4-7-8 Breathe

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Follow these steps to relaxation:

The 4-7-8 (or Relaxing Breath) Exercise

This exercise is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercise. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.

  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
  • Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
  • Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
  • This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.This exercise is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. Unlike tranquilizing drugs, which are often effective when you first take them but then lose their power overtime, this exercise is subtle when you first try it but gains in power with repetition and practice. Do it at least twice a day. You cannot do it too frequently. Do not do more than four breaths at one time for the first month of practice. Later, if you wish, you can extend it to eight breaths. If you feel a little lightheaded when you first breathe this way, do not be concerned; it will pass.
  • Once you develop this technique by practicing it every day, it will be a very useful tool that you will always have with you. Use it whenever anything upsetting happens – before you react. Use it whenever you are aware of internal tension. Use it to help you fall asleep. This exercise cannot be recommended too highly. Everyone can benefit from it.
  • Note that you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time. Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation. The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important. If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.The 4-7-8 (or Relaxing Breath) Exercise

    This exercise is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercise. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.

    • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
    • Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
    • Hold your breath for a count of seven.
    • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
    • This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.This exercise is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. Unlike tranquilizing drugs, which are often effective when you first take them but then lose their power overtime, this exercise is subtle when you first try it but gains in power with repetition and practice. Do it at least twice a day. You cannot do it too frequently. Do not do more than four breaths at one time for the first month of practice. Later, if you wish, you can extend it to eight breaths. If you feel a little lightheaded when you first breathe this way, do not be concerned; it will pass.
    • Once you develop this technique by practicing it every day, it will be a very useful tool that you will always have with you. Use it whenever anything upsetting happens – before you react. Use it whenever you are aware of internal tension. Use it to help you fall asleep. This exercise cannot be recommended too highly. Everyone can benefit from it.
    • Note that you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time. Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation. The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important. If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.

 

 

 

 

Mindful of the January Darkness

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January can be a tough month in the northern hemisphere. It is dark, can be cold, as it is as I write and wet which it has been considerably over the last few weeks.

We also challenge ourselves, perhaps a little too harshly, with commitments to resolutions that maybe are a bit too much of a stretch to achieve.So we give up on them, blame ourselves and dwell on the gloominess of January.

Now I can do nothing about the weather  but I can make realistic changes about how I feel about it. Nothing is forever even January and Winter will pass, bringing Spring and brighter days and weather.

Every sorrow has a new beginning, every day a dawn beyond the darkness. Hope is always in abundance as we focus on being mindful of the little things that reminds us we are alive. We may not all have the power to change the lives of many but we all the power of One to change something in ourselves.

Be the light in your life that brings life to light.

 

Book Review :Mindfulness and Hypnosis –The Power of Suggestion to Transform Experience

I would just like to share my book review I wrote for my association. It’s good  to share.

Mindfulness and Hypnosis –The Power of Suggestion to Transform Experience

Author: Michael D. Yapko, PhD    Published by: W.W.Norton&Company Ltd. In 2011

Dr Yapko has written an intriguing account where he endeavours to bridge the gap between guided mindfulness meditation (GMM) and clinical hypnosis. Suggesting that despite the difference of backgrounds, they are essentially two halves of the same walnut drawing on shared experiential and suggestion-based approaches with focussed attention paramount to both GMM and hypnosis.

However whereas GMM has found considerable support and recognition in health and mental wellbeing settings (perhaps due to both its original Buddhist roots and clinical research highlighting its effectiveness); clinical hypnosis struggles to attain a similar standing as it still suffers from both the historic and modern sham practitioners and populist misconceptions of stage and entertainment shows.

Nonetheless, Yapko goes to considerable length to dissect and analyse GMM transcripts to highlight the hypnosis content, such as direct and indirect suggestions. Although his comparative account may be somewhat reductionist to the meditation process implying it is a form of hypnosis and perhaps misses the spiritual point and unique values of meditation to the individual.

Despite this Yapko makes a valid point that the label is not what is important, it is the process and outcome that counts. Therefore, through his well-structured composition, drawing on both scientific evidence and clinical judgement, Yapko provides the reader an opportunity to utilise different strategies to engage with clients and broaden both clinician and client resources towards greater attunement.

On a personal note, I found the book interesting, as I required some information about GMM to help me deliver mindfulness sessions in CUH Temple Street. I wanted to deliver these sessions with a hypnotic content and this book certainly helped justify my approach to the sessions highlighting the common ground hypnosis and GMM share. It also provided me with a plethora of excellent reference sources, which have been useful in expanding my knowledge of GMM and in the delivery of the hypnotic mindfulness sessions.

I would certainly recommend this book as an invaluable addition to any therapist’s library or indeed to anyone with an interest in GMM / Hypnosis.

Are you 1 in 3 or 1 in 9?

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As we approach World Mental Health Day on Saturday 10th October , please let me share some Irish mental health facts and 10 tips to boost your mental health resistance.

1 in 3 who attend a family doctor have a mental health aspect to their medical problem.

By the age of 65 1 in 9 will spend some time in mental health care.

10 tips to boost your mental health resistance;

  1. Have the courage to be imperfect
  2. Take time out for yourself
  3. Sign up for that course, join that club
  4. Be active everyday in as many ways as you can
  5. Spend time with people who make you feel good
  6. Laugh out loud each day
  7. Get a good nights sleep
  8. Share the work-load, get everyone involved
  9. Try to be positive and focus on things you can control
  10. Talk about your troubles and seek help early

Take care and do what you can one step at a time.

Mental heath week. Depression and Diet – 3 Brain Facts

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Did you know the brain is made up of around 40% fat.The brain cells need to maintain their structures, therefore an adequate supply of unsaturated fat is needed to maintain health. Olive oil or rapeseed oil is best for cooking. Nuts and seeds for snacks.

Also did you know unlike any other organ the brain cannot use fat or protein as fuel – it can only use glucose. Therefore a steady supply of carbohydrates (which are broken down in the body to produce blood glucose) throughout the day is essential. Aim to eat little and often.

Tryptophan is one of the building blocks of protein and studies have shown that it can improve the mood of those suffering with depression. Therefore fill one third of your plate with protein ( fresh meat, fish, eggs , milk , low fat cheese, nuts, seeds, lentils and beans are all good sources).

Taking care of your body also helps take care of your mind. Relax and enjoy.