Is Poor Breathing Making You Sick?

This is the last of the 6 life-hacks, one that is easy to apply, will not take time from your day but will have a huge impact on your physical, mental and emotional health. It is the ultimate detox, the ultimate stress buster, immune booster and the best performance enhancer 2nd to sleep, but in turn impacts the quality of your sleep. It is the CONSCIOUS use of the breath (commonly known as prana or chi), associated with spirit, passion, life, power and magnetism.
It is important that you understand what is going on with the breath and its impact on the chemical and physiological activities of the body which includes the mind. Knowing this gives you ultimate control so you can put yourself in any desired state depending on what you want to achieve in the moment.

There are two types of breathing:

Subconscious ‘natural’ breathing. This is controlled by what is going on in your heart and mind.

Conscious breathing where you bring your awareness to the breath. This conversely controls your heart and mind.

And there are two states or outcomes from your breathing. They either step you into your:

Parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) – usually associated with nose breathing

Sympathetic (fight or flight) – associated with mouth breathing

Both states serve a purpose so there is no such thing as good or bad but rather, a natural state or unnatural state. If you are running a race, engaging the sympathetic with mouth breathing is important, but the same mouth breathing sitting at a desk fretting is unnatural.

The breath is a gateway to multiple states and the purpose of this article is to teach you the different techniques so you can use the breath as a very powerful tool. Stressed? No problem you will know what to do. Needing energy? No problem again. Needing creativity? Etc….

Whatever technique you choose below, there is one powerful element that is common to all: AWARENESS! Awareness is the magic ingredient. I will now share with you the techniques I have learned over the years and read about from pioneers like Dan Brule. His book Just Breathe was life-changing.

Breathing for STRESS RELIEF OR SLEEP

This is a technique I created for myself that is a combination diaphragmatic and box breathing. It is the quickest way to interrupt the fight or flight stress response and trigger the body’s normal relaxation response. The added benefit to this technique is that it strengthens the diaphragm and trains the body to breath from the belly subconsciously.

“When the breath is shallow, the mind is unsteady but when the breath is calmed the mind is still; therefore, when you control the breath, you control your mind” – Swatmarama Hatha Yoga Pradipika

The technique: Lie flat on your back with your knees bent. Put one hand on your belly and the other on your heart. Breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 4, out for 4 and hold for four. Your belly should rise and fall with each breath in and out. Repeat 10 times or for as long as you require to notice your body relax. You will know it. When you are in an anxious state the first 4 reps are difficult but if you persist, you will literally change your body chemistry in a few minutes. Mentally counting will help.

Breathing For DETOX

Use this technique if you feel like you are coming down with something or if you are stuck in air-conditioning all day. Do it outside in fresh air.

Did you know that 70% of detox happens by the lungs through the breath? So, if you are shallow breathing throughout the day, you are not detoxing efficiently. We typically shallow breath when we are driving, on devices or in meetings. You will get tired, get brain fog and impact your immune system. That’s why this life-hack is so important! Especially if you are an office worker like me.

The following breathing technique takes 63 seconds twice a day. That’s all. A lot of people don’t believe that something so simple will have any effect, so they will not do it. Science has proven that this simple breathing technique, will trigger the release of endorphins, stimulates the lymphatic system and expels carbon monoxide.

The Technique: Place your tongue against the ridge behind your upper teeth. Close your mouth and inhale deeply through your nose for a count of 4. Hold your breath for 7 and exhale through your mouth for a count of 8. Repeat 3 times. It may feel weird, but it will feel natural after a few goes.

Breathing for CREATIVITY

Creativity comes from the heart not the mind. The heart is where the seat of passion is. It is no co-incidence that the lungs wrap around the heart. And when you take a deep breath, the heart expands and this takes you out of the head and into your heart. Only then can you tap into your creativity. Try this simple technique to help you get creative. I do this every morning after meditation. It only takes a few minutes and makes me super sharp throughout the day.

Alternate nostril breathing: While sitting, close your right nostril with your right thumb. Exhale and then inhale through your left nostril. Release your right nostril and close your left nostril with your ring finger. Exhale and then inhale through your right nostril. And repeat for a few minutes. I do 5 minutes. You can use your left hand. Breath naturally. Once you get the hang of it, it will start to flow naturally. This technique is also popular with Aussie health researcher and ayurvedic medicine practitioner, Mark Bunn.

Breathing for PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT & DEPRESSION Relief

There are many benefits claimed to what is now known as the Wim Hoff breathing method, made famous by the endurance athlete Wim Hoff. Anything from asthma management, Lyme disease treatment, arthritis and fibromyalgia relief, boosting concentration and increasing willpower. The only well documented benefits are performance enhancement from boosting energy and significantly relieving depression. I will not list the science here because if you Google it you will find a tonne of info on this method from multiple research universities. I will also note for the sake of mention that this method is very similar to a technique invented by Leonard Orr.

The Technique: Take 30 quick and deep breaths inhaling consciously through the nose and exhaling naturally through your mouth. Don’t try and control the out-breath. Just let it go. After 30 deep breaths exhale the last breath and then hold until you are gasping to breathe in. Inhale again as deep as you can and hold it for 10 seconds. As a variation I like to drop to the floor and do as many push-ups whilst holding my breath until I am gasping to take a breath again. Repeat this as many times as you like but I find that my whole system is well oxygenated after just one set and I am pumped with energy and feeling great! I promise you will too.

The Motivation Trap

3 Things Wrong with Motivation

1. The over promotion of motivation and happiness is causing anxiety. The expectation to be “on” the whole time is unrealistic and research is now showing that this increases rumination in response to failure. [McGuirk, L., Kuppens, P., Kingston, R., & Bastian, B. (2018). Does a culture of happiness increase rumination over failure?]

2. Dumping on yourself for NOT being motivated. You start to doubt yourself and this….

3. Leads to inaction. How? If motivation becomes the prerequisite for taking action (cooking, cleaning, commuting, reading, learning, exercising, working hard, going on a date, being intimate….you know DOING LIFE) then you will put off doing something until you are motivated.

The combination of all three dysfunctional thinking, then leads you down a negative loop of Anxiety, Doubt and more Inaction, and even less ‘motivation’ because you start to feel bad about yourself. The negative talk kicks in: “I am not fit enough, I am not smart enough, I am not pretty enough, I don’t have enough time, my parents messed me up, I went to the wrong school, it’s in my genes.”

I am not saying motivation is totally bad. It is just transient, and we should not be relying on it to ‘do life’. Motivation is not what makes for progress. Even imagine if business ran on motivation and not workflow systems? There would be no consistency. Business runs on processes, systems, performance of essential tasks for customers. Business does not perform those tasks when it feels motivated.

So, we have systems for working, then why not have systems for living?

Systems For Living

Let’s hit the reset button. In fact, I suggest you STOP using the word “motivation” in sentences such as “I am not motivated to….” Or “I am waiting to get motivated….” Or “I need someone who is self-motivated…”. It serves no purpose and is a useless cliché.  

Let’s talk about what REALLY works. SYSTEMS. The theme at next years Upgrade Your Life event is 2020-VISION but what most people are not expecting is that this theme is NOT about getting pumped up on goals. Everyone has goals. Some people materialise them and yet others dont. WHY? Motivation? Definitely not. The key is CLARITY.

CLARITY not just for your VISION but for what you need TO DO on a daily basis to materialise your vision. You know, taking ACTION. WHAT type of ACTION? This is where systems come in. Rituals, habits, hacks, frameworks, tools, techniques.

The Biggest CON and MYTH: ‘Successful people run on motivation’

Successful people do NOT run on motivation. They run on systems. The moment you start appreciating this, is the time you will take all the anxiety and doubt off your shoulders. Successful people have rituals, habits and hacks that they follow every day, whether they are having a bad day or a great day, whether they feel energetic or not, whether they have had an argument or not, whether someone wronged them or not, whether they have eaten or not, whether they slept well or not, whether, whether, whether….. They show up and follow the process. Sometimes, motivation flows as a result of that, but motivation is not a prerequisite.

The Motivation Trap – Dont Become a Target

If you rely on motivation in your life, you will become addicted to positive meme’s and inspirational people/talks. You will need them like a daily drug to get you going. And you will get addicted to social media because it fuels this addiction. You will spend your energy chasing instead of doing. Please don’t. You will end up being an easy target for people trying to sell you stuff to keep you pumped. A friend recently confided in spending $10,000 on a program that did NOTHING for her. It angered me so much. Systems are FREE and there are many caring people in the wold today sharing systems that deliver. David Goggins is one of them.

Our Speakers Never Talk About Motivation

If you really listen to all our speakers who present at our Upgrade Your Life event, you will notice a common thread. None of them talk about motivation. They talk about principles, values, processes, rituals, habits, hacks and routines.

Even inspirational people like David Goggin’s snubs motivation. He talks ‘being uncommon among the uncommon’, ‘going dark’, ‘callousing the mind’, ‘the new norm’. He is sometimes labelled as motivational, but he tells people not to hero-worship him. In his book Can’t Hurt Me he tells us that if you follow your own system for living, you will become your own hero and not need anyone, or any course or any program. I share a video below of an interview he gave on London Real, which gives you an insight of the difference between motivation and ‘doing’.

BELOW the video I have included comments from people in our Higher Branch Community and how they have overcome REAL LIFE hardship and their TRANSFORMATION by following the systems that David Goggins espouses. Notice their comments say nothing about motivation! 

Click the thumbnail below or click here to watch the video >>>

Life Hack #5: Your 6th Sense

Are You Genetically Gifted

You could possibly have a gene that gives you a competitive edge in harnessing the power of visualisation. More on that later.

Nobody ever thinks of their 5 senses as superpowers but all the science shows that it is our 5 senses that determines how we experience the world, how long we live and the quality of our living. Now science is discovering a 6th sense that can create everything we ever wanted out of life. This is mind-blowing and one that we will be covering at Upgrade Your Life 2020. For now please read on to discover the miracle of this 6th sense.

Whether you believe in creation or evolution, you have to accept that we are never given a faculty by accident. Our taste buds are there for the sense of taste and smell for avoiding toxic food, eyes for seeing and finding food and water; ears for hearing your child cry at night and as an alarm for predators; and touch for intimacy and tactile creation. Every sense serves a purpose. So why are humans the only living creatures on the planet to ALSO have creative imagination. Why do we have the ability to envision goals and dreams and hold them as emotions?

Before you dismiss this as an article on nonsense such as “The Secret” I want you to know that I have a bias for action. I believe in hard work. I believe that hope without habit is futile. I don’t believe in motivation. I believe it is our actions that define our identity and hence our future behaviours. BUT what precedes our actions? VISION & THOUGHTS. We need to have a vision and CLARITY on where we are going and WHY we are taking action.

Creative imagination is a faculty just like our 5 physical senses… BUT this 6th senses is by far the most powerful! Most people use it to imagine the worst that can happen in life (I know this all too well. As a trained lawyer I am trained to pre-empt the worst-case scenario and draft contracts to help my clients avert it). BUT for those who know how to harness the power of imagination and visualise the best things in life (a healthy body, great relationships, material abundance to name the typical) then this is a faculty you need to know how to use. Please don’t waste it. It holds the key to a whole dimension so few know hot to step into.

Imagine it. Done.

Creative imagination or “Emotional Visualisation” as I call it has helped me manifest just about everything in my life. The person I am married to, the house I live in, my body and mind, the friends I hang with, etc… this is all a manifestation of the future visual I hold deep in my emotions. If you walk into my Sydney office at MSA National where we have over 100 people and look at every detail from floor to walls to furniture to layout, the smiles on people’s faces, the culture, the innovation, that was once and remains all in my creative imagination. During meditation I visualised it so clearly and held gratitude ‘in advance’ that my heart and mind believed it to be true ahead of time.

The first ever event of Upgrade Your Life is another example of that manifestation. Watch the highlights here and note that every smile, every tear, every experience, every speaker, every aha moment, every dance, was all once in my head. People asked me after the event: did you ever in your wildest dreams imagine that the event could be so beautiful? A smile always appears on my face, because I visualised it in my heart and mind so clearly. I just had to show up every day and watch the magic of the universe reveal the path I needed to take. Sure, I did have to overcome all my doubts and fears. Who doesn’t have them??? We all do. But if you trust this “Emotional Visualisation” you can’t go wrong. I call it ‘emotional’ because you have to have that gratitude in your heart in advance. What does that mean?

A beautiful thing happens when you fall in love with your future. When you feel like your future has already happened there is a synchronisation between your energy and that potential in the quantum field. You start to draw experiences (or synchronicities) that help you manifest that visual because you are connected to that future energy. I am not proposing anything radical here. Dr Joe Dispenza recently wrote multiple books about this phenomena and his events, attracting hundreds of people, sell out within minutes of release. People have healed themselves from auto-immune diseases to arteriosclerosis using creative visualisation.

Do You Have A Genetic Competitive Edge?

I was extremely sceptical about this field of epigenetic for many years until I learned that Science had discovered a gene that is unique to ‘some’ humans that gives them the ability to tap into creative imagination at will, to manifest whatever is possible in the quantum field. This genotype known as rs4680(A;A) is in the coding region of the COMT gene. People with this genotype are associated with higher levels of dopamine in the pre-frontal cortex, a region implicated in the placebo and nocebo response. This phenomenon occurs when a person experiences a physiological response to what he or she thinks is happening. This is nothing new. People who use their creative imagination to imagine an illness have a psychosomatic response. The expectation elicits a response. Whether that response is positive or negative all depends on the individual using their imagination. People who use it to imagine the worst, end up attracting what they fear. People who know how to use it for good, usually are people who enjoy amazing success in their life.

Does this mean that people who don’t have this genotype, cannot tap into their 6th sense? No. It’s just harder. Just like you have some people who are gifted at running long distances or swimming or whatever, this does not mean you cannot do what they do; it just means you have to train harder (Exhibit A = David Goggins – he was negative buoyant and went on to complete navy seal ‘hell week’ 3 times – the most in history). So please do not give up on this faculty just because you discover you don’t have this gene.

I know this life-hack in the series is not as sexy and as easy as the usual diet and lifestyle hacks out there but just because it is a little difficult to understand it does not mean you should dismiss it. It is extremely powerful, which is why we will be teaching this superpower at Upgrade Your Life. Our faculty members from Alessandra Edwards (DNA-based performance expert), Mark Bunn (Ayurvedic Medicine teacher) and Tom Sullivan (meditation coach) will be stepping you through the system for tapping into your creative imagination at will and materialising the life you were meant to live. This is NOT a sales pitch. It’s just that this 6thsense is not as easy as the other senses to explain in one article. It needs to be taught in a workshop and practised like any other skill. But if you do master it, I promise you that your life will open up to a whole new level.

Life-Hack #4: The Power of Laughter

If you are new to growing community, this article is in a series on the 4 rituals, 5 habits and 6 hacks. All our content is free and curated with genuine love, care and respect. To catch up, please visit www.ahigherbranch.com/blog

Firstly, I need to clarify what a life-hack is. It is a lifestyle protocol that will boost your energy, help you sleep better, boost your immune system and ultimately make you live longer.

Why is laughter a life-hack that is in my top 6? Just like a body builder will focus on compounding exercises such as squats, the 6 life-hacks, including this one on laughter, all have a compounding effect on your health.  In other words there impact is far reaching inside the body.

Let me explain why laughter is so important to your health by explaining its impact on your physical, mental, and emotional health.

Physically

·         Decreases the stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin

·         Lowers blood pressure because it boosts nitric oxide and dilates the inner lining of blood vessels. It even increases HDL.

·         Increases the circulation of antibodies that boosts resistance to infections

·         60 seconds of hearty laughter relieves tension in your muscles for up to 45 minutes. That makes it more potent than Valium without the side-effects

·         It relieves depression

Thoughts (Mind)

·         Laughter (or even ‘humour’ without having to laugh out loud) boosts dopamine to the brain and this increases the sense of pleasure and reward.

·         It changes brain wave activity towards what’s called a “gamma frequency” and this amps up memory and recall. Jim Kwik will talk about this in more detail at Upgrade Your Life 2020. He demonstrates that laughter also boosts motivation to get things done.

Emotions (Mood or HearteartHeart)

Ultimately the combination of mind and body benefits lead your mood to greener pastures. You have peace of mind and sleep better at night. Suddenly everything seems manageable, even pain or loss or failure. You smile more. You have an air of self-confidence, and you start attracting good things and good people into your life, including customers. Most importantly it will improve your relationships with family, friends and your partner. I coached one client who said that until he learned how to laugh, his kids found him too serious and scary. When he learned to let go and laugh more he was getting more hugs at home. In fact, research shows that people who are fun, witty and smile often are voted as more attractive. Not bad for a life-hack aye? Which is why it comes in at #4 in our series.

How to Increase Laughter in Your Daily Life

·         Surround yourself with people who feel like sunshine – in other words, who make you laugh and are easy going. Physically, we do feel warmer from laughter.

·         Listen to or watch, comedy – preferably at a live comedy show. One of my nightly rituals is to listen to comedy every night before I go to sleep.

·         Read our article called “Yes But Are You Having Fun?” There are many spiritual teachers who believe that our highest purpose in life is to play, have fun and spread happiness.

Great Joke for anyone ever Caught Speeding

A police officer pulls a guy over for speeding and has the following exchange:

Officer: May I see your driver’s license?

Driver: I don’t have one. I had it suspended when I got my 5th DUI.

Officer: May I see the owner’s card for this vehicle?

Driver: It’s not my car. I stole it.

Officer: The car is stolen?

Driver: That’s right. But come to think of it, I think I saw the owner’s card in the glove box when I was putting my gun in there.

Officer: There’s a gun in the glove box?

Driver: Yes sir. That’s where I put it after I shot and killed the woman who owns this car and stuffed her in the trunk.

Officer: There’s a BODY in the TRUNK?!?!?

Driver: Yes, sir.

Hearing this the officer immediately called his captain. The car was quickly surrounded by police, and the captain approached the driver to handle the situation:

Captain: Sir, can I see your license?

Driver: Sure, Here it is.

It was valid.

Captain: Who’s car is this?

Driver: It’s mine officer, here’s the owner’ card.

The driver owned the car.

Captain: Could you slowly open your glove box so I can see if there’s a gun in it?

Driver: Yes, sir, but there’s no gun in it.

Sure enough, there was nothing in the glove box.

Captain: Would you mind opening the trunk? I was told you said there’s a body in it.

Driver: No problem.

Trunk is opened; no body.

Captain: I don’t understand it. The officer who stopped you said you told him you didn’t have a license, stole the car, had a gun in the glove box, and that there was a dead body in the trunk.

Driver: Yeah, I’ll bet the lying b*****d told you I was speeding too.

That joke was ‘borrowed’ from www.markbunn.com.au

Life-Hack #3: Oil Pulling & Your Amazing Saliva

Poor oral health has been strongly linked to heart disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s. In addition, certain diseases such as diabetes can lower the body’s resistance to infection, making oral health problems more severe. But that’s only part of the story. What most people don’t realise is that oral health is not just about protecting your teeth and gums, it is about protecting an important immune function performed by your saliva. I know this topic might be a little gross but it is important, which is why it made the top 6 life hacks in our 4-5-6 system for daily living.

I will share a simple preventative technique that will impact your health in a profound way, make you more attractive and boost your resistance to disease. It is an ultimate preventative super weapon. And it is quick, easy and cheap.

But first, the science.

Saliva is also one of your body’s main defences against bacteria and viruses. It contains antibodies that attack viral pathogens, such as the common cold and even HIV. It also contains proteins called histatins, which inhibit the growth of candida. When these proteins are weakened by poor oral health and some illnesses, candida can grow out of control.

Saliva is also good for your sex life because research shows that healthy saliva has testosterone in it, which explains why kissing has been shown to be the ultimate aphrodisiac. It stands to reason that if you have poor oral health, you will reduce your libido and be less attractive, not just on the sensory level (bad breath) but on the hormonal level.

Inflammation, Heart Disease & Alzheimer’s

Oral inflammation due to bacteria (gingivitis) plays a role in clogged arteries and blood clots. Bacteria in the mouth may cause inflammation throughout the body, including the arteries of the heart and brain. It enters the bloodstream through bleeding gums. This inflammation causes the development of atherosclerotic plaques in the arteries, increasing your risk of a heart attack, stroke and the build-up of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain, which leads to dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Most people are taught the three main protocols to good oral hygiene.

  1. Avoid sugar
  2. Floss your teeth at night
  3. Brush teeth morning and night

But there is a 4th protocol which is super effective at preventing the inflammatory response of poor mouth hygiene. It will protect your heart and your brain, which seem to be the most susceptible to inflammation.

Oil Pulling

This protocol has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine well before we had tooth paste and tooth brushes. The following is what you should do morning just before you perform the 4 morning rituals shared in previous articles.

  • Brush teeth and tongue in the usual way
  • Use a table spoon of coconut oil and sesame oil
  • Put one drop of essential oils clove and oregano or thyme
  • Swish the oil in your mouth for 5-20 mins. I perform this during my morning jog. It is time efficient and also forces me to breath through my nose which is much healthier than mouth breathing.
  • Do NOT swallow because the oil extracts all the bacteria and other toxins from in-between gums and teeth.
  • Spit out thoroughly, preferably in the garden. If you cannot do the garden then do not use coconut oil because it will harden in your drainage pipes. Just use sesame oil.

For a definitive guide on this protocol, please read this article by our faculty member and health researcher, Mark Bunn: Oil Pulling the Ayurvedic Way.

See Mark Bunn talk at Upgrade Your Life 2020 where he will share the definitive step-by-step system to healthy living.

Last Word

I am surprised at how many people I come across are obsessed with diet and exercise but give very little attention to oral hygiene, eye and hearing health. These three senses are so important to overall health and wellbeing. In fact, I will talk about hearing health and it’s newly-discovered link to Alzheimer’s in a future article, which will also feature a must-listen podcast I recorded in Boston with Dr Kirupa Suthakar, PhD.