Keep it Real TV Episode 39

Video by Dr. Chad Larson

In episode 39 of his video series, Dr. Larson discusses: 

  • When you extrapolate that number to include negative emotional states such as irritability, anger, depression, and fear, that number increases significantly
  • Negative emotional states including anxiety are common in every age group and gender
  • Five natural strategies that can significantly decrease negative emotional states; they are breathing exercises, reducing blue light exposure, altering your less than positive sleep habits and patterns, making healthier food choices, and spending more time outdoors
  • The first technique to reduce anxiety and negative emotional states is breathing exercises
  • There have been numerous studies done to determine how breathing mechanisms work and how they can help to reduce anxiety
  • A recent study released in Frontiers of Psychology examined how breathing exercises affected study participants on three various levels
  • To examine the effect of breathing exercises, researchers evaluated a group of participants, the study had 20 sessions, and it ran for eight weeks
  • There was a control group and an experimental group
  • The experimental group had participants sit for 15 minutes and perform restful breathing, which was described as sitting in a room and breathing normally with their eyes closed
  • The next 15 minutes, the experimental group participants were asked to do diaphragmatic breathing or "deep breathing"
  • Diaphragmatic breathing is a breathing exercise that involves taking a deep breath until the diaphragm drops down and the lungs are completely filled with air
  • The control group did restful breathing only
  • The researchers then measured the difference between the two groups according to three various tests
  • The first test was PANS or positive and negative effect schedule, a self-reported questionnaire, the participants were asked how they felt emotionally after the breathing exercises
  • The second test was something called the NCT or number cancellation test, which is a test to measure how well participants could identify patterns of numbers, it is a measure of mental focus and mental acuity
  • The third test was a neuroendocrine measurement of the participant's saliva concentration
  • The neuroendocrine measurement was specifically testing for a hormone called "cortisol"
  • Cortisol is related to the amount of stress that a person is experiencing, a hormone in the body, it measures how much anxiety a person is experiencing
  • What researchers found was that the experimental group, or the group that was doing the "deep breathing" exercises, were significantly rated better than their cohorts across all three test findings
  • Researchers found that the experimental group consistently had a decreased negative emotional status and an increased positive emotional status, as well as greater mental focus and acuity with just thirty minutes every other day of deep breathing
  • Another study published in the Journal of Psychophysiology and Biofeedback done in 2015 evaluated the neurophysiological effects of breathing exercises and how they affect your emotional states
  • What the study found is that there are people who are caught in chronic negative emotional states that are dominated by the sympathetic system
  • The sympathetic system is the "fight or flight" response that is supposed to help us when we are confronted by stressful or dangerous situations
  • The parasympathetic system is an autonomic physiological state where the body is relaxed; it is the exact opposite of the sympathetic system
  • What researchers wanted to figure out is what physiologically happens when a person shifts from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic system
  • They discovered that when a person changes from the sympathetic system to the parasympathetic system, they reach a cardio respiratory synchronization where the heart rate to breath rate ratio is in synch
  • That ratio is about four to five breaths in between heart beats
  • Simple breathing exercises have the ability to bring someone out of the sympathetic system and into the relaxed or parasympathetic system
  • Therefore, if you are experiencing a chronic negative emotional state, then the first line of care should be something as simple as breathing exercises
  • All too often, the first line is medication
  • Medications work by altering neurotransmitters in the brain only and don't really address all the other symptoms that someone who is a chronic negative emotional state is experiencing
  • They also have many adverse side effects like GI symptoms, immune system deficiencies and can wreak havoc on a patient's hormonal balance
  • Before you reach for medication, you should give breathing exercises a try
  • It just take thirty minutes a day to decrease anxiety and reduce chronic emotional state symptoms, of your 1440 a day, 30 minutes is not much to put aside for enormous benefits


Related Slideshows:

Keep it Real TV Episode 38

Anxiety is an anti-discriminatory condition that appears to be increasing across all adult populations. There are several ways to combat the anxiety that you feel.
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Keep it Real TV Episode 24

Sometimes we become too overwhelmed by major life changes that we want to make and end up procrastinating and never realizing our goals. Incremental changes made one percent at a time will help you to stay on track and make significant changes daily that will get you where you want to be.
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Keep it Real TV Episode 19

The choices that you make today determine your health for a lifetime. Good news in one respect, you get a fresh start every day to increase your longevity and quality of life.
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