Monday, March 7, 2016

3 Easy Ways To Relax and Lower Stress

Unless you live under a rock, you are likely well aware of your body's stress response!

The pace and intensity of our current global society gives us ample personal experience with time pressure, muscle tension, anxiety, fear, and, in the extreme, the feeling that your head just might "explode."  

Stress researchers have called this the "fight or flight" response because it comes from your body's ability to get geared up to face, or run from, perceived threats to your survival, health, happiness, success, and well-being.

We also exhaust ourselves and suppress our immune response so we become susceptible to any and all discomforts and diseases.

Fortunately, our bodies have an amazing balancing mechanism--"the relaxation response."  Dr. Herbert Benson popularized this term in 1975 with the release
of his book by that name. In his book, Dr. Benson details how you can consciously activate your body's parasympathetic nervous system, your body's natural
rest and recovery mode.  

Since that time, countless self-care techniques have been tested for their ability to activate the relaxation response.  Among these are exercise, stretching, self-massage, and mind-body training such as meditation, t'ai chi, and yoga.  All these are phenomenal practices which I highly recommend.  They also take some degree of time commitment and practice.

Let's talk about three simple things you can do, anytime, anywhere, to shift out of stress mode and into relaxation.  

I suggest that you practice these in a quiet, private environment first, so you can focus your attention and learn to do them well. Then, you can take them on the
road and into any situation or environment to help you find your relaxed, calm, center in the midst of whatever is going on around you.

3 Easy Ways to Relax

1.  Take slow, deep, conscious breaths

It's a good thing that your body takes care of breathing for you, 24/7, whether you are consciously aware of it or not.  However, taking a few moments to become aware of your breathing, make it slower and deeper, and feel it inside your body is a great way to activate relaxation.

Imagine there are two vertical balloons that stretch from your lower abdomen up to your collarbones.  As you inhale, imagine and feel as if these balloons fill up
from bottom to top.  When you exhale, imagine and feel as if these balloons empty out from top to bottom.

Slow your breathing down so that you inhale to a four-second count, pause, exhale to a five-second count, pause, and repeat.  Count 10 of these slow, deep, conscious breaths and feel how your body relaxes.

2. Feel the space inside your body

Researchers have found that feeling almost any space within your body can have a calming effect.  To practice feeling your inner body, focus on any body-part and feel the space inside your skin.  You might start with your hands and/or your feet.

For many people, the hands are a good place to begin because they are highly sensitive.  Relax your hands and rest them, palms-down, on your thighs.  Begin by
feeling the space inside one finger on one hand, say your index finger.  Then, expand your inner feeling to include the rest of your fingers, one at a time. 
Expand your sensation to include your whole hand.  You can then do the same with the other hand.  You can try this with your feet as well.  

If you enjoy the practice and it works well for you, you can expand your inner feeling to include your whole body.  As you get good at this, it feels great!  And no one, except you, knows that you're doing it.

My Core Energy Meditation program gives you an excellent, easy and comprehensive practice for doing this.  Check it out here:

3. Shift your perspective

When you find yourself caught up in stress, insert amental pause, and step back from what you are doing.Observe what you are thinking, feeling, or doing at the
moment.  Witness your behavior without reacting to it or judging it as "good" or "bad."  Simply notice what is happening.  Realize that whatever you are doing, you 
can choose to do something different and more effective.

Take a moment to imagine what you might think, feel, or do differently that would change the situation for the better.  Could you see the situation from another
person's point of view?  Could you listen better? Could you express your true feelings in a way that is not blaming or accusing?  Could you take a deep breath,
feel inside your body, and come from a more relaxed perspective?Practice these three simple techniques often and notice how you begin to master the stressful situations in your life.

Enjoy your practice!

- By Kevin Schoeninger, Meditation Master
The Mind-Body Training Company

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Research on The Effect of Yoga and Meditation On Mental Health

A large number of studies have been conducted to find out the impact of yoga and meditation on human body and mind and shows that yoga and meditation can bring structural changes responsible for calming emotions, better memory and lower stress. A combination of chemical changes taking place such as changes in brain physiology and a reduction in stress hormone cortisol.

The doctors from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuron sciences (NIMHANS) have been working on the effects of yoga and meditation on the brain for over three decades. Now their focus is on the Buddhist traditions of meditations like mindfulness meditation.

The garden of Samadhi Centre is a voluntary organization which aims to integrate scientific understanding of mind with traditional contemplative practices like yoga and meditation. The researchers also collaborating with the Garden of Samadhi Center which is a voluntary organization which aims to integrate scientific understanding of mind with traditional contemplative practices like yoga and meditation.

The Advanced Centre for Yoga in NIMHANS is using yoga and its applications to help psychiatric disorders like depression and schizophrenia and neurological disorders like epilepsy. Regular practice of yoga and meditation can help people with schizophrenia, depression, anxiety etc. It can also reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia.

B.N Gangadhar, programme director, Advanced Centre of Yoga at NIMHANS says “There is emerging evidence that can lead the way to study yoga and meditation as a science rather than a mere religious ritual and that is what we are aiming at.” He also pointed out “We are comparing the therapeutic effects of yoga with conventional drugs. In our investigations, there is a high degree of evidence that yoga does have a significant therapeutic effect in conditions like depression, memory loss and so on”

Yogic view of why our body is under the control of mind

Our body is made up of innumerable living cells. According to the modern science, our blood consists of more than 75,000,000,000 healthy cells which floats in it and carry the oxygen to all parts of the body to nourish them. These cells takes the nourishment from the blood and provide it to all the organs and tissues, infuse our digestive system, keep the heart-beat, heal up the wound and stop bleeding. These cells perform all these functions automatically.

According to yoga, each living cell contain another subtle cell which controls the biological cell and the yoga system believe that these cells can perform all such functions because each cell is intellectually developed to some extent. In spite of this intellectual development of these cells, the human mind exercises control them. They therefore obey the orders of the conscious as well as the subconscious mind. Thus the body is in a natural way, under the influence of mind. It is therefore easy to infer from this that for the health and proper growth of the body, healthy mental attitude and sound mental health is essential. It is evident that the body is under the control and direction of the mind.


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