11 Ways to De-Stress

This article was originally written by Dr. Alvin Danenberg and was originally published on his website, drdanenberg.com on July 25th, 2016. 

11 Proven Ways to De-Stress Your Stress 

Physical stressors (like excessive exercise, lack of sleep, injuries, and infections) take their toll on your body. Environmental stressors (like drugs, toxic substances, damaging foods, and other pollutants) also take their toll. However, psychological stressors (like worry, depression, anger, fear, life’s challenges, and overall happiness issues) are more prevalent in our society today than ever before with devastating results. Almost everyone tries to deal with these and wants to get a handle on them. Prescription medicines seem to be the go-to solution. They aren’t the answer!

What really works for psychological stress? What has been proven to de-stress your stress without drugging you up? Here are 11 proven ideas, which are great starting points:

  1. Be present. It boils down to one-on-one. Focus on the moment – not on the past or on the future – just on the moment. For example, if you have an important task you need to accomplish, you can stress out because you think there are a million other things waiting to be done. Or you can be present and focus completely on that task. Be present one-on-one – you and that one task. When you’re done, you can move on to the next task.
  2. Just say, “NO!” If you are stressed because you feel forced to do more than you physically and emotionally want to handle, then don’t. Just say, “No!” Limit and prioritize your time to do those things you want and need to do.
  3. Avoid those people who stress you out. There may be some people that put pressures on you, and these people may not be important in your life. If this is the case, then avoid them.
  4. Reduce your dependence on the news. Constant news on TV and other media can be upsetting and depressing. If these sources create undue stress, then stop watching or listening to them. Get the news you need, but don’t inundate yourself with it.
  5. Give up on pointless arguments. You don’t have to win every battle. You don’t have to compromise your morals or ethics either, but you could assume enough is enough and just move on.
  6. Reframe situations that stress you. Try to place situations in a different context. For example, if you’re stuck in traffic, you might be able to listen to a podcast that you were planning to do later on, or you could just use this precious time to decompress or think through some of the priorities you have scheduled for the rest of your day.
  7. Lower your expectations and standards where possible. You don’t have to be 100% successful with every task. Sometimes 80% is good enough. When it is not, then strive for the remaining 20%.
  8. Realize things are what they are. There are things you can’t change. However, you don’t have to compromise with those things you can and want to change.
  9. Discover gratitude. Be thankful for the loved ones in your life and for those positive things you have accomplished in your life.
  10. Experience empathy for yourself and for others. You will learn compassion for yourself, and you will better understand what affects others.
  11. Explore and practice specific stress management practices. These might include progressive muscle relaxation techniques, meditation, yoga, tai chi, and various forms of exercise.

This list is far from exhaustive, but a great starting point.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Alvin Danenberg, is a periodondist, Certified Medical Practitioner, Primal Health Coach, and ADAPT-trained Health Professional. His first book, Crazy Good Living, is based on ancestral nutrition and lifestyle. He offers a 12 week body coaching program for people interested in transforming the way they think about themselves and the food they ingest. He shares his knowledge and thoughts at: drdanenberg.com.  He would be happy to engage face to face or virtually!
sleep, nose-breathing and mouth taping

Sleep, Nose-Breathing & Mouth Taping

bed, bedroom, sleep well

This article originally posted by Dr. Danenberg on his website, November 6th, 2017. 

QUALITY OF SLEEP

Quality of sleep is critical for health.[1] One of the components of quality sleep is proper breathing while sleeping. Oxygen is actually a nutrient for your body – a life-critical nutrient. If you were to stop breathing, you would die. If you stopped breathing temporarily for any reason for just a few seconds, it could affect your overall health.[2] [3] [4] This is called “apnea.

Sometimes, apnea must be treated by a medical professional. Sometimes, a special customized dental appliance could be made to help keep your airway open or provide proper spacing for your tongue. However, to help you breathe properly, here are several suggestions:

  • Place your tongue to the upper front part of the roof of your mouth, just behind your upper front teeth. This helps to keep the position of your lower jaw in correct relationship to your upper jaw, and it also helps keep your airway open.
  • Breathe through your nose and not through your mouth. Breathing through your nose is the normal way to breathe. However, at times you may find your nose is “stuffy”. You could use a specialized tape that helps keep your nostrils open. An adhesive strip that is made of a spring-like band tapes to the outside of the bridge of your nose that gently pulls your nostrils wider. One brand is called Breathe Right Strips. They are available in most drug stores and from Amazon.
  • Keep your lips closed. Sometimes while you are sleeping, you may begin to open your mouth and breathe through your mouth.

IMPORTANCE OF NOSE-BREATHING

Nose-breathing is important because it helps in the production of nitric oxide.[6] Nitric oxide enhances memory and learning, regulates blood pressure, reduces inflammation, improves sleep quality, increases endurance and strength, improves immune function, and supports healthy gum tissues.[7]

The body produces a large percentage of its nitric oxide from breathing through your nose as well as from nitrates in your saliva.[8] If you only breathed through your mouth, you might decrease the overall amount of beneficial nitric oxide that could be available to your body.
Also, mouth-breathing at night could cause you to wake up with a dry mouth. This isn’t comfortable. A dry mouth can …

  • reduce the healthy bacteria in your mouth, which can cause gum disease
  • promote cavities because the teeth are not being bathed in saliva, which helps teeth resist cavities through a process called remineralization
  • increase the overall acidity of the mouth, which in turn could increase tooth decay
  • cause bad breath

MOUTH-TAPING

So, here is a possible cure for mouth-breathing. It is “mouth-taping”.

With mouth-taping, you would actually tape your mouth shut. An easy way to do this is to use a piece of Micropore Tape manufactured by 3M. You would place the tape across your closed lips from one corner of your mouth to the other. Fold over a small piece of the tape on both ends to make a “tab”. This will make it easier to quickly remove. Using tape will train you to keep your mouth closed while you sleep. You can purchase Micropore Tape in most drug stores and from Amazon.

However, before you try to use mouth-tape when you are ready to go to sleep, I suggest that you try it for about a half-hour a couple of days before you go to sleep. This will help you get used to the feel to the tape. Then, when you are ready, start taping your mouth shut when you go to bed.

Mouth-taping not only forces you to breathe through your nose during sleep; it also could be a diagnostic tool. If you had to take the tape off during the night because you could not breathe through your nose, then you would know you didn’t breathe properly that night. If that were the case, you might need to schedule an appointment with a medical specialist to determine if you have sleep apnea and need medical treatment for your breathing issues.

SUMMARY

Get a good night’s sleep – about 7-8 hours. Breathe through your nose and not through your mouth. If simple techniques do not allow you to breathe through your nose at night, then you might have a form of sleep apnea. In that case, you might need to seek treatment from a medical or dental professional who is trained to evaluate your sleep disorder.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Alvin Danenberg, is a periodondist, Certified Medical Practitioner, Primal Health Coach, and ADAPT-trained Health Professional. His first book, Crazy Good Living, is based on ancestral nutrition and lifestyle. He offers a 12 week body coaching program for people interested in transforming the way they think about themselves and the food they ingest. He shares his knowledge and thoughts at: drdanenberg.com.  He would be happy to engage face to face or virtually!

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