My Life

Self Talk and Communication Styles for Your Health

For those of you that know me, I still work a full time job while striving to achieve my dream of being a full time personal trainer for those of us with atrial fibrillation. And my day job is in an industry known for being high-stress and with a high-burnout rate.

Because of this my organization takes health and wellness seriously. We often have specialists come and talk to us about topics like: work/life balance, stress reduction, time management and most recently, self talk.

The conversation really hit home for me because I’ve been doing a lot of self talk lately about my goals for Fey Fitness in 2018. I love helping people, but being a business owner isn’t a skill set I have yet, so there’s a lot of introspection regarding this. Today’s discussion at work got me thinking and I thought I would share the notes I took today in case they are helpful to others.

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If you have questions please let me know. And as always, please like and subscribe to this site to stay up to date on new content, and head on over to Instagram (@fey_fitness) to give me a follow or to YouTube at Fey Fitness.

My Patreon page is now live, so please go show some love there as well. I’d like to make some upgrades to my videos to enhance your viewing pleasure, and any support would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,

Fey

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/FeyFitness

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fey_fitness

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/FeyFitness

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Notes:

 

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“Self talk”

Be mindful of your conversations with yourself.  Notice what message you say to yourself throughout the day.  What positive statements can you substitute for negative self talk.

Examples – Negative or Positive self talk

“I have too much to do”                or         “I will put together a realistic plan for the day”

“1st things 1st”

“I am doing my best”

“Things will never change”      or           “I will do arrange a time talk with x about x”

                                                                   “How can I make this better?”

                                                                   “I have the choice to accept”

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Communication styles

Be keen and to yours and others communication styles and traits. Tailor your messages to their style.

Analytical

·      High level of emotional self-control, low-level assertiveness

·      Precise, deliberate and systematic approach

·      Industrious, objective and well-organized workers

·   Approach with agenda, quiet and serious

·   Focus on task and accuracy

Driver

·      High level of emotional self control and assertiveness

·      Decisive, results-oriented and competitive

·      Independent and able to get things done

·   Approach with objective, business like

·   Focus on task and conclusions

Amiable

·      High level of emotional responsiveness, low-level assertiveness

·      Sympathetic and empathetic to others

·      Trust others

·      Approach with personal comment, friendly, casual

·      Focus on relationship and agreement

Expressive

·   High level emotional responsiveness and assertiveness

·   “Big picture” people, innovators and risk-takers

·   Ability to charm, persuade and inspire people

·      Approach with compliment, fast moving pace

·      Focus on relationship, intentions and inspiration

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My Life

Excerpt From My Book: The Importance of Relaxation with Atrial Fibrillation

While I recommend stress relief to many of my clients, the ones that are living with atrial fibrillation can derive a great benefit from keeping yourself happy and relaxed. When we get stressed, our blood pressure raises, our muscles tend to tense up, and our heart rate can increase. Add all these effects together, and it creates a perfect storm for an AFib episode. This can worsen atrial fibrillation symptoms and cause other long-term health problems if the stress persists.

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Managing stress can not only help decrease atrial fibrillation symptoms or episodes, but it can also improve your quality of life. While you should always have this conversation with your doctor before starting any new health and wellness routine, here are some ideas for ways to help take control of your stress and your health.

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Some stress reduction ideas include:

  • Engaging in self or guided meditation
  • Practicing most forms of yoga
  • Relaxation techniques; such as deep breathing or biofeedback
  • Leaning on your support group of family and friends for help
  • Being involved in some form of physical activity
  • Maintaining a balanced healthy diet
  • Stop smoking

Talking to your doctor can help you identify the methods or activities that would work best for you, your severity of AFib, and your personal interests.

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On another note, there does exist a relationship between atrial fibrillation and anxiety or depression. Many cardiologists are aware of this connection, so if you are experiencing these feelings or thoughts I urge you to reach out to your medical practitioner and discuss this topic with them. There is help out there for you, and a licensed psychologist would be happy to talk with you about what you are experiencing. There is nothing wrong with seeking someone to discuss these feelings with. The quality of your life is important, so please don’t feel shy about taking action to create a better life for yourself.

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As always, please like and subscribe to this channel to stay up to date on new content, and head on over to Instagram (@fey_fitness) to give me a follow or to YouTube at Fey Fitness.

My Patreon page is now live, so please go show some love there as well. I’d like to make some upgrades to my videos to enhance your viewing pleasure, and any support would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,

Fey

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/FeyFitness

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fey_fitness

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/FeyFitness

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My Life

Excerpt from my Book: Biofeedback for Heart Health

If you’ve never heard of it, biofeedback is a type of therapy where the individual focuses becoming self aware of  physiological functions and reactions with the goal of being able to control certain bodily functions. Sometimes this is achieved with the help of equipment to give the individual something to focus on during a session. A good example of biofeedback is learning how to control your breathing to reduce your heart rate and blood pressure. This can have many uses, such as during an AFib episode or if you are stressing out over an impending deadline at work. Biofeedback can also assist with relaxing muscles, which can be of great benefit to those of us suffering with Atrial Fibrillation.

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Most biofeedback sessions I’ve been a part of are facilitated by an expert in the field, normally a psychologist or licensed physician, and are a goal oriented experience. For example, in the breathing exercise outlined earlier the group could have the goal of learning deep breathing to control heart rate and blood pressure. I’ve also been a part of sessions for progressive muscle relaxation to help participants identify stress in the body and learn how to release it. However, there are many different types of biofeedback that can be used to monitor different bodily functions. So if you are curious about if this type of treatment is right for you, I would suggest reaching out to your primary care physician or cardiologist to find a professional that they know or can recommend. The great thing about biofeedback sessions is that the information you learn in a few sessions can be utilized for the rest of your life. The deep breathing process I learned in my sessions can be used in the car, in the shower, or even when I’m on the phone.

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One of the reasons biofeedback works so well for people with heart conditions is that it increases parasympathetic activity, and can lower heart rate. Remember, the parasympathetic system controls the involuntary nervous systems of the body, such as the heart or intestines. If you’ve forgotten the difference between the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system, think of it this way: the sympathetic nervous system controls your fight or flight response- it gets the body through emergency situations- while the parasympathetic nervous system maintains bodily functions when you are at rest. I like to think of it this way, if I needed to run away from a mountain lion, I would be relying on my sympathetic nervous system to get me to safety. However, if I’m soaking in the bathtub, then my parasympathetic nervous system is working to keep my body in balance while I’m at rest.

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As always, please like and subscribe to this channel to stay up to date on new content, and head on over to Instagram (@fey_fitness) to give me a follow or to YouTube at Fey Fitness.

My Patreon page is now live, so please go show some love there as well. I’d like to make some upgrades to my videos to enhance your viewing pleasure, and any support would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,

Fey

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/FeyFitness

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fey_fitness

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/FeyFitness

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My Life

Excerpt From My Book: Videogames for Heart Health?

In today’s tech savvy world the power of technology can’t be underrated. While I’m not aware of any videogame devices that can eliminate the need for a monthly gym membership, your Wii or X-Box can be a great way to slowly introduce your body to some light cardio. This would be a great option for people who have been sedentary for a long time, or those who suffer from more chronic heart conditions- as long as you have medical clearance from your primary care physician or cardiologist.

The Wii has sport games such as boxing and tennis that are such to get your heart rate going, and the X-Box has a dancing program that allows you to dance to the moves on your television screen. The once popular game Dance Dance Revolution also sells at home versions of their popular game so you can lean fancy footwork at home while burning some calories. Back in high school a friend of mine actually had one of these Dance Dance Revolution home kits and we used it every chance we got. It was a fun way to get our heart rate up and laugh until our sides hurt.

Starting out with these videogames in the comfort of your own home is also a great way to work on your self esteem. If you are feeling self conscious about your current level of cardio fitness, working on improving cardiovascular function via games such as this is a great way to ease into a cardio training routine. Plus, there is the added benefit that you can perform these moves in your PJs on a Saturday morning and never have to leave the house!

Just be sure to keep increasing the intensity. If you mastered all the beginner level sports or dances on your gaming console, but sure to try out medium difficulties and then the hard modes to keep your cardiovascular health improving. The goal should be fun and fitness performance so your health improves in a positive way. Additionally, always remember to keep your heart rate in check and in your optimal fitness range.

Using videogames in this way is also a great alternative if you are sick and can’t make it to the gym. My clients can still do light cardio at home when they are ill to keep on track with their health and wellness goals, without having to get their trainer or other gym goers sick with what they might have. As a trainer who often works with sick clients, my immune system thanks you for not getting me sick too.

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As always, please like and subscribe to this channel to stay up to date on new content, and head on over to Instagram (@fey_fitness) to give me a follow or to YouTube at Fey Fitness.

My Patreon page is now live, so please go show some love there as well. I’d like to make some upgrades to my videos to enhance your viewing pleasure, and any support would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,

Fey

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/FeyFitness

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fey_fitness

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/FeyFitness

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My Life

Excerpt From My Book: Hit The Mats- Control Your Atrial Fibrillation with Yoga!

Yoga is wonderful. It can help reduce anxiety, improve balance and increase flexibility in people who engage in yoga regularly. However, not all yoga methods are appropriate for those of us suffering from Atrial Fibrillation. For example, Bikram yoga (also known as hot yoga) is performed in a very hot and humid room for 60-90 minutes. This style of yoga is definitely not recommended for AFib patients, and even people who are interested in beginning a yoga routine should exercise caution when starting out a Bikram yoga practice.

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However, styles like Iyengar or hatha styles are great starting places for those of us with AFib. These styles focus more on balance and proper body alignment. Breath control is also a large part of these styles, which can help in reducing stress, heart rate and blood pressure. Some yoga practitioners are strong advocates for the correlation between improved mental health and regular yoga practice. These individuals feel that the strong mind body connection that exists during a yoga session can help people feel more confident and in control of their own body and what they are feeling. While more scientific research needs to be done to quantify this, the thought is exciting for those individuals who live with mental health concerns.

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An exciting study was released in March of 2016 by the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing which might shed some more light on the quality of life connection between gentle yoga practice and AFib. The study combined traditional medications and treatments with yoga practice for participants who suffer from paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. This research invited eighty individuals to be split into two groups for a twelve week program. Group one received yoga lessons as a part of their normal medication or other medical treatments, while the other group did not. Questionnaires were given to the participants before, during and after the study to monitor quality of life questions, measure blood pressure, heart rate and such.

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As you can imagine the group who participated in yoga sessions, in addition to their medication or traditional treatments, were found to have lower overall heart rates, lower blood pressure readings, and scored higher on their perceived quality of life questionnaires than the group who did not participate in the yoga classes.

“It could be that the deep breathing balances the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system, leading to less variation in heart rate. The breathing and movement may have beneficial effects on blood pressure”, researcher Wahlström stated in the report (European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 2016).

Deep breathing exercises, called pranayama, found in yoga classes can be used both in and out of your classes to reduce your heart rate and calm down after an AFib episode. The most simple type of deep breathing is to slowly inhale for a count of 4-6 seconds, then exhale for 4-6 seconds. I try to perform this type of breathing for 2-10 minutes several times throughout the day to lower my heart rate and blood pressure. Plus, this breathing technique is perfect if you are on a difficult phone call or in a stressful meeting.

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Ocean Breath, also known as Ujjayi, is another fantastic breathing exercise from yoga practices. Though, I wouldn’t recommend this one while you are in a meeting or on the phone! Breath in deeply through your nose, then exhale loudly through your mouth- you should sound like the ocean tides as you perform this breathing technique. Repeat this until you feel more relaxed and calm.

Another method is alternate nostril breathing, called nadi shodhanaor. This one requires a few steps, but is worth it to help relax your body and calm a rapid heart rate. Place your right thumb over your right nostril and press your thumb against your nose so you are only breathing through your left nostril. Inhale slowly and exhale slowly through the open left nostril. Now switch sides and repeat. This breathing technique can be performed for as long as you need to, and as often as you like.

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Feel free to ask your doctor or yoga instructor for specific yoga poses for you and your level of AFib, but the pose called Cat-Cow is a great starting place to use as a warm up or when you first get up in the morning. To perform a Cat-Cow, get on all fours and your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. As you inhale lift your head to look at the ceiling and curve your back downwards towards the floor. On the exhale drop your head to look at the ground and arch your back like a scared cat. Really try to pull the belly button up towards your spine as you do this. Then repeat. It’s really that easy! I like to do this slowly for 7-10 times on mornings when I’m feeling extra stiff or if my back is bothering me.

As always, take it slow and ease yourself into a yoga program just like you would with any new physical activity. Know your body’s limits and stay within a safe range until you know what you are capable of and comfortable doing.

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As always, please like and subscribe to this channel to stay up to date on new content, and head on over to Instagram (@fey_fitness) to give me a follow or to YouTube at Fey Fitness.

My Patreon page is now live, so please go show some love there as well. I’d like to make some upgrades to my videos to enhance your viewing pleasure, and any support would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,

Fey

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/FeyFitness

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fey_fitness

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/FeyFitness

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My Life

Excerpt from My Book: Exercise Bikes- Ride Your Way to a Better Heart!

Stationary bikes are a great way for people with health problems to ease into an aerobic fitness routine. Whether it be a bad back or a heart condition, people with limited capacities for strenuous physical exertion can benefit from this form of cardio workout.

The reason why the stationary bike is so useful is due to the low-impact nature of the activity. Riding exercises tend to place less strain on the spinal column, and most machines have heart rate monitors so you can track your heart rate whilst working out on them. Using a stationary bike is also less jarring to the body when compared to running or jogging.

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Exercising on a stationary bike also strengthens key muscles groups in the legs to help keep them toned and healthy. This is because of the push and pull motions that your legs engage in while peddling. While pushing the peddle down the quadriceps are engaged and working, and on the pull upwards of the peddle the hamstrings are getting a workout. When riding on a stationary bike be sure that your legs are able to extend to a comfortable length without being hyper-extended. This allows for the best range of motion while riding.

Pro Tip: To maximize the workout to these large thigh muscles, keep both the quadriceps and hamstrings engaged and tight on both the push and the pull. You’ll definitely feel the burn after a while of the muscles being worked more than they are used to. Just remember, start off in short intervals and work your way up to longer times of keeping these muscles engaged. We don’t want you getting hurt!

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Developing control of the abdominal and back muscles is another great way to incorporate large muscle groups into the cardio session. On a regular stationary bike you can lean forward while keeping your core tight and engaged to work both the abdominal and low back muscles. Just be sure to keep your spine as straight as possible while leaning forward to reduce the chance of injury to your back. This is more difficult to do on a recumbent bike, but you can still use this machine while keeping your core engaged to get some benefit from the exercise.

In terms of heart health, a stationary bike is a great method of cardio exercising for working the heart and increasing circulation. These bikes have intensity settings that make them appropriate for people at any level on the physical fitness spectrum, and the built-in heart monitors most machines have these days make tracking your heart rate a breeze. These features allow the machine to the completely customizable to a person with a wide range of health or physical needs. As always, just be sure to talk to your physician before beginning any cardiovascular activity to ensure that it is safe for you and your needs.

Other Low Impact Exercises:

  • Exercise Walking
  • Pilates
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Water Therapy

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As always, please like and subscribe to this channel to stay up to date on new content, and head on over to Instagram (@fey_fitness) to give me a follow or to YouTube at Fey Fitness.

My Patreon page is now live, so please go show some love there as well. I’d like to make some upgrades to my videos to enhance your viewing pleasure, and any support would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,

Fey

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Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/FeyFitness

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fey_fitness

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/FeyFitness

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My Life

Excerpt From My Book: Get Off That Couch!

Don’t turn into a couch potato by spending all your time sitting.

Most Americans spend a lot of time siting. We sit at work, in the car commuting, and again once we get home. While it may feel good in the moment, all that sitting around actually poses a high risk to both your heart and your body. Scientific studies are now beginning to show a link between the amount of time we spend sitting and a person’s risk of developing heart complications. A recent Scottish study found that adults who sat for more than four hours a day had a dramatic increase in their chances of coming down with some type of heart disease. Some studies are even pointing to a correlation between the amount of time a person sits and their life span!

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Science is also keen to point out that there are a myriad of other factors that can add to a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Lifestyle choices such as poor diet, smoking, or excessive drinking can also influence heart health and lifespan. However, excessive sitting can lead to an increase in inflammation present in the body, disruptions in metabolism, fluctuations in blood sugar levels, and increases in body weight or body fat percentages.

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As a personal trainer, I tell my clients with desk jobs to get up once every 30-60 minutes and take a walk around the office. Go refill your water cup, get those papers off the photo copier, or go say hi to a coworker- whatever it takes to get you up and moving. I also greatly encourage my clients to get a standing desk. As I am writing this passage I am standing at my adjustable desk typing away so I can avoid sitting. Most office supply stores sell them, and if your office doesn’t have the space for one most manufacturers also make standing desk conversion kits so you can place the unit right on top of your normal desk with no losses in usable space or assembly required.

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As always, please like and subscribe to this account to stay up to date on new content, and head on over to Instagram (@fey_fitness) to give me a follow or to YouTube at Fey Fitness.

My Patreon page is now live, so please go show some love there as well. I’d like to make some upgrades to my videos to enhance your viewing pleasure, and any support would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,

Fey

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Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/FeyFitness

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fey_fitness

Website: https://www.feyfitness.com

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/FeyFitness

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