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Quick And Natural Solutions To Stop Persistent Coughs

Quick And Natural Solutions To Stop Persistent Coughs

What exactly causes a cough?

A cough can be part and parcel of a cold or virus, however once the other symptoms go away, a cough can sometimes linger on. Coughing is vital for clearing our throat and breathing passage of foreign particles and mucus. It’s our body’s way of allowing us to breathe more easily and clearly protecting us from anything unwanted getting into our lungs and windpipe. A cough that has stayed with you for more than three weeks should be seen by a doctor and could have a more underlying cause, however, having a stubborn cough can be quite normal and could be caused by allergies, dusty environments, dry air or remnants of a cold.

How do I stop coughing?

Persistent coughs can be extremely irritating and can sometimes feel like they will never go away. Not only is it physically uncomfortable, but the look of annoyance you get when your noisy, unstoppable reflex is the only sound in a quiet room, can be embarrassing and all you want to do is stop coughing. The solution to ridding ourselves of an incessant hack can be found in over-the-counter medicine or cough syrups but for those that prefer to stay away from the chemicals, the alternative can be natural home remedies. Here are ten cheap, quick but effective remedies you can source from home.

1. Honey

A well-known helper when it comes to colds and flu symptoms, honey is a super remedy. It’s antibacterial properties can help rid bad bacteria hanging around in the throat and aid recovery very quickly. The thick stickiness coats the throat and helps relieve any soreness that can develop from constant coughing. A study was done at Penn State College of Medicine that showed honey was more effective than cough medicines when given to children.

How to use it: The best way to use honey as a cough remedy is to have it straight from the spoon as the stickiness will help coat your throat. Try using thicker forms of honey and organic brands if possible. Have 1-3 tablespoons throughout the day when you feel you need the relief.

2. Thyme

Used as a cold and flu remedy, herbalists have been using thyme for centuries. Like honey, the herb is antibacterial as well as spasmolytic which means it helps calm a hacking cough. Not only that but it’s an expectorant which fights off excess mucus – a rather odious side-effect. Thyme, therefore, is a great way of quelling that cough.

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How to use: Infusing thyme in hot water is the most effective way to use this herb for relieving symptoms. Crush a few sprigs into a cup and pour boiling water over it letting it steep for around ten minutes, remove the thyme and drink.

3. Salt water

A persistent cough can start to cause inflammation in the throat and become increasingly uncomfortable. Gargling salt water is a cheap and effective way to eliminate soreness by drawing excess fluid from inflamed tissues in the throat. The act of gargling can also loosen phlegm and mucus clearing the passageway.

How to use: Dissolve one teaspoon of salt into warm water and gargle for ten seconds. Repeat several times throughout the day making sure to rinse your mouth with plain water lessening the amount of salt entering the body.

4. Water for hydration

A sometimes overlooked remedy is making sure you are kept hydrated. Dehydration can help worsen symptoms and slows down your path to recovery. Drinking plenty of water can also loosen mucus and soothe an irritated throat.

How to use: Always keep a cool glass of water with you and drink whenever you can. Drinking herbal or lemon tea counts towards your water intake too and helps stop coughing.

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5. Garlic

It won’t win you any kissing contests but if you’re a fan of garlic and don’t mind the smelly breath it creates, then this could be a good remedy for your irritating cough. Again, garlic is antibacterial and contains antiviral properties. It’s most effective for dry cough due to the presence of an agent called allicin. It also acts as an expectorant so will help bring up any stubborn mucus.

How to use: You’ll be pleased to know that you don’t need to chomp on a clove of garlic for this to work. Add a few cloves to a glass of boiling water and allow them to infuse for 10 minutes. You can drink this straight or add a touch of honey to take away the garlicky taste.

6. Lemons

Along with honey, lemons are probably one of the well-known aids in cold and flu symptoms. In fact, lemons are quite the superfood contributing to all sorts of health benefits. In terms of a cough, its antibacterial properties help to calm soreness and together with honey makes the perfect taste combination.

How to use: The best way of using lemons is to combine a couple of tablespoons of fresh lemon juice with a good tablespoon of honey and stir well. You can always combine any of the other remedies in there with it for a cough-busting combination.

7. Peppermint

Peppermint leaves are well-known for their healing properties. The menthol acts as a decongestant that helps draw out the mucus and soothe the throat, relieving a dry cough.

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How to use: Always use fresh peppermint leaves to get the best goodness. Infuse them in boiling water to make peppermint tea or in a large bowl and use it inhale and steam to release the phlegm in the throat.

8. Steaming with essential oils

As well as using peppermint to steam with, essential oils can work wonders by loosening the mucus and phlegm in the throat. There are many different oils you can use but the most effective when relieving symptoms of coughs is eucalyptus. Along with tea tree oil, it contains anti-inflammatory healing properties which can help soothe inflamed tissue.

How to use: Pour boiling water into a large bowl and add a few drops of essential oil into the water. Leave to infuse for a minute or so and drape a clean towel over your head and shoulders. Take deep breathes directly over the water.

9. Ginger

Ginger is actually commonly found in cough medicines as it’s a natural analgesic which means it helps with pain relief. Its anti-inflammatory properties acts as a cleanser to the respiratory system and helps relieve that stubborn cough.

How to use: To help stop coughing and relieve a dry cough, cut up fresh ginger and add to mug of boiling water. Allow it to infuse for a few minutes. It’s recommended to drink this three times a day for a good effect.

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10. Oregano

Another herb that helps you to stop coughing is oregano. Used widely in the East, it helps with a variety of problems including aches and pains and digestive issues. Oregano is mostly used for bronchial coughs and acts as another expectorant releasing that unwanted phlegm.

How to use: Creating a tea by infusing fresh oregano leaves in boiling water is one way to use this herb. Oregano oil is also a great way to use this natural plant, if you can get your hands on it. A few drops under the tongue can relieve that hacking cough.

Featured photo credit: Breville USA at Flickr via flickr.com

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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