Showing posts with label Sharon Yeskel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sharon Yeskel. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Affirmations to Create a Happier, Healthier You

By Sharon Yeskel, BA
Integrative Health Associate

Affirmations are phrases you repeat to yourself to help bring about positive changes in your life. They can also help you stop negative self-talk by choosing to state the opposite of what you believe is true. To create an affirmation out of a negative belief, change the thought:
  • I’m not lovable becomes I deserve to love and be loved 
  • I’ll never find an apartment I like becomes I trust that I will find the perfect place to live 
  • I’m always sick and tired becomes I am healthy and filled with energy to do the things I love
Affirmations should create positive images in your mind. Using words like scared, pain, or anxious make you think of those conditions. Make sure to use words like comfortable, safe, supported, and peaceful when writing your phrases:
  • I have no pain becomes I feel comfortable. 
  • I am not scared becomes I feel safe and supported. 
  • I’m not anxious becomes I choose peace in this moment.
Be sure you never start your affirmations with “I hope.” When you say “I hope this happens,” there is an underlying vibration of doubt. Say to yourself, “I hope I get the job and my boss respects me.” Now say, “I have a job that I love. My boss respects me and values my work.” Which phrase makes you feel better? Which phrase makes you feel that having that job is possible? Always chose statements that make you light up inside.

Have you ever thought about what would bring you joy and give you a reason to get up every morning? If you don’t know the answer, try using affirmations to lead you to your life’s purpose. Try these statements and see what shows up for you:

·         I am aligned with my life’s purpose.
·         My life’s purpose is being revealed to me now. I open myself to all possibilities.

When you first start saying affirmations, they may not be true or you may not believe they are true. As you continue to say them once or several times a day, they can change the way you think about yourself and the world. Make a commitment to repeat your affirmations every day for a minimum of 21 days. Keep a list of your affirmations on your night table and read them before you go to sleep at night and when you wake up in the morning.

Overtime, you may find those statements that were once just wishful thinking, are true. Drop some and add others as the statements become a reality. Affirmations can be a powerful tool to help you let go of limiting beliefs and help you create the happier, healthier life you desire.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

How Resilient Are You?

By Sharon Yeskel, BA
Integrative Health Associate

The late Dr. Wayne Dyer left a legacy of spiritual and practical wisdom through his many books and lectures. He always shared great stories. In his book “Inspiration, Your Ultimate Calling” he shares one about resiliency. Dr. Dyer notes that it’s not what happens to us, but how we respond that will ultimately define who we are and what kind of lives we will create. He calls this story “Carrots, Eggs and Coffee” and it goes like this….

A young woman is complaining to her mother how hard her life is. She says she feels like giving up. The mother takes her to the kitchen. She fills three pots with water and puts them on the stove to boil. In the first one she puts carrots, in the second she puts an egg, and in the third she puts coffee grounds. After 20 minutes, the carrots are soft, the egg is hard-boiled, and the coffee is ready to drink.

So what does that have to do with overcoming difficulties? The mother explains that each of the objects faced the same adversity: the boiling water. The carrots went in strong, hard and unrelenting. After boiling, they became soft and weak. The egg started out fragile, but after boiling, it became hard. The coffee grounds mixed with the water and actually changed the water itself.

We all get thrown for a loop sometimes. We can’t control what happens to us. What we can do is choose how we will respond. Adversity can weaken us and harden our hearts or it can propel us forward. New possibilities await if we open our hearts to change. It is a key to becoming resilient.

Resilience is one of the Five Pillars of Health & Well-Being (Sleep, Activity, Purpose, Resilience and Nutrition). Learn more about Hackensack Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine’s Five Pillar approach to optimize your health by calling 732-263-7999, visiting our website at or following us on social media on Facebook: Hackensack Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine or Twitter: @HMIntegrativeHM.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Do You Have Email Apnea?

By Sharon Yeskel, BA
Integrative Health Associate

About 10 years ago, Linda Stone, a writer, researcher and former Apple and Microsoft executive, was suffering from chronic respiratory infections. Her doctor prescribed breathing exercises which she would practice before getting on the computer.

She began noticing that when she finished her breathing exercises and started reading emails, she was holding her breath or shallow breathing. This continued to happen day after day. She called the phenomenon “Email apnea or screen apnea.” She spent seven months observing and talking to others about it and found that 80% of the people she interviewed had email apnea.

She describes email apnea as shallow breathing or holding your breath without realizing it while working or playing in front of a computer screen. It also happens when tweeting and texting, playing video games or watching an exciting movie or the 11 o’clock news. It seems people tend to hold their breath in anticipation of what they are about to read, see or do.

Ms. Stone says, “Our posture is often compromised, especially when we use laptops and smartphones. Arms forward, shoulders forward, we sit in a position where it’s impossible to get a healthy and full inhale and exhale. Further, anticipation is generally accompanied by an inhale—and email, texting, and viewing television shows generally includes a significant dose of anticipation. Meanwhile, the full exhale rarely follows.”

Why is shallow breathing or breath holding bad for us?

When breath holding is the norm day after day, hour after hour, it sabotages healthy breathing. The lungs don’t get enough exercise and can lose some of their function. If we don’t get enough oxygen into our lungs, we don’t get rid of enough carbon dioxide and toxins build up in our cells. Lack of oxygen can make us feel tired and weaken our immune systems. We feel stressed rather than relaxed.

What can we do?

Awareness is key. Check your posture when in front of a screen. Sit back in your chair. Drop your shoulders. Begin to take notice of your breathing throughout the day. Is your breathing full and deep or constricted and shallow? (Ladies, check your breathing next time you apply mascara!).

When you notice that you are holding your breath, think EXHALE. Breathe out slowly. After you exhale, you will automatically take a breath in. Inhale slowly and deeply, with awareness.

Try some healthy breathing exercises like diaphragmatic breathing or the 4-7-8 breath advocated by Dr. Andrew Weil. Watch two of our Integrative Nurse Health Coaches demonstrate this technique:

Happy breathing!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Just Breathe

By Sharon Yeskel, B.A.
Integrative Health Provider

When I was five years old, my mother signed me up for acting classes. On the night of our end-of-the-season performance, I had a bad case of stage fright. I was supposed to go out on stage all by myself and recite a poem. I don’t remember the poem I memorized, but I do remember that right before my entrance, I froze with fright. With tears in my eyes, I told my mom, I couldn’t go out on that big, scary stage.

My mother squatted down in front of me, put her hands on my shoulders and told me a story: "There was a famous actress named Helen Hayes who used to get scared, too. And do you know what she did?” Of course, I shook my scared little head no. Mom continued, “At every performance, she would take a deep, deep breath before saying her lines. Then she wasn’t afraid.” My mother told me that I should do the same thing before reciting my poem and insisted that I would not be scared either. Then she gently pushed a reluctant little performer toward the stage.

I made my way to my mark, glancing back to see my mother and the director urging me to start. I looked out into the audience of impatient mothers and fathers who just wanted to see their own children take the stage. I was still scared, but I took in a very deep breath and let it out with an exaggerated sigh. The audience giggled. I recited my poem-every word, every line and I went running off the theater stage and into my mother’s arms.

My mother didn’t realize it at the time, but she was on to something. Breathing techniques for relaxation, pain relief and optimal health are commonplace today. Slow, deep breathing doesn’t take our problems away, but it does turn on our parasympathetic nervous system which activates the calming hormones that help us to relax. When we are relaxed, we think more clearly, feel better, and can handle whatever comes our way.

Now that I am all grown up, there are still times I get scared and feel stuck. We all have moments in our lives when our daily stressors become too much for us to handle. Worry and anxiety can cause constricted breathing. This can sabotage healthy breathing and put stress on the lungs and cause tension in the body. It also activates the sympathetic nervous system which then releases stress hormones like cortisol into the body. Prolonged stress can contribute to a myriad of health problems including high blood pressure, heart disease, and gastrointestinal problems.

Breathing is the one body system that we can control. We can take slower, deeper breaths to relax our bodies and minds and help us deal with that big scary stage known as life.

Try this simple, yet effective, breathing technique:

Take a nice deep breath in through your nose and then blow it out slowly through pursed lips. Make your exhalation twice as long as your inhalation. For example, breathe in to the count of four and breathe out to the count of eight. Repeat slowly and steadily for a minute or two, a few times a day.

To learn more techniques like breathing work, guided imagery, and grounding exercises, sign up for Sharon’s free “De-Stress to Feel Your Best (Holiday Edition)” class on November 15 (Raritan Bay Medical Center Perth Amboy) or November 16 (Raritan Bay Medical Center Old Bridge). Call 1-800-560-9990 or register here.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Introduction to Reiki

By Sharon Yeskel
Integrative Health Provider

Did your kids ever play with Hasbro’s Playskool Weebles? You know, those little egg-shaped figures with the wide base and narrow tops that tip back and forth when given a gentle push? The advertising slogan was, “Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down.” The weighted bottom balances the toy and eventually brings it to a stop.

Most of us are stressed. We are bouncing around through life only we don’t have a built-in mechanism that stops us from toppling over. We are bombarded by technology, obsessed with social media, overwhelmed by work and our to-do lists. And those stressors affect our health. Insomnia, headaches, hives, IBS, high blood pressure, anxiety and chronic pain are just some of the conditions that can be caused by or exacerbated by stress.

So what can we do for ourselves to achieve a sense of balance and reduce stress? There are many practices that can help. Some are passive practices like massage and acupuncture where you go to someone for a treatment. Others require participation like meditation practices, guided imagery, breath work, yoga, and Tai Chi. One practice that is both passive and participatory is Reiki. You can receive a Reiki treatment from a practitioner or learn to practice on yourself.

Reiki (pronounced RAY-KEY) is a Japanese energy healing technique that can be administered by light touch (or hands above the body) to a fully clothed recipient. There are no medical contraindications or any religious belief attached to the practice. Reiki is safe and supports any medical treatment. There is strong anecdotal evidence that Reiki treatments help people feel calmer, more relaxed, and have less pain. It is also a spiritual practice. Practicing self-Reiki, as well as the contemplation techniques taught in the class, teaches students to calm themselves and let go of anger and worry, bringing balance to mind, body and spirit. When we take the time to care for ourselves, we are more available to care for others.

For the past seven years, I have been providing Reiki treatments to patients and team members at Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center - Old Bridge and Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center - Perth Amboy. Even 15 minutes of Reiki can be beneficial. Recipients enjoy the warmth of Reiki touch and find treatments soothing and comforting. Benefits can be experienced in one session, but Reiki treatments have a cumulative effect, so additional benefits are noticed over time. For example, one patient who I treated every other week, reported that after four visits, she was sleeping better, was better able to cope with daily stressors and was using less pain medication.

Anyone can learn to practice Reiki for personal care, to help friends and family and even pets. Reiki classes and private sessions for outpatients are available in both Old Bridge and Perth Amboy locations throughout the year.

Sharon Yeskel is an Integrative Health Provider at Raritan Bay Perth Amboy and Raritan Bay Old Bridge. Since 2004, the program’s qualified and credentialed practitioners have provided integrative therapies to enhance patients’ health and well-being, both at the hospital and on an outpatient basis, with complementary medicine supporting the mind-body-spirit connection. Scheduled classes and private sessions are provided for a fee. Call 732-324-5257 for an appointment.