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Modern Meditation New Ways To Switch Off

Feb 25, 2008
There are many, many forms of meditation today and as a practicing meditator myself I have researched and utilized many of the common methods in use. Now I originally started meditating as a stress reduction method, I was working as a nurse at the time and it was becoming obvious that my stress was increasing due to my workload and having to deal with various other
departmental issues at that time. I can tell you I was not far off from experiencing burnout and it was a good thing I had the self-awareness to notice this.

Anyway I began to get interested in relaxation methods and noticed that the vast majority of them only really took you to a superficial level of calmness. You had to learn how to tense each muscle in the body and then relax it, the theory being that if you knew how to tense up it would be a kind of biofeedback to let your body know when it was time to relax.

Hey, these traditional methods work fairly well but I wanted something deeper, something I could use at any time to change my state of mind reasonably quickly. Now having a knowledge of anatomy and physiology I began to look at the brains structures and trace the beginnings of stress to the mind, after all doesnt everything start in the mind.

I quickly realized from my reading and study that we have essentially three parts to the brain, the oldest part or reptilian brain, then the limbic system and finally our most recent part, the frontal brain or neocortex to give it its correct name.
It appears that stress begins in the reptilian and limbic areas and then sends signals into the body affecting the adrenal glands which in turn secrete adrenalin and cortisol into the bloodstream which basically means that by then we are stressed in a big way. The structures responsible for all this are the thalamus, the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland and a small gland at the rear of the head known as the locus ceruleus.

I found that by utilizing visualization it is possible to calm these structures right down to a point where they literally switch off and your whole body is deeply, deeply relaxed, in fact much more so then with the traditional techniques I mentioned earlier. People who actually watched me do this stated that they had never seen anyone appear so relaxed. I had totally zoned out. So I began teaching this to patients who were obviously stressed at times and they had the same effect once they had acquired the simple skill. Most of them told me they had never ever felt that relaxed in a long, long time. Real relaxation as an adult can be hard to remember cant it.

One of the reasons it is so relaxing is by turning off these stress circuits we enter into a brainwave state of mind known as theta. You may go into this quickly before you go to sleep but by prolonging it with this method you are utterly relaxed without actually going off to sleep.
About the Author
Lee James Heather is now a therapist specializing in anxiety based problems and teaches clients stress management.

Anxiety Coach Relaxation Technique
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