The Simple Practice That Can Quiet Your Mind Faster Than Meditation

A regular meditation practice can go a long way toward managing your brain’s internal chatter and helping you feel a little more calm. But when you want to stop racing thoughts right in their tracks, you might just want to stop and hum.

Yes, you read that right. With a little effort, humming can actually be strategically employed to kick feelings of anxiety to the curb anytime, anywhere. The process is a ​little​ different than what you might do while you’re, say, cleaning the shower or walking home from work on a sunny day. But not too different!

Image Credit: South_agency/E+/GettyImages

The practice, called bhramari, is a yogic breathing practice whose name refers to the Indian black bee, since humming makes a buzz-like sound. Like other forms of deep breathing, bhramari sends a physiologic signal to the body that you’re not in danger, and that it’s OK to relax.

“When we are stressed, we activate the sympathetic, or fight-or-flight, nervous system and our breath automatically becomes short and shallow,” explains Pauline Peck, PhD, a Santa Barbara, California-based psychologist and certified trauma-informed yoga teacher. “Taking deep breaths, like in bhramari breathing, allows us to activate the parasympathetic, or rest-and-digest, system, which eases and calms our nervous system.”

Making a humming sound also has the added benefit of massaging the vocal chords, which stimulate the vagus nerve, Peck says. This nerve, which runs from your brain to your colon, is involved in controlling involuntary functions like heart rate and mood. When it’s activated, your heart rate starts to slow and you begin to feel more regulated, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

What Are the Benefits of Humming?

Deep breathing exercises like humming serve to slow your heart rate, which can signal a drop in blood pressure. This, in turn, can quiet the body’s stress response and help you feel more relaxed, per the Mayo Clinic.

While research on bhramari in particular is limited, the available evidence backs this up. Humming for just five to 10 minutes was shown to be enough to help people feel refreshed and even ​blissful​ (really!) as well as enhance focus.

It was also found to reduce perceived stress levels over the longer-term and improve sleep quality when performed regularly over the course of six weeks.

The simple act of briefly stepping away from whatever is stressing you out can, in itself, also be helpful. “Taking a break to practice intentional breathing is a good mental reset, giving us a change of scenery, as well as a sense of empowerment as we realize the truth that we are in control of how we respond to stress,” Peck says.

How to Practice Humming to Reduce Stress

If you know how to hum, you’re already halfway to practicing bhramari. Next time you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed, just:

  1. Sit or stand comfortably and let your facial muscles relax. Plug your ears with your fingertips.
  2. Gently inhale through your nose, then exhale slowly while making a “​hummmmmm”​ sound. Let the hum go on for as long as you comfortably can. Pay attention to the sound as you hum, as well as the feeling of the vibrations in your mouth.
  3. Repeat this cycle four to six times (or more, if you’d like).

You can use bhramari as a tool to feel calmer any time the need strikes. But you’ll experience the most noticeable drop in your stress level when you commit to a regular practice — think daily or weekly, says Peck.

“The more we practice intentional, conscious breathing, the better we will be at entering into a state of calm and letting go of whatever isn’t serving us in the moment,” she says.

Article By Marygrace Taylor for livestrong.com©

Source: Bhramari: The Benefits of Humming for Stress Relief | Livestrong.com

Most Common Ailments in America

There were about 860.4 million doctor’s office visits in 2018, or about 2.67 visits per person. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 83.4% of adults and 94% of children had a visit with a doctor or health care professional in 2020. Many of these visits were likely prompted by the most common ailments in America.

The list includes a host of chronic diseases, mental health problems, various hereditary conditions, infectious diseases, and more. According to the CDC, 6 in 10 adults in the U.S. have a chronic disease, and 4 in 10 have two or more chronic diseases. 

Source: sturti / E+ via Getty Images

6. Acute bronchitis and URI

Source: kudryavtsev / iStock via Getty Images

5. Skin disorders

4. Trauma-related disorders

3. Heart conditions

2. Mental disorders

According to a report from the Mental Health Million Project by the nonprofit Sapien Labs, 45% of people in the United States who have a clinical-level mental health problem don’t seek professional help. These findings hint that mental health problems may be more widespread than is widely acknowledged.

Source: Egor Kulinich / Getty Images

1. COPD, asthma

Asthma, the No. 1 ailment in the U.S., is not preventable – although a major contributing factor in the development of the condition is air pollution, which is structurally preventable. People who live in urban areas, where the air quality is likely worse, are more likely to have asthma.

In addition to regularly visiting a doctor and adhering to recommended screenings and tests, a healthy diet and lifestyle – including being physically active, not smoking, and limiting alcohol intake – can help lower the risk of a wide range of diseases. But many of the most common ailments, including trauma-related ailments (like broken bones), allergic reactions, glaucoma, and auto-immune diseases may not be preventable. 

By Josie Green for 24/7 Tempo©

Source: Most Common Ailments in America | 24/7 Tempo (247tempo.com)

Understanding aphasia, the condition ending Bruce Willis’ acting career

Legendary actor Bruce Willis announced Wednesday his departure from the big screen following his diagnosis with aphasia, which is “impacting his cognitive abilities,” his family said in a statement.

Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

While details of what led to Willis’ aphasia diagnosis are unknown at this time, medical experts stress the importance of the brain condition and how its specifically treated — depending on its severity.

Aphasia is defined as a condition that affects the ability to speak, write and understand language, according to the Mayo Clinic. The brain disorder can occur after strokes or head injuries — and can even lead in some cases to dementia.

“As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him,” his daughter, Rumer Willis, said on Instagram. “This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support.”

It impacts the way a person can communicate

Medical experts say the impacts of aphasia can vary, depending on the person’s diagnosis. But mainly, the condition affects a person’s ability to communicate — whether it’s written, spoken or both.

People living with aphasia can experience changes in their ability to communicate; as they may find difficulty finding words, using words out of order or will even speak in a short manner, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Aphasia diagnoses are more common than you think

According to the National Aphasia Association, the communication disorder affects roughly two million people in the U.S., as it’s more common than Parkinson’s Disease, cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy.

Nearly 180,000 people in the U.S. acquire the condition each year. Most people living with aphasia are middle-aged or older, as the average age of those living with the condition is 70 years old. But anyone, including young children, can acquire it.

Treatment for aphasia focuses on the symptoms

Fortunately, treatment options for aphasia are indeed possible.

Traditionally, most people undergo a form of speech and language therapy to restore their communicative skills. Kiran said this form of therapy is a big part of what medical experts can do to help someone recover.

“The road to rehabilitation or therapy can be long and hard, but it’s possible for people to improve,” she said.

Additionally, there are ongoing clinical trials that use brain stimulation and may help improve one’s ability to regain skills, Kiran says. However, no long-term research has been conducted yet.

By JONATHAN FRANKLIN for NPR©

Source: Bruce Willis: What is aphasia and how does it impact communication : NPR

6 Signs You’re a Better Person than You Think You are

memedroid.com

With popular villains like Cal Jacobs and Jules Vaughn, from ‘Euphoria’, the question of morality is having a moment in pop culture. As these series illustrate, being “good” is rarely black and white, which can make it complicated to gauge your own moral compass.

Here are some signs you’re a better person than you think.

You act with good intentions and compassion

According to psychologist and author Rick Hanson, PhD, one of the primary ways of identifying that you’re a good person is through your thoughts, words, and actions. And generally having inclinations toward goodness means you’re probably a better person than you think.

“These include positive intentions, putting the brakes on anger, restraining addictive impulses, extending compassion and helpfulness to others, grit and determination, lovingness, courage, generosity, patience, and a willingness to see and even name the truth whatever it is,” Hanson wrote.

You believe you can learn from life’s challenges and improve

Carol Dweck, PhD, a psychology professor at Stanford University and author of “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” said that the growth mindset allows people to embrace challenges and overcome setbacks when they are faced with personal and professional obstacles. “Individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset, which “allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.”

You confront your own biases and own up to your mistakes

In her book “The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias,” Dolly Chugh, a psychologist and associate professor of management and organizations at New York University’s Stern School of Business, explained the term “good-ish.” In the context of bias, this phrase refers to the idea that it’s better to confront our mistakes (such as mispronouncing someone’s name) than to be “perfect.”

Living an error-free life is tough. “A good-ish person is someone who’s not free of bias but who owns the bias when it happens,” Chugh wrote. “I actually think being a good-ish person is a higher standard than being a good person.”

You support others but you also make time to take care of yourself

“Helping others can give us meaningful roles that boost self-esteem, mood and purpose of life, which in turn can enhance mental and physical health,” wrote John Swartzberg, MD for Berkeley Wellness. That being said, also taking time to take care of yourself doesn’t mean you’re any less of a good person.

You mostly meet your own definition of what a ‘good person’ is

Morality isn’t black and white and acknowledging that fact makes a world of difference in how we perceive ourselves. In an interview with Psychology Today, Dr. Paul DePompo, a psychologist and author based in southern California, explained that viewing all of your actions as “good” or “bad” can be a toxic mindset that might alter your self-image.

“Thinking you are one or the other triggers problems when you eventually do a ‘bad’ thing – which we are all capable of – and you may get an inflated self-image when you are doing many ‘good’ things,” DePompo said. Instead, he suggests you first define what you think a good person is in three to five words (ie: “generous” or “thoughtful”). Then, you should figure if you feel you identify with being any of the words you’ve chosen. He said if you see yourself as being more than half of the words you chose, chances are “you are a relatively good, yet imperfect person.”

When it comes to relationships in your life, you communicate effectively and take responsibility for your actions

Being able to create and sustain healthy relationships could be a sign you’re a better person than you think. Doing so typically entails communicating effectively, treating others with respect, and taking responsibility for your actions.

“You can be assertive without being aggressive, supportive without rescuing other people, and you can be vulnerable without expecting people to save you,” Karen Meager, a life coach, told The Telegraph. “It’s about being responsible for yourself and being able to be in an adult relationship with other people.”

By Zoë Miller & Insider©

Source: msn.com