditation gong sound is healing, the volume is never upped to uncomfortable levels.
The gong sound is changed frequently to avoid producing a fixed, monotonous rhythm. The auditory stimuli of the gong bath process lead to entrainment, a form of beneficially modified brainwave frequencies. The first brainwave state to be reached is alpha, which is defined by frequencies between 8 and 12 Hz. Alpha brainwaves are associated with creativity and feelings of relaxation. In this state, people experience daydreams, associative thinking and an animated imagination. This state is quickly followed by an influx of theta brainwaves, which fall between 4 and 7 Hz. Normally, the theta brainwave state is associated with deep meditation, hypnosis and REM sleep.
Gong meditation benefits
Gong sound therapy has been practiced for thousands of years. Today, enthusiasts believe that gong baths can help reduce stress and liberate emotional blockages. Scientific evidence suggests that certain forms of sound therapy prompt damaged human DNA strands to repair themselves. Some tones are thought to promote vitality and healing, and also to enhance happiness. Many alternative healthcare clinics offer sound therapies such as gong meditation to help manage various ailments.
Other forms of sound therapy include tuning forks, Tibetan singing bowls, chanting and drumming therapy. Music therapy is arguably the most mainstream form of sound therapy, and many music therapists are board certified. Music has been shown to relieve a number of problems, including pain, loneliness and depression. Music therapy is now frequently offered in clinical settings such as hospitals, clinics, and hospice.
Sound and mindfulness meditation
Certain mindfulness meditation techniques do, in fact, use sound as their focus rather than the breath or physical sensations. In this case, awareness of sound is not used as a therapy, but rather as an anchor for the mind to come back to. Just like being mindful of breath, being mindful of sound requires finding a happy balance between vigilance and relaxation.
Beetroot has been hailed as a new superfood. As well as containing beneficial antioxidants, which may help to mop up damaging free radicals in the blood, this root vegetable is rich in nutrients such as iron, silica, potassium, manganese, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B9 (otherwise known as folate) and vitamin C.
Many studies suggest that beetroot may help lower blood pressure and increase stamina, and aid healthy digestion.
When it comes to a healthy routine, going natural is the surest way. There’s no short cut in achieving that natural glow that everyone is looking for.
With that said, let’s explore some of the benefits of drinking beetroot juice. Well beetroot is a sweet root vegetable that most people either love or hate. If you hate it, then by the end of this article, I bet you might change your attitude towards this amazing vegetable.
Although they have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, most people can safely eat beet roots a few times a week (and their greens in unlimited quantities), enjoying not only their sweet, earthy flavor but also their powerhouse nutrients that may improve your health in the following ways;
1. Helps lower blood pressure
Researchers found that people who drank 8 ounces of beetroot juice daily lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Nitrates, compounds in beetroot juice that convert into nitric acid in the blood and help widen and relax blood vessels, are thought to be the cause.
2. Boost Your Stamina
Drinking beetroot juice has proven valuable enough in boosting your energy levels. According to studies, drinking beetroot juice increases plasma nitrate levels and boosts physical performance.
3. Anti-Cancer Properties
Research has shown that beetroot extract reduced multi-organ tumor formations in various animal models when administered in drinking water, for instance, while beetroot extract is also being studied for use in treating human pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancers.
4. Supports your liver
Ever heard those stories of ‘washing your blood’? Beetroot juice has proven good enough to help your liver in case it becomes overloaded due to either, a poor diet, excessive alcohol consumption, exposure to toxic substances or sedentary lifestyle. It helps in the detoxification process because it contains betaine, a substance that helps prevent or reduce fatty deposits in the liver. Betaine may also help protect your liver from toxins.
5. Rich in Valuable Nutrients and Fiber
Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beets also contain the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.
Getting enough sleep is essential if you want to feel happy, stay healthy, and reach peak performance.
And beyond quantity, we also need to consider the quality of our sleep and how rested we feel in the morning. It should go without saying that one of the most important pillars of health is undoubtedly SLEEP! You can do everything “right” when it comes to nutrition, and yet if your zzz’s are lacking, your health will suffer.
In an upcoming post, I’d like to share some of my favorite sleep hygiene tips and what helps me hunker down for a restful night, but I thought I’d start with a few nutrition strategies that can set you up for better slumber.
1. Limit caffeine. Not many people want to hear this one! We each metabolize caffeine at different rates, so while some people seem to be able to drink coffee at all hours without feeling jittery or without laying in bed staring at the ceiling all night, others struggle with very minimal amounts. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, caffeine can effect the quantity and quality of sleep for all of us more than we may realize. In my experience, the best practice is to avoid caffeine after 12pm, and stick to 1 – 2 cups of joe per day. When that afternoon craving sets in, turn to an herbal tea (hot or cold).
2. Cut the sugar and processed foods! A diet high in sweets and treats, or breads and cereals can put the body in a state of dis-stress. The hormonal response to the blood sugar rollercoaster can disrupt circadian rhythms AND increase general inflammation; both make quality sleep nearly impossible. Best practice: cut out the junk and build your meals with a variety of veggies, natural fats and quality proteins.
3. Feed your microbiota. The bacteria in our gut may have much influence on how well we sleep. Sugar, refined grains and processed foods not only result in gut irritation, but they can also lead to gut dysbiosis (an imbalance of the “bad” guys and the “good” guys). We are learning more and more everyday about the value these little critters play on our health. Without them we can’t do all the amazing things that make us human. We rely on them and they communicate critical information to our brains. Best practice: eliminate sugars and processed foods, while emphasize fibrous vegetables, fermented foods and bone broths to replenish populations of good bacteria and improve their communication. Odd as it may sound, this can result in better sleep.
4. Add a little starch. Too much carbohydrate can be problematic, but, so can too little (for some). For those following a low carb, whole foods diet and struggling with sleep, best practice may be to add a serving of starch (root vegetables, sweet potato, potato, or winter squash) to your dinner plate around 4 hours prior to bed. Such foods may increase the amount of tryptophan available, which may boost melatonin and serotonin synthesis. It’s something worth playing with for a few weeks.
5. Decrease the alcohol. There’s a common perception that a couple drinks will bring on the heavy eyelids, and thus alcohol has become one of the most utilized sleep aides people turn to. But, the reality is that it’s disruptive to the natural sleep cycle. Alcohol can suppress melatonin, which naturally initiates and regulates our sleep-wake rhythms. As alcohol is being metabolized it can also effect the time you spend in deep and REM sleep states. This negatively impacts mental restoration, physical recovery, and increases your chance of waking during the night. Best practice: decrease your consumption, enjoy a drink earlier in the evening, and better yet, swap your glass of wine for sparkling water with a splash of fresh citrus most nights of the week.
While good nutrition can help improve your sleep, good sleep can also set you up to make better food choices. A win win!
Here are 12 proven ways you can help your mental health in these tough times
As the coronavirus pandemic sees a shift in every element of our lives, the need to protect and support our mental health has arguably never been more important.
An ongoing study by the University of Sheffield and Ulster University
showed that on Tuesday 24 March, the day after Boris Johnson placed Britain under lockdown, 38% of study participants reported significant depression and 36% reported significant anxiety.
This compared with 16% reporting significant depression and 17% reporting significant anxiety the day before the announcement.
So what can we do?
Research from the science of positive psychology about how to support our mental health can offer help. We are guided by the fact that we are all different – a five mile run every day may make you happy but doesn’t do it for me. This is a period in which we will really get face to face with who we are and what works for us.
With that in mind, here are 12 different things we currently look after ourselves, and ideas on how to adapt them in these times of isolation.
In order to have good mental health, we have to take proper care of our physical needs, include:
Thinking patterns are habits. That negative thought is not the truth, it’s just a perspective. Write negative thoughts down, then return to them and deconstruct their validity.
We may not be able to hug the people we love until the end of this period but social media really comes into its own here, as does video conferencing. We’ve got virtual book clubs running, gigs from people’s sitting rooms, quizzes. Get involved if you’re missing the social aspect of life.
Limit yourself to official news channels and just once a day. If you have people who are constantly catastrophising in this period, mute them for a while – they don’t need to know!
Perfect for the self-improvers. Learning allows us to expand ourselves and puts our situation into perspective. Enrolling in an online course could change your whole life direction post-corona.
We all feel good if we help the elderly lady next door by getting her milk in, it’s much easier than being kind to our partner whose very tapping on the keyboard grates on every nerve. But be kind to them too.
We are here, we are alive, we have roofs over our heads. Focusing on what to be grateful for is the easiest route to happiness.
We have lived mad busy lives. We rarely get the chance to really take in that smell and taste of coffee, the bird singing, or even going through precious memories of previous times in our photo albums. Take a minute to stop, and savour.
If you haven’t had time to try mindfulness before, now is the time. Just five minutes each day has proven health benefits.
Often the happiest people are those who work really hard for something outside themselves and in service of others. Can you offer online support to someone, or donate funds or supplies?
Many charitable acts can be done without leaving the house. Search online for information on how you can help anyone struggling during this crisis.
Isolation can induce self-reflection. Understand things in your life you would like to change, and set goals in place to do that.
The fact that we are all in the same boat is incredibly helpful here. But, in all aspects of life, railing against things we can’t change is not only detrimental to us but also to those around us.
Concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl said: “When we can’t change our circumstances, we are challenged to change ourselves.” If you haven’t read his book Man’s Search for Meaning, then now is the time.
The most important thing to remember is that this time will pass. Almost every one of us will come out of this poorer financially, but equip yourself with the tools to come out of it stronger.
These are unprecedented times. Given the real and tangible threat of the coronavirus pandemic on personal, community, and societal levels, it is normal to experience anxiety and sleep problems. Sleep is a reversible state marked by a loss of consciousness to our surroundings, and as members of the animal kingdom, our brains have evolved to respond to dangers by increasing vigilance and attention — in other words, our brains are protecting us, and by doing so it’s harder for us to ignore our surroundings.
Despite the threat of the coronavirus and its rapid and pervasive disruption to our daily lives, many of us are an in a position to control our behaviors and dampen the impact of the emerging pandemic on our sleep. Cultivating healthy sleep is important; better sleep enables us to navigate stressful times better in the short term, lowers our chance of developing persistent sleep problems in the longer term, and gives our immune system a boost.
Daytime tips to help with sleep
Nighttime tips to help with sleep
Remember, don’t stress out about sleep
Disrupted sleep is a normal response to stress, and it is okay to have a few nights of poor sleep as you adjust to new routines and big changes to your work and personal life. But with some simple measures, you can preserve your sleep and improve your well-being during these uncertain times. We can’t control what’s happening in the world right now, but we can control our behaviors and dampen the impact of the emerging pandemic on our sleep.
We all need the right amount of sleep to keep us feeling active and alert the next day. Sleep is also vitally important for continued good health. The amount of sleep we need varies from just a few hours to as much as twelve hours.
By practising the following tips, you could soon be putting your sleep problems behind you.
If the above strategies fail to bring the desired result, you might consider trying a natural herbal sleep-aid product.
Sleep aid products
A range of natural and safe sleep-aid products are available for sale to the general public. Examples include: Kalms Tablets, Natrasleep, Nodoff Passiflora Tablets, Nytol Herbal, Slumber Tablets and Somnus. These are available from health food shops and pharmacies.
Products containing antihistamines such as promethazine or diphenhydramine cause drowsiness and induce sleep. These products are available from pharmacies and may help in the short-term management of temporary insomnia in those cases where simple self-help measures have not proved entirely successful.
If you continue to experience sleep problems, your doctor might offer you some short-term medication or refer you to a sleep specialist at a nearby sleep laboratory in order to better understand and treat the cause of your particular sleep problem.
As nice as your home may be, none of us are exactly used to being cooped up indoors for pretty much every second of every day. And, because it’s so imperative that we all follow the government’s order to stay at home, we thought it might be worth sharing a few tips and tricks, so that you can keep your space (and your mind!) feeling fresh during this time.
1. Keep your windows open
Thankfully, Storm Doris is now firmly behind us and the weather seems to be getting a little warmer as we edge our way into spring. This means that you can keep your windows open pretty much until the evening, without having to spend a small fortune on heating, or fret about your floors getting drenched by the elements! Not only will the fresh air keep your space from getting all stuffy, but you can enjoy golden hour, soak up some of the sunshine’s sweet Vitamin D and feel a gentle spring breeze circulate around you.
If you’re anything like me, the space surrounding your work from home station is absolutely littered with crumbs from your mid-morning, mid-day, mid-afternoon snacks. Regularly giving your place a quick once over with the hoover will not only get rid of all those dust particles that make a room feel a little gross and stuffy, but it will also snaffle up all remnants of your secret snacks so you don’t have to feel guilty or explain to your housemate why you’ve eaten an entire pack of chocolate fingers in an afternoon.
3. Pack your work stuff away at the end of the day
Sometimes it might feel a bit much that your office is now your home and your home is now your office. Not being able to separate out these two spaces can feel a little claustrophobic. So, make a point of packing your work stuff away at the end of every day. If you clear everything away before you start your evening, you have a much better chance of truly being able to shut off and enjoy some down-time in a more neutral space.
4. Cook for yourself
As tempting as the now saturated list of suggestions is on Deliveroo, it’s a good idea to keep cooking for yourself during quarantine. Not only is it great for your immune system to load up on all of the essential vitamins and minerals, but cooking something fragrant, like a curry, or something super warming, like a hearty stew, will release lots of lovey aromas into your home, making it feel extra inviting.
5. Get some plants inside
To make your place feel a little less confining, why not bring the outside in with a few new leafy green friends? Scientifically proven to boost your mood, your productivity and reduce your stress levels, filling your home with plants is a sure-fire way to keep your space feeling extra fresh. Tend to them over the coming weeks and by the time this is all over, you’ll have your very own jungle!
Are you starting to get cabin fever?
There’s no denying sitting in the house all day isn’t particularly fun, but, the important part is it’s keeping us safe as the virus reaches its peak. As cabin fever sets in, its time to restructure our routines and finally implement a little bit of normality to our new ways of life.
Here are some top tips to embracing life at home.
1. Keep your usual alarm set
It might sound tempting to ditch the alarm and have a cheeky lie-in – and let’s face it, it’s usually everyone’s dream to do that every day. But too much sleep can actually make you feel lethargic, which is not ideal if you have a day of work ahead of you. While we’re spending all of our time at home during the UK lockdown, it’s better to keep up with your normal day-to-day routine that your body’s already used to – not as a form of punishment, but to keep the days from blending into one so much!
2. Break up your work time and chill time
If you find yourself working in front of the television all day and then relaxing in front of the television all night, break it up with an activity of some kind to differentiate the time between working and chilling. Whether it’s doing a quick 20-minute exercise, cooking dinner, or having a shower and getting changed into your cosies, do something in the time you’d usually be commuting to trick your brain a little.
3. Dedicate a space for working
Working from home sounds like every office workers dream. Chilling in your PJs all-day, eating a whole packet of biscuits without your colleagues judging you – what more could you want? But it’s actually a lot more complex than that. It’s super important for your sanity to separate your workspace from the rest of your home, and dedicate an area that you can focus on work only, without blurring the lines.
4. Utilise your daily exercise allowance
It’s good to get some fresh air, but of course, make sure it abides by the government’s lockdown rules. To break up your day, make sure you utilise your time outdoors well, whether it’s a run locally to clear your mind a little bit, or some yoga in your back garden – it’ll probably make you feel a little like you’ve done something that day.
5. Take your time
Don’t be so hard on yourself and just take your time with it all. While we’re at home, we don’t need to rush anything – whether it’s dinner, bath time or breakfast. Make the most of the time we have and learn that recipe for the meal you want to try, or even try and recreate your favourite takeaways for a little treat. We’ve got all the time in the world while we wait for the lockdown rules to be lifted.
6. Don’t “let yourself go”
It can be really easy to let yourself go while couped up at home, but for your own sanity, don’t do it! Take care of yourself – groom your beard, put a bit of makeup on, actually shower – it does wonders for making you feel like you kind of have your life together. It’s one of the easiest ways to implement some sort of routine in your life while our normal day-to-day is on hold, and might even make you feel good.
7. Take time to process things
Ok, so let’s get real. This situation isn’t easy for anyone. We’re treading unfamiliar ground right now, and it’s quite strange being confined to our homes with no end date. Take some time to process it all, try the Headspace app if you’re feeling a little anxious and generally allow yourself some time for a bit of TLC. Whether it’s a hot bubble bath or just putting your feet up in front of your favourite film, award yourself that ‘me’ time that we all definitely need right now.
8. Plan things to look forward to
Is there a live pub quiz taking place? Or do you fancy differentiating the weekend from the week? Pencil in a takeaway night on a Friday and get some beers in your weekly shop to give yourself something to look forward to. Just because we’re not going anywhere any time soon doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have things to be excited about, we need it now more than ever!
9. Retain your working routine
Would you usually have lunch at noon on the dot? Make sure you mirror your usual work routines while at home, to retain even a pinch of normality. Whether it’s replicating your beloved Tesco meal deal (or actually managing to get it in your weekly shop), or keeping your diary structured as it normally would be, it all helps towards keeping a routine throughout the day.
10. Think of the positives
While there’s a lot going on in the outside world (which it’s totally ok to worry about), think of the positives around your time in lockdown. Do you have more time to pursue your hobbies or dreams? Did you finally get to watch the end of Game of Thrones? Or are you just spending more quality time with your loved ones that you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise? This time in lockdown could be a blessing in disguise if you think of it differently.
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we
are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s
going on around us. It allows us to focus on our immediate environment and
therefore heightens our awareness and gratitude.
Mindfulness is a quality that all of us already possess. You just have to learn
how to access it and develop it. It is like anything else, the more we practice
the better the ability in us.
Mindfulness gives us a safe opportunity in our lives where we can suspend
judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind.
We approach our experiences and feelings with warmth and kindness—to ourselves and others.
Mindfulness can be practiced through several methods:
Meditation, Visualisations, Guided Imagery, Mindful Eating, Mindful Movement, being in nature, journaling … anything where you are just fully present in the moment.
We all want to benefit from these things so maybe it is time to start being
more mindful or develop your mindfulness practice.
Written by: Janette Edwards, Health & Wellbeing Coach
T. 07753194002 E. firstname.lastname@example.org F. janetteedwards
CONNECT - NURTURE - FLY
There are many times in our lives when we become stressed, more often than not, it is usually situations that are out of our control, something as simple as being stuck in bad traffic, but of course, also worse case scenarios too as we are experiencing at the present time with the pandemic of COVID-19.
When we become stressed or anxious, our bodies activate the 'flight or fight
response' and this is when physical signs occur and are produced by the body.
When you're stressed, your body responds. Your blood vessels constrict. Your
blood pressure and pulse rise. You breathe faster. Your bloodstream is flooded with hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. As the body's fight or flight centre is activated in the brain, adrenaline begins to rush around the body. You may notice as the body prepares for action, that:-
So, how can we produce a relaxed response to certain emotions?
When we respond to ourselves with self-compassion rather than criticism,
we activate different parts of the brain - the 'tend and befriend' parts that release oxytocin (the feel-good hormone), resulting in us feeling better about ourselves, improving our mood and an improved sense of wellbeing. This, in turn, enables us to think clearly about the situation and without judgment.
Self-reflection may be good for contemplating past situations, without judgment. If another person is involved, they may not realise they have upset you or may themselves have been having a bad time and under stress.
Sometimes it may be that you just need to forgive the other person without judgment and move on for the sake of your own wellbeing and mental health.
If we are replaying a mistake/regret we have ourselves made, practising self-
compassion and just allowing things 'TO BE' and 'MOVE ON' will be of enormous help.
Life is often full of difficult decision making and it can be impossible to keep everybody happy all of the time and we need to just accept this and have compassion for ourselves. We cannot change how others react, we cannot change many situations we find ourselves in, but we CAN change how we
REACT to those situations. This is all in our own THOUGHT PROCESS.
Elements of self-compassion and care.
Being caring and understanding with ourselves (and others) rather than being critical or judgmental.
In the same way, we show compassion and care for others, we should remember to look after ourselves too. "You cannot pour from an empty cup". If we fail to look after our own needs and health, this will have a detrimental effect not only on ourselves but on those around us. In order for us to care for others, we need to be running on 100% ourselves.
What things do you do for yourself?
Being aware of the present moment. Notice our emotions, acknowledgment them, accept we have them and understand why and then 'LET GO'. In doing so we are aware of our pain in a balanced way, we are aware of it, we are not ignoring it, but we don't obsess about it either.
Dealing with emotions
Self-compassion is not about pretending that emotions don't exist, it's about noticing our suffering and being kind to ourselves. It's about realising that we are not perfect, nobody is and to extend compassion to others too is very empowering.
When we acknowledge emotional pain instead of trying to ignore it, it's easier to become less attached, making it easier to Let Go. When we extend our compassion to others, who we may sometimes feel have wronged us or upset us in some way, it can help to improve how we react towards
a situation or them in the future, improving relationships as we feel more valued, listened to, considered and cared for.
Having compassion for others, can enrich our lives, reduce feelings of stress and disappointment. As we learn to be more comfortable and recognise our own stress and de-stress, we can then learn and become more comfortable with somebody else's stress.
When we do this, our amygdala doesn't fire up, but the areas of the brain linked to empathy and compassion become more responsive. This all enables us to connect with and respond to the needs of others in a balanced way at stressful and difficult times.
There are times when we do need to listen to our thoughts and our emotions because they are telling us that we need to make some changes. During these times it may not be just enough to tell ourselves to 'THINK POSITIVELY' but that we may need to solve a problem in a constructive way rather than just overthinking. When we look after our wellbeing and are managing our mental health in a healthy positive way, when these situations arise, we are able to take it in our stride and deal with it confidently and effectively. But if we don't manage our mental health and wellbeing, this is when we find life experiences difficult to manage and deal with.
Almost all of us will face times of difficulty in varying degrees. At this time, being able to 'let go', having self-compassion and trying to connect with the positive things in our lives can help us through these difficult times.
An important part of changing negative thinking is to stop and realise our negative thinking patterns. Practicising regular Meditation can help with this.
Our minds are AMAZING! Our mind allows us to focus, to sense, to experience the world with complicated thought process', to feel emotion, connection, to learn and to interact with others and the world on a meaningful level.
When we are not actively engaged in the present moment, our mind can go into autopilot and into default mode. In default mode, our mind goes into wondering mental chatter (monkey mind).
This can be detrimental when we are trying to complete a task and more so if the mental chatter is negative and self-critical. It might not always be negative, our mind could drift off to a holiday for instance, in a few week's time, thinking about what we need to pack, etc.
Meditation has been proven to reduce default mode and help the mind to focus. So by practising meditation each day, we can reduce the chatter and thought rambling. This can help us to focus on tasks, pay attention to things and others around us. Improving our focus and attention helps us with the tasks we need to do.
Being in the present moment or being mindful isn't something we can just do during meditation. When we practice meditation, our mind becomes quieter and calmer, allowing our minds to learn new behaviour. Breath is an important aspect of Meditation. In breathwork, we reconnect with the physical body and give the mind time to be still and calm. Scientific research now proves that correct breath can improve brain function, decision making, physical capabilities, endurance levels and even induce profound transpersonal meditative states. So regular practice of this within meditation will lead to our mind becoming calmer on a day to day basis as new behaviour is learned.
Many people feel they are unable to meditate and therefore feel they have failed and give up. Meditation does not come naturally and takes time and perseverance, but the rewards and benefits are worth taking the time to
practice. There are many different types of meditation, from short 5-minute
breath works too much longer, deeper meditations for the more experienced. It is recommended that beginners start with the shorter breathwork sessions first and move slowly once relaxed breathwork is established.
In short, the benefits of Meditation include:-
Meditation is worth taking the time and trouble to practice with all the above in mind. With all the benefits of above, it can support a calmer more peaceful mind, leading to a more relaxed lifestyle, which has to be better for your long term health and wellbeing.
If you would like to begin to meditate, I run regular hourly meditation sessions and also 1:1 sessions to work on specific areas. I also run a 7-week Workshop targeting Stress and Anxiety Management, which includes regular sessions of meditation.
During these uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am offering an online Guided Meditation Group via Facebook with access to many meditations whenever you like.
For further information on the above, advice or support please contact me via my
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/escapeandrebalance/,
Email : email@example.com
Holistic Wellbeing Therapist
Escape & Rebalance Holistic Therapy