Anxious? Overwhelmed? 3 Ways to Bust Holiday Stress

Anxious? Overwhelmed? 3 Ways to Bust Holiday Stress

2 min read

It’s no secret that the hustle and bustle of the holiday season can bring on feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. These feelings can lead to poor sleep and emotional eating, both of which can impact your health long past December. Here are some expert-approved skills that can help prevent and treat stress during the holiday season.

1. Time Blocking
Time blocking is a time-management technique that helps you create more balance in your week by scheduling your days to include productive time, restorative time, and socialization.

  • Make a list of the things you must do each week, such as meal preparation and holiday shopping, restorative tasks, such as meditation or painting, and the things you want to do, such as holiday parties or dinners. Give each task a time allotment. If the task has two parts such as buying food for meal preparation and then preparing the food, give each part a time allotment.  
  • Next, look at your free time for the week and identify a few blocks of time that will be productive time, a few blocks of time that will be restorative, and a few blocks that will be socializing time. Fill in the identified time blocks with your categorized to-do list.
  • If you run out of time, you are forced to make choices to change out parts of the time blocks for others or shift something to the following week. Ideally each should contain at least one time block for productive, restorative, and socializing time. This is a helpful way to make sure you have time for productive, self-care, and fulfillment tasks while keeping balance in your week.  

2. 4-7-8 Breathwork

Studies show that breathwork, particularly extended exhale techniques such as 4-7-8 breathwork, can help move the body out of fight-or-flight and lowers blood pressure and heart rate. 

  • This technique involves breathing in for a count of 4 seconds, holding your breath for 7 seconds at the top of the inhale, and exhaling for 8 seconds. The extended exhale helps you take in more oxygen in the inhale and promotes relaxation and stimulation of your parasympathetic nervous system. 

3. Reframing with Gratitude

Gratitude is one component of positive psychology that decreases stress and can lower blood pressure. While gratitude is often baked into mealtime prayers of thanks, morning mantras, or journaling, reframing stressors with gratitude can be a helpful practice to break up holiday stress.  

  • Try framing your growing to-do list with “get to” instead of “have to.” Phrases such as “We have the privilege of having dinner with my spouse’s friends this week. I’m thankful for quality time with friends,” can be an effective way to fold in gratitude to something that may be a holiday stressor.  

We hope that these tips have helped you celebrate the holiday season stress free. For more support with stress management, speak with a Love.Life provider today.

Breath Sounds for Organs – Chinese Medicine

Breath Sounds for Organs – Chinese Medicine

3 min read

The Six Healing Sounds for Organs, also known as Liu Zi Jue, are a traditional practice in Chinese medicine and qigong (a system of coordinated body postures and movements combined with meditation) that involve making specific vocal sounds associated with different organs in the body. These sounds are believed to have therapeutic effects on the corresponding organs and help promote overall health and well-being.  

Each of the Six Healing Sounds is associated with one of the body’s major organs and is believed to release stagnant energy or emotions associated with that organ. The six sounds and their linked organs are as follows: 

  1. Xu (pronounced “sshh”) – Associated with the Liver: This sound is believed to help release anger and frustration and promote the smooth flow of Qi (energy) in the liver. 
  2. He (pronounced “huh”) – Associated with the Heart: This sound is associated with the heart and is believed to help calm the mind and release excessive excitement and overthinking. 
  3. Hu (pronounced “hoo”) – Associated with the Spleen: This sound is said to benefit the spleen and digestive system and help clear the mind of worry and overthinking. 
  4. Si (pronounced “suh”) – Associated with the Lungs: This sound is associated with the lungs and is believed to help release sadness and grief, as well as promote healthy lung function. 
  5. Chui (pronounced “chway”) – Associated with the Kidneys: This sound is associated with the kidneys and is believed to help release fear and stress, while also promoting kidney health. 
  6. Xi (pronounced “shee”) – Associated with the Triple Burner (Sanjiao): This sound is unique because it’s not directly associated with a specific organ. Instead, it’s associated with the concept of the Triple Burner, which relates to the upper, middle, and lower parts of the torso. The Xi sound is believed to help balance the three burners and harmonize the body’s energy. 

Practitioners of the Six Healing Sounds typically perform a set of exercises in which they make these sounds while engaging in specific movements and visualizations. The practice is often used as a form of self-healing and can be incorporated into a broader qigong or meditation practice. 

It’s important to note that while the Six Healing Sounds have a long history in traditional Chinese medicine and qigong, scientific evidence may be lacking to support bold claims related to their effectiveness.  

The Research 

The Six Healing Sounds may ease symptoms related to pulmonary conditions. A 2022 study demonstrated that the Six Healing Sounds helped patients with Covid-19 symptoms. Researchers found that participants in the treatment (sounds) group experienced significant improvements related to breathing difficulties and fatigue compared to those in the control (no sounds) group. However, the study showed that psychological conditions, cough, labored breathing, and chest tightness all improved to pre-Covid-19 levels within the same time frame, with or without Six Healing Sounds treatment. 

The Six Healing Sounds have also been shown to improve symptoms of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Individuals in COPD remission who practiced the Six Healing Sounds, along with walking exercises, were shown to experience improved lung function capacity, mobility, specific airway conductance, and overall quality of life, according to a 2015 study.

Because the Six Healing Sounds are considered a form of meditation, it’s not surprising that their effects on the mind have been studied, including relaxation, depression, and pain. One study found that participants experienced increased brainwave activity associated with relaxation and creativity after performing the sounds. Additionally, brainwave activity has been shown to reduce pain consciousness and depression in practitioners of the Six Healing Sounds.

While the Six Healing Sounds hold a prominent place in traditional Chinese medicine and qigong, scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness remains limited. Randomized controlled trials exploring specific outcomes are scarce. There is also a lack of research to connect individual sounds with changes in corresponding organs. Nonetheless, existing research suggests possible benefits in various areas. And as a meditative practice, the sounds have demonstrated potential positive effects for mental wellbeing due to their impact on brainwave activity.  

3 Ways to Feel Calmer

3 Ways to Feel Calmer

3 min read

How do you achieve a feeling of calmness and emotional balance? In this article, we’ll explore three simple ways to relax.  

It’s normal to experience a range of emotions and some are more uncomfortable than others. During times of increased stress, it’s helpful to know a few techniques that can help you establish equanimity, or a calm mental state.  

This article will explain how the Vagus nerve is linked with stress management. You’ll also learn three simple ways to calm down when you notice signs of stress (such as quick breathing, a tight jaw, or sweaty palms). Please note, these exercises are not stand-alone treatments, so please reach out to a Love.Life Telehealth physician if you struggle with chronic stress. 

How is my Vagus nerve linked to my emotions? 

The Vagus nerve begins in your brain and travels all the way down into your digestive tract. You can think of it as a telephone wire that allows two-way communication between your brain and gut. This nerve affects your digestive system as well as your mood and heart rate. As the main component of your parasympathetic nervous system, or the “rest and digest” state, the Vagus nerve works automatically to help your body relax.  

Fortunately, there are ways to support this system’s regulation. Just as a muscle becomes stronger with exercise, certain activities can increase the tone of your Vagus nerve, which will allow you to relax faster. Exercises that tone this nerve are not sole treatments, but research shows they can support your mood and gut health. 

1. Deep Breathing 

Deep breathing influences your body’s stress response. It can be carried out on its own, or during meditation or yoga. Practicing a technique known as diaphragmatic breathing 15 minutes a day for at least two weeks has been shown to help. The Vagus nerve connects to your diaphragm, a dome-like muscle that sits under your lungs to help you breathe. Inhaling deep into your abdomen, as if your belly is an expanding balloon, contracts your diaphragm. As you exhale and relax your diaphragm, air is released and the “belly balloon” deflates. Here’s how to perform diaphragmatic breathing: 

  1. Find a comfortable position lying down, seated, or standing.
  2. Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly. 
  3. Inhale through your nose for about six seconds and fill your abdomen with air. 
  4. Exhale through your mouth for about six seconds. Engage your core to push the air out.
  5. Repeat for up to 15 minutes.   

Tip: Try to keep the hand on your chest still, while the hand on your belly moves with your breath.  

For more diaphragmatic breathing techniques, refer to this article.

2. Endurance Training 

The Vagus nerve communicates with your lungs and runs through your heart. Physical activity has been shown to improve its tone. Research suggests that moderate interval or endurance training supports the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) without activating the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight).  

To experience this give cycling a try. Monitor your heart rate to keep it under 120 beats per minute during intervals and aim for a speed of 50 rounds per minute with a resistance of two kilograms. Rest between intervals to avoid switching into your sympathetic nervous system. 

3. Cold Stimulation 

Have you ever splashed cold water on your face to reset your mood? This technique may help because the cold sensation on your neck can stimulate the Vagus nerve and activate your parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system. For even better results use cold stimulation on the side of your neck. Aim for intervals of 16 seconds with water temperature that’s between 60-66 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Bottom line: these three techniques can help you feel calmer more quickly. That’s important because stress management is a key component of Lifestyle Medicine. Commit to trying out all three to discover which feels most effective for you when you need to de-stress.  

3 Diaphragmatic Breathing Techniques

3 Diaphragmatic Breathing Techniques

3 min read

Have you ever noticed that when you’re stressed, your breathing can be shallow and high up in your chest? Shallow breathing doesn’t allow you to take in enough air. But a specific type of breathing called diaphragmatic breathing can counter this by shifting your breath lower into your abdomen.  

Your diaphragm is a dome-like muscle that sits under your lungs and helps you breathe. This muscle can function involuntarily, so it works even when you don’t think about it. To visualize this process, think of your belly as a balloon. When you inhale through your nose you fill the balloon while your chest remains quiet. When you deeply fill your belly with air, your diaphragm contracts. And then when you exhale through your mouth (release air from the balloon), your diaphragm relaxes and air escapes.  

Practicing diaphragmatic breathing has been linked to many health benefits. These include improved exercise capacity, stress management, and gastrointestinal (GI) health. This type of breathing allows you to inhale more oxygen-rich air and exhale air that contains waste gases, like carbon dioxide. Because your breathing muscles do not have to work as hard during diaphragmatic breathing, your cells receive more oxygen. During exercise this benefit can help sustain your workout.  

Evidence shows that practicing this type of breathing for just 15 minutes each day for two weeks can increase parasympathetic nervous system activity, which is linked to stress reduction. Diaphragmatic breathing is also thought to decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Additionally, this type of breathing stimulates the vagus nerve, which runs from your brain to your abdomen. This nerve sends information to your digestive system, which helps manage digestive distress. While diaphragmatic breathing is not a stand-alone treatment for any condition, it also supports improved blood pressure, core muscle stability, COPD symptoms, and chronic pain. 

There are a few approaches to this breathing style, and this article will take you through three distinct techniques. Try each one to determine which feels best for you. 

1. Slow Breathing 

In this method your inhales and exhales will generally last for about six seconds each. During the exercise, try to keep the hand placed on your chest still and move the hand on your belly.  

  1. Find a comfortable position lying down, seated, or standing.
  2. Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly.
  3. Inhale through your nose for about six seconds and fill your abdomen with air.
  4. Exhale through your mouth for about six seconds. Engage your core to push the air out.
  5. Repeat for up to 15 minutes. 

2. Holding the Breath 

With this technique try to pause between your inhales and exhales and sustain your exhales. This can help deepen your breathing capacity. 

  1. Find a comfortable position lying down, seated, or standing.
  2. Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly.
  3. Inhale through your nose for about four seconds and fill your abdomen with air. 
  4. Hold your breath for about two seconds.
  5. Exhale through your mouth for about six seconds. Engage your core to push the air out.
  6. Repeat for up to 15 minutes. 

3. Pursed Lip Breathing 

This technique is beneficial in general and can be particularly supportive of lung conditions, including COPD. 

  1. Find a comfortable position lying down, seated, or standing.
  2. Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly.
  3. Inhale through your nose for about four seconds and fill your abdomen with air. 
  4. Exhale through pursed lips (make a “shhh” noise) for about six seconds. Engage your core to push the air out.
  5. Repeat for up to 15 minutes. 

Tip: Take note of how you feel before and after your breathing practice. We hope that in addition to utilizing an evidence-backed technique to optimize your health, you’re doing something that helps you feel great! 

8 Ways to Feel Happier Every Single Day

8 Ways to Feel Happier Every Single Day

3 min read

1. Move Your Body

Physical activity of any kind has a positive impact on well-being and happiness across all stages of life. An overall active lifestyle is a very influential way to improve happiness. Why? Physical activity improves physical health, including heart health. It also helps reduce anxiety and depression and improves confidence, positive self-perception, and mental health. Studies have shown that high or even moderately active individuals report higher levels of life satisfaction and happiness compared to those who are less active. Find new ways to be active in everyday life, from training for a marathon to simply taking the stairs at work.  

2. Get Outside  

Spending time outdoors has been shown to improve mental health. Studies show that engaging with nature and being in natural environments positively improves emotional well-being and mental health. Exposure to natural light, fresh air, and the calming sights and sounds of nature can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Explore nature walks in your town or complete tasks outdoors that would typically be done inside, like responding to emails, making phone calls, or folding laundry.  

3. Get Regular Sleep  

Quality sleep is crucial to your health and overall well-being. Chronic sleep deprivation directly affects your ability to handle daily tasks, which can lead to fatigue, reduced cognitive function, and a general decline in well-being over time. Studies show that people with shorter sleep lengths and insomnia tend to have lower levels of happiness. Conversely, those with longer, better sleep report less anger and higher happiness levels. Aim for a regular bedtime and waketime routine to optimize your sleep and get in 7-9 quality hours per night. 

4. Reduce Screen Time 

Evidence suggests that excessive screen time is linked to reduced physical activity and metabolic rate, which can negatively impact happiness. It’s especially important to avoid screens prior to bed, as exposure can interfere with sleep quality, which in turn can impact mood. High screen time has been associated with irritability, poor mood, and cognitive issues. Multiple studies have also linked worsened depression and anxiety symptoms with more screen time. Therefore, limiting screen time is important for promoting mental well-being. You likely get enough screen time during the day from work, school, or other tasks, so choose leisure activities that don’t require screens prior to bed, such as reading, journaling, or listening to a podcast or audiobook. You can also replace screen time with a new hobby, such as knitting or playing an instrument. 

5. Use Social Media with Caution 

Don’t allow social media to fuel negative emotions, like anger and anxiety. Research has consistently shown that social media has negative effects on your mental health. If you feel social media has had control over the way you think or feel, consider a “cleanse.” Actively delete apps that don’t add meaning to your life and put that time saved towards doing something that does contribute to your happiness.  

6. Use SMART Goals, not VAPID Goals 

Have SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, responsible for, and time-bound) goals, not VAPID (vague, amorphous, pie in the sky, irrelevant, delayed) goals. Clear targets and a well-defined path are important. For example, a VAPID goal would be “I’m going to clean the entire house.” This goal will likely lead to dissatisfaction because there will always be something in an entire house that needs cleaning. But a SMART goal, like “I will do two loads of laundry by the end of the day,” has clearly defined parameters of what a completed task looks like. Additionally, establish a specific time to accomplish your goals, which allows for better planning and follow-through.  

7. Pursue Happiness Indirectly

The path to happiness lies in pursuing it indirectly rather than directly. If you aim for a general goal of happiness, you may struggle to achieve what you are looking for. Instead, try to focus on micro-goals with daily successes as well as self-discovery, personal growth, and meaningful connections with others. When you immerse yourself in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment, you create a sense of purpose and as a side effect, improve overall happiness. Examples include pursuing your passions, engaging in acts of kindness, or contributing to a greater cause.  

8. Maintain Healthy Practices 

Getting out of a depression rut is difficult. You may want to sleep, stay inside, and stare at screens. While none of those things are inherently wrong, and the rest should be prioritized, it’s important to do things that actively cultivate happiness. Rather than succumbing to instinctual behaviors that contribute to sadness and social isolation, try to actively engage in activities that promote well-being. This may involve seeking social connections, engaging in physical activity, spending time in nature, practicing gratitude, or pursuing meaningful hobbies. By consciously choosing behaviors that support happiness, you can actively shape your emotional well-being and lead a more fulfilling life. 

How to Fight Chronic Stress

How to Fight Chronic Stress

2 min read

Let’s face it: Life is stressful. And even small stressors (causes of stress) can snowball over time. This article explains the risks of chronic stress, how to notice its physical signs and strategies to counter its harmful effects.  

What is Chronic Stress?  

Chronic stress is a state of overload. It causes your adrenal glands to release high levels of cortisol and leads to other unwanted side effects. To fully understand, let’s review how stress affects your body, also known as the stress response.  

Work deadlines, being stuck in traffic, and running from danger all trigger the same stress response. Your brain sends signals that cause the release of hormones called epinephrine (adrenaline) and cortisol into your bloodstream. Adrenaline makes your heart race and ups your blood pressure. Your liver releases glucose (sugar) into your bloodstream, which causes your blood sugar to rise, and you hold onto sodium and water. Cortisol also causes your muscles to become resistant to insulin, which keeps your blood sugar elevated.  

When stress is very brief, these changes can be helpful for survival. But when stress is ongoing, the effects can wreak havoc on your health.   

How Stress Affects the Body

Unrelenting stress can lead to the development of chronic conditions, like type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. This is especially true when stress is coupled with less movement and highly processed, calorie-dense foods.  

At Love.Life, we believe in addressing the root causes of disease, and stress is a big one. If you suffer from chronic stress, consider joining one of our medical or coaching programs for personalized support.

How to Reduce Stress

These four habits help reduce stress and offset its damaging effects.  

  • Create a mindful minute. Bring mindfulness into your life, even for just one minute per day. Begin by simply breathing in and out with awareness. Or focus on more concentrated breathing, such as box breathing, which involves breathing in for 4 counts, holding for 4 counts, breathing out for 4 counts, holding for 4 counts, and repeating.
  • Chill out, literally. Studies show that regularly exposing yourself to water that is 50°F or colder (within reason above freezing) can increase your resilience to stressful events. Start with a 20-30-second cold shower or a cold plunge. Breathe rhythmically throughout cold exposure and work up to 11 minutes total over the course of a week.
  • Practice gratitude. Being grateful is something everyone can benefit from. Three to four times per week write down, text, or say aloud three good things that happened that day and at least one thing you’re grateful for.
  • Get out of your head. Research shows that journaling, making lists, or writing out what’s bothering you can help you objectively look at what you’re struggling with. This practice helps you use your pre-frontal cortex (the CEO of your brain) to confront your thoughts more clearly and let go of circumstances beyond your control.
Breathing Techniques for Chronic Stress

Breathing Techniques for Chronic Stress

4 min read

There are many breathing techniques to choose from with benefits that range from stress reduction to improved mental health. This article explains four breathing approaches to try and why a regular breathing practice may help support your overall health.  

Why is Breathing in a Specific Way Important?  

The first three techniques (4-7-8 Breath, Alternate Nostril Breathing, and Yoga Nidra) are designed to help reduce stress. That’s key because unchecked stress is known to contribute to many health conditions, including depression and heart disease.  

During stressful or anxiety-inducing moments your breathing pace may become quick and shallow. This activates your body’s “fight or flight” response, which over time can weaken immunity, raise blood pressure, and up the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity. Breathing techniques counter stress by stimulating your body’s “rest and digest” response, which protects your health.  

The final technique called the Wim Hof Method, may help you feel more connected to yourself and to your surroundings and improve feelings of self-fulfillment. We encourage you to explore how each method resonates with you and experiment with when to use them to keep yourself in balance. 

4-7-8 Breath 

This technique, invented by Dr. Andrew Weil, refers to a pattern of breathing that involves inhaling, holding your breath, and then exhaling with specific timing. 

To start, bring the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth until it touches the ridge of tissue behind your front teeth. Your tongue placement will remain here throughout the process. Note that you will exhale through your mouth by pursing your lips and making a “whoosh” sound. Follow these steps to continue:  

  1. Fully exhale through your mouth. 
  2. With your mouth closed, inhale through your nose for 4 counts.
  3. Hold your breath for 7 counts.
  4. Exhale for 8 counts. 

Optimally, practice 4 breathing cycles twice per day.  

Alternate Nostril Breathing 

In Sanskrit, this breathing technique is called nadi shodhana. “Nadi” translates to channel and “shodhana” translates to purifying. Alternate nostril breathing for 15 minutes per day for 6 weeks has been shown to significantly improve stress.  

Practicing nadi shodhana involves using your right hand to guide your breath. You may also rest your index and middle fingers between your eyebrows. Follow these steps to continue: 

  1. Use your thumb to gently close your right nostril. Breathe in for 3 counts through your left nostril. 
  2. Gently close your left nostril with your ring finger. Release your thumb to exhale through your right nostril for 3 counts.
  3. Keep this same hand position to inhale through your right nostril for 3 counts.
  4. Gently close your right nostril with your thumb. Release your ring finger to exhale through your left nostril for 3 counts.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4. 

Yoga Nidra 

The goal of yoga nidra is to reach complete relaxation. In Sanksrit, “yoga” translates to union and “nidra” translates to sleep. Two studies have confirmed measurable changes in the central nervous system and an increase in the “happy hormone” known as dopamine when yoga nidra is practiced for 30 minutes per day for two weeks to 6 months.  

To achieve this practice, which involves a rested mind and body while your consciousness is awake, you can follow a YouTube video or guide yourself through the 10 stages of yoga nidra. To get started, find a restful position. Lie on your back on a yoga mat, blanket, couch, bed, or wherever you feel comfortable. Use pillows and bolsters as needed to support your neck and knees. You may wish to cover your body with a blanket. Here’s how to continue through the steps, according to the yoga scholar Dr. Richard Millar: 

  1. Connect to your heart’s deepest desire: What is your top health goal? Imagine accomplishing this goal and how good it will feel.
  2. Set an intention: What is your reason for practicing today? It can be anything that comes to mind. Center your practice around this reason.
  3. Find your inner resource: This stage is realized when your body can relax into a comfortable, safe space. To help, think of a person, place, or experience that allows you to feel at ease.
  4. Scan your body: Focus your awareness at the top of your head and then progress all the way to the tips of your toes. As you navigate through each body part notice how your body eases into a deeper, relaxed state.
  5. Become aware of your breath: Observe how your body reacts to each breath. Pay attention to the way your belly rises and falls in response to your inhalations and exhalations. Notice that the air is cooler when you inhale, and warmer when you exhale. This awareness can help regulate your breathing.
  6. Welcome your feelings: Label how you feel and be honest. Feelings can be broken down into three categories (positive, negative, and neutral). You don’t need sugarcoat how you feel. Allow yourself to sit with your emotions, as if you are welcoming a friend to sit with you.
  7. Witness your thoughts: This stage is like step 6. Without judgement, notice what you are thinking. You may have positive, negative, or neutral thoughts. As you welcome these thoughts, especially if they are negative, consider how it feels to explore opposing thoughts.
  8. Experience joy: As you exhale, you may feel the warmth of your breath diffusing through your body. If you feel sensations of bliss, happiness, and joy, let them radiate throughout your whole being. 
  9. Observe your “self”: This stage is simply asking…how do you feel? It will allow you to wake up with a sense of connection to your emotions. Tap into your feelings using “I” statements (for example I feel at peace, I feel frustrated, I feel happy). 
  10. Reflect on your practice: As you conclude your practice, again notice how you feel. Take a moment to imagine how you can bring feelings of peace into your everyday life, whether a situation is positive or challenging. Before you open your eyes and transition into a wakeful state, take a moment to focus on gratitude.  

Wim Hof Method 

This method involves hyperventilation followed by periods of holding your breath, which has been shown to improve emotional well-being.  

To practice the Wim Hof Method, start in a relaxed position. Follow these instructions to cycle through the 3 rounds for this technique: 

  1. Round 1: Breathe in for 2 seconds and out for 2 seconds 30 times. After exhaling completely, hold your breath for 30 seconds.
  2. Round 2: Breathe in for 2 seconds and out for 2 seconds 30 times. After exhaling completely, hold your breath for 1 minute.
  3. Round 3: Breathe in for 2 seconds and out for 2 seconds, 30 times. After exhaling completely, hold your breath for 1 minute and 30 seconds.  

Note: If you have concerns about starting a breathing practice or which one is right for you, talk to a medical professional. If you try a breathing technique and you feel the need to stop at any time, ease out of the practice, resume normal breathing, and discuss the experience with your doctor.  


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