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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

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Last Updated on February 18, 2019

13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with It and Enjoy the Ride

13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with It and Enjoy the Ride

Fear. I spend my life talking about fear — fighting fears, fixing fears and understanding fears. And yet I doubt I get 10 calls a year from people saying “Mandie can you help me fix my fear?”

Why is this so critically important to you?

The realization for me is that fear is not the fundamental driving force in your life it’s what regardless of whether I’m talking to a doctor, a teacher, a CEO’s, a senior citizens or teenager – every single one of those conversations has a direct correlation with your world.

Fear can range from the overwhelming desire to look away or stop in your tracks to literally fleeing your country and the life you knew. In this article, I will share you with 13 tips to face your fears and enjoy the ride.

1. Know That Fear Is Real, but Can Be Overcome

Right now around the world people are facing fear — real fear. Fear that I pray my children and I will never experience. Does that lessen my fears or your fears in your relativity safe 21st century life?

When I look at the world we all live in, I find that fear like so many other emotions can mean so many different things to so many different people:

  • The child who has to be physically dragged to their first day of school.
  • The man facing the judge.
  • The woman with her hand poised over the buttons over her phone because she has to walk down a dark corridor late at night alone.
  • The man as the surgeon says “count backwards from 10 Mr Smith.”
  • The woman that’s told “We are sorry, we can’t help you.”
  • The man that faces the empty circle of a gun and prays for his very existence.

These and a million more (Portrayed in every kind of movie, book or song you could imagine) are what make us human. We face fear and somehow move forward or are stopped in our tracks.

Like the rabbit in the headlights of the car that veers off through the field away from the tyres of the car or stays still praying for salvation. Like someone will save them. Sound familiar?

Fear is huge. Fear is everywhere and yet fear can be overcome, controlled and can even be a power for good.

2. Accept Your Fear

Firstly if you aren’t facing the barrel of the gun, atrocities that make the news or impeding death, that’s a good start. However it doesn’t mean your fear is any less real.

We are quick to say “I can’t moan, my life is not as bad as X.” While in theory, that’s honorable your appreciation of Mr. or Mrs. X’s horrific life won’t change anything directly. So accept your fear is relative to you.

And here’s what can be done.

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3. Get Some Perspective

I found myself asking anyone that would answer “what is your worst fear”. The answer that intrigued me the most came from my daughter (15 years old and she usually has a copy of Fight the Fear – my book – in her school bag so she can help someone else be as positive and confident as her. No matter what life throws up.)

And her fear, surprised me — heights. I pointed out that we live in a sprawling bungalow (one storey) and the highest she goes is two storeys’ at school! She laughed but added, fear isn’t like that Mum. I know it’s not a real fear, but it’s like when you stand on a chair and feel unsafe.

That girl will go far. Because she truly gets fear.

We know something is scary and yet we still do it. Why? Because we have a perspective to the fear. When you lose perspective, it can feel too big, and too scary.

So look around you to get some perspective on your fear:

  • Are you really at risk?
  • Will this kill you?
  • Which leads us on to..
  • If the worse was to happen what would it be?

4. Hold a Hand

As a coach, it is my job to holds someone’s metaphorical hand and help them face a fear.

Like the child petrified of the thunder storm or the teen that can’t get back in a car again after failing their test, your job as a parent is to reassure, encourage, enable and motivate someone to face something that ideally they never would choose to again.

We know many of our fears aren’t real. However, it is only when someone guides us with love, respect, lack of judgement and safety are we able to get through fear. And trust me, you can get through your fears. I’ve seen it so many times.

Ask yourself:

  • If the worse were to happen, what would that be?
  • Could that really happen?
  • If the worse did happen, how would you recover?
  • If the worse were to happen, what would you need to do next?

By seeing fear as not the end destination but part of being human, you can see through it’s wily evil ways and move forward.

5. Know Whose Hand You Hold Either Physically or Emotionally

This helps with fears for the rest of your life.

Think of someone you can always rely on (and ideally you won’t just answer yourself because that adds a lot of pressure to your existence!) And you will find that you’ve already found a way to get through fear.

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The beauty of this is that it means that fear becomes part of life not something to be feared and shied away from.

It means you know you can turn to your friend, partner, colleague, parent, sibling and say “Right I need to deal with this, and I’m going to need you to help me.”

For one moment, think about it from the other person’s view point. When we get to help other people we feel valued, loved, respected and lots of other positive emotions and we get a good dose of positive chemicals setting off in our bodies too.

Your fear, and your determination to fight it, helped someone else too. Now that’s cool right?

6. Understand That There Are Some Things Fear Will Never Touch

I like to find role models in life — people who have faced heroism, history changing moments, war, atrocities, miracles, life saving inventions.

Not everyone was looking for greatness, however they all found it. And one of my favourite books to date is written about Alistair Urquhart, the forgotten highlander. If this doesn’t get turned into a film in the future, then no man’s story is likely to.

Alistair went through the most horrific experiences in the 2nd world war. If you think of one of the awful things that happened back then in our world, Alistair went through at least 3 of them! Asked afterwards how did you cope? He talked about how whatever they did to his body, no matter how they starved, tortured, threatened or mocked him, they couldn’t have his mind. In his mind he was free.

Of all the people’s voices I’ve heard in my head over the years, this is one of those statements that reminds me anything is possible if you have faith and hope.

Look for the things in life that fear can’t touch. They will create confidence and faith for the future, whatever you face. And they will give you a sense of why being you is awesome.

Of all the billions of people on this planet, no one will have an answer identical to yours!

7. Process Your Fears to Carry on with Life

Being brave is not about sticking your chest out and smiling regardless of what hell you endure. It is about finding a way to emotionally process your fears to be able to keep going.

I have a tool kit of things I can rely on – tools, strategies, techniques. They include people to hug or talk to, music. hobbies, walks on the beach and even my favourite food. It sounds mad but at the times where I have questioned “how will I get through this?” I’ve found immense joy in doing the most unlikely of thing that makes me smile.

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It may be a short lived moment of happiness. However, it reminded that nothing stays the same and I can find away.

One client told me that it was crazy when it felt like their world was falling around their ears to run a bath to the brim (you don’t waste water) get the best bath oils, light too many candles, lock the door and drink a glass of bubbly (champagne is only for special occasions.)

Did that moment fix the disaster that my clients life felt? No, however it gave them a moment of calm and the brain is far quicker to find solutions, resolve and motivation to keep going when you do that.

It may feel like madness to do something you love, however it can be a powerful way to help you find solutions to the fears you face in life.

8. Assume the Worse

If you read the statement from the client above. Notice how they assumed it was wrong to fill the bath up to the top? How bubbly is only for special occasions?

Think how naughty they felt to be doing something that was not allowed?

  • Think about what age it may have made them feel?
  • Think about how they feel about champagne?
  • What special moments it’s been a part of in their lives?

And you can see how the assumptions they made about their “right” to have these things was not healthy.

When I drag the assumptions out of people’s words for them to see, they are often struck by how negative the words make them feel.

Don’t assume your words aren’t impacting on you. You can go through fear and actually enjoy the ride when you take the time to understand how you are letting words get to you.

9. Take a Fear That Feels Insurmountable Right Now.

If you were to repeat it to me out loud, what would you say?

Would you have blame on yourself in there? Would you assume others can do it and it’s just you? Would you feel small, unsuccessful, useless, unworthy?

Usually, when you do this exercise, you are able to spot the untruths that run wild in your head convincing you that you are doomed. And rarely when we are faced with our assumptions is there is a lot of evidence to them.

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10. You Are Not Defined by Your Fear

One fear does not define your life – be mindful of that. It is likely to lead you to thinking of all the times you’ve succeeded and bring a moment of calm, confidence and faith back to you.

11. Go with Fear

When you learn to go with fear, you could find yourself actually having fun, no seriously – having fun.

I have a few amazing clients I’m working with right now who would describe themselves as life long worriers, or pessimists. In the past that has served them well, enabling them to keep safe, steer clear of risks and even develop strategies in the event of disasters. However, now they find it’s becoming hard to break the cycle and they really want to because it’s holding them back.

Notice how they’ve found their hidden fears and want to face them?

One client said “I knew this was going to be tough, and I knew I couldn’t fight it alone and I knew you would be the one to help me.” Before I sat an incredibly successful, confident, capable business owner with a family and a social life to die for.

However, I’ve learned that the most successful looking lives can hide things that impact on life, success, love, happiness and business.

We didn’t start with the fear that they felt was holding them back, we broke the fear down, and found lots of little obstacles that had been deemed as “life” and “unchangeable” and “that’s just the way it is” by developing awareness to the little steps on the road to their obstacles to happiness and success they were able to tackle them in a different way.

12. Discover Great Skills in Your Scary Moments

And in that clients words “I came here to work with you to grow my company, and my own personal skills. I didn’t expect to get the children to be cleaning up after themselves and my partner being more attentive! It all feels a little magic.”

The moral is that out of the scariest of moments, we can find great skills we didn’t know we had. Find better, healthier, happier ways to live and find ways to enjoy life more. (And have a bit of magic!)

What a great place to be in ready for the next fear that thinks it’s going to get in the way of you, right?

13. Own Your Fear

Think back over these tips and come up with at least one example for each one. Write them down. Put them on your phone. Turn them into a piece of art. Turn them into a poem. Frame them. Go for a fast walk across the fields, beach, down town and repeat these things in your head to the sound of your feet on the ground.

We rarely take the time to appreciate how far we have come, how much we can achieve or what we are capable of – by really owning the tips in this article you will have given your brain a big fat dose of “Damn right I can do this!” and the motivation and accountability to say “Let’s find a way” through any fear.

You can’t help but feel good when you see that can you? And fear doesn’t stand a chance, does it?

More Resources About Fighting Fear

Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

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