Making Your 2017 a Resilient and Successful Year

Dr Stephen Sideroff
by Stephen Sideroff, Ph.D.

I know we are beginning the month of March, but it’s never too late to awaken to the moment. In my effort to be the best version of myself and live a resilient and optimal life, daily stresses and periodic emergencies have their way of taking me off The Path. We all have this “survival bias”, an automatic tendency to look for the dangers in our lives that shifts us away from avenues of new growth and creativity.

There is something about the beginning of the year that serves to wake me up, to bring me back to my intentions. The mark of the calendar serves to reignite these intentions. I’d like to share this process with you, as it is an approach that can serve you as well.

One thing that stress tends to do is shift our thinking and behavior into “instinct mode”. With danger comes a shift from creativity and expansiveness, to more habitual behaviors. This might include taking the easier tasks first and leaving more important ones that then don’t get done. Or it might mean excessive worry that causes procrastination, fatigue and loss of sleep. These old patterns keep us stuck in life. When you keep doing things the same way, you get the same old results. New approaches are important for greater resilience and success.

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Students in holistic health classes able to weather stress of school, life

Students in the “Holistic Health 430: Foundation of Biofeedback and Self Regulation” class, from left, Garrett Peuse, Melanie Ruperto and Barbara Ribeiro, explore the level of muscle tension as monitored by electromyography.

By Jamie Oppenheim

Since the 1970s, Professor Erik Peper has been teaching students how to manage stress

As midterms loom and stress begins to take a toll on student health, those in Professor of Health Education Erik Peper’s holistic health classes may have an advantage over other students. They’re learning valuable self-care and stress management techniques that can help them navigate school and life more easily for years to come.

Every semester, students in Peper’s classes learn techniques to combat stress, which include relaxation exercises, visualizations, biofeedback skills and mindfulness practices. The classes often culminate with a project where students identify personal health issues or goals and develop plans to address them.

Eighty percent of those students report significant improvements in health, Peper said. One of these success stories was recently featured in a case study in the journal for the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. The student, a 20-year-old woman identified in the study as Melinda, suffered recurring migraines since she was 14, according to the case study. She said she suffered at least four migraines a week and was taking medication to manage her discomfort. After learning self-regulation, biofeedback and body awareness techniques, such as breathing exercises, posture changes and mindfulness, they disappeared.

“At the 20-month follow-up, the student continued to be headache-free,” Peper said in the case study. “This type of integrated self-healing educational approach is recommended for students, patients and anyone who wants to create lasting health changes.”

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How Biofeedback Therapy Helps To Treat Over 16 Medical Conditions


Various forms of biofeedback therapy — performed using certain muscle relaxation, breath and mental exercises — are now being proven in numerous studies to treat more than a dozen health conditions.

But how does this mind-body intervention work? At its roots, biofeedback therapy helps reduce a wide range of symptoms by lowering sympathetic arousal. Through identifying and changing certain mental activities and physical reactions, biofeedback trains patients to help regulate their own unconscious bodily processes and better control their stress response. Biofeedback therapy acts as a natural painkiller and a natural headache remedy, among other things.

See the full article How Biofeedback Therapy Helps To Treat Over 16 Medical Conditions

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Listen to your head and your heart: Heart Rate Variability 101


February 2017/by Morgan Ingemanson

Pop duo Roxette said it best: Listen to your heart. Words of wisdom to remember this Valentine’s Day. And, excellent advice when it comes to taking care of your health. In fact, listening to your heart can help you understand what is going on in your head!

One biomarker to rule them all

It’s no secret that doctors encourage patients to place high importance on maintaining heart health. And for good reason – heart disease is still the leading cause of death is the US. Keeping a close eye on biomarkers like cholesterol, heart rate, and blood pressure just comes with the territory of aging. But you could be skipping over a key biomarker that serves as a broad indicator of overall physical and psychological health for people of all ages: heart rate variability.

An introduction to Heart Rate Variability

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is a measure of the variation in the time between individual heart beats. Rather than simply counting how many times your heart beats per minute, HRV measures how consistent the length of time between each beat is. HRV helps doctors understand if your heart is beating in a simple and predictable pattern, like a metronome, or in a more variable pattern.

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Tap your holiday stress-busting super power: Breathing

By Dana Santas, from CNN Updated 10:47 PM ET, Sun November 20, 2016

Despite the myriad joys the season brings, it can be a stressful time for many of us. Between shopping, cooking, travel, parties, house guests, winter storms and shorter days, the holidays pile on the stress with little regard for the continued demands of our everyday lives. Instead of feeling festive, we’re often left tense, irritable and exhausted.

The good news is that we’re all equipped with a natural superpower to manage stress: breathing.

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How to Reduce Stress and Improve Your Health

It’s a fact of life in today’s busy world that we all live with stress.

Want to learn how to manage stress better and be able to learn to relax better, and reduce the anxiety that we all feel in this modern world?

Biofeedback training may be the answer!

What is Biofeedback Training?

Biofeedback training is a way of learning how to feel the sensations that occur when your stress response is kicking in and discovering specific recovery techniques that help move your body back into a healthy rhythm of stress management….stress – recover – stress – recover etc. etc.

Read full article here

31 new digital health tools showcased at CES 2017

One of the sleep aid products we carry was highlighted this year at CES!

The 2breathe Sleep Inducer was introduced by father-son team Erez and Benjamin Gavish, who also make an FDA-cleared hypertension wearable called RESPeRATE. Realizing that their original wearable was making its users fall asleep, they were prompted to create the new tracking module, which people wear on an elastic strap around their torso.  As they breathe, the data from the rhythm of their breath feeds into their companion app, which creates a melody to synchronize with their breathing and ostensibly guide the user to slow down their respiration and fall asleep.

See the full article here

How to Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve for Better Mental Health

Great article from a Optimal Living Dynamics blog about the benefits of HRV and stimulating the vagus nerve. Authored by Jordan Fallis

The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in your body. It connects your brain to many important organs throughout the body, including the gut (intestines, stomach), heart and lungs.

In fact, the word “vagus” means “wanderer” in Latin, which accurately represents how the nerve wanders all over the body and reaches various organs.

The vagus nerve is also a key part of your parasympathetic “rest and digest” nervous system. It influences your breathing, digestive function and heart rate, all of which can have a huge impact on your mental health.

But what you really need to pay special attention to is the “tone” of your vagus nerve.
Vagal tone is an internal biological process that represents the activity of the vagus nerve.

Increasing your vagal tone activates the parasympathetic nervous system, and having higher vagal tone means that your body can relax faster after stress.

In 2010, researchers discovered a positive feedback loop between high vagal tone, positive emotions, and good physical health. In other words, the more you increase your vagal tone, the more your physical and mental health will improve, and vice versa .

Read the full article How to Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve for Better Mental Health