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The Eldercare Advocate: A Calmer You; A Path to A Healthier You

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The Eldercare Advocate: A Calmer You; A Path to A Healthier You

A calmer mind can help you respond to stressful situations in a way that is less harmful to your body. There is even research which indicates that the stress one experiences may play a role in one’s hair turning gray

There is evidentiary research that becoming calmer and achieving inner peace has powerful benefits on overall health and wellness. There are many ways and practices to help on the path to achieving an improved level of calm but one of the simplest is breathing.

Breathing is an autonomic nervous system response that is controlled by the respiratory center in an area at the base of the brain. We do not have to consciously control our breathing; it is an involuntary function. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t have the ability to control it. We actually CAN control our breathing. In doing so we can use it as a valuable tool to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety which in turn can help us feel more calm. Thus, breathing exercises can be beneficial to your mental and physical wellbeing.

There are even those that believe that merely being around a person who has achieved inner peace can have a positive impact on their own mood or level of calm. This is reflected in the statement: “the tension was so thick you can cut it with a knife”. This implies that that one is able to feel the tension in the environment which can cause a heightened response in our own body and influence our behavior. Thus, it stands to reason, that being around a person who is more calm can help inspire a feeling of calm within ourselves.

There are a variety of breathing techniques that you can practice to help you achieve a greater feeling of inner calm or peace.

1.  Abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing is the basis of all breathing exercises. Did you ever notice that when a baby sleeps their abdomen moves up and down? Did you ever notice that when you are laying down, in the most relaxed position, when you breathe your abdomen goes up and down.This is because this is how the body’s optimal brething functioning. It is the deepest form of breathing, when the most breath completely fills our lungs and every cell in our body becomes oxygenated.

To begin, sit down in a comfortable position, put one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Take a deep breath in through your nose. If done correctly the diaphragm will inflates fully so that air goes to completely fill the our triangle shaped lungs all the way to their base. The breath should push the hand on the stomach out, while the other hand on the chest does not move. Try setting aside time 10 minutes each day to using this technique to take six to ten slow, deep breaths per minute for approximately ten minutes. You may experience immediate benefits such as a reduced heart rate and/or blood pressure level. After regularly practicing this for six to eight weeks you may see other advantages. This technique can beneficial if utilized prior to stress causing events.

2.  A Basic Calming Breath involves initially taking a long, slow breath in through your nose, first filling your lower lungs, then your upper lungs, holding the breath for a count of “three” and then slowly exhaling through pursed lips while you simultaneously think about relaxing the muscles of your face, jaw, shoulders and stomach.

3.  Dr. Andrew Weil, the founder and director of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, is a proponent of the 4-7-8 breathing technique also known as “relaxing breath”. The technique is as follows: breathe in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds and exhale for 8 seconds. Focusing on long deep controlled breaths in a specific rhythm is also a core practice of many meditation and yoga practices which also promote relaxation. The scientific evidence supporting this technique is limited; however, individual people have reported that achieving this type of rhythmic breathing has helped them reduce anxiety thereby creating a sense of relaxation which leads to sleep. Achieving an inner calm obviously helps us in reducing our anger responses as well. How many times have we heard the expression “count to 10’ before we respond. This is meant to serve the same purpose. Paired with purposeful, controlled breathing, this can go a long way to helping us achieve inner calm and respond more favorably to a variety of challenging situations that we all face whether in our personal or work lives/environments.

4.  Alternate Nostril breathing is a yogic practice of breath control which has been demonstrated to be beneficial. In 2016, Vogue magazine declared “Breathing Is the New Yoga”, which is the primary technique in the Art of Living’s Happiness Program known as Sudarshan Kriya which we know as meditation. There are over 65 independent studies which show that Sudarshan Kriya is effective in reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol, increases mental focus, enhances levels of immunity and decreases depression and anxiety, with quick and lasting effects.

In Sanskrit, Alternate Nostril Breathing is called Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, which translated means “subtle energy clearing breathing technique”. Alternate Nostril Breathing helps calm the mind, reduce anxiety, and bring a feeling of relaxation to the entire body. If performed for just a few minutes, Alternate Nostril Breathing can instantly reduce stress and fatigue, but can also be used to reduce stress before high-stress situations such as job interviews, performances or public speaking events. Some people describe the burst of energy they feel from alternate nostril breathing as similar to the jolt they get after drinking a cup of coffee. This can help you achieve a heightened sense of awareness or help you to be more focused.

Though alternate nostril breathing can be done as part of or is integral to it can also be done as its own practice to help quiet and still your mind. This technique may be helpful for caregivers who can use it to help manage the stresses that often accompany being in that role. You may also find that practicing alternate nostril breathing helps you to be more mindful of the present moment.

An overview of the procedure:

·  Sit in a comfortable position with the spine long and the hips relaxed. Release any tension from your jaw. Close your eyes.

·  Take a deep breath in

·  On an exhalation, take your index finger and close the right nostril and breathe out through the left nostril.

·  Then without moving your finger, breathe in through the left nostril.

·  Then release that finger and take your opposite hand and use your index finger to close the left nostril.

·  Then breathe out through the right nostril.

·  Then Inhale through the right nostril. Release the finger on your left nostril, close the right nostril with your index finger of the opposite hand and breathe out through your left nostril.

·  Repeat the process.

·  These two full breaths are called one round of Alternate Nostril Breath.

·  Perform 5 to 9 rounds of this alternating breath between the nostrils.

·  Remember to always inhale through the same nostril you just exhaled through.

It may take a few tries before you get the coordination of inhaling, exhaling and moving your fingers back and forth between nostrils. This is not unusual so try not to get frustrated. Keep at it and you’ll get it.

Additional interesting information about alternate nostril breathing:

There was a study completed in that found that people who practiced alternate nostril breathing lowered their perceived stress levels.

Yogic breathing practices are also believed to improve lung function and respiratory endurance. This was based on a small study done in 2017 in which the effects of pranayama practice on the lung functions of competitive swimmers was found that it had a positive effect on respiratory endurance.

We know the benefits that lowering your heart rate can have on cardiovascular health. According to a study completed in 2006, engaging in a slow yogic breath such as alternative nostril breathing significantly decreased heart rate and average breathing rhythm. Research from a 2011 study found that an alternative nostril breathing program performed over a period of six weeks had a positive impact on physical and physiological fitness-based performance. The breathing technique was found to have a positive influence on blood pressure, heart rate, and vital capacity.

Additional studies found that different types of yogic breathing could have beneficial effects on neurocognitive, respiratory and metabolic functions as well as  on the nervous system.

Though safe for most people, there are medical conditions in which alternate nostril breathing may be contraindicated. (i.e., COPD, asthma, other heart or lung conditions) In the event you have any of those conditions or concerns, you should consult with your doctor to find out if it is safe for you to practice alternate nostril breathing. As with any other practice, if you experience any adverse affects, such as shortness of breath, lightheadedness, dizziness or nausea while using this technique, you should discontinue immediately.

Life can be stressful for everyone at times. Daily life events, professional and family responsibilities, personal and professional relationships, taking on new roles as a parent, caregiving for a loved one, serious life changing events or medical conditions, the list goes on and on. There is a difference between the stress from immediate short-term situations in which the body releases hormones that are part of a normal physiologic response so it goes into a heightened state of alert so it can react as in the fight or flight response. (i.e., increased breathing and heart rates) That is entirely normal.

However, stress reactions to a variety of other situations can be harmful to our health. Symptoms associated with that type of stress may include anxiety, irritability, depression, insomnia, headaches, muscle pain or tension, fatigue, sleep problems, and changes in general behavior.

Too much stress can also negatively impact general habits and behaviors. It can lead us to make poor food choices and leads to poor exercise habits. Stress can either increase or reduce appetite, most often it increases appetite and the food choices we make under stress tend to be of the more unhealthy variety, sweeter, fattier, higher calorie foods.. Psychologists have related eating to the stressed individual’s need of some manner of control over situations as well as deriving pleasure or some form of comfort.  Professionals have been known to liken eating to smoking; smokers tend to smoke more cigarettes when feeling stressed just as as individuals eat more under the same circumstances. Individuals also tend to feel fatigue or weariness with chronic stress.

Conscious breathing can help you find an inner peace and help you defend against daily frustrations and stress   Once you select a method that is right for you and begin to practice it regularly, not only  in “times of trouble” as the Beatles Song,  you’ll most likely experience a shift in how you are feeling, especially if feeling stress and frustration has been like a constant but unwanted “friend”. You might notice that you’ve become a little more resilient, and approach a variety of situations with a greater sense of peace and relaxation, are less fatigued at the end of the day, have more restful and peaceful sleep and therefore awaken with more energy  and find others responding to you in a more pleasant manner.

Listen to the Jan. 27. 2020  episode of Voices for Eldercare Advocacy  on the Voice America Empowerment Channel for the interview on finding inner peace with someone who has achieved this in his life and helped many others achieve the same by teaching meditation over the past 15 years.



Go With The Flow

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7th Wave

11/18/15 – Go With The Flow

If we are honest, most of us think we have more control over life than we actually do. Join Ariel & Shya Kane in Being Here and discover how to side step stress and frustration when events or people “disrupt” how we think life should be.

Listen Live this Wednesday, November 18th at 9am PST / 12pm EST on the VoiceAmerica 7th Wave Network.

After this Wednesday, you can stream or download this episode and over 400 episodes on a wide variety of topics from our archives here.

You can also subscribe to BEING HERE on iTunes!

The Art of Listening

Posted by Editor on
7th Wave
The Art of Listening


The Art of Listening

An excerpt from How to Create a Magical Relationship, The Three Simple Ideas That Will Instantaneously Transform Your Love Life by Ariel & Shya Kane

We teach courses all over the world and have discovered that whatever the culture, whatever the language, people often don’t really, truly listen. Listening is often perceived as a passive act. The two of us have discovered that when ‘true listening’ is present, satisfying communication is sure to follow. This chapter is devoted to the art of listening. If you discover those things that keep you from listening, you will simultaneously discover many of the things that get in your way in relationships and in day–to–day interactions. If you learn the art of listening, you will become more effective, productive and satisfied in all aspects of your life.

True listening is not something that we have been taught growing up in our families, amongst our friends or in school. True listening requires being in the moment. It also requires letting go of your point of view, your thoughts and your agendas. True listening is an art.

Have you ever examined whether or not you are truly listening? Have you identified what inhibits your ability to actually hear what another is saying with the intention of seeing what he or she means from his or her point of view? What we are talking about here is a self–education program.

First you must have the desire to discover how you listen and how you interact with your life from a non–judgmental point of view. It is not about trying to change or fix what you notice in the self examination of your own behavioral patterns. If you just notice how you are relating to your life, that in itself is enough to complete previously disturbing patterns of behavior. Frequently, there are no other actions needed. This also applies to the way in which you listen, don’t listen or distract yourself from listening.


If a person doesn’t feel heard, then frustration builds and misunderstandings are sure to happen. It requires a degree of openness, however, to actually hear what is being said. There are impediments to truly listening to your partner. People frequently are not open to hear simply because they are already involved in a thought or action. We as human beings can only do one thing at a time, if we expect to do it well. Making sure you have your partner’s attention is the best way to start when you are saying something of importance.



If you are pre–occupied with a thought or something you consider problematic, then you can’t listen because your mind can only hold one thing at a time. If you are worrying about something, then you won’t hear what is being said to you.

Most of us are unaware when we are actually doing something other than listening. We haven’t realized that we are pre–engaged or pre–occupied so that we only partially hear what is being said and that partial hearing is almost always inaccurate.

Have you ever noticed how some people say the same things to you over and over? That is generally because you didn’t really hear them the first time. Since true listening is an active rather than a passive act, it requires your full attention. If you are at all preoccupied while listening to another, they are left with the feeling that they have not been heard. Which is, in fact, true. How could a baseball player catch a ball if they already have a baseball in their mitt? This is essentially what you are trying to do if you are pre–occupied while listening to another. It is as if you are trying to catch a communication while your ‘mitt’ is already full.


When you are in a relationship with someone, after a period of time, you believe that you know this person and that you already know what he or she is going to say. When the first few words come out, you assume you know where it is going. So, in your mind, you fill in the blanks with what you expect to hear and stop listening to what your partner is actually saying. You may be right, most of the time. But there are times when your partner is about to say something else and you are not receptive because you already have the ball in your mitt. Or you may not even hear what is being said because you think you know it already and have already moved on in your thoughts. If so, chances are your partner will feel disregarded.


At this point, we must talk again about the principles of physics, also the second principle of transformation that says: No two things can occupy the same space at the same time. If your mind is already pre–occupied with what you are intending to say when you get your chance, then there is no possibility that you can actually hear what is being said to you. And that is on the most basic level. If you are defending your point of view, then you won’t want to hear what is being said. When you are defending yourself, your mind will manipulate what is being said so that you can disagree, prove it wrong and prove yourself, or your point of view, right.

Have you ever found yourself finding fault with your partner’s use of words or a particular word, rather than allowing yourself to hear the essence of what he or she is saying? Frequently, when people engage in conversation, they are trying to prove that what they believe to be true is true. And so, when we listen to another, we are still holding onto our point of view.



A major inhibitor to listening is one’s agenda. Wanting something when you talk with another person is not a problem, if you are aware of it. For instance, as a sales person, if you get paid a commission for what you sell, obviously you have a preference that potential customers will purchase something. However, if you push to meet your agenda rather than paying attention to your customers’ needs, you are sure to turn people off and lose sales. In effect, going for your agenda often produces the opposite of the desired result.

Please don’t misunderstand. There is nothing wrong with having an agenda. If you want a better relationship or more intimacy, for example, that is not a problem. The problem arises when you are unaware of your agendas and you are mechanically driven to fulfill them. If you are aware of the things you want (or don’t want) then you can hold these preferences in abeyance and actively listen to what your partner has to say.


If your partner is telling you about something you did or didn’t do that upset him or her, if you realize that you couldn’t have done it any differently than you did, it is possible for you to have compassion for yourself. And when we say compassion for yourself we are talking about a state of grace, of forgiveness. Most of us have the mistaken opinion that we could have lived our lives differently than we did, but if you look back, you will see that everything you did in your life has led you to this point, brought you to where you are now. Though you may think in retrospect that you could have done things another way, when you were actually living through those circumstances, you only did what you could do at the time. You couldn’t have done it any differently in reality. Perhaps, ideally, you would have done things other than the way you did, but again, that is in retrospect.

Everything that has happened in your life could only have happened the way it did and not the way you think it ought to have happened. This opens the door for the possibility for compassion; compassion for yourself and for others. The only thing useful in thinking you could have done things differently is if you want to use the past to torment yourself. We have found that tormenting yourself does not produce great relationships so we suggest that you don’t do this.


Even if you accept our premise that ‘what is done is done,’ the past is still open for interpretation. This is where many torment themselves, thereby fettering their abilities to create magical relationships. You can reinterpret any event in your life to fit your current outlook or agenda. The truth is what happened has happened, and if you see it and let it be, then you can get on with your life. What? you might say. Don’t I need to make myself remember and punish myself for wrong doings so that I will never do them again? No, you don’t. If you see something you did or said in error, and actually see it without judging yourself, then you have already learned your lesson. Punishing yourself and feeling badly does not help. If you have truly seen the error of your ways, you never have to repeat them.


It doesn’t matter how well you communicate, how sensitive you are, how in love and perfectly matched you are with your partner, sooner or later you will do something that blows it. When that happens, there is actually a magic wand that can dissolve the hurt and restore your relationship. Truly apologizing can mend a world of hurts. Saying you are sorry, and meaning it, only hurts your ego, but it can rebuild the bridge between you and another. Then you can experience being in love long after the rose of the first attraction blooms and fades.

Get Control of Your Life and Business

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Get Control of Your Life and Business

Karen Logan Photo

Do you find you’re constantly fighting fires in your daily business? Where are you leaking profits because you don’t have the needed structure in place? What risks do you have in your business if someone leaves and takes their knowledge with them? Karen Logan, productivity specialist and author of the new best selling book “Structured for Success”, will share world-class solutions on The Business Edge for the business owner who is ready to grow and be more productive. Learn how to eliminate waste, risk and frustration by putting simple and critical strategies in place. Get control of your life and business.


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