By Dr. Amber Kasten, Associate Director of Amplification
With the end of summer fast approaching and the stressors of fall just around the corner, it’s important to remember to take time out of your day to relax and reset. This Labor Day weekend, once all your family and friends have gone home, you should try mindfulness to keep the upcoming stress of returning to work at bay.
Mindfulness originated from Buddhist meditation practices but has been adopted by Western medicine as a therapeutic approach to self-management of difficult-to-treat health issues by the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Mindfulness is our ability to remain present in our lives and not become overwhelmed by what is going on around us. Although we all have the ability to remain mindful, it is most effective if you practice it daily. The best part? It’s very easy and there is nothing for you to buy!
At Newport-Mesa Audiology Balance & Ear Institute, we promote mindfulness for myriad of reasons. Stress, anxiety, and fatigue are common triggers for increased awareness of symptoms — from tinnitus to dizziness and beyond. When our patients learn the basics of mindfulness and practice it consistently, they often report some relief from their symptoms. For tinnitus patients, this might help you accept your tinnitus and teach your brain that it isn’t indicating something is wrong.
For our dizzy patients, it can help them focus on treatment rather than their symptoms to get them to their end goal sooner. Mindfulness is also a great option to trial if you’re faced with a difficult to treat diagnosis. For example, sometimes our patients who continue to suffer ongoing migraines will use mindfulness to be present in the moment and to reduce the hold their symptoms have on their daily lives.
The experts at mindful.org have come up with five simple ways to practice mindfulness in your daily life. They have tons of great resources to help you incorporate mindfulness in small increments such as this six minute exercise designed to help you relax and recalibrate after a hectic day.
“If I had to limit my advice on healthier living to just one tip, it would be simply to learn how to breathe correctly.” – Dr. Andrew Weil
For immediate relaxation in a stressful situation, try this very simple breathing technique called the ‘Sigh Breath’. It quickly releases tension in your chest, diaphragm and neck. It’s a wonderful way to manage symptoms of anxiety or panic, or before any medical treatment, such as Advanced Vestibular Treatment (AVT).
Sigh Breath Steps:
- Inhale a moderate breath through the nose (not deep)
- Hold the breath for just a beat
- Allow the air to exhale slowly through the nose or mouth, whichever is most natural
- Allow the breaths to take on a natural rhythm until they become more slow and shallow
Something to keep in mind while you’re practicing mindfulness, is to be present in the moment and redirect your thoughts. There is no way to quiet your mind completely but focusing on the present and redirecting stray thoughts will put you on the path to success with mindfulness. Try mindfulness this holiday weekend to kick your fall off with peace and relaxation!