From the category archives:

meditation

Quick destress and rejuvenator

by Ed

Get into a comfortable position. On your back with your knees on a pillow works well. Take a few moments just to notice how your body feels. Fake a yawn or two, sigh a couple of times and wriggle around to get more comfortable. As you breathe, notice the rise and fall of your belly. Start breathing more deeply, emphasizing the movement of your belly. Push it out as you inhale and pull it in as you exhale. Now just breathe naturally again, and notice how your body feels.

Now, as you inhale imagine you are filling your lungs with energy. If you are visual, vissualize it. Or you can feel it or pretend it is happening. Imagine your lungs are becoming more and more energized. Every cell is dancing. Next inhale that energy into your right arm. Do the same thing. Then your left arm, your right leg, your left leg, and finally your belly. When your belly feels totally energized, get up and jump up, lightly, and down a few times.

Alernatives to Antidepressants

by Ed

I got an email to day about this subject. I am a little wary to post about it in general, because severe depressioin needs medical treatment. So, as long as you are under a physician’s care, you can, with his consent try my suggestions. If you have mild or moderate depression it is much less critical.

In general depression can be relieved with the same suggestions as I gave in my last post about PMS. For most people the underlying problems are the same. However I would focus more on exercise. 30 to 40 minutes a day of moderate aerobic exercise, can greatly reduce the symptoms of depression, as well as anxiety and other emotional problems.

Mindfulness training may be more effective than deep relaxation for depression. I would check out Jon Kabat-Zinn’s CDs for that.

Saint John’s Wort has proven to be an effective herb in relieving mild to moderate depression, but current research suggests that it may be less effective for severe depression. More research is needed there.

I recommend a book called Potatoes not Prozac. It looks at the role diet plays in balancing our mood chemicals.

Finally, I would like to return to the importance of attitude. Humor is so important in keeping a healthy state of mind. Laugh a lot and it’s harder to be depressed. Also, regularly focusing on gratitude is a great antidote. Every morning before you get out of bed, and every night before you go to sleep, focus on all the things you are grateful for in your life. Don’t just do it routinely, really feel the gratitude. Enjoy what you have.

Pain Relief Visualization

by Ed

Here is a simple visualization for relieving pain.This technique can heal underlying problems, however, it may just relieve the pain, without affecting the cause of pain. Therefore, just as with pain medications, be sure you know the cause of the pain. Pain is a warning that something is wrong. If you just get rid of the pain you could end up a lot worse off.

That said, for pain relief, try this visualization:

First get into a very comfortable position. Become aware of your breath. Just notice the movement of your breath, in and out, for a minute or so. Then move your awareness to the site of pain in your body. Just notice it; its size and shape, its qualities. Then imagine, if you could see it, what it would look like. What color is it? Is it a red ball, a black, amorphous blob, a greenish pointy thing? Visualize it as vividly as you can, and get very familiar with it.

Next, find a pathway out of your body for it. For instance, if it is in your shoulder, it could move to your elbow, wrist, finger, then out. Or if it is in your stomach, it could move to your pelvis, then down one leg to the knee, ankle, toe, and out.

Now that it is outside of your body, look around for some place where it it my stay. For instance, if it is a red ball, and you can see a traffic light, send it there. If it is an amorphous blob, send it to the corner of a room, where the dust collects.

Now that the pain is outside of your body, it should not bother you so much. Enjoy!

Fibromyalgia

by Ed

The chronic pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia are not fun to live with, but there are things you can do to make life easier. Probably the three most important things you can do to improve quality of life and decrease symptoms, are gradually increase your exercise, reduce stress, and improve sleep.

Exercise may be the most difficult because it hurts and it is so easy to overdo it. It is important to very gradually increase your exercise program, so as not to have major setbacks. You may start out with a minute a day of walking. You want to aim for 30 to 60 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, 3 to 6 days a week. Strength training and stretching are also helpful. You may consider tai chi or yoga, for both the exercise and the stress reduction.

One of the best methods for stresss reduction is meditation. In 1998, a study on meditation and fibromyalgia found that meditative practices lessened the achiness, sleeplessness, muscle pain, and depression experienced by fibromyalgia patients. You can try the Inner Smile meditation that I mentioned in my post yesterday. Guided visualization and self-hypnosis are very similar to, and have the same effects as meditation. Search for a technique that works for you and stick with it. The more you do it, the better it works.

Sleep. Nobody wants to get up feeling like they did not get any rest all night. Not only do you feel lousy, but it aggravates all the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Getting good sleep is very important. The stress reduction techniques mentioned above should help a lot. Changing your eating habits may help as well. Reduce or avoid caffeine and sugar. Try to finish eating early in the evening. Going to bed when you are still digesting disturbs sleep. Another lifestyle change that may help is not watching tv in the evening. Tv can be very stimulating and keep you awake. If you have tried all of these things and still have problems with your sleep, you should seek treatment. research shows that acupuncture is helpful for sleep and other symptoms of fibromyalgia. Hypnotherapy is a very good method for improving sleep. I would turn to Western Medicine only as a last resort.

Finally, keep an active social life. It helps with your mood and keeps your mind off your symptoms. If you join a support group, join one that supports a more postsitive lifestyle rather than one that supports complaining about your problems. You are alive, you might as well enjoy it.

A Healthy Attitude

by Ed

Have you ever noticed that when you have a frustrating day you come home feeling wasted? Have you ever noticed that when you’re having fun or when you meet a dear old friend you haven’t seen a while, you have lots of energy, even if you didn’t sleep well the night before?

Our emotions have a powerful impact on our physical bodies. Studies have proven that not only do we have more energy when we are experiencing positive emotions, but our immune systems are being stimulated as well.We also produce more growth hormone, which can reverse the aging process.

So how do we keep the positive emotions and let go of the negative ones? Not by suppressing the negatives and pretending to be happy. Our bodies know the difference. People who suppress negative emotions raise their risk of cancer, ulcers and many other physical problems. The key is in our attitude towards life. When we practice gratitude and compassion on a regular basis, we learn to let go of the attachments that lead to anger, resentment, and fear. Anger and fear will come up in our lives, at appropriate times, but we let go of them right away.

If, several times a day, you express gratitude for everything in your life, you will soon notice how great your life really is, and the things that used to bother you don’t so much any more. And when you practice compassionate action, you begin to notice that people only do hurtful things when they themselves are hurting. So instead of reacting with anger or fear, you want to help them.

Until we have perfected the practices of gratitude and compassion, we need to learn ways to diffuse the unhealthy energy in our bodies that negative emotions bring. One of my favorite practices is a Chinese qi gong meditation called the Inner Smile. Here are instructions for a very simple version of it:

Get seated in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Take a few long, slow, deep breaths, pausing for a moment at the end of each inhale and exhale. After a few breaths, allow your breathing to return to its natural rhythm, and gently pay attention to it moving in and out.

Now imagine the face of someone you love smiling at you. Feel the warmth of their smile, and feel yourself reflecting that smile back to them. Now find a place in your body that needs some healing energy. As you inhale, feel like you are breathing into that area of your body, and follow the breath with your smile. As you inhale, feel the smile penetrating the area and as you exhale, allow all tension to melt away.

Be aware of yourself as the smiler and the one being smiled at. You can alternate if that is most comfortable for you. When you have finished, imagine that area in your body glowing with golden light. You can do this practice for two or three minutes several times a day.

As the songs says, “Don’t worry. Be happy.”