“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”Mother Teresa
Living in an era of ‘more’, grandiose actions and spectacles as well as promotion of the law of the jungle (the survival of the fittest) we are progressively losing attention to the little, every day things.
That partially leads to prolonged stress as we remain in a constant ‘fight & flight’ mode increasing the production of stress hormones and further supressing the ‘rest & digest ‘activity of our nervous system. On top of that it strips away the power we have to help and empower ourselves.
So no more big words and straight to the little things!
The Breath of Life!
( I know that I said ‘no more big words’ but I couldn’t help it!)
Breathing is one of the most fundamental functions of both our physical and psychologicalaspects of health. Several studies have shown not only how improper breathing (shallow, quick, chest breathing) can how it can lead to chronic stress but also perpetuate it. On the other end of the scale much research has been focused on the therapeutic merits of breathing. It can effectively reverse the deleterious effects of stress. Additionally it gives a rhythmic massage to the internal organs (helping with digestion and elimination) and helps to regulate the cavity pressures of the body.
Breathing is also a very powerful way for the body to regulate its pH (the level of acidity-alkalinity) – ever thought about why hyperventilating people need to breath in to a bag to reverse the shock?
So, a very simple and quick exercise you can do to re-educate your body and mind to be aware of appropriate breathing is to lie on your back, put one hand on your belly and one on your chest and make sure that only the belly hand is moving up and down with your breath. It might be slightly difficult to begin with but it definitely gets easier quickly. That will also make you more aware of your breath generally as improper breathing will stand out a lot easier.
Everyone knows that posture is immensely important for the movement and function of the bones and muscles and progressively more people are becoming aware of its effects to the internal organs.
Same as above its directly linked with psychology and lot information about someone can be obtained by the way the hold their bodies.
What can you do to remind yourself on day-to-day basis is:
- Start from the top down! Looking at screens all the time predisposes us to allow the head to fall forward, forcing the neck muscles to over work and strain themselves as well as to potentially compress nerves either at the top of the neck or the bottom going to the upper extremities. So all you need to do is to tuck your chin in, ever so slightly, like you’re trying to make a double chin. That will automatically make the body to readjust the upper back to accommodate this demand. It will probably be tiring at the beginning as your muscles have weakened over time due to the lack of use but, like breathing, it will become progressively easier.
- Computer work: Follow the rule of the 90s! That is to say 90 degree angles (right angles). So when you are sitting working on your computer adjust your working area so you will have 90 degrees on your hips, elbows, straight back and ideally have the screen on eye level. Maybe consider investing into a kneeling chair which will help you to maintain a straighter back and prevent from overly compressing your discs.
- When your lifting things from the floor but also from the trunk of your car try to be aware of your back and avoid doing the lifting from the back. Use your legs, bent down from the hips and keep the back straight, or at least as straight as you can. When you’re lifting incorrectly not only you’re increasing the pressure in the discs up to 300%, if standing is 100% pressure, but also you’re putting an extra load on the muscles as they lose their optimal leverage, which in turn compresses the joints.
The Art of Eating
Digestion of your food has started from the very moment it enters the mouth. Not only the biggest part of the mechanical breakdown of food happens there but the action of salivary enzymes starts breaking down the food further.
So don’t rush eating!!! Besides the very well known benefit of eating slower, weight control as you don’t over eat as easily, it also plays an important role in preparing the food for easier and more effective digestion and absorption. That includes smoothies and nutri bullets etc., make sure that you do not swallow the semi liquid substance straight away but chew it 5-6 times so it gets the benefit of the salivary enzymes.