Why should we use meditation to relax?
Meditation is a technique for relaxation and a process to minimize mental activity and recharge the physical brain, the control center of the body. Care for and respect the brain because it controls EVERYTHING you do.
Any form of relaxation optimizes both the software (the content, programming and mapping/re-mapping done throughout our lives) and the hardware (the actual physical cells, pathways, vessels of circulation in the brain) of your brain to reach a new and re-newed state of mind
We all have day-to-day scars (missing a flight, roller coaster adventure of running a business, disagreement with spouse) that result in small traumas. We also have occasional significant traumas, such as loss (material, financial, emotional), unexpected tragedies, unintended changes in significant relationships.
Examples of daily stress and fear that cause long term overactivity in the brain’s fear centers:
- Feeling constant tension and fear
- high levels of anxiety
- anxious thinking patterns
- always being on guard
- never knowing when something bad was about to happen
- carrying unexamined hurts from the past
We need a process, a technique, to resolve our minds of those experiences, literally wiping the slate clean, pressing re-set, or bringing closure to long- and short-term negative experiences. This can cause incredible healing; or else, like scabs, our mind become filled with landmines of unresolved stories and events that are opportunities to “get triggered” by innocent events, conversations, commercials/movies, or life situations.
Solid science, such as measuring brain waves and brain SPECT imaging: single photon emission computed tomography (looks at blood flow, activity patterns, and brain function) proves that meditation helps to rest, rejuvenate, condition and evolve your brain resulting in greater capacity for understanding complexity, processing unexpected outcomes, delayed gratification, greater optimism, and more.
Resources and suggestions for Relaxation and Meditation:
- Learn and practice with an experienced teacher who you find kind and wise
- Daily practice beginning with 3 minute techniques:
- complete immersion in activities you LOVE: listening to music, cooking, walking/running outdoors, dancing, observing landscape, etc. Rather than multi-tasking (e.g. running and meditation) have one activity where the main purpose is to relax
- Increase time spent doing this activity and notice how you feel before and after. Did it make a difference. If not, choose another activity that results in a more relaxed, lighter, more positive outlook
- Resources for guided meditation: apps such as CALM, Headspace, Insight Timer
- Create a space in your office or home where you can go just to relax. Avoid using this space to check email or make calls. Do things like read, nap, observe your breath
- Practice breathing exercises:
- count 4 INhale
- 4 hold the breath in
- 4 EXhale
- 4 hold the breath out
- Brain-healthy habits: proper diet, and exercise, and brain nutrients/supplements
- Brain games, learning, reading for pleasure
- Avoid contact sports that could result in concussion or high impact to the brain
- Process signficant losses and find daily ways to consider and process seemingly insignificant losses through psychotherapy, talking to a trusted and supportive friend, journaling, reflection.
And in addition our moment to moment thoughts exert a powerful healing effect in the brain or they can work to our detriment
For a questionnaire to a brain health assessment
A 5-day program to optimize focus, memory, and brain processing
These notes were prepared by Lourdes for a presentation and guided meditation for YPO Heartland January 21, 2020.
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