I often go through a good bit of my day without even thinking about how I’m breathing, forgetting completely that the easiest and most powerful way to stay healthy and promote good longevity is breathing right.
When we’re faced with traffic snarls, an unhappy coworker, a missed deadline at work, lack of exercise, or children with stuffy noses, automatic stress responses are all too common. Our breathing becomes shallow, rapid.
Heart rates speed up, neck muscles tighten, teeth grind, and on and on.
There is something you can do.
You can learn – and practice – proper longevity breathing techniques.
There are many different breathing techniques. I use one, in particular, a the moment I realize that stress is staring me in the face.
I always use it when I’m in a doctor’s office and I know I’m going to get my blood pressure checked. I don’t have White Coat Syndrome, but my blood pressure definitely rises when the cuff is put on my arm. Sometimes, my blood pressure even rises when I walk into the doctor’s office.
So, I just cut this increase off at the pass. I use this longevity breathing technique anytime I need to calm myself and control my emotions. Here is what I do. And, you can do it too.
I breathe in deeply through my nose while mentally telling myself it’s time to be calm and lower my blood pressure.
When you breathe in deeply through your nose, focus the origin of this inhale deep in your abdomen. Hold this deep breath for a few seconds.
Then, exhale slowly as you breathe out. Remind yourself that you are breathing out stress. Let your inner self know that you are lowering your blood pressure when you exhale this deep breath.
This deep inhale and exhale pattern works in traffic, in the doctor’s office, at work. It works anywhere you see stress running straight toward you.
Take about four inhale-exhales and mentally check in with your body. Observe how your body is calming itself.
Take about four more inhale-exhales if you need. The goal here is to be calm, grounded, solid, alert.
You can train these inhale-exhales to work for you. Practice them when you aren’t super stressed. Practice them several times daily at randomly selected moments. The goal is to become comfortable with the results of this breathing pattern.
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Woodstock, New York
Self care is all about realizing that we need to take care of ourselves to function optimally in our lives. For many, self care is being selfish. This is simply not so. Eating properly, resting, getting proper exercise, smelling the flowers…these things are not selfish.
Lower back pain? Try not to overdo the bed rest. One or two days seem to be the best amount of time. to be off your feet. Lower back pain is a spiritual situation. Try to get up and about asap. Self care is needed when your lower back hurts.
Are your cholesterol numbers less than ideal? Try to exercise regularly. Can you lose weight? That will help, too. Eating fish helps. And, finally, omega-3 fatty acids really help.
Get your annual flu shot. Every year, I encounter people who come down with the flu. Most of the time, these people neglected to get their shot. And, getting a flu shot does not immunize a person for life. A flu shot must be repeated annually. This can be a bore. However, I’ve gotten a flu shot annually for the last 20 years or so and, somehow, don’t seem to get the flu.
Worried about toenail fungus? Keep your feet clean and dry. Wear well fitting shoes and socks. Snug, poorly ventilated shoes and damp, sweaty socks are a breeding ground for athlete’s foot. Go barefoot if you can. If you do have toenail or foot fungus, and if it is painful, it’s time to see a dermatologist.
To keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy, brush your teeth often. Brush your teeth after you eat with a soft bristled brush. Tooth brushing is essential for good self care.
Do you have hay fever? Cut back on alcoholic beverages during pollen season.
Do you chew gum? Chew sugarless gum to fight tooth decay.
Concerned about carpel tunnel syndrome? Keep your wrists straight when working with your hands. When you work on a keyboard, make sure your fingers are lower than your wrists. Carpel tunnel doesn’t always require surgery. A good body worker or physical therapist can often help you.
Buy your shoes in the afternoon when you’ve been on your feet for a few hours, and always have your feet measured. Know which foot is larger and fit your shoes to that foot. That way, you’ll have a more accurate shoe size and fit.
Pinkeye and other eye infections can be extremely infectious. Use care.
Always first on your list for self care is regular reflexology.
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Fitness is a journey. It is a way of thinking, moving, believing, acting. Fitness is forever.
The most important, bottom line, rule about fitness is to Be Active!. There are many, many different kinds of exercise and diet. But, whatever lifestyle you choose, the most important thing is to Move!.
Regular exercise fights physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual decline. Whatever you do, include several brisk walks each week. Over time, this regular brisk walk can improve your fitness and “add years to your life and life to your years”.
Concerned about your risk of stroke? Add a daily walk to your life.
Are you getting too many colds? Exercise regularly and moderately to boost your immunity and improve your fitness.
Whenever possible, take the stairs. You’ll use more calories and build muscles at the same time.
Drink water even if you don’t feel thirsty. When exercising, drink 4 to 6 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes.
Do you have osteoarthritis? The best thing you can do is exercise. Check with your physician or physical therapist. Contact the Arthritis Foundation. Then, exercise, exercise, exercise.
Worried about falling? Protect yourself by developing the strongest thigh muscles you can. Strong thigh muscles will reduce the injury you might experience from a fall.
Don’t have time for exercise? Turn your coffee break into 10-minute workouts. These short breaks can offer a lot of fitness for not a lot of work. You can climb stairs for 10 minutes. Or, you can jump rope or have a quick run. Park your car 10 minutes from the office and walk those 10 minutes.
Drink as much water in the cold as in the heat.
Replace worn exercise shoes. Your fitness shoes are worn out long before you see wear on the outer sole or upper shoe.
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For all that’s written and spoken about sleep, we all know on some level that sleep is a complex, spiritual event necessary to maintain our health and keep the body and soul together.
I was recently quite ill with a “sinus infection of global proportions” as described to me by a healing friend. My first tip off was when I decided on a Wednesday afternoon that I suddenly needed to rest. Fortunately, I followed my body’s demands and crawled in bed. I promptly went to sleep and woke up on Sunday morning.
On Sunday morning, I was quite tired but felt better. I drank a lot of water, ate fresh fruit, and made it to the doctor’s office on Monday to find out what my problem was. Within a couple of hours, I had had enough blood tests, x-rays, and other scans to learn that I not only had the enormous sinus infection but I also had pneumonia.
I also had a physician who was angry at me, a daughter nurse who was angry at me, and several other medical professionals who were angry.
I doubt if I’ll have this experience repeat itself again. And, I’m certain that this sleep, while highly therapeutic, may have needed some breaks for hydration, etc.
Nevertheless, I’m also convinced that, on some level, the sleep helped my situation.
I was fortunate because I fell asleep without trouble. Sleep is not always available to people who are ill or suffering with troubled health for whatever reason.
And, sometimes people are ill and need nothing more than a good night’s sleep to make things better. So, encouraging a good night’s sleep on a regular basis is a good thing. Sleep, experienced regularly, is important for wellness and good health in general.
What provision do you make for a regular sleep schedule which includes enough sleep every night? Are you able to include enough hours to offer therapy to your self and lifestyle?
Is your pillow adequate for the job?
Truthfully, I’ve blogged many times and will blog many times more about all the things a person can do to get enough sleep. Keep after your sleep until you are able to support your physical, mental, and spiritual health.
The first step involves honoring your self and your need to sleep well in order to live well.
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Artwork provided by Jennette Nearhood
Our lives are often over full with too much going on. We’re all busy. Working. Caring for children. Running errands. Studying. Volunteering.
Where is the time to shop for and prepare a leisurely, healthy meal?
Food can often be therapeutic. But, sometimes it’s hard to serve a healthy, healing meal to someone. when everyone is overworked, underpaid, short of time, and out of space.
there are things that can be done to make your kitchen healthy and the meals easier.
Begin by making your kitchen a place where you want to be. Are the walls a color that you like? Is music that you like available in your kitchen? Do your utensils work?
If the answers to your questions were “no”, it’s time to try to make your kitchen a place where you want to be. Tackle one thing at a time and the room will soon be your favorite place.
Review your recipes. Do you have a few recipes for meals that are nutritious, delicious, easy to prepare, and fun to eat? If not, be on the lookout.
What you need is an arsenal of easy-to-prepare meals which you can rely on. Start with a few slow-cooker recipes which you can use during the week. This way, you can load the slow-cooker with ingredients before you leave for work, turn on the cooker, and return home at the end of the day to a delicious meal.
Do you have a favorite casserole recipe? Prepare this dish on your day off and then have it ready to eat the next evening.
Eat together as a family at least three times a week…more if you can. Make eating together non-negotiable.
Get your family members to help with the meal. Setting the table, washing the dishes, taking out the trash can all be done by family members.
I’m living proof that it is possible, even easy, to cook and serve healthy, nutritious, delicious, clean food that is easy to prepare and doesn’t cost a fortune.
When you work at this, you’ll soon have a kitchen that everyone enjoys. Your food will be delicious, easy to prepare, inexpensive, and fun.
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Do you sometimes have trouble getting through the afternoon? Maybe it’s time to invest in a healthy lunch.
A healthy lunch doesn’t have to be just an extension of an already over packed morning. A healthy lunch should be a respite from the confusion and stress of the morning leading up to the lunch hour.
TAKE A WALK – Whether you work in an office, factory, retail outlet, or home, walking is a good way to make your lunch a bit more enjoyable and healthy. Your lhealthy lunch walk doesn’t have to be long. Nor is it a substitute for food. It is a chance to change your environment and move your muscles for a few minutes.
TAKE A POWER NAP – Five or ten minutes devoted to putting one’s feet up and closing one’s eyes can change your life. No kidding. A few minutes sleeping in the middle of the day makes a lot of difference in the remainder of my day. And, it can make the same difference in yours.
MAKE YOUR LUNCH HEALTHY. Healthy, clean food can make a world of difference in how you function in the afternoon. Basically, that means you eat foods that are food. Boycott chemical laden lunches which are low in nutrition and high in calories and toxic additives.
GET AWAY FROM YOUR DESK. No matter how stressful things are, physically remove yourself from your desk for at least fifteen minutes. Take a walk. Chat with a couple of working colleagues. Make a personal call or two. Your goal is to take yourself away from the desk physically, mentally, emotionally for a few moments.
DO YOU RUN ERRANDS? Walk them if you can. The exercise you get on your lunch break will refresh you physically, mentally, and emotionally.
ARE YOU ON A DIET? Start a lunch group where you eat with other colleagues who are also interested in weight management, health, and nutrition. You can enjoy the group socially as well as support each other as you lose weight.
YOUR HEALTHY LUNCH BEGINS WITH A HEALTHY BREAKFAST. It’s much harder to eat a healthy lunch if you’ve skipped breakfast and are hungry and craving high-fat, high calorie, high carb foods. A good breakfast which includes whole grains and lean proteins will serve you well throughout the morning.
INCLUDE A HEALTHY SOUP. A healthy soup will include the protein and fiber you’ll need to get through the afternoon. The ideal soup will be broth based and will make you feel full while not wasting calories.
LEAVE YOUR BUILDING. GET OUTSIDE. Whether you are running errands, power walking, or visiting with friends, make sure you walk outside your building for a few minutes. Take a few deep breaths. Be outside. Is it raining? Snowing? Broiling hot? Whatever is happening outside your building, spend a couple of minutes experiencing this day. Enjoy a couple of minutes of this escape to recharge!
No matter how stressful your day, consider how best to use your lunch time.
Go for it!
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Every day offers new opportunities to make healthy investments in ourselves. And, for me, the best investment I can make is the investment I make in my good health.
Below, I’ve listed some new things you can choose from to invest in your own good health. Enjoy!
MOVE FOR 30 MINUTES! This can be a quick walk during the day, or a trip to the fitness center to hop on a treadmill for thirty minutes. Or it can mean a bike ride or a dance class or a yoga session. But, whatever you choose, the important thing is you choose to move for at least thirty minutes every day. This healthy investment will pay for itself in dividends many times over.
BRUSH YOUR TONGUE for one minute every day. Your breath will smell better and your mouth will thank you.
KEEP A CALENDAR. Make a healthy investment in a smoother running day. The best way I know to get your day organized and your life simplified is to keep an appointment calendar. It doesn’t have to be large or elaborate. But, to keep track of where you’re expected to be each day can reduce stress because you’ll be less likely to forget an important appointment.
BREAKFAST IS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY. Don’t skip it.
TAKE A VITAMIN. Just choosing which vitamin to take each day can be stress inducing. But, there are a few guidelines which can simplify the job. For starters, skip the time-release formulations. They may not be good for you and sometimes they elevate the price. Select a vitamin which doesn’t have a lot of additives such as sugars, artificial colors, preservatives. Skip chelated minerals. Vitamins are healthy investments.
GET ALL YOUR PRESCRIPTIONS AT ONE PHARMACY. Pharmacists offer good advice on many illnesses and diseases. Developing a relationship with your pharmacist is a good healthy investment. A pharmacist can be a good source of information for you. But, only if you get all your medicines from the same place. Otherwise, the pharmacist may not be completely aware of your situation.
TRY TO HAVE THE LEAST STRESSFUL DAY POSSIBLE. This means that you begin by promoting a calm attitude. Can you have a stress free commute? Begin each day by completing a to-do list for your day. Be as specific as possible. Print this list out on brightly colored paper (so you won’t lose it).
SCHEDULE SOME READING TIME. Spend at least fifteen minutes each day keeping up with activities in your areas of interest and work.
SLEEP IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN EXPERIENCE. Make sure you schedule enough sleep in every night. I know I keep writing about sleep but, honestly, it’s one of the most important things you do. When you sleep, your brain, your organs, your skin perform functions that are not done when you are awake. Sleep is essential and enough sleep is important. Sleep is a healthy investment.
KEEP HYDRATED. When we’re stressed, we forget to drink enough liquids. Liquids keep you awake, alert, refreshed, as well as prevent disease. So, drink up! Drink water, teas, juices. But, mainly, drink water throughout the day.
So, here you have the health lineup for the week. Hopefully you’ll find things that you can use to be healthier in your daily life.
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I’ll be suggesting more options for healthy living soon. Thanks for reading .
FINALLY, the second edition of “A Healer’s Handbook” is out. Hope you enjoy it!
Hope to hear from you soon! You can order “A Healer’s Handbook” at http://www.thurmangreco.com.
In this blog post, I deliberately chose lifestyle changes which will offer you multiple health benefits. This is part of a series of healthy lifestyle tips to improve your life. Here are some new ones for you to choose from. Try them out. Some will work for you for a while. Others will be habits you’ll adopt and live with. These are all positive changes to improve your life.
GROCERY SHOPPING? – Choose whole, natural foods rather packaged or processed foods.
TAKE YOUR VITAMINS AND MINERALS daily. Choose ones that you need to supplement your diet. A nutritionist helps me choose the best supplements for my lifestyle situation, body type, age, and health. Think of your daily vitamins as a sort of wellness insurance policy. It’s hard to get all the nutrients we need each day. Vitamins make the job a bit easier.
SET YOUR ALARM to go off 15 minutes earlier each day. That way, you can slowly wake up . You’ll have a few minutes to stretch your arms, legs, hands, toes, feet, ankles, legs, neck and back. This will bring extra oxygen to your entire body and get your day off to a good start.
MAKE YOUR MORNING DECISIONS THE NIGHT BEFORE. That means you choose what clothes you’re going to wear the night before. Choose what you’re going to eat for breakfast. The more decisions you make the night before, the easier your morning will be.
KEEP A TO-GO CORNER where you put all the things everyone is going to need as they run out the door. This will include keys, wallet, book bags, gloves, hats, and whatever else will be needed.
CHOOSE A SHOWER. It’s healthier than a bath.
DRINK A LARGE GLASS OF WATER. You wake up each day dehydrated and you’ve been fasting all night so the water is good for you.
LISTEN TO FIVE OR TEN MINUTES OF QUIET MUSIC EACH MORNING. You’re probably going to hear people talking all day long. A few minutes of quiet music is helpful preparation.
KEEP YOUR BREAKFAST ROUTINE EASY. Healthy breakfasts can include granola, whole grain cereals, cottage cheese, yogurt, hard boiled eggs. Try spreading apple slices with peanut butter. Don’t forget the blueberries! Substitute peanut butter for butter.
TREAT YOURSELF TO DARK CHOCOLATE AS A TOPPING FOR YOUR CEREAL.
Dark chocolate has lots of antioxidants to keep your arteries healthy.
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UPDATE: The second edition of the Healer’s Handbook is officially published and available. You can purchase it online at thurmangreco.com.
Thanks for your support. Without your continued support, there would be no second edition of this book! Thanks again!
One path to better health is to practice preventive medicine. But what exactly, does that mean? Well, it means different things for every person because every person’s body is different.
And, to digress here, that’s a wonderful quality that I love about reflexology. Our bodies are different every single day and reflexology recognizes and respects that quality. Why?
Because, reflexology encourages homeostasis which is the balance of all the body systems. And, because our body systems are different every single day, reflexology sessions note the differences and encourage the body to balance itself.
The result? Better health! Reflexology sessions promote better health because of the homeostasis.
And, health promotion is often the small things that we do each day to prevent disease and to balance our bodies.
Disease prevention is best practiced daily, as we develop healthy habits which encourage homeostasis.
Many of the things we do regularly are easy, inexpensive, positive. Healthy living is something to be enjoyed by us all.
Join me on this journey to better health.
So, read this blog and the series of posts I’ll be writing to help you take steps which will result in a healthy body and healthier lifestyle.
These blog posts will be somewhat spiritual because health is a spiritual condition. I hope you enjoy reading these upcoming posts as much as I am enjoying writing them.
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And, buy a copy of the book “A Healer’s Handbook”. It has many suggestions and much information about the spirituality of both disease and good health.
What is healthy, anyway? We’re all concerned about our health on some level. We try to eat better, exercise more, sleep more. There are many components to good health, but, at it’s basic level, what is healthy, anyway?
For starters, a leaner body is healthy. But, losing weight and keeping it lost can seem like chasing the Fountain of Youth.
And, of course, there is the old story about Ponce de Leon finding it. The Fountain of Youth headquarters is in St. Augustine, Florida. You can go there and visit it in a park setting. But, you don’t need to travel all the way to St. Augustine to visit the Fountain of Youth. Branches are right in your own community, maybe even in your neighborhood. Every fitness center around is a branch of the fountain of youth. All you have to do is join up and use a fitness center. The sidewalk in front of your home or office is also a branch of the fountain of youth. All you have to do is get out there and walk briskly for thirty minutes or so every day.
Using your fitness center regularly or walking briskly for a half hour each day will decrease your risk of developing diabetes. This will keep you on the path toward good health. And, while you exercise to protect yourself against diabetes, skipping sugary soft drinks and juices will help. And, if you have diabetes, find out from your health care professional how much exercise you need every day to strengthen your body as you work with this disease.
Trips to a fitness center and/or the healthy walks will help you develop a healthier heart and will help you reduce your risk of heart disease.
What is healthy? Visiting your local fitness center or walking helps you feel, look, and act better. It will also reduce your cholesterol levels. Add some dietary tips when you want to be healthy and you’re thinking of cholesterol. Use olive oil more often when you substitute it for less healthy oils, for example.
A brisk daily walk will strengthen your bones. You can also garden. Actually, the more things you can think of that will get you off your seat and on your feet, the better. And, while you’re getting off your seat, try walking a little faster on the sidewalk and running a little faster on the treadmill. A more intense workout will help you feel better.
What is healthy? Lowering your stress level is one way to improve your health. Hug your pet. And, if you don’t have a pet, can you hug a neighbor’s pet? Can you go to your local pound and walk a dog there? If you go to your pound and walk a dog briskly for a half hour, you’ll be doing two beneficial things at once!
And, what about your memory? Blueberries help. So do crosswords, scrabble, your local newspaper.
And, finally, what is healthy? Connection is healthy. Humans like to be connected to one another. This can mean different things to different people. Taking a class in something will help. Meeting the other people at the fitness center will strengthen your connection to your community. There are a million ways to get connected. A church, synagogue, or temple is there waiting for you. The important thing is to share yourself.
So, here are a few ways to help you define what is healthy for yourself. Find something you like and share yourself.
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The second edition of this book is on the way! Thanks to all of you who are using this book.