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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Stressing out

It has been one week since my unexpected visit to the emergency room due to an episode of extremely high blood pressure. After tests, no reason could be found for this happening and my primary care person simply increased my BP medication and suggested, "Don't worry. Do I look worried?". My answer was, "You never look worried!" A couple of days later a friend shared advice from her doctor which was: take your reading once a day and forget about it, which I have been doing this week. It has been staying in the same range, but higher than I would like it to be. I am trying to take the attitude that it is what it is- for now. I have a follow-up appointment in a month.

Not knowing whether the unusual problem is being caused by something physical or mental is in turn causing me stress. It is easy to take a pill as a band aide, but I want to know what is going on. Realizing that the stress isn't helping one little bit I looked back at my research on the subject to see what I can do to help stay calm. Besides drinking more water, walking etc. I have been concentrating on breathing exercises. I know I have shared the following information in the past, but I thought I would do it again in the hope that it can help someone else.

Exercise #1 (4-7-8)

Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper teeth and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth and around your tongue. Exhale completely through your mouth. Close your mouth and inhale through your nose to a mental count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 7. Exhale through your mouth for a count of 8. Repeat the sequence 3 more times.

Exercise #2 (breath counting)

Gently close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Breathe naturally, quiet and slow. Count 1 to yourself as you exhale. The next time you exhale count 2 and so on up to 5. Then begin a new cycle. Try to do this exercise for 10 minutes.

A fun exercise from a friend is "take three breaths, say something nice about yourself, smile and take another breath." You can keep going until you run out of nice things to say about yourself!

Another friend shared this wonderful quote from a yoga master: "Inhale and God approaches you. Hold the inhalation and God remains with you. Exhale and you approach God. Hold the exhalation and surrender to God."

I also found this appropriate piece written by Leo Babauta: "Breathe. Breathing can transform your life. If you feel stressed out and overwhelmed, breathe. It will calm and release the tensions."

One last quote from the book The Road by Cormac McCarthy, "The breath of God was his breath, yet though it pass from man to man through all time."

That's all I have to offer today dear readers, I'm off to breathe and hopefully stop stressing out!

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