Meditation and breathing can help the body relax and also help one fall asleep. If one is struggling with falling asleep, breathing techniques can help the body better prepare for the sleep state. Many individuals never learn to utilize natural breath work and meditation to help insomnia but through simple breath steps, a good night’s sleep can become a reality.
The article, “The Beginner’s Guide to Using Breathwork for Better Sleep” by Ruby Thompson from Healthline takes a closer look at breath work and meditation to help sleep. The article states,
“If you’ve tried and failed using meditation as a tool for sleep, breathwork (aka deep or diaphragmatic breathing) might be the perfect solve for reducing stress, controlling pain, and getting better sleep. Try incorporating the tips above into your nightly (and daily) routines – and remember: practice makes perfect. In time, you’ll be sleeping like a baby.”
Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a Meditation Instructor.
Great article about mindfulness training for employees. Many businesses are looking to meditation to help employees deal with less stress and increase productivity while working. Mindfulness pushes all these benefits to employees for business’s wise enough to invest in this type of training for their employees.
The article, “11 Vital Parts Of Mindfulness Training For Employees” from Forbes looks closer at how mindfulness training is an important element in employee mental health. The article states,
“Mindfulness training has got a lot of attention in the world of business lately, as many companies look at it as a means of promoting a more positive outlook in employees. Mindfulness training may encompass things like meditation and positive thinking exercises to ingrain these habits in workers. However, if a business is genuinely invested in mindfulness and the positive mental state of its workers, the training needs to go deeper. The most vital parts of mindfulness come not from positive thinking and meditation alone but the business’s approach to its employees.”
Mindfulness is so important in today’s business world that training employees in its use and benefits is a good organizational move for the entirety of the firm or business. Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. Many Meditation Instructors are hired by firms to present education and training in mindfulness. A certification from AIHCP can help with this. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a Meditation Instructor.
Awareness or consciousness is a feature singular to humanity on Earth. Only humanity can reflect on being itself. Comprehension of why one does something and understanding it as well as understanding of not being conscious. In Meditation, consciousness and awareness are key in deep and good inner silence. Being conscious of basic breathing functions and regulating them are all essential.
The article, “How The Meditation Technique, ‘Wheel Of Awareness,’ Can Improve Your Well-Being” by Nancy Clark looks in more detail how consciousness in meditation plays into one’s overall health. She states,
“How are the mind, brain and consciousness connected? The brain is an organ in the head, but there is more to it than that. According to Siegel, mind is your “subjective experience of life.” This is unique to each person. It’s how you receive and process information. Consciousness is the awareness of being aware. It is becoming the observer to your thoughts and experience, as well as the experiencer.”
Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Certification Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a Meditation Instructor Program
Overthinking minds naturally are more difficult to deal with when meditating. Minds like this cannot relax and they analyze even the function of meditation itself to the point no meditation can occur. These issues are difficult to overcome and make meditation a little more harder at first. It is important to learn how to silence the mind and find a way to reduce the overthinking when attempting to relax.
The article, “9 Tips for Meditating When You’re an Overthinker” from HEALTHLINE reviews how one can quiet the mind and stop overthinking while trying to meditate. The article states,
“Although I’m a long-time meditator, I continually struggle to truly turn off my head. Enter my “monkey mind,” the intrusive, restless thoughts that derail me from finding mental calm. Even when I set aside time for stillness, a riptide of thoughts frequently washes me out to a sea of worries, concerns, and — wait, am I making chicken or fish for dinner tonight? Although the idea of quieting the mind and blissing out in meditation sounds wonderfully rejuvenating, actually achieving a meditative state can be an uphill battle for those of us with overactive thoughts.”
It is well worth learning how to quiet the mind and utilize the healing and soothing benefits of meditation. The peace gained is well worth it and the quiet from overthinking can replenish any person.
Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a Meditation Instructor.
PTSD is a severe reaction to trauma. It haunts millions, especially veterans who have witnessed war at its worst. Transcendental Meditation may be able to help individuals relax and process the trauma in more productive ways. It has the possibility to heal the mind and soul through the process.
The article, “Could transcendental meditation treat PTSD?” from MedicalNewsToday takes a closer look at how Transcendental Meditation can help veterans with PTSD. The article states,
“A common plot device in fiction finds a character overcoming past traumatic experiences by finally confronting their pain. In real life, recovery is not so simple. While therapies for people with PTSD typically focus on facing one’s trauma, a new study finds that the restful effects of TM may more readily help people with PTSD heal.”
Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a Meditation Instructor
Human beings worry everyday. They worry about global politics, national concerns, sports, domestic concerns at home, finances, family, health, weather, relationships, or the most simplistic interactions. Some worries are deeper and more critical to survival while others are very trivial in nature but if we let worries dominate life, then they can cause unneeded damage to the body.
The Serenity Prayer teaches one to let go and to control what can be controlled and to release what cannot be controlled. In understanding this basic ideal, one can releases oneself from the conscious reality of worry and focuses instead on productive reactions to legitimate concerns. Worry itself is the direct mental process of dealing with problems. It is essential because without it, important aspects of life would go untended to. Hence worry is a thinking process that is essential to life but like any function, it is when it misused or overused that issues arise.
Anxiety, an emotional response to worry, can cause immense physiological damage to the body. Anxiety is a dread of what may or may not happen. It is unfounded and based on numerous misconceptions or unreal expectations. 85 percent of bad things the mind can conjure, usually never happen. This worry that leads to unnatural state of anxiety is something that negatively affects the sympathetic nervous system. In addition to anxiety, the worries that surround one become stressors. Stress itself is a physical response to something and again activates the sympathetic nervous system, which in turn, activates such hormones as adrenaline that increases blood pressure and heart rate, as well as tightening muscles and closing down the digestive system to more fight or flight responses. These responses are good if truly in physical danger, but the mental stressors and worries of life usually do not require such an extreme reaction. If in a constant state of anxiety and stress, the body will begin to hurt itself through these responses.
This is why it is so important to worry over what truly matters most and when worrying, to worry well. Worrying over things that cannot be changed do not help to the situation. Worrying late at night, losing sleep, and becoming ill, do not help situations either, but individuals due to a variety of bad worrying habits, or mental ticks are unable to turn off bad worrying. In effect, they become sick from worrying. They do not possess the ability to shut down the sympathetic nervous system to find relaxation.
The Parasympathetic nervous system is the opposite of the Sympathetic. It lowers the heartrate, blood pressure, and relaxes the body’s muscles and permits better digestion. It is imperative to return to this type of operation and find new balance. Individuals with panic and anxiety disorders that explode with worry do not have the abilities to find that balance. Many times they turn to a variety of medications which only blanket the symptoms but once untaken, do nothing for the body to learn to balance
This is why it is so important to learn to worry well. In the MED300/SM550 course, the text and CD of Dr. Weil is utilized to teach individuals how to use meditation and visualization as a way to combat and cope with worry. Dr. Weil emphasizes that one needs to place worries in three different columns. Situations that can be changed, may be changed, and cannot be changed.
Worry should be proportionately applied to things that can be changed. Through identification of what one wishes to accomplish, one can then follow a plan of action, choosing the best options and how those options will be carried out. Affirmation of success is key as a follow through. Dr Weil encourages visualization as a technique in meditation to find a quiet and peaceful place where one can find an inner wisdom guide, which in actuality is one’s unbiased subconscious. Some individuals make this spiritual by prayer and speak with Christ or Mohammed or Buddha, while others relate to deceased parents. This inner wisdom can sometimes supply fresh insight into an issue that seemed difficult prior.
In reaching these states of meditation, Dr Weil believes in the importance of breathing as a source of helping the body again find balance with the Parasympathetic system. Focused, deep, longer breaths can help the body find balance and reduce the tension in the body. The focus on breath also can closely follow Dr. Benson’s Relaxation Response, which follows the same ideals of breath, focus words and muscle relaxation. While these steps follow religious guidelines, they also coincidentally open the body up to more tranquil states associated with the Parasympathetic system. This can reduce the effects of stress, anxiety and unneeded worry.
Good breath work and meditation can be used to free the body from unchangeable worries and also be used to guide the mind to find resolutions for things that can be changed. It can also help the mind find ways to transform oneself to things that cannot be changed. Some worries cannot be altered but they can be accepted and the situation can be adjusted to. The worries that cannot find solutions should generate transformation. In doing so, worrying is then used the natural way it was intended through evolution as a way to help the body deal with problems.
Through analyzation of worry, proper breath work, meditation, visualization and affirmation, one is better equipped to free the body from the stress and anxiety of the Sympathetic Nervous System and allow it to rest but also to be better able to dismiss unneeded worry and focus on real solutions to real life issues.
If you worry too much, it may be time to try to utilize these techniques to minimize unnecessary problems and focus on real problems but in a productive way by retraining how you approach worrying itself.
Quigong meditation deals with ways for the body to find self healing by removing negative energy through the meridians. It incorporates the basic elements of meditation with breathing and self visualization. Many find comfort in this type of self healing as it promotes over general health within the body by balancing good energy.
From a more Western perspective, the process of overall health from this type of meditation probably ties to its calming effect on the sympathetic nervous system.
The article, “Qigong Meditation Techniques: Benefits and How to Do It” from Healthline looks closer at this ancient Chinese Meditation technique. The article state,
“Qigong meditation is an ancient Chinese healing practice that combines controlled breathing, gentle movement, and meditation to promote good mental, physical, and spiritual health. Similar to tai chi, qigong meditation is believed to treat a variety of health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, chronic fatigue, insomnia, and leg and back pain, among others. Yet, research backing these claims is limited.”
Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Meditation Instruction.
The Relaxation Response reverses the negative effects of the sympathetic nervous system which prepares the body for the flight or fight response. The body during stress infuses the body with an increase of adrenaline and other hormones which raise blood pressure, increase heart rate, increase breathing and tighten muscles for reaction. These effects are not good long term, nor are they needed for modern day stress at home or in the office or on the work floor. The Relaxation Response reverses these issues. Meditation Instructors can also help one learn how to elicit this response.
Studies have also shown, when combined with the Faith Factor, the response can also help with a myriad of health and mental issues. The Faith Factor, or belief in anything, is key to eliciting greater benefit from the Relaxation Response. Again, understand, that any attempt to improve health without discussion with a primary physician is not safe. The Relaxation Response can help, but it should never completely replace medications without physician approval. Many of the natural reactions within the body from the Relaxation Response and Meditation follow many of the same principles of medications used to decrease anxiety but without the side effects. So in time, with physician approval, many medications may possibly be reduced.
One problem many have is insomnia and this is the primary focus of this short blog in regards to how the Relaxation Response and a trained Meditation Instructor can help with the inability to sleep.
The anxiety cycle plays havoc on the mind and hence also the body. Only until the anxiety cycle is broken can the mind find peace. This is one of the biggest problems with the inability to sleep. Individuals are bombarded with intrusive thoughts or worries from the day. They prevent the body from calming and instead create a cycle of anxiety which induces stress and the stress response upon the body. The reality is many intrusive thoughts or problems cannot be resolved late at night nor does the body have the capability without rest to properly deal with these issues. Many of these issues seem less important upon waking and the worry of the previous night merely clouds the mind the next day.
Individuals turn to medication to try to overcome the anxiety cycle. They look for over the counter medications that relax the body. The Relaxation Response, however, elicits the same mechanisms within the body. It breaks the anxiety cycle and ushers in the soothing effects of peace and relaxation without the side effects. When using the Relaxation Response to illicit sleep the aim is quite different than using this meditation during the day. Its aim is not so much to produce a meditative response but a sleeping response. In this reality, the brain waves will not be the same as if meditating during the day, but will in fact, merely fade into sleep into meditative trance. This is fine but is a different end.
The Faith Factor is also important in delivering the ultimate responses one may be seeking. If one merely routinely utilizes this response in a mundane and insincere way, then the results will be not as beneficial. It will become mechanical in nature and more of a chore. Instead, be utilizing one’s faith, the response becomes stronger. Due to this, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, or even atheist can utilize this faith factor by choosing the repetitive word to focus on one’s tradition. All traditions universally tap into the Relaxation Response via the power of faith. For an atheist or non religious, that word may be about family, country or self. It still can elicit the response if the word and motive means something to the person. Likewise, if the word chosen is too Eastern, then a Christian may feel stressed using that term and be counter productive. Instead, it is important to turn the meditation into a prayer as well to enhance the natural response of the body.
In regards to insomnia, or any other ailment, a passive mind is required during meditation. While your focus, desire and goal is sleep, your passive mind remains open to merely the meditation. Some may consider this counter productive, but the moment one starts to think about ” Why am I not asleep” or “How long will this take”, then one creates a new anxiety cycle which reduces the ability of the body to relax and internally heal. So with illness, or insomnia, to curtail the maximum results of desired results, we must in some way not desire it but allow the flow of peace to do its thing. The moment, one focuses more on performance outcome over the process itself, then the ability to fall asleep becomes harder to achieve.
In utilizing the Relaxation Response, one should follow the basic guidelines. First, find a quiet place. In regards to insomnia, this is your bed. Sound makers, or any natural sounds that are not distracting can help one find a natural pace. Second, close one’s eyes and began to reduce muscle tension. Focus on parts of your body and work your way systematically, such as starting from a toe to the next toe and up the foot to up the leg. Stretch and allow the body to naturally relax. Third, start to breath in and out. This step actually can be used while your reducing muscle tension. Fourth, focus on your word, usually a word associated with religious or personal conviction. The word or phrase should be short enough to match the rhythm of your breathing. If Jewish, the word could be Shalom, if Islamic, the word could be Allah, or if non religious, one could utilize word that motivates oneself. Christian usually choose the name of Jesus, or a short phrase from Scripture. This word is meant to keep focus.
When distracting thoughts enter the mind, do not deliberately toss them out but slowly, dismiss them. It is natural to lose focus. While trying to sleep, the distractions and problems will attempt to re-enter. When they do, merely return to your focus word while keeping track of your breathing. Do not worry if you are doing something wrong. This leads to the important fourth part, the passive attitude. One cannot actively beyond the focus word, try to control the process. Instead one must remain passive and allow the body’s response to take over. If meditating during the day, this is meant to recharge the body and sleep is not intended, but when utilizing it to find sleep, one should merely allow the peace to lead to sleep. One can fall asleep in this regard in prayer. This is not the ideal intention, and is why religious traditions have imposed postures for prayer that are relaxing but not sleep inducing, but realize, we are utilizing the Relaxation Response and meditative prayer to fall asleep. We have turned something natural into prayer itself which is beautiful.
In following these steps and practicing them, one may be better able to relax the body, elicit relaxation, and if spiritual praise God, while also gently falling asleep without the need of medication. If you would like to learn more about the Relaxation Response, please review Herbert Benson’s two classic works on the Relaxation Response. Also if you would like to help others, please then review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Training Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as Meditation Instructor.
Many religious traditions believe that one through meditation can cause a positive disturbance into the cosmos and tap into the natural healing energy. Some cultures call this Chi. While this is only an Eastern belief, meditation from a secular point of view can also elicit responses through the Relaxation Response to help heal the body. In fact, whichever religious tradition, the utilization of meditation within the particular creed seems to all cause the Relaxation Response.
In previous blogs and articles, we know that the Relaxation Response is the opposite of the Fight or Flight Response. The Relaxation Response reverses the blood pressure, higher heart rate, and heavier breathing caused by the sympathetic nervous system in time of physical need, or stress. Adrenaline is pumped into the body during physical emergencies to enable the body to better react to the issue at hand, however, this response is more damaging when responding to only emotional and mental stresses of the modern world. Hence, anxiety and stress can cause an array of physical ailments to the heart and blood pressure.
The ability of the mind via meditation and breathing to induce the Relaxation Response is key to healing. It is only doubled when combined with the faith factor. Positive vibes and beliefs through meditation and even basic mindset can produce within the body multiple cures over minor issues and also maintain optimal health. Likewise, negative beliefs and lack of faith can lead to physical ailments. The mind body connection is real and the ability to control the negative responses of the body to stress as well as produce healthier mental images, is key to overall health.
Does this mean one should never go to the doctor but only procure a healthy mindset? Definitely not, but Herbert Benson in “Beyond the Relaxation Response” believes that a healthy mindset and faith factor tied to meditation can procure within the Relaxation Response a more general bill of health, as well as better responses to illness. He reviews the importance of the placebo effect for both positive and negative results.
One can see through studies and throughout history, the power of the mind in helping someone recover from an illness, likewise, the power of the mind to produce illness. Meditation and the Relaxation Response with a strong faith factor reveals that many individuals are able to control negative responses from the Sympathetic Response system and maintain better health in part by preventing illness as well as aiding the body heal itself. A person with a positive mindset and faith factor has a better chance of healing or overcoming a major operation and illness than one with a negative.
Part of this is the placebo effect of the medication. Many medications are strengthened by the belief of the person. Furthermore, a strong trust in the physician who is optimistic can help trigger a better faith factor which can help a patient recover faster. In many cases, medications produce more side effects than good, and the faith factor and optimistic view is strong enough to help someone. It is important to know if the medication one is on is completely necessary for health and wellness.
The faith factor is just a religious ideal but one that places faith in something, whether it be God, medication, a physician or one’s own ability to heal. It is a critical element in self healing and overall mental, emotional and physical health. Through the studies on meditation, we clearly see a connection between mind and body and vice versa. The mind has an ability to control many of our responses, including heartbeat and blood pressure, it also has the ability to aid the body in recovery with positive imagery. This is not a cure all. While mental positive images can help, they cannot overcome certain obstacles or devastating disease or injury, but they can help the body recover and maintain itself.
It is important to procure this type of positive attitude and with a strong faith factor, coupled with meditation and the triggering of the Relaxation Response, one can better achieve better health and a more peaceful life in response to stress and anxiety.
Anxiety looks to tear into the body causing a brutal cycle where the body is forced to respond to a physical threat that is not present. By eliminating this cycle through the Relaxation Response, one is able to lower breathing, heart rate and blood pressure and allow the body to relax from the hormonal onslaught. Remember, it is about how we view stress, cope with it, and our overall outlook on life that helps prepare us to handle these stresses. Through meditation we are able to heal the body from stress and prepare it to handle it later.
For purposes of the review, the steps are simple. Find a quiet place, focus on breathing, find an object or mental image to dwell upon, use a mantra or prayer to stay on path and avoid distractions and maintain a passive mind. These steps are part of almost every religious tradition. While religious traditions may have different spiritual ends, they all through meditation induce a particular physical reaction which is beneficial to the body. That response is the Relaxation Response.
If you would like to learn more, please review Herbert Benson’s revolutionary work on meditation. If you would like to earn a certification in Meditation Instruction, then please review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Meditation Instruction.
Stress and anger facilitates the “Flight or Fight” response in our bodies. While temporarily good, if the physical reactions within the body continue over time or are not properly channeled, then damage to the body can occur. Elevated heart beat and higher blood pressure are all temporary necessary results to deal with situations but in the modern world, stresses cannot be dealt with by fight or flight but must be managed.
The Relaxation Response is the opposite reaction within the body, where a pre stress state is restored to the body. It lowers the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and creates a more tranquil setting which is beneficial to the body. Recent studies through bio feed back have proven to shown that one can facilitate these responses through a variety of meditation practices or techniques. Meditation, in particular, Eastern meditation has shown to be able to elicit the relaxation response.
The Relaxation Response requires a quiet or peaceful setting and environment. It requires a passive mindset. It also requires an object of focus and a repeating phrase, mantra, or word to retain that focus. Through this peaceful and gradual process, studies have shown that the relaxation response can be found. It is far different than a mere sleep process, but various active brain waves continue to function as well as the state that reduces stress. This is different than sleep and its critical importance at the REM phase and its own special health benefits. The two states have different health aims and different purposes.
The Relaxation Response can be elicited from a variety of religious traditions. It can be Christian in end or Eastern. World religions seem to share in this common trait of producing this universal mental state within individuals who practice it. However, non religious can also benefit from it and enter into with out any religious overtones.
What is incredible is that the human mind has the capability to alter change to the body. It can, seen through biofeedback, produce changes in heart beat and pressure through meditation. In some more extraordinary cases, Tibetan Monks were able to even alter body temperatures. With this in mind, the power of the mind to alter subconscious responses is an important study within meditation and its battle with stress.
The faith factor and the ability of the mind to alter minor realities in health and healing is extraordinary. Not just altering bio rhythms within the body to reduce the effects of stress, but to also help heal. Placebo effects, whether positive or negative can play huge roles in individual’s health or lack of. The simple positive belief of the person in something or someone and that shared encouragement can play a key role in healing. Meditation can also open these amazing benefits of self healing. Again, the mind can play a pivotal role in helping the body heal itself by believing it.
If you would like to learn more about Meditation, stress reduction and the Relaxation Response, then please review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a Meditation Instructor.