Some breathing practice

Here are some useful methods to improve your breathing.

  1. Pursed lips

According to the Cleveland Clinic, pursed lip breathing has a range of benefits:

  • Improves ventilation
  • Releases trapped air in the lungs
  • Keeps the airways open longer and decreases the work of breathing
  • Prolongs exhalation to slow the breathing rate
  • Improves breathing patterns by moving old air out of the lungs and allowing for new air to enter the lungs
  • Relieves shortness of breath
  • Causes general relaxation

Practicing this technique 4 to 5 times each day  can help.

  • Keep your mouth closed, and take a deep breath through your nose hold for 2 seconds
  • Put your lips together and blow through them. (some say like a whistle, but don’t whistle. It’s annoying.) This is known as “pursing” your lips.
  • While continuing to keep your lips pursed, slowly breathe out by counting to 4. Don’t try to force the air out, but instead breathe out slowly through your mouth.

2) CO-ORDINATED BREATHING

Co-ordinated breathing uses 2 steps:

  • Inhale through your nose before beginning an exercise.
  • While pursing your lips, breathe out through your mouth during the most strenuous part of an exercise.

 

3) DEEP BREATHING

Deep breathing flushes your lungs and makes sure you have  expelled all that dank horrible air that been skulking in the outer reaches of  chest.  You  can now  breathe in more fresh air, accept if you are in London, where its packed full of pollution.

Here’s how to practice deep breathing:

  • Sit or stand with your elbows slightly back. This allows your chest to expand more fully, but you are still breathing through your Diaphragm.
  • Inhale deeply through your nose.
  • Hold your breath as you count to 5.
  • Release the air via a slow, deep exhale, through your nose, until you feel your inhaled air has been released.

 

4)THE DIAPHRAGMATIC BREATHING

The diaphragm is an important muscle involved in the work of breathing. People with breathing “issues” tend to rely more on the accessory muscles of the neck, shoulders, and back to breathe, rather than on the diaphragm. Diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing helps to retrain this muscle to work more effectively. Here’s how to do it:

  • While sitting or lying down with your shoulders relaxed, put a hand on your chest and place the other hand on your tummy
  • Breath in through your nose for 2 seconds, feeling your tummy move upwards. You’re doing the activity correctly if your stomach moves more than your chest.
  • Purse your lips and breathe out slowly through your mouth, pressing lightly on your stomach. This will enhance your diaphragm’s ability to release air.
  • Repeat the exercise as you are able to.

 

Get stuff done

One of the hardest things is making your day productive rather than being sucked into  a fire storm of trivia and interruptions.

Whilst life makes it difficult to detail your plan every day, its probably as well to get some targets and tasks set the night before.

The Lee Harvey Method is worth considering. Its stupidly simple and basic

  1. At the end of today,  write down the six most important things you need to do tomorrow.  Nothing more.  6 only.
  2. Put  those six items in order of their  real  importance.
  3. Tomorrow focus and finish the 1st task . Finish it.
  4. Then move on to the second task, finish it. Any tasks let, carry them forward till tomorrow
  5. Revisit this process every working day.

Food shopping: start on the high street

I have this terribly ambivalent relationships with shops. I passionately want to buy food from quaint market stalls, but frequently end up  buying second class ” fruit and  veg” from  stalls that  are obviously not as good quality as  Tesco or other bigger stores. Sure it looks cheaper, but its normally on the turn and everytime I shop at my corner shop, or a small stall, I regret it. Everytime. ( I think its a family trait that we think we are getting  a bargin)

foodies rightly praise all sorts of small shops. But Let me make it clear that there is nothing in the word “small” that guarantees quality or good service

The nasty thing is, that everytime I shop at Tesco, I seem to get very good fresh food at quite good prices. No one is anxiously  trying to palm rotting stuff off on me. ( In the late 1970′s I was a student green grocer for a holiday Job. It was your job to  distribute the rotten food among the good to get ride of it)  Im passionately in favour of small enterprises, but that was always on the basis that they could actually supply extra quality: Many small food outlets dont deliver this quality. Obviously I love properly organised farmers markets, and who hasnt fallen in love with
Bries pickles.

Sure, Tesco, and the big supermarket world, should be told off for selling row upon row of what we would call “rubbish”, but for the range of meats, fresh fruit and vegetables, its very, very ,useful.  I do disapprove of the fact they deliver stuff, I think you should go down and  suffer with the rest of us, but thats probably just my age. But then  isn’t  every shop is just a phone  call to a cab company away from  a home delivery service. after all, even the unbearably trendy Abel and Cole deliver!

So we have to get our better quality food, and if you have the time , its great to visit a farmers market, or   a recommended small shop ( or specialist pickle supplier). But don’t overlook the big superstore, especially if it gets you eating better, now.

Getting on the zone or paleo can be difficult enough in the early stages without specialist shopping trips. When you become a fully fledged foodie, and waft around London sampling delicious stuff, it will be great, but for now  if you are in an overstressed, over taxing Job  just  fighting to find 15 minutes a day to prepare food, start with the  big shops you know.

Don’t critisize

Benjamin Franklin’s secret of success was this. “I will speak ill of no man and speak all the good I know of everybody”

In short any fool can criticise, condemn and complain -and most fools do.

So Mindwod followers, we need you to develop the self control and character  to be understanding and forgiving as “a great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men” ( Carlyle)

Commit to  understand people rather than condemning them. Figure out why they do things , Its actually far more intriguing than simply criticising, and it “breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness”

The problem with criticism is that it often pushes people into being defensive. People are not logical: they are bundles of emotions, with prejudices fuelled by pride and vanity. They often cannot see their own short comings. Dale Carnegie quotes Warden Lawes “few of the criminals in sing sing regard themselves as bad men… most attempt by a form of reasoning , fallacious or logical , to justify their anti-social acts”

The simple fact is that you will find numerous examples of the futility of criticism  throughout history. It simply does not work .

Wanting to help people change is a great aim, but, start with yourself.  As confucius said ” don’t complain abut the snow on your neighbours roof when your own doorstep is unclean”

Todays MindWOD task is to reflect on this.

Thanks to Dale Carnegie and his book “how to win friends and influence people”

Being spiritual doesn’t mean you are a push over

A few days ago, I asked you to think about the issue of not criticising others. It makes you mean, and rarely helps the receiver

As an example, Carnegie cites a letter Lincoln wrote to a general who disobeyed his orders during the Civil War. Here’s a snippet:

“I do not believe you appreciate the magnitude of the misfortune involved in Lee’s escape. He was within your easy grasp, and to have closed upon him would, in connection with our other late successes, have ended the war. As it is, the war will be prolonged indefinitely. If you could not safely attack Lee last Monday, how can you possibly do so South of the river, when you can take with you very few more than two thirds of the force you then had in hand? It would be unreasonable to expect, and I do not expect you can now effect much. Your golden opportunity is gone, and I am distressed immeasureably because of it.”

Clearly, this is  harsh, even  personal.

But the lesson we have  offer is a simple one. The lesson is that Lincoln never sent the letter. It was found among his papers after his death.

Carnegie speculated upon Lincoln’s motive for not sending the letter

“Maybe I ought not to be so hasty. It is easy enough for me to sit here in the quiet of the White House and order Meade to attack; but if I had been up at Gettysburg, and if I had seen as much blood as Meade has seen during the last week, and if my ears had been pierced with the screams and shrieks of the wounded and dying, maybe I wouldn’t be so anxious to attack either. If I had Meade’s timid temperament, perhaps I would have done just what he had done. Anyhow, it is water under the bridge now. If I send this letter, it will relieve my feelings, but it will make Meade try to justify himself. It will make him condemn me. It will arouse hard feelings, impair all his further usefulness as a commander, and perhaps force him to resign from the army.”.

Never the less, after this incident, Mead was closely supervised by Ulysses S Grant. Lincoln didn’t vent his spleen, but he also took action.

MindWod, genuine spirituality and genuine humanity does not mean taking without question whatever the people around you dish out. It means making an effort to understand and solve problems, and not  just to pander to  your knee jerk temper because  its easy.

Mindwod, after reflection,will  require you to be assertive. Sometimes being assertive means closing relations down, asking partners and friends who are bad for you to move on. Sometimes it means taking action that others don’t like.

Remember,  for all his  “coolness”  Lincoln’s  was involved in a bloody conflict.

What I would like to say is this: honour, mindfulness, humanity is your gift to yourself: if someone preaches mindfulness and positivity and immediately links it with a political movement, a business proposition or  a religious idea , maybe treat the messenger with caution.

Give money to charity? Why

Do you want to give some money to charity? Really. Why?

Is it that you want to help some one. Well, I hate to  be horrible why not  go and help someone!

Localise your philanthropy. Start by simply helping others directly.

Some novel ideas

1) talk to your partner ( or mum and dad, or child: all of them) are they ok, do they need help?

2) do you have a work colleague or a subordinate who is being swamped at work?

3) is there a neighbour who needs some shopping, a hedge cutting, whatever?

Are you too busy trying to find people to help that you don’t actually  see those who are in front of you  who need your help,

Everyone you talk to , professionally or socially or who makes your coffee or runs your stuff through the till, or whatever, needs your  genuine charity. Money is just an organiser and a medium of exchange. It often means that you can feel good about yourself because you bought the moment;

Try giving real  love,  compassion, consideration and humanity.

More Placebo, less con

In the old days, drug companies used to test their new fanged expensive products against  a PLACEBO.

According to wikipedia  placebo  “is a simulated or otherwise medically ineffectual treatment for a disease or other medical condition intended to deceive the recipient. Sometimes patients given a placebo treatment will have a perceived or actual improvement in a medical condition, a phenomenon commonly called the placebo effect or placebo response. The placebo effect consists of several different effects woven together, and the methods of placebo administration may be as important as the administration itself”.

These days its often not. I think the drug companies got miffed that their new fangled ( very expensive drug) only got 1 or 2 % better results than a sugar pill.

Very annoying if your corporate mission is to screw cash out of our NHS.

The reality is that getting our body to believe it can be cured has remarkable effects. Let’s face it, often the body cures itself, with no outside help from the drug companies what so ever.

Often “cures” like Reiki, magnets,  supplements  are raved about on social media.

Clearly, these things  have no physical effect (as yet, discoverable). Adding less than .001%  extra  glucosamine to the bodies natural store of  glucosamine really wont cure your shoulder issues.  A deluded fanatic holding their hands 2 inches from your shoulder thinking happy thoughts  wont apply any physical effect to fix your shoulder

But clearly, things like this actually work. Amulets don’t stop bullets, but give one to a boy  soldier  (add  a few tokes of a good spliff  and  a motivational speech:obviously) and they will charge  people firing machine guns at them.

People believe the weirdest things.

That placeboes work is beyond doubt. They often work well as pain relief, because often , after 2 or 3 weeks, pain is no longer an indication of the state of the tissue. Its simply an alarm bell that continues to ring because we don’t know how to switch it off. Ever heard of the guy whose amputated leg still hurts????

People in pain, often feel no pain after placebo  “treatment”

Anything that rallies your subconscious into believing that a wrist band, or blue socks, or vitamin C, or an evangelical prayer will cure cancer, or improve performance ,is probably worth trying out as long as  its only  £10 (ish) or less.

I guarantee you that somewhere, someone, has been cured by a wrist band, or blue socks, or vitamin C, or an evangelical prayer. Ive  cured people like this myself !

I have one plea.

If you respond to placeboes, try and find a cheap one to respond to.

Believe that drinking a glass of tap water  cures pain, or that  touching  trees gives you healing powers. Believe that by simply adding your ailment to the comments below, our online community will send out universal love and fix it .

Try not to believe that a racoon paw improves  virility , or that a Panda’s big toe cures aids.  The animals concerned are rather fond  of the bit remaining on their body just as it is. Thank you

That said, sometimes the most effective  placebo is you spending lots of money and getting lots of attention!

Ce la vie

Ofcourse this is nothing but a shoddy advertorial for me as a personal trainer …………..but dont you feel better already