“Atomic Habits” by James Clear explains how small changes can create remarkable results in our lives. He stresses the importance of atomic, small changes rather than big dramatic changes. He describes how most of us go for the big changes as we want results, and we want them now. However, this approach rarely works. Throughout the book, he gives countless examples of how small shifts in the direction we go can have profound effects on our goals. What small changes could we make to affect our lymphatic system profoundly? Improving our lymphatic system improves our overall health.
Linking new practices to old was one of my favorite strategies in this book. Suppose I want to do some stretching exercise before I go to bed but never seem to work it into my nighttime routine. I would link it with another habit I already established, such as brushing my teeth. So that every time I brushed my teeth, I would remember to do a few stretches. Eventually, it would become so part of my routine that it would feel off if I didn’t stretch at night before bed.
SMALL CHANGES TO IMPROVE YOUR LYMPHATIC SYSTEM
What atomic habits could we instill in our daily routine to improve our lymph system? Deep breathing is one of the easiest. Moving our body, even in small ways, also helps to get that lymph moving. Drinking water helps to improve our lymph system and helps to maintain our body weight. Wear loose clothing so that you don’t restrict your circulation and lymph system from flowing. These are all small steps to a better working lymphatic system.
Deep, diaphragmatic breathing is one of the easiest ways to move lymphatic fluid through your system, which in turn helps to eliminate toxins and benefit lymphedema. Unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system has no active pump to move the lymphatic fluid back into the bloodstream.
Breathe deeply through your nose and hold for four counts, then exhale through your mouth for two counts. As you improve, you can increase the time, exhaling twice as long as inhaling. This rhythmic breathing brings oxygen to the blood and activates the lymphatic system.
We know through research that exercise helps move lymphatic fluid through our lymph system. When we move our body, we move our lymph! The lymph system works with your muscles and circulatory system to remove waste and clean your body’s systems. Therefore, when you move those muscles, you’re enabling your lymph system to function at a higher level.
Even simple actions like rocking your foot back and forth can help improve lymphatic flow. Do you enjoy rocking in a rocking chair or taking a stroll through the park? Both will help to stimulate your lymph system. Exercise, even small movement, does benefit those dealing with lymphedema.
Much research supports the idea that weight management can improve lymphatic flow. There are many different theories on which diets work best. One small step to improve weight management is drinking more water. Drinking water is one of the simplest ways to improve our health and can also contribute to losing weight. We should drink half our body weight in fluid ounces each day. Water helps to flush out our system as well as ease hunger.
YOU’RE WORTH IT!
Small steps in the right direction can make a big difference in the quality of life for all of us. Living with lymphedema has many challenges. Instilling new habits can help you manage your lymphedema and improve the quality of your life. Consistency is critical, and results will come if you stay the course.
Only you have the power to make your health a priority. You and your health are worth it!
Disclaimer – This blog is for general information purposes only. Furthermore, the information contained in this blog is not a substitute for medical advice – always consult a licensed healthcare professional for advice on your specific condition.