New Year’s Resolution Series Continues
To Be Healthy Learn To Relax
One of the healthiest things you can do in this lifetime is to learn to rise above the constant mind chatter by quieting your mind and allowing your inner self to flourish. You’ll start to realize how negative and self-destructive thoughts sabotage your innate desire to be healthy. Life’s true game is less about controlling your surroundings and more about letting go of unwanted negative thoughts—much like shedding layers of clothes when entering a warm room. Reducing stress, clearing our mind of negative self-sabotaging thoughts, frees us from the shackles of distress.
One of the most important health benefits of meditation is how it releases stress from our bodies. Meditation practiced regularly will lead you to a deeper level of relaxation and contemplation. If you want to be free of constant worry, pressure and stress meditation can give you a life that is calm, peaceful, happy and relaxed.
Even ten minutes of meditation a day will help alleviate stress, and:
- Create a state of deep relaxation and general feeling of well-being
- Increasing concentration and strengthens the mind
- Building self-confidence
Some of the health benefits of meditation include:
- Reducing anxiety attacks, as it lowers the levels of blood lactate.
- Increase in serotonin our happy hormone, which influences moods and behavior. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression, anxiety, chronic pain, headaches, and insomnia.
- Enhancing mental and physical energy, strength and vigor.
- Regulating blood pressure normal
- Reducing stress and tension
- Reducing incidence of heart disease
- Helps with weight loss
The ability to control our minds by understanding, acknowledging, and choosing which thoughts, emotions, and feelings serve us best is perhaps the key that unlocks optimal health. Below are just a few ways to quiet the mind and tap into your inner self.
Conscious breathing is one way to integrate your mind and body. Focusing on breathing, using mantras (repetitive sounds), and/or visualizing a word or a soothing scene are central to most meditative practices. In basic breathing exercises, all you need is a quite place and a willingness to quiet the mind. Conscious breathing reduces stress and allows you to filter out the constant mind chatter. Quieting the mind offers the opportunity to get in touch with your inner self.
A conscious breathing exercise can be done any time of day and as often as you wish. Use it as a powerful stress-busting tool when you are feeling overwhelmed:
- Bring your attention to your breathing.
- Notice the flow of breath in and out of your lungs.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose, allowing the air to fi ll your lungs.
- Slowly exhale through your mouth.
- Observe the rhythm that naturally occurs.
- Acknowledge any distracting thoughts, and simply let them go when they appear.
- Return your attention to the rhythm of your breathing.
- Continue to take deep breaths in and out.
- When it feels natural, try allowing more time between each breath.
- Pause when appropriate, and feel the inner peace.
- Enjoy the freedom from mind chatter.
This technique helps you to take control of your mind. Too often we find ourselves at the mercy of our emotions and have knee-jerk reactions that don’t serve our higher self. When facing a stressful situation that threatens to overwhelm your best intentions, stop and take time to consider the wisdom of your inner self. This allows you to avoid being at the mercy of old negative habits and to write a new positive script that serves you better.
- Stop. Call time out. Take several deep breaths. Remember that with the help of your inner self, you can take control of a situation.
- Look. Rise above the situation and just be an observer. Notice how you feel, your thoughts, your surroundings, any other people involved. Be objective. Take it all in.
- Listen. Take a few minutes to focus on your breathing. Listen to what your inner self is saying. Pay attention to your chest area. Notice how you feel. Is this how you want to feel? Listen deeply. What is your inner self, your inner voice, telling you about this situation?
- Choose. Make an affirmative statement about what you wish to choose in light of this situation “I choose to feel calm, balanced, and open to positive experiences.”
- Let it go. Choose happiness, peace, and serenity over having to be right. Choose acceptance of not knowing over having to understand. Choose love over hate. Choose thoughts of improving health over nagging reminders of disease.
Meditation can generally be divided into two categories: concentration methods, which emphasize focusing on your breathing or a specific object, and mindfulness meditation, which usually uses chants, focused breathing, or repetitive thoughts. The goal in either case is to allow thoughts, feelings, and emotions to appear moment by moment without placing any attention on them. Simply let the thoughts enter. Acknowledge them and let them go, allowing yourself to tap into your inner self. Meditation may be especially helpful for chronic pain. Other studies have shown the effectiveness of meditation for anxiety, substance abuse, skin ailments, and depression.