Stress relief: That elusive breath of fresh air
Stress has become a pervasive alifestyle diseasea
In an increasingly busy world moving at a dizzying pace, new research shows almost half of Americans now suffer adverse health effects from stress. These health problems include hypertension, anxiety or depression (two sides of a single coin), insomnia, and obesity.
To relieve stress, Americans often engage in unhealthy behaviors. Surveys, such as one conducted in 2006 by American Psychological Association in partnership with the National Women’s Health Resource Center and iVillage.com, show that the most common ways people try to combat stress are comfort eating (eating when not hungry, making poor diet choices), smoking, excessive alcohol and caffeine intake, and inactivity.
This unhealthy coping behavior may alleviate symptoms of stress in the short term, but creates significant health problems in the long run. And the health problems themselves are a new and deeper source of stress.
A closer look at what we are looking for
What do we feel when we experience stress? A sense of compression. A sense of pressure, of overwhelming demand that we feel we cannot meet, and a lack of control over our lives.
When we seek to alleviate stress, what we seek is the opposite: a sense of expansion, of freedom, of boundlessness, of inner power. It should come as no surprise that caffeine and food loaded with fat, cholesterol, and empty calories aren’t going to get us there. Likewise, inactivity, smoking, and excessive alcohol cannot give us a sense of power and control, weightlessness, and enterprise.
It makes a lot more sense to turn to the one thing we do effortlessly, which is in itself the most restorative and grounding thing we do: breathing. Its expanding inhales, its relaxing exhales, its sheer routine and dependability are a comfort and a sensuous restorative like no other.
How breathing and stress affect each other
A lot of attention is paid to heart rate, when it comes to stress. We correctly associate a fast and irregular heartbeat with stress and anxiety. In fact, the heartbeat doesn’t respond to just the brain, but also to each breath you take: As you breathe in, your heart rate naturally speeds up. As you exhale, your heart rate naturally slows down. In a relaxed person, slow, easy breathing creates slow, smooth heart rate changes that create an inner sense of calm, of coherence.
A stress response to anything such as a difficult conversation with someone, driving in busy traffic, or nerves before public speaking changes your heart rate independently of the breathing-related variations, leading to irregular heart rate changes that create a feeling of panic, of unrest.
These astresseda heart rate changes can cause ragged and irregular, forced or shallow breathing a” which disrupts an optimal and even supply of oxygen to the brain. Likewise, steady and relaxed breathing can give the brain what it needs to function best and smooth the heart rate back into a regular, natural variation that is free of stress response.
Simply put: Breathing in a relaxed, effortless way relieves stress and creates a sense of balance and calm.
Stress reduction, one breath at a time
Whereas overeating, drinking and smoking for stress relief are costly, damaging and ineffective, breathing is free, easy, effective. Plus, it’s something we already know how to do and can do anywhere!
Here are a few of quick breathing exercises that are easy to remember, developed by a physio-psychologist, for relaxation. You can do them anytime you are looking to combat stress with a sense of expansion, of freedom, of inner power:
Breathe effortlessly, relaxing your abdomen muscles. (Don’t try to slow down your breathing: Slowing down our exhalation is natural as we relax, as if we took a blown up balloon and let the air out slowly and gently.)
Purse your lips as if you were going to blow out a candle, or as if you were going to whistle. Relax your lips a little more than they if you really were whistling. You can also imagine yourself blowing soap bubbles. Breathe inaand breathe out slowly, gently, naturally. Breathe with your lips gently pursed like this for a few minutes, feeling your exhalation naturally lengthening as you blow your candleaor bubbles.
Place one hand over your lower abdomen and one on your chest and breathe comfortably, through your nose if you can. Use your hands to help you notice where your body moves as the air flows in and out. Continue paying attention to your breathing for a few breathing cycles.
Now, try this. As you breathe in, imagine a balloon in your abdomen filling with air as you inhale. Then feel it deflating as you exhale. Imagine this for a few breaths. Notice the internal feelings as the balloon is expanding and contracting. Continue to breathe with the balloon for a few minutes. Now while you continue to breathe easily, take a moment to open your eyes and notice how your body feels and how your natural heart rate changes feel smooth.
Breathe naturally, sitting in your work area, at your home or any other place you choose. Pay close attention to your breathing without trying to change anything you notice. Notice yourself breathing in and out. After awhile, the rest of the world will recede, leaving you with just the observation of inhaling, then exhaling. Build your ability to observe your breathing gradually; at first try this only few minutes a day. If you find it difficult in the beginning to pay attention only to your breathing, try silently counting aone, two, three, four…a as you breathe in, aone, two, three, four…a as you breathe out. If you lose track, start over again.
These simple breathing exercises use your natural biology to relieve stress, and are effective in a long-term as well as short-term sense a” creating balance by making relaxation as much of a lifestyle as the stress we experience each day as we go about our lives.
Bringing healthy stress reduction into the mainstream
Americans can blame themselves for all the unhealthy coping mechanisms they have come to depend on for stress relief, but the marketplace is just as much at fault. The average American is exposed to upwards of 3,000 advertising messages a day, and corporations worldwide spend over 0 billion each year to market their products and boost revenue. With stress having become a universal and significant factor in everyone’s lives, you can bet that there isn’t any category of product that isn’t being sold as a astress-bustera in some way.
We can’t change how the marketplace works or protect ourselves from unwholesome or misleading messages. But a recent explosion of agreena products and initiatives and a growing awareness of healthy habits and attitudes means that some very effective and soundly health-based commercial stress-reduction products are joining the fray.
Breathing skills you can buy
One example of effective and healthy stress-reduction in product form is biofeedback games and software tools. Biofeedback is a discipline that first became popular in the 60s, by which people can see visual representations of their aautomatica body functions (breathing, heart rate, skin sweat, and brain waves), and then watch them achieve better balance and harmony as they practice simple and sound techniques to reduce stress. In recent years, biofeedback has been becoming more sophisticated and more widely available to consumers instead of just to clinicians and their patients.
Companies like Wild Divine and Somatic Vision, both based in San Diego, California have developed ways of bringing biofeedback to the mainstream through software that feels like the computer games people are used to. Both companies make software that features a breath pacer as well as heart rate graphing, combined with fun activities and environments. While Wild Divine extends its products offscreen with partnerships with prominent anatural health gurusa like Drs. Deepak Chopra and Andrew Weil, Somatic Vision provides products featuring intensive step-by-step breathing workshops and a full 8-week program that coaches people in breathing techniques for stress relief.
The next step for stressed-out Americans
Whether we go the consumer route and buy products that combat stress effectively without unhealthy behavior, or simply learn to slow down and use the simple, biological act of breathing to bring us back into balance and calm, the clear next step for Americans is to take a healthier, more long-term approach to stress reduction.
Sources: American Psychological Association, Americans Engage In Unhealthy Behaviors To Manage Stress, 2006, http://apahelpcenter.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=press_releases&item=23; Elizabeth Scott, MS, Unhealthy Responses to Stress and How These Bad Habits Affect You, 2008, http://stress.about.com/od/unhealthybehaviors/a/bad_habit.htm; Google Answers: American Advertising in the Media, 2009, http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=56750; Marketdata Enterprises, The U.S. Market For Self-Improvement Products & Services, 2004; The Somatic Vision Alive Advanced Breathing Workshop; Somatic Vision Alive 8-Week & Beyond Program; Somatic Vision’s Web Site, http://www.powertorelax.com; Wild Divine’s Web Site, http://www.wilddivine.com.
Frequently Asked Questions
Best ways and products to get fresh breath?
I brush my teeth twice a day, drink a lot of water and eat healthy food. Are there any products that aren’t too expensive and help get rid of bad breath? Are there any other home remedies?
natural bad breath cure can come from an all natural oral care product. this can help in washing away food debris that are left between the teeth and gums. water can help in keeping the mouth salivated and can keep bad bacteria at bay.
you may have a good program of oral hygiene, do properly brush and floss teeth every after meal. be able to know the cause of your bad breath first to be able to get the best treatment.
it is always best to have a talk with your dentist so that he can detect the underlying cause of your bad breath.
for more tips about banishing bad breath visit http://www.oramd.co.uk
How do you keep your breath fresh?
I always wonder how my breath smells. How can you always be sure it smells fresh? products?
Brush your teeth twice a day, use floss (pretty important), mouthwash and get a toothbrush with a tongue cleaner.
You can also get good breath freshener sprays that give you a nice fresh boost. Chewing sugarfree gum also helps with your oral health.
Colgate total 12 hour care provides long lasting effects and a good antibacterial mouthwash will keep germs away and teeth/gums/mouth extra clean. I like using minted waxed dental floss coz it feels fresh also.
Hope that helps you
Tropiclean fresh breath product for dogs?
I brush my dog’s teeth, however it is very difficult to do because they are such strong dogs and they really hate having their teeth brushed. I’m always hopeful that one day there will be a product out that makes taking care of their teeth easier to do.
So, my local pet store just got this product in: Tropiclean Fresh Breath. Apparently, is it a line of dental products for dogs: There are dental chews, a gel, a foam and a ‘water additive’ that is also supposed to help reduce plaque and tartar.
I’ve been trying to research some reviews online to see how safe and/or effective it is…. I think I keep getting the same review over and over and I’m wondering if the company isn’t just doing a REALLY good job of marketing online. Has anyone here used this on your dog or dogs? Can you offer your experience with it if you have used it?
I’m not asking for unsolicited advice on how to care for my dogs. They have beautiful teeth and get great food. Got that covered, but thanks so much.
Please only answer if you know anything about this product. Thanks and have a great day!
You really don’t have to waste all of your money on this stuff.
Question: Do you feed your dog hard kibble or wet canned food?
If you feed her canned food then switch to kibble, because kibble GREATLY reduces the amount of tartar on your dog’s teeth and doesn’t give it bad breath.
Also you can give your dog milk bones and dentastix. The milk bones give your dog a clean breath and the dentastix prevents and removes all or most tartar.
Dog’s aren’t humans. They don’t get cavities and they don’t get super bad breath like we do.
They obviously also don’t like getting their teeth brushed, they don’t like the foamy texture of the toothpaste and they don’t like the smell.
Honestly, you’re wasting money.
All you need are a few breath refreshing treats and tartar reducing treats.
EDIT: You can also take your dog to the vet twice a year, every six months, like how often we go to the dentist, and tell the vet to brush and floss your dog’s teeth. Some vets, not all, offer this service.
Foods that give you fresh breath and the best product for fresh breath?
I want my breath to smell good 24-7.
chewing on a sprig of parsley will sweeten your breath. Eating a fresh strawberry helps with breath, Alcohol-free mouthwash will help your breath.
What are the best natural products for whiter teeth, fresher breath?
I have heard a variety of ways to whiten teeth and get rid of smelly breath not related to halitosis. This would be in addition to regular brushing, flossing, and tongue-scraping. Some of the things I have heard include: rinsing with hydrogen peroxide, hot salt water, or diluted apple cider vinegar (yuck!); brushing with baking soda, baking soda mixed with peroxide, baking soda mixed with salt (that seems like nails on a chalkboard!). What are some other ways to achieve results until someone can afford to go to the dentist? Any suggestions for inexpensive products that really work?
Chewing on crunchy foods like carrots, apples and celery, is said to cause friction which helps get debris off your teeth that can stain them. There are many old natural remedies and some new natural and/or herbal products, as well as, some chemical products, all claiming to whiten teeth.
The color of teeth comes from genetics originally, and it varies person to person. Teeth will natually discolor over time due to age. The best way to keep teeth as white and you were designed to have, is to avoid foods, liquids, drugs, and products that stain teeth.
Avoid things known to stain teeth, like coffee, tea, red wine, berries, tobacco products, food colorings, etc…. Avoid direct exposure to a lot of raw lemons or citrus products like tomatos, limes, oranges, as the citric acid wears the enamel off the teeth, and when dentin is exposed (like with cavities), it can cause discoloration. If you do eat them, rinse your teeth right away. Avoid carbonated drinks that contain phosphoric acid, like coca cola for the same reason. Sports drinks often contain citric acid, phosphoric acid and organic acid (coffee contains organic acids, also). The latter two are known to break down calcium, along with breaking down enamel. Also, If you eat raw papaya or raw pineapple, rinse your mouth after eating them, as they have enzymes that can cause sores in your mouth and gums, because they break down proteins.
The antibiotic tetracycline is known to cause teeth to stain and so is fluoride and caffeine. Mercury fillings cause teeth to stain where the tooth comes in contact with the filling; This is because of galvanization. So, one should get all amalgams replaced. Gold seems to be ok as long as it is a good quality gold such as high noble, and white composites or porcelain fillings can be used.
Hydrogen peroxide can whiten teeth, but it can penetrate teeth, which are porous, and cause sensitivity. It is used in dental bleaching. It is a special 35% solution, so buying the 2% bottle of it over the counter in hopes to make your teeth white, will not work and could eventually cause sensitivity, irritation, or inflamation of the gums. Myself, I do not recommend teeth whiteners of any kind, for the same reason. If you do decide to use a teeth whitener, either over the counter or from the dentist, if you are not avoiding foods that cause staining, your teeth will stain again, and you will have wasted your money. To whiten your teeth often, will most likely cause sensitivity, enamel breakdown, and can lead to cavities. The long term effects of teeth bleaching on nerves and blood vessels inside the teeth are unknown. Laser bleaching seems to cause more problems with sensitivity than non-laser bleaching. Bleaching does not work on false teeth, crowns, veneers or fillings (even white ones). You may opt to replace those with lighter shades if you don’t like the color. Bleaching is not recommended for children whose teeth are still developing or for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
It is important to brush after meals to avoid plaque and tartar build up, which can also cause discoloration. Avoid toothpastes that contain abrasives to fight plaque and tarter, as they can wear away enamel and make the dentin show through (which has a yellowish or brownish tint), which can cause staining, or cavities or cause your teeth to appear brown or yellow. Also, avoid brushing too hard for the same reason. If you do consume products that cause staining, use water to rinse your mouth directly afterward.
There is a technique called internal bleaching. The only way it can be done is to have a root canal, and root canals cause devastating health effects and should be avoided altogether.
The British Dental Association has expressed concern that the smokers’ whitening toothpastes Clinomyn and Pearl Drops are too abrasive. Many whitening toothpastes contain titanium dioxide, a suspected carcinogen and can be absorbed by the skin, and, when the effluent containing it is discharged from manufacturers, it acidifies rivers and seas.
Smokers toothpaste, Topol, containing an abrasive form of silica to remove heavy stains from tar and resin deposits can cause damage to cementum and dentin in people with gingival recession, resulting root exposure.
Tooth whitening actually requires modifying the intrinsic tooth color, chemically alterating the chromophores within the tooth. Whitening toothpastes using bicarbonate, alumina and polyphosphates cannot whiten teeth; All they can do is contribute to stain removal. Whitening requires bleaching or enzymatic disruption.
Acid penetration and dissolution has not been an acceptable method of whitening for nearly a century.
Many products claim whitening ability with various peroxides — hydrogen, calcium or carbamide. For over-the-counter peroxide content is kept low. It has effervescence and maybe some short-lived bleaching because peroxide is rapidly broken down by oral enzymes from bacteria and saliva. Gels stay on longer, but must be used with a tray to work. Only whitening products used by dentists have ADA acceptance. Over-the-counter product manufacturers have never attempted such claims.
A product called NatureWhite contains carbamide peroxide is supposed to whiten your teeth dramatically with just one 45 Minute application. It is said to be the same thing that dentists use and that dentists use a 12% solution while NatureWhite uses a 22% solution. Crest white strips, by comparison, have a 3% solution.
Before whitening your teeth, you should find out if your teeth have thin enamel. This can cause your teeth to have a yellowish or brownish apperance. Whitening will not help in this situation and can make appearance worse and cause sensitivity.
There are herbs that have been used throughout history to whiten teeth. Sage boiled in water to make tea was said to strengthen gums and whiten teeth. During the middle ages, powdered mint leaves were used to whiten teeth. Charcoal was touted as the best powder to use for whitening teeth, removing tartar and preventing decay. Other common ingredients in tooth powders included: cream of tartar, camphor, white castile soap powder, cuttle fish bone, precipitated chalk, powdered borax, powdered gum myrrh, powdered orris root, and talc. The majority of these ingredients cleaned and whitened teeth.
Here are some other natural remedies :
Take a teaspoon of lemon juice and a tsp of salt. Make a paste. Apply this on the yellowish tint.
Use the inner white part of an orange peel to rub teeth for a lovely white shine.
Take half teaspoon of bi-carbonate of soda mixed with a little water to form a paste. Rub this on your teeth.
Dried & powdered Bay leaves combined with dried orange peel is an excellent whitener.
Strawberries, oddly enough are said to have cleansing and bleaching properties that can help remove of tea and coffee stains, especially from dentures. Crush the strawberries gently and rub the pulp onto your teeth. Rinse with water.
There are some new tooth pastes and products with Bromaine Complex™, a combination of the natural enzymes, Bromelaine from pineapple, and Papain from papaya, said to be clinically proven to whiten teeth.
Dentizyme™ is an herbal remedy; it consists of a unique blend of bio-active plant enzymes, organic botanicals, rainforest botanicals, and essential oils. Dentizyme™ users report fewer or no gum disease symptoms, they also report that their gums look pinker and healthier along with excellent teeth whitening results and teeth stains are said to disappear entirely with continued use of this herbal extract.