Posts tagged #anxiety

Take time to Breathe

sunset waves sand sun summer beach.jpg

When I opened my therapy business ten years ago in Kidderminster I wanted a name that conveyed my intention to offer people a time and space away from the pressures of life. I chose Breathe Holistic Therapy to present my intention to give clients an opportunity to simply take a breather.  I know how important it was for everyone to take time out both emotionally and physically. 

Reflexology is a wonderful way to allow yourself time to breathe, but there are ways to introduce this into daily life.

There are many breathing techniques that can allow your mind and body to become calmer. This is a very useful way of lowering the stress response and helping to counteract the negative effects of stress both physically and emotionally.  On a recent visit to Kidderminster hospital i found a fantastic leaflet on breathing techniques. This information was aimed at children but the exercises can be brilliant for both adults and children alike. I know it is obvious but please only do these techniques when it is safe to focus on your breathing.

Bumblebee Breathing

This technique can best be used when you are in a quite private space.  Sit comfortably and gently place the tips of your index fingers in your ears. Allow your eyes to close but don't squeeze them shut. Breathe in through your nose and then gently hum as you slowly breathe out. Repeat this as many times as you choose. 

Shoulder Roll Breathing

Choose  a comfortable sitting position where you can focus on your breathe for a few minutes. Take a slow deep breathe in and raise your shoulders up towards your ears. As you breathe out gently lower your shoulders back down. Repeat this movement slowly with each breathe rolling your shoulders up and down.  Many people find diaphragm breathing difficult at first as we more often breathe with our upper chest. This technique allows you to continue this whilst also promoting calm. 

Tummy Breathing

Lie on the floor and place your hands on your stomach. If you are doing this exercise with a child they can place a small stuffed toy on their tummy. Breathe in deeply and feel your belly rise then feel it lower as you breathe out. This encourages diaphragm breathing which acts physiologically to reduce the stress response and promote the calmer section of the nervous system.

Balloon Breathing

Sit comfortably and place your hands gently around your mouth as if you are about to blow up an invisible balloon. Take a comfortably deep breath in and as you slowly exhale start to spread out your hands as if you are holding a great big balloon.  Hold your hands in position as you continue to exhale until your balloon is as big as it can be. Breathe normally as you gently sway from side to side and release your balloon up into the sky. 

With all breathing techniques it is important that you feel comfortable. For some any alteration to your natural breathing can feel difficult and almost cause you to feel short of breathe. This can be more common if you have a chronic lung condition. If you have any long term health problems speak to your health care provider about which exercises may be best for you.

 

 

Posted on March 15, 2018 and filed under reflexology, stress management, mindfulness.

Coping with Challenges using Reflexology and Hypnotherapy

My clients often say I must be the most chilled out relaxed person as I have so many techniques at my fingertips. In some ways that is true, I am far more relaxed than I was before I began to use complementary therapies, but life still throws challenges at even the calmest people!

During the last few weeks I have taken on a number of challenges, some by choice and others have arrived uninvited! I have to admit despite my love for holistic therapies my knee jerk reaction is often panic and fear just as it always has been. The difference is now I can eventually take a step back and use some of the wonderful techniques open to me.

My first challenges was updating my website to ensure it was compatible with mobile devices. I am not a techy person so my first reaction when I learnt I needed to do this was panic and anxiety. I had a very sleepless night before I took a moment to step back and calm down. I often talk to my clients about using the support networks around them, so many of us believe we have to cope alone. After getting advice from some techy friends I felt my website mountain was not such an impossible climb. I also took time out to use some confidence boosting self hypnosis and some mindfulness to encourage  kindness to myself. Gradually I began to enjoy the challenge and although there are still some things to iron out I am proud of myself for rising to the challenge. 

The next challenge was one I had chosen to embark on. Last year I tried twice to complete a 'leap of faith', this entails climbing up a tall post, standing on a small platform and jumping off ( you have safety equipment on of course!). I was so frustrated that twice i had reached the top and twice I had failed to stand up. I was determined to succeed this time. I used EFT to prepare myself for the task along with using the power of my imagination to really see myself succeeding. These both helped me to believe I could do it. And i did it!  The pride I felt was immense and I hope I've saved that feeling firmly in my memory to call on whenever I need a boost.

Leap of Faith at Condover Hall 2014...I couldn't stand up on the platform.

Leap of Faith at Condover Hall 2014...I couldn't stand up on the platform.

My third challenge was not something I chose at all. With a simple sneeze I damaged my back and have spent a frustrating week with little mobility and a fair dose of pain. As usual I spent the first day or so completely forgetting about the resources I have to help myself. After getting checked by my GP to ensure I hadn't seriously damaged any nerves etc I began using reflexology to help myself. Reaching my feet was hard at first so I just enjoyed some relaxing warm foot soaks with calming essential oils. Once I could finally get my hands on my feet I was shocked by how much tenderness I found. My spine and hip reflexes were all very painful but I did feel the discomfort was worth it.  I felt an improvement in my movement although I am still a long way off full mobility.  I also tackled my frustration with daily mindfulness meditation. This really has kept me grounded and held my annoyance at bay.

Challenges can be chosen or land in your laps when you least expect them. I wanted to share how a therapist copes with difficulties because I believe it is important for my clients to know two things 

  1. I am human just like them and I can be completely daunted by life's difficulties and feel that I do not have the ability to rise to the challenge
  2. After my panic passes I do practice what I preach because I believe truly in all the therapies I provide.

Chicken or the egg? Negative thoughts... negative feelings... Which come first?

Experiencing stress and anxiety can lead to the distressing physical feelings .... That makes coping hard enough but there are also the frightening negative thoughts to contend with too. 

We can misinterpret the physical side effects of anxiety and find ourselves adopting unhelpful thinking patterns.  These negative thoughts then fuel the negative feelings... and on the cycle can go until you can completely loose sight of how this all started...

The trigger is biology!

A biological reaction to real or perceived danger, the fight or flight response. This stress and anxiety cycle is not a reflection on the individual, on their lives or their abilities, it is biology!!!

To break the cycle first identify the worrying thought patterns. Here are some examples:

All or nothing thinking : " I made a mistake.. I'm useless and never do anything right"

Personalisation : " Its all my fault "

Subjectification : believing bad situations reflect on you  rather than being just a bad/ difficult  event.

Catastrophising : believing one small problem will inevitably ruin everything else.

But of course everyone is individual and you may find some that relate to you and some that don't.  Changing these distressing unhelpful thought patterns is not always easy but it is absolutely possible. try to question those automatic negative thoughts...ask yourself..." Is that true"... " what would I say to my friend if they said this?"... " what are the alternatives?" continue to question the damaging thoughts.

Sometimes just distracting yourself with something mundane can help interrupt the cycle enough for you to see clearly again. Maybe count backwards in 3s or repeat a calming word silently to yourself over and over.  If you struggle with stress and anxiety trying to tackle it can seem like a mountain to climb, but take small steps and you can begin to develop stress management skills and overcome your anxiety.

 

Trying to address stress and anxiety yourself is a positive move, but if you feel your stress and anxiety is intense, long lasting and causing problems do speak to your health care provider for help and advise.

For Reflexology in Treatments Kidderminster. Please contact Jo 0753 1121199

Posted on July 13, 2010 and filed under stress management.

Stress Management - Back to basics.... breathe....

I have been studying some different forms of stress management over the past few weeks, such as holistic massage. There are many effective techniques available but what has struck me is the importance of one essential thing .... taking time to breathe!

Breathe holistic therapy was born out of this central aim to help my clients find their own time to breathe and relax, hence the name!   Revisiting stress management and overcoming anxiety this week has reminded me of the power of calm controlled deep breathing.

If you feel yourself getting stressed, try to halt those feelings in their tracks by taking deep comfortable breaths. Start by inhaling for three seconds, then exhale for a little longer. Continue this for several breaths until you feel calmer.  To help the process try to think only of the breaths

..... in....  out .... in ..... out .....

Then as you breathe out imagine you are breathing away the stress and anxiety, think about letting go of  the tension with every out breath.  This may sound too simple to work, but the effect of basic breathing exercises can be profound. Give it a try and find your time to breathe!

As always, if you are concerned about your health please do seek medical advice.

 

Posted on March 22, 2010 and filed under stress management.