“Are you Tense Right This Minute?”

Are you feeling stressed right now? Let me give you a quick tip…

There’s an old Chinese proverb that says;

‘Tension is who you think you should be, and relaxation is who you are’

Relaxation Tension HWL.001

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So what I’ve noticed is, for instance, when someone loses a loved one; they think that the more stress, the more distress and the more sadness that they show – the more love that they are expressing.

When really I don’t think that’s true. The person who has passed away would not want you to be suffering and would not want you to be sad for so long.

 

So, holding on to a stress, being aware of how stressed we are. How stressed are you right now? Are you holding tension in an area of your body or in your head or anywhere? Where are you holding it…

 

Tension is who you think you should be, relaxation is who you really are. How do we get into that point of relaxation? The best way is: breathing. And here is where I want you to focus the breath.

 

If you try and meditate, if you try and ‘Brain Train’, if you try and use your breath to relax, if you’re focusing on the moving breaths; that’s not quite going to work.

We need to focus on stillness. Where is the stillness in your breath?

It’s in between the inhalation and the exhalation. That’s where the focus goes, or where your mind clears.

So breathe in & hold at the top of the breath. Pause there for a few seconds. Allow your mind to clear. Then when you’re ready breathe out. When you have fully exhaled, pause for a few seconds. When you’re ready to breathe in (wait till you feel the desire the inhalation will be more fulfilling) breathe in… & repeat.

 

For a few seconds, maybe you can elongate that to 30 seconds. But start with 2, 5, 6, 7, 8 seconds. Do that, practice it, it will help you to de-stress and clear your mind. Try that now.

 

Slow down. Come to a pause, in-between the inhalation and the exhalation. This will help to decrease the stress in your body & become a part of your life.

 

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“Your Brain, Pain & Energy”

I was listening to professor Timothy Noakes who has led exercise science for 20+ maybe even 30+ years now and is a big proponent of low carb, high fat diets.

What I’m going to talk about here is the brain. Timothy actually explains that the main limiting factor within your results (using physical activity as the example) is not exhaustion or decrease in energy, but rather the brain being the limiting factor in order to protect the body.

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What they found through testing over 30 years is that you can find two people with exactly the same VO2 Max (that’s usually the limiting factor that will tell you someone’s performance) and you will get one that can run a marathon in 2 hours 20 minutes and the other can run it in 3 hours.

 

Some people experience these illusions of pain in the muscle or pain in the joint, as blocking you to protect you. So the brain is blocking you from continuing the race.

 

As long as we know this information we know that we can keep going, and get a better experience from it and even learn more.

 

He’s wrote several books, one of them is the law of running and another is real meal revolution. He’s run 71 marathons and ultra marathons (ultra marathons are 50 miles!)

 

The point being in this one is that your brain again is the limiting factor. I keep going back to this because if 80% of your results is psychology, 20% is mechanics and there’s a lot of evidence that points to that being the truth then where should we focus most of our efforts? On the brain.

 

We can work on our brain, work on our emotions and work on our energy levels but where does our energy come from? I had this conversation earlier, does it come from food, does it come from oxygen does It come from sleep?

 

I propose something to you that energy comes from movement, the more you move the more energy you get. Have you noticed that when you’re really active and you’re doing things the more energy you’ve got and you can keep going? When you’re more lethargic and you’ve allowed yourself to be a little bit lazy you can’t be bothered to do anything. This is clear that much of something brings more.

 

Timothy Noakes said that your brain is a limiting factor, but when we know this if it’s fear or if it’s actually pain from exercise, we know that the brain may be bringing up that illusion just to try and protect us and if we can go through that we can actually extend, and get our results that we desire a little bit sooner than we thought rather than being stopped by these illusions.

 

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The Power of Breathing Deeply  

 

I am aware that I breathe deeply and fully throughout my day.  Not only does it help to calm and center me but there are also a long list of physical benefits I reap from simply focusing on my breathing control.

breathe

 

The Science & the Benefits…

Studies show that the practice of deep diaphragmatic (or ‘belly breathing’) is one that provides a wealth of optimal health and wellness benefits.

People who practice deep breathing as little as 10 minutes per day can easily reap the following benefits:

  • Lower chances of developing cancer (by as much as 400%!)
  • Reduced chance of developing heart disease
  • Reduced bad cholesterol (LDL)
  • Improved good cholesterol levels (HDL)
  • Reduced stress (lower levels of the stress-inducing hormone: cortisol)
  • Reduced cravings for junk food
  • Reduced chances of diabetes (by strengthening the insulin beta receptor sites)
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Improved lymphatic flow – which can lengthen the life span of cleansing cells
  • Slowed aging (by increasing the secretion of the human growth hormone)
  • Optimal immune system function (by strengthening the t-cell formation and improving the lymphocyte production.)
  • Improved mood by increasing the serotonin and endorphin levels
  • Improved concentration by increasing the blood flow to the pre-frontal cortex of the brain
  • Improved quality of meditation – by changing the brain wavelength activity from beta to alpha wavelengths.

 

All in all, studies show that those who practice deep belly breathing enjoy overall better health and well-being.

 

Get Breathing…

In order to start reaping these benefits – you need to know how to perform diaphragmatic breathing.  Here are some pointers to get you started:

  • Sit in a comfortable chair
  • Close your eyes
  • Breathe slowly through your nose and make sure you feel your belly expanding with each breath.
  • Once your lungs are fully expanded hold your breath for 6-12 seconds.
  • Exhale through your mouth and make sure to push all the air back out of your lungs.
  • Repeat the cycle at least 10 times.

Seems simple right?  It is!

So think about it – if something is so quick, easy and possible to do nearly anytime throughout your day and yet also provides so many wonderful and lasting health benefits….why wouldn’t you add it to your routine?

Right now, think about a few times during your day that you can start adding diaphragmatic breathing to your routine, and reaping the wonderful benefits that follow!

 

 

To Your Best Health,

ShapeTrainer Daniel Grant

 

 

p.s.

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Resources:

http://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/Breathing.html

http://www.samvarner.com/physical-wellness/deep-breathing.html

http://www.onemedical.com/blog/live-well/breathing-pranayama-techniques/