We have all experienced how emotions affect our breathing. We get excited and naturally take in a deep breath before saying something like "oh my!" Or if we are scared we hold our breath in.
Our emotions affect our breath. And we can use our breath to change our emotions. Our breath has a direct relationship with our nervous system and stress response.
To calm ourselves with breath the easiest practice to do is to create a longer exhale breath than inhale. Simply breathe out a few seconds longer than your inhale.
This works because the out breath engages the parasympathetic nervous system. It has a biological effect to calm us down and take our bodies out of a high alert, stress state of being.
I LOVE a good sigh.
Especially after good news or I’ve just finished something stressful. It can feel so good, hhhaaa.
Did you know we naturally sigh about 12 times an hour? You’re probably not aware of it because it’s an automatic mechanism of respiration. And because they are usually pretty quiet.
Physiologically they are used to increase lung volume and to exercise alveoli in the lungs. The alveoli are the small “air sacks” in the lungs where oxygen is exchanged with the blood capillaries. So sighing is pretty important for the physiology of breathing.
Sighing also plays an important role in psychological health. They are unconscious outward expression of emotions and automatic reactions to stressors. For example, a big sigh before speaking to a group of people.
It is also a response to changes of the autonomic nervous system, when a body goes from sympathetic to parasympathetic, or vice versa. A sigh can be your body’s way of revving up for a stressful event or your body’s way to down regulate your body’s stress response. It can engage your parasympathetic nervous system.
So why not turn this non-conscious reaction into a purposeful little treat for yourself?
Click Read More below to learn how to start your own sigh practice.
Dealing with depression or anxiety can be hard. Exhausting. Frustrating. Isolating. I think so often our society doesn't view depression or anxiety as a medical condition. But they really are chronic conditions. There can be good days and bad days. Or there can be bad weeks and months. Just like flare-ups of chronic conditions like chronic fatigue or IBS.
But it's a disease, an illness. And yeah, exercise and diet, CranioSacral Therapy, meditation, relaxation methods, these all help. They can make a real difference. But there will be times they are not enough. All these things are great to do when your feeling good. They can help those good days last longer. That's why they are complementary.
I've recently discovered different kind medical option to help the fight with depression and anxiety that is not a drug. And bonus, it also helps with physical pain and headaches. It is called ALPHA-STIM and it is a cranial electrotherapy devise. Yes, I am a CranioSacral Therapy and I endorse using electrotherapy, on your cranium. And it feels great. Well, actually it doesn't feel like anything except dizzy if you turn it up too high. If you get dizzy or loopy, just turn it down till it goes away. Less is more.
I have been using mine for a couple months now. And it has been much more effective for me than any medication I've tried for depression or anxiety.
I have experienced better sleep. Slower thoughts. More command over racing or negative thoughts. I have more energy. Overall, I just feel better. My husband says I've gotten my playfulness back! It's been wonderful for me, and us. Life is easier.
The technology behind Alpha-STIM is starting to gain exposure. It is a low level electrical stimulation that puts your brain into an alpha state. Like meditating, but easy and painless. There are two clips you put on your ears and it fits easily into my back pocket. I wear it while cooking or getting ready for the day. I don't feel anything, except after a few minutes I notice I'm more relaxed and my mind is clear.
What I love about using this is you buy the device and that's it. No prescriptions each month. It wasn't exactly cheap, but it's a one-time cost. So the potential to save is big over the years.
I don't have anything to gain for promoting this device. I just want more people to be aware of this option. Check out their website to learn more! https://www.alpha-stim.com/
Have you 've tried it out or are you interested in getting one for yourself? I'd love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and let us know.
Stress. We all go through it. Maybe you can't remember when you weren't stressed out. Ever feel like your body can't relax?
CranioSacral Therapy can help you get out of the stress loop and feel like yourself again. CranioSacral Therapy can help you relax and recover from stress.
There is a very interesting study in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association which proves the stress reduction and nervous system balancing effects of CranioSacral Therapy (CST). This study provides some good physiological proof of the positive influence of CST on the vagus nerve, the nervous system, and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis.
The HPA axis is our body’s stress response system. The HPA axis is also how the nervous system and endocrine system work together to help the body respond to stress. When the nervous system detects stress, this axis is activated, releasing cortisol and other stress hormones. When we have chronic stress, the regular release of hormones into our bodies can have negative effects on our body and mental health. This study proves CST lowers heart rate and cortisol levels.
In the study there were two groups, a control group and a group which received 20 minutes of craniosacral therapy from an osteopath. Both groups went through a stressful event, they performed math skills in front of a 3 person audience. Performing math in front of people is sure to create stress!
After the math “test” one group received 20 minutes of craniosacral therapy. They tested heart rate and took saliva samples to measure cortisol levels. The group that had the craniosacral therapy, had lower cortisol and lower heart rates after the therapy. They also tested cortisol the following morning and the group that received CST still showed biomarkers for lower stress response. The participants who had CST recovered from the math stress much quicker than the group who received no treatment.
CranioSacral is a gentle, nourishing therapy that can have profound influence on overall wellbeing, sleep, recovery, and a variety of medical conditions. Best of all, it is gentle and noninvasive, with little contraindications, so it can help many different people.
Check out the article, Single Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy Session Dampens Acute Autonomic and Neuroendocrine Responses to Mental Stress in Healthy Male Participants
Janet Crow, CST
CranioSacral Therapist and owner of Twin Cities CranioSacral.
What is self-care?