Meditation is a great way to stay relaxed and fight anxiety. (File photo)

Boomer Talk: The art and science of relaxation

Meditation is a great way to stay relaxed and fight anxiety

Relaxation is the act of allowing your mind and body to “let go” of everyday concerns, changing your focused energy from tension to calmness.

It seems to be such a simple thing, yet it is so powerful when it comes to changing your state of well being. It creates a balanced homeostasis in the mind-body. Laughter can create this state as well.

When we consciously relax by using hypnosis or meditation, we allow our brain wave states to drop into that slower brain cycle referred to as the alpha state (calmness).

It is believed that meditation goes back 5,000 years and evidence has been found it was used in primitive times. It was the teachings of Buddha in 500 BC that helped to bring a new awareness to meditation. In fact, meditation eventually evolved into being recognized for its value today due to these early teachings.

Thankfully, we now understand more about the mind-body connection. The study of psychoneuroimmunology now shows us that this connection is real.

Both meditation and hypnosis consist of focused attention. Like meditation, hypnosis has been around for millennia. It has gone through its own metamorphosis and is now recognized by the medical profession as having therapeutic value.

We know that unresolved emotional issues trigger our immune system to stimulate disease when the stress levels in our body reach an unmanageable state. Too much of this can create a homeostatic imbalance (lack of sleep, feeling stressed and unwell) leaving us with compromised immune systems and therefore physiologically vulnerable.

This is where meditation and hypnosis can help. Clinical Hypnotherapists can help to access our personal memory vault (our subconscious mind) helping facilitate the release of negative feelings or memories .

Hypnosis is also used for de-stressing and relaxation and allows the mind-body to completely and totally let go. In fact, one hour of hypnosis is likened to eight hours of sleep.

Daydreaming is a form of waking hypnosis, and could be likened to a mini vacation for the mind in the middle of a busy day. It happens a lot.

Sleep is crucial if you are to feel relaxed. If you are having difficulty getting to sleep at night, I suggest you try a technique called “Square Breathing” particularly if you have “monkey-mind” — where you cannot stop intrusive worrisome thoughts.

Close your eyes and visualize or imagine a square. If you have a hard time visualizing, assign a favourite colour to the square. Then, in your mind’s eye, go along the top of the square (left to right) and breathe in to the count of four. When you get to the top right hand corner, hold your breath and go down the side to the count of four, then left along the bottom, exhaling to the count of four, and up the left side, inhaling for a count of four and so on. Repeat.

This mind exercise, which is good for anxiety, helps to keep both your left and right parts of your brain busy at the same time, and therefore helps stop “Monkey Mind” (intrusive repetitive thought) in its tracks, allowing you to relax.

So, treat your mind-body with respect, learn how to relax, and you may add years to your life and if nothing else, you’ll add life to your years.

As Buddha said: “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”

Show yourself this love and affection by learning how to relax… you’ll be glad you did.

Carole Fawcett is a freelance writer, humourist, retired counsellor

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