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Kathy Marshack News

What is Anxiety Costing Your Business?

Monday, September 18, 2017


Anxiety can cost you your business so it is important to find out what you can do to combat negative thinking.Anxiety is costly. It costs you emotionally, mentally and physically. The mind-body connection is very real and very powerful. Our emotions affect our bodies and anxious feelings can cause many physical health problems.
 
What about the financial cost of dealing with anxiety? Doctor’s visits and medications are expensive. Personal steps taken to prevent anxiety, such as supplements or private forms of transportation to avoid crowds, can add up quickly. There is also the cost of re-doing a project or an activity if it has been disrupted by an anxiety attack, which was illustrated in a recent story in the NY Times of a woman whose panic attack cost her $1000.
 
Then there is the burden put on your business. Persons who suffer with anxiety take more time off work than their less-anxious counterparts. And if you own a business, your anxiety will eventually affect your bottom line. How?
 
Here are just a few ways anxiety can cost your business:

  • Anxiety can make you less solution-oriented. When you encounter a setback, you are likely to give up quickly instead of continuing to search for a way around the problem. It can prevent you from moving forward and persevering. 

  • Anxiety can prevent you from trying new things and expanding your business. Anxious persons are afraid of change and failure. Instead of looking at a new experience as an opportunity to learn, you look at it as a chance of failing.

  • Anxiety affects your employees. Your anxiety can rub off on the people who are around you, thus reducing their efficiency and even their attendance at work. It can also lead your employees to feel like they have to walk on eggshells around you, hindering communication which is a vital part of managing a successful business.

  • Anxiety can cost you clients. Clients are more likely to work with you if they sense you are confident in your product and relaxed. They, too, can pick up on your anxiety, and it could prevent them from doing business with you.

To clarify, the type of anxiety I am discussing here isn’t the “normal” feelings of nervousness, fear, or apprehension caused by new experiences, high-pressure situations, or stressful events. This type of anxiety usually goes as quickly as it comes. Once the anxiety-inducing event is over, feelings normalize.
 
The type of anxiety I’m talking about is the kind that nags at you on a daily basis. It is the type of anxiety that can sometimes be pushed out of mind enough to get through the day, but that eventually starts to affect your business, relationships, and health. This anxiety becomes controlling, debilitating, and may even feel inescapable.
 
If these are symptoms you deal with, you may have developed an anxiety disorder. In this case, help is needed to manage the mental and physical discomfort, and learn how to cope. If you do suffer from an anxiety disorder, be assured you can identify and correct your negative thoughts and beliefs. You can change the way you think, thereby changing the way you feel.
 
How can you do this? I encourage my clients to Identify, Challenge, and Replace their negative, anxious thoughts.

  • Identify what you’re thinking when you start feeling anxious.

  • Challenge those thoughts and ask yourself if your fears and concerns are legitimate and warranted.

  • Then Replace your negative thoughts with new thoughts that are more realistic and positive.

It’s simple but it can be far from easy! In many cases, if you’re dealing with an anxiety disorder you will need the guidance and support of a doctor. Anxiety disorders are not all treated the same, and it’s important to determine the specific problem before embarking on a course of treatment.
 
Please contact my office in Jantzen Beach to schedule an appointment, or try online therapy if that is best for you. I will conduct a careful diagnostic evaluation to determine what type of anxiety you are truly dealing with and establish a plan of treatment to get you back to feeling and working at your best.

Train Your Brain to be a Successful Entrepreneur

Monday, September 11, 2017


Entrepreneurs - your attitude is integral to your success so make these small, simple changes to literally rewire your brain to think positivelyWhen you think of training you might think of learning a new professional skill. Or you might think of a personal training regiment that whips your body into shape. But have you ever considered training your brain to be more positive?
 
To be a successful entrepreneur, you need a positive attitude. Is it really that important? Yes, here are a few key reasons:

  • Entrepreneurship is like a roller coaster ride. There are ups and downs, things that make you happy that turn right around and make you want to scream. Because of the constant changes and challenges that can arise, it is necessary to cultivate a positive attitude. It will keep you grounded and able to see beyond your current circumstances. Optimistic entrepreneurs are better at problem-solving and bouncing back from disappointment.

  • Your attitude rubs off on those you work with. If you are consistently negative, the people you work with will reflect back that attitude. In contrast, if you make the effort to have positive conversations in the workplace, your employees will follow suit. Happier, more positive employees make for better, more efficient and effective employees. It also contributes to a healthier work environment for everyone.

  • Clients can perceive what your attitude is. When you show a positive attitude about life and your product, customers will want to do business with you. This, of course, will lead your business to greater profitability and success.

  • Your attitude affects your day-to-day life. When you are positive, you feel in control and confident. You are motivated to take good care of your physical and mental health. These are the tools you need to perform at your best and make the most of your entrepreneurship.

What if you aren’t a naturally positive person? That’s okay, because with a little bit of effort you can literally change the structure of your brain to think more positively.
 
In your brain you have neural pathways that control your emotions. If your inclination is toward the negative, the neural pathways for negativity become stronger. It is like a muscle. It gets worked most often, so it becomes the strongest.
 
On the up side, your brain is capable of generating new pathways. So it’s possible to train the circuitry in your brain to promote positive responses. When you look for the good in life, you activate different neural pathways in your brain. Dopamine and serotonin production is increased, soothing and calming you.  The more you stimulate these circuits in your brain, the stronger they become. Positivity will become a more automatic response.
 
It doesn’t take much to rewire your brain this way. You can learn to be more positive by practicing simple skills that foster positivity. Some of these skills include:

  • Beginning each day with a positive thought. Simple, right? But it is very powerful. It will help you set the tone for your day and make the choice early on to think positively.

  • Practicing gratitude. Take note of the things each day that you are grateful for. Some of my clients find it helpful to keep a gratitude journal.

  • Doing good for others. If you focus on thinking about other people and working to make their life better, you think about your own problems and worries less. This, in turn, keeps you from dwelling on the negative and moves you to focus on the positive.

  • Living one moment at a time. Focus on the present and making that day the best it can be. The practice of mindfulness helps many of my clients to focus and see the good in their day.

Sometimes a negative attitude is a signal of something more serious. It could be that you’re suffering from depression or anxiety. Don’t put your mental health on the backburner. It may be time to consider enlisting the help of a trained professional. Please contact my office in Jantzen Beach for an appointment. If it works better with your busy schedule, I also offer online therapy.

Struggling as an Entrepreneurial Couple? The Key to Lasting Change May Surprise You

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


Woman holding signRunning a business with your spouse can be very rewarding. However, entrepreneurs deal with a unique set of challenges, and entrepreneurial couples experience these same challenges two-fold! Add to this the complications that come with marriage, owning a home, and raising a family and it’s no wonder entrepreneurial couples can feel at times that the arrangement isn’t working.
 
When something in your business and/or marital life isn’t working, what is your first inclination?

 
The most common response to life’s struggles involves a mental process where we solely consider external or technical reasons for the problem. When you encounter an obstacle in your business or your marriage is your first reaction to find an outside source for the problem?
 
Rather than being quick to look to external forces that are holding you back, could you look internally?
 
When working through obstacles in life, I encourage you to question every aspect of your approach to your business and relationship, including your methods, biases, and assumptions. This kind of rigorous self-examination requires that you honestly challenge your beliefs and goals, and work up the courage to act and make a change.
 
I’ve noticed that when people face a crisis or even just an ordinary problem, they are tempted to try a somewhat simplistic change. They change spouses, buy a new house, and so on. These simple changes are supposed to make them feel better. And sometimes they do for a little while. But in the long run, the new spouse presents problems remarkably similar to those of the previous spouse and the new house is still not big enough.
 
Rather than waste your time with pointless changes, put in the time and hard work to change yourself from the inside out.
 
Look deep and determine your personal definition of real success. What exactly are you looking for in life, business, and your marriage? Do your goals for your business truly align with your personal definition of success? Honestly evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Everybody has both! Realizing who you really are will help you determine the best path to take and changes to make.
 
But what if you are dealing with a spouse who is dealing with a problem like addiction? Aren’t they the ones that need to change?
 
The love you have for them may move you try to fix them, change their attitude and behavior. Understand that their life is not for you to manage. You can’t change them. For real change to come, they have to decide for themselves to get help and move forward.
 
I worked with a woman who was married to and ran a business with an addict. She spent years trying to change him, to no avail. Eventually she realized that the only person she could change was herself. She courageously tackled the task of working on herself and cleaning up her own bad habits, misunderstandings and superstitions. She began to recognize many dormant strengths that had been overshadowed by her need to protect and control her husband. This led her to explore new directions in life and business that better fit her personality.
 
When you look inside yourself, you take back your power.
 
You restore your independence as a person and as a successful entrepreneur. By focusing on changing yourself first, you expand your consciousness and gain self-awareness. You become more skilled at resolving immediate problems, correcting past mistakes, and moving ahead with the new opportunities. This approach also enables you to encourage the development of your spouse, partner, employees, and children, which benefits you, too.
 
Changing from a problem-solving mode into self-awareness mode may be difficult, especially for busy entrepreneurial couples. I’m here to help. Please feel free to contact my office in Jantzen Beach to schedule an appointment. If you live elsewhere, consider remote education for entrepreneurial couples.

Guidelines to Help Your Children Adapt to Change

Monday, August 21, 2017


Mother talking to her daughterOne of the best parts of life is change. One of the worst parts of life is change. How is that? As exciting as change can be, it can also be daunting, even frightening. Even a person who generally adapts well to change will experience apprehension about some of life’s changes at some point.

If we experience fear of change sometimes, what about our children?

Their lives are in a constant state of change. Just think about the physical changes they go through from infancy to adulthood. They’re also processing enormous amounts of new information and learning at a rapid pace. As a parent, you no doubt work hard to build in your children the resilience they will need to cope with these changes.

There are bigger changes that our children must adapt to. What about the loss of a parent or grandparent? Divorce? A parent remarrying? How can you help your children adapt to changes of this magnitude?

As a child, your son or daughter depends on you to help them make sense of major changes in their life. You must take the time to help them understand what is going on and adjust. The guiding principle here is to slow down and communicate.

Here are some key communication guidelines for parents:

Like all people, children need to know they are loved and cared for. It is also important for them to believe that someone needs and relies on them. They want to know their existence and presence makes a difference to other people. Listen to your children and support them. As kids navigate new situations and inevitable disappointments, they need to know that they’re not alone. Cultivate a warm, strong relationship.


Talk to them openly about what is happening, and give them opportunities to tell you how they feel, without criticism. Regardless of how you feel about the changes and how you are ready to proceed, you need to know what your child is thinking and feeling.


Be in tune with how each child is dealing with the changes in their life. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to children. Each child is unique and has different strengths and weaknesses. Some can handle more than others. This means spending time with each of your children individually and allowing them to share their own feelings on the matter, separate from the rest of the family.


A key part of developing resilience and dealing with change is emotional management. Teach your kids that emotions are okay! It’s okay to feel. And it’s okay to feel differently than their parents about a situation. They need to know that what they share will be respected and safe.


Answer your child’s questions. Some of them may be painful. You may think your child isn’t old enough to understand. But honesty is vital when helping your children adapt to big changes in their lives. If they can’t get a straight answer from you, who can they turn to?


Be honest about your mistakes. Some big changes come because of mistakes made. Making mistakes is a part of life. Life is about learning something new every day. Sometimes those lessons cause pain, or even permanent scars. It is natural to not want your children to see those mistakes or experience any of the pain associated with them. But know this: whatever stress you are feeling as a parent, your children are feeling it as well.


Use the situation as a teaching tool. Demonstrate to your children that failure is not the end of the world. Show them that it is absolutely possible to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move on. Be honest with them about what is happening and why. If you are honest, it not only teaches your children a lesson, but it also helps them forgive and start to heal.


Even if you are doing the best you can to communicate with your child, there are times when he or she may need professional help to deal with big changes and stress in their life. Or perhaps you could use some support as you lead your family through life’s ups and downs. Please contact my office to set up an appointment. I have an office in Jantzen Beach where we could talk in person. I also offer online therapy if it is more convenient for you.

How to Change the Conversation at Work to be More Positive

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Two coworkers looking at a computer, shocked at the newsWe live in an increasingly negative world. Many people have told me they’ve stopped watching the news because they’re tired of all the negativity. Yet there are others who seem to thrive on the negative. It’s like they can’t wait for Monday to rehash all the bad news at work or to complain about their life to anyone who will listen. This negative outlook can be contagious and before you know it the entire workplace is infected!
 
The good news is that you can change the conversation at work to be more positive. And it’s worth the effort!
 
Positive thinking is linked to better health. In addition to better physical and emotional health, positivity can also impact your workplace for the better, whether you are a business owner or an employee. Optimism helps you to be solution-oriented. When you encounter a bump in the road, you don’t give up. Instead, you continue to search for a way around the problem, convinced that there is a solution.
 
No matter what your role in the business is, positivity in the workplace begins with how you choose to communicate. How can you cultivate a more positive way of speaking in the workplace? Take a look at these ideas:

  • Be aware of the way you describe certain situations and make a conscious effort to turn those comments into something more optimistic.

  • Focus less on the problem, and more on the solution. If no solution is obvious, focus on the fact there must be a solution somewhere and that you and your team are capable of discovering it.

  • Discuss the smaller, more manageable steps, you can take to solve a problem. What can you do right now, in this moment? It helps you and those you work with focus on what they can accomplish without getting overwhelmed.

  • Cultivate a more positive, meaningful start to conversations. If someone asks how you are, don’t lead with the negative (i.e. “I’m tired/hungry/anxious”). Tell them something good that has happened.

  • Show gratitude. Discuss things you are thankful for, big and small.

Interestingly, as you make the effort to make your conversations at work more positive, others will follow. We are often told to not bother trying to change people because it can’t be done. But that is far from the truth! We are changing people every day just as other people are changing us. As humans, we are constantly influenced by those around us. So don't get discouraged and think that your contribution of positivity isn't going to change the dynamics at work. You are more influential than you may think! Take the lead in conversations and guide them into positive territory.

 

Most of us have heard of how one small act of kindness can trigger a chain reaction. A similar thing happens when you choose to inject positivity into your daily conversations. It also triggers a chain reaction. You lead a conversation in a positive direction and the person you spoke with will be left with a positive feeling. It may take awhile and you won’t have 100% success, but if you stick with it you’ll see a shift towards more positive conversations in your workplace. Don’t give up!
 
Each day you experience hundreds of moments where you can choose to react in a positive way. It isn’t a matter of ignoring the negative in your life or work. It comes down to making a choice to not get stuck on the negative. Focus on the good in your life, and help those around you to choose to appreciate the good as well!
 
Are you convinced that you can change the dynamic in your workplace by being positive? Sometimes it can be challenging to be positive if you are dealing with a lot of internal or external stress. If you could use some help, please contact my office to set up an appointment.  I have an office in Jantzen Beach where we can meet in person or I offer online therapy if that’s a better fit for you.

Avoid a Crisis – How Entrepreneurs Can Be Proactive About Mental Health

Monday, August 14, 2017


Man in suit holding happy face signWhat kinds of qualities come to mind when you think of a successful entrepreneur? Are they creative, tenacious, self-sacrificing? What about depressed, anxious, or obsessive?

The same qualities that make a person a successful entrepreneur can also make them vulnerable to a host of mental health issues. Some issues like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) can, in the beginning, propel an entrepreneur to success. But there is a fine line between healthy and harmful.

Depression, anxiety, feelings of worthlessness, and a lack of motivation can arise and develop when entrepreneurs are overly focused on their business. Because entrepreneurs are driven to succeed, it is easy for them to push through tough times without pausing to evaluate if their negative feelings are part of a bigger issue that needs attention.

Do you find yourself paying little attention to the effect your schedule and lifestyle may be having on your mental health?

When you put your mental health on the back burner, you set yourself up for a mental health crisis later. If you neglect your physical health, you run the risk of disease, injury, or a traumatic event like a heart attack. Similarly, if you neglect your mental health, your brain and body will force you to slow down and take a break, but not in a manner that feels good for you or helps your business.

Wouldn’t it be better to be proactive about your mental health, caring for it before you experience a crisis? They key is to not wait until you’re broken. By waiting too long to take care of yourself, you’ll make it much harder to get back to where you want to be.

The good news is that you don’t have to be sick to get better. Here are four things you can do now to maintain good mental health and avoid a crisis later on:

  1. Care for your basic needs. As an entrepreneur, you work long hours. That’s a given. But prioritize sleep, healthy eating, exercise, and time with friends and family. Adequate sleep is absolutely vital to function at optimum levels. Eating good food gives your mind the nutrients it needs to make brilliant business decisions. Exercise relieves stress. Time spent with those you love keeps you balanced
  2. Simplify your life. The life of an entrepreneur is full of activity and decisions. Don’t make things harder than they need to be. Where you can simplify, do it. For you that may mean using a grocery delivery service or having limited wardrobe options to sort through each morning. Simplify as many things in your life as you can so that you can focus on the areas that will benefit most from your attention and creativity.
  3. Get help with the details. To make your vision succeed, there are a lot of teeny-tiny details to work out. Hire someone to help you. You have skills, but you are not skilled at everything. So outsource the things you need to. Let other people care for the details while you continue focusing on what you are best at.
  4. Hire a psychologist. People who regularly attend to their psychological health are not only stronger emotionally, but they are less prone to illness and experience a better sense of personal well-being. Engaging in psychotherapy enhances your analytical and intuitive abilities by utilizing the full range of your conscious and unconscious talents. It helps you take charge of your life.

If you’re ready to take a proactive stance, I can help you achieve strong mental health so you can grow your business and succeed as an entrepreneur. Please contact my office. I have an office in Jantzen Beach, and I also offer online therapy if that works best for your lifestyle

The Big Reason Why You Shouldn’t Try to Live Without Regrets

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Many talk about living with no regrets, but what does that really mean and is it possible or even desirable – this blog post examines these important questions.Regrets are commonly viewed as something bad…something to be avoided at all cost. Perhaps you’ve seen the slogan #NoRegrets. It’s a hashtag that’s used daily on social media. Perhaps you’ve even said, “I want to live without any regrets!”

Is it even possible to live without regrets? More importantly, is it desirable?

Truth be told, you can’t do everything you’ve dreamed of doing. It’s just not humanly possible. There’s not enough time, resources or energy to accomplish it all.

Instead, your life consists of a series of choices that you have to make. And because you’re happy with some choices, you will let other options slip away.

You might come to regret some of these choices. That’s normal! However, these regrets could haunt you if you look back and fantasize that the option that got away would have been so much better. And if you don’t learn to be happy with your choices, that regret will follow you throughout your life.

People believe that if they’re not perfectly happy, they’re depressed, or that they don't have a good life. On the contrary, to have regrets means you’ve fully engaged in life and made tough choices.

Of course, many regrets come from mistakes we’ve made. No matter how much we wish them away, the fact remains you’ve made a mistake. The problem comes when you wallow in the misery of reliving the mistake over and over again.

It would be so much better to look at the mistake as a learning experience and view it as a gift that teaches you something vital about yourself. Learn and move on. Stop second-guessing yourself. (I’ll be sharing some of my own regrets and what I learned from them in my upcoming book. Sign up for my newsletter to keep up-to-date on its release.)

Adopting a more positive attitude toward choices not taken will free you from living a paralyzed life overshadowed by negative feelings of regrets. So rather than living with no regrets, a more attainable goal would be to make peace with our regrets. Acknowledge them and move on.

Would you like to hone your skills for making choices that bring the greatest success and happiness? Online counseling may be exactly what you’re looking for. If you qualify, I’d love to help you learn to lead a rich and satisfying life. Please feel free to contact my office and schedule a session.

Women Entrepreneurs – Are You Afraid of Tooting Your Own Horn?

Monday, July 24, 2017


Business woman at meetingLook! The incredible invisible woman! She runs a successful company, has great friends and a loving family, but no one really hears about it. In spite of her accomplishments, she fades into the background by never taking true ownership of all the amazing things she has done.
 
Does that sound familiar? Do you find yourself deflecting attention, downplaying your accomplishments, or not taking full credit for your ideas?
 
I’ll give you an example of what I’m talking about. I was speaking with a married couple who ran a business together. I asked them to tell me their official business titles. Although the wife had started the business five years before the husband joined her, she told me she was a “Sales Associate.” The husband’s answer? He called himself the “Vice President.”
 
There was nothing wrong with what the wife said. She was an associate in the business, and she sold the product. But she did not own the fact that she ran a successful business.
 
Why don’t women give themselves the credit they deserve? A number of factors contribute to this tendency. From childhood girls are taught to work together, to build a community, to support others, all without being taught how to communicate about their accomplishments. Boys are usually encouraged to talk about personal goals and achievements, but that lesson often gets forgotten when raising girls.
 
Women also tend to fear being known as “not nice.” They avoid saying or doing things that could be viewed as aggressive or selfish. Unfortunately, when a woman touts her successes, it is often seen as bragging. So they put their ideas and victories in the background, not talking about them or even acknowledging them. When they do talk about their accomplishments, it is generally framed as a group achievement rather than an individual achievement.
 
Why should you learn to more effectively communicate about your accomplishments? Here are four reasons:

  1. Your business will grow. Leveraging your success and accomplishments is one of the best ways to continue to build your business. 
  2. Your relationships with your employees will improve. Resentment develops when you feel you are not being recognized. This resentment does not go unnoticed, and can lead to strained relationships with those around you. When you allow yourself to be recognized and appreciated, your relationships will benefi
  3. Other people will benefit. Did you ever think that concealing your true self deprives other people of your talents? It does! When others see who you really are and what you have and can accomplish, they can truly appreciate you and benefit by your talents. It also gives people a chance to rejoice with you in your success. Let others be happy for you – it will bring them joy, too.
  4. You invest in yourself. By expressing your accomplishments, you remind yourself and others of your worth. You will surround yourself with people who appreciate you instead of people who need you to appreciate them. This creates an energizing flow between people, just as wealth invested creates more wealth.

Don’t be afraid to talk about the amazing things you have done. The world needs what you have to offer, so learn to communicate about you effectively! If you could use some help getting past social barriers to promote yourself in the best way possible, please contact my office. I have an office in Jantzen Beach, and I also offer online therapy if that works best for your busy schedule.

What Scientists Are Learning About Exercise and Your Brain

Monday, July 17, 2017


Older couple riding bikesDo you exercise regularly? No doubt you’ve heard of all the benefits. Exercise is good for all kinds of things like lowering your risk of heart disease, helping you lose weight, and maintaining your overall health. It also helps you emotionally by releasing endorphins that help regulate your mood.
 
Exercise also helps protect your memory and thinking ability. How? By literally changing your brain!
 
Researchers have found that exercise can change the size of your brain. Regular exercise has been found to boost the size of the hippocampus, the area of the brain that plays an important role in memory and learning. It does this via a process called neurogenesis, or the birth of new brain cells. Exercise can double or triple the number of new cells in the hippocampus. These new cells translate to a significantly better ability to learn new things and remember experiences.
 
A better memory and learning ability is beneficial for your life now, but it is also helpful over the long-term. In Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, the hippocampus is one of the first parts of the brain to suffer damage. A larger hippocampus can help delay the symptoms of these diseases as you get older.
 
It is of note that research finds aerobic exercise to be the most beneficial form of exercise to boost the size of the hippocampus. This is exercise that gets your heart pumping, your blood flowing, and the sweat running. Resistance training and balance exercises did not produce the same results.
 
Exercise also helps you sleep better. A number of chronic physical and mental health problems are caused by insufficient sleep, one of which is poor memory. Your brain cleans up while you sleep. There are studies that show that during sleep, the space between brain cells enlarge, allowing toxins to flush out. This research suggests that not sleeping allows toxins to build up, possibly ultimately triggering brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.
 
Have you noticed that your thinking ability is negatively affected when you are feeling stressed or anxious? Exercise is a huge help in improving your mood, and reducing stress and anxiety. When your stress levels are under control, your cognitive abilities greatly improve.
 
Hopefully you already have a healthy routine that incorporates regular exercise. The recommendation for exercise is 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. That is just 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Moderate exercise includes walking, swimming, biking, or a sport like tennis.
 
If you are having trouble motivating yourself to keep up an exercise routine, or even start one, then try getting your spouse or a friend involved. Ask them to go with you. It will hold you accountable and make the experience fun! Also, start small. Try a 20-minute walk around the neighborhood at first. Then add more time and distance.
 
Schedule exercise like you would a business meeting. You don’t cancel on your colleagues or clients, so don’t cancel on yourself. Make it a priority, and your brain will benefit!
 
Exercise is only one part of staying healthy and balanced. Make sure to sign-up for my newsletter, Enriching Your Life, to stay up-to-date on new findings that impact your health and wellness. Simply enter your information in the box on the left to start receiving your copy.

Read more on my website: Holistic Health.

Take a Deep Breath – You’ll Feel Better

Monday, July 10, 2017


Woman sitting on park bench relaxingWhen you were a kid, did your parents tell you to take long, deep breaths to help calm you down when you were upset?  As an adult, you may have noticed that popular practices like meditation, yoga and mindfulness, incorporate deep breathing. Even if you’ve never consciously thought about it, do you find yourself controlling your breathing when trying to combat anger or anxiety?

Why is concentrated deep breathing such a big deal? Our breathing patterns do much more than simply keep us alive. Here are just a few of the things deep breathing can do for you:

  • Strengthen the immune system and detoxify the body

  • Relieve pain

  • Reduce stress and blood pressure

  • Strengthen abdominal and intestinal muscles

  • Aid in healthy sleep patterns

  • Increase energy levels

It is fascinating to see how the different systems in our minds and bodies are so intertwined. Deep breathing releases endorphins, those feel-good, natural painkillers created by your own body. When practicing deep breathing, the movement of the diaphragm helps remove toxins from the organs, promoting better blood flow. Better blood flow and deeper breaths mean more oxygen coursing through the body. Oxygen provides energy, so that increase in oxygen in your body equates to a higher energy level for you!

Why is it that taking a deep breath is so effective in relieving stress and anxiety? Researchers recently conducted a study on mice (check out the New York Times write-up on the research study) that showed taking deep breaths is calming because it doesn’t activate the neurons that communicate with the brain’s arousal center. In contrast, shorter, shallower breaths activate neurons that throw the brain into a state of anxiety.

Breathing slowly and mindfully, activates the hypothalamus, connected to the pituitary gland in the brain, to send out chemicals that inhibit stress-producing hormones and trigger a relaxation response in the body. Hormones are also secreted that decrease blood pressure and heart rate.

Are you ready to start breathing deeply now? As simple as it sounds, breathing mindfully takes practice. When under stress, we often take shallow breaths, not using our full lung capacity.

You want to breathe from your diaphragm. Try this exercise:

Sit up straight and place your hands on your belly, just above your belly button. Let your fingertips touch lightly. Exhale fully through your mouth. Breath in deeply through your nose and into your belly, so your fingertips start to spread apart. Hold your breath for two to five seconds. Exhale slowly through your mouth. Match the length of the inhale with the length of the exhale. Continue breathing in this manner for five to ten minutes.


Try to practice your breathing technique daily. The secret is simply to breathe, deeply and often. In addition, focusing on your breathing during physical activities, such as exercise, can help you become more mindful of your body.

Sometimes you need more than deep breathing to combat your anxiety. I can work with you to reduce your anxiety and get the most out of your life! Please contact my office to set up an appointment.  I have an office in Jantzen Beach where we can meet in person or I offer online therapy for those residing in Oregon or Washington states if that is more convenient for you.


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