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Relaxation Response with Self Awareness

In seeking, discovering, and understanding our nature and feelings, there are a lot from dealing with daily emotional experiences to evoking and hushing the outcome of life experiences.

The door to the self

In so doing, most of the time we miss the natural connection with ourselves, especially when our thinking and feelings are disorganized. 

Self-awareness is the capacity to see oneself clearly and objectively through thinking and reflection.

We can benefit from the following when we achieve self-awareness.

  • Proactiveness, Courage, and self-development.
  • Seeing things from the point of view of others. Practice self-control, and work creatively and productively.
  • Better decision-making, and high self-esteem.

Self-awareness can be improved through the practice of mindfulness and writing. Also, practicing listening skills such as not judging, observing emotions, and paying attention to the speaker. Moreover, create time and space to connect with yourself fully.

Mindful Meditation is a way and art as well as a science of self-awareness. Meditation makes the meditators encounter deep positive experiences of mind awareness.

Meditation involves a series of mental and physical acts aimed at achieving an alternate state of consciousness.

You are advised to meditate for twenty minutes before breakfast and twenty minutes before dinner.

Zen and Yoga are the two Eastern forms of meditation practiced often. Zen Buddhist monks in Japan practice Zen meditation in which enlightenment is achieved.

In India Yoga is practiced as part of Hindu efforts to give people control of their minds. Also, there is a wide practice of Tai Chi Gong to experience mind and physical wellbeing.

Tai chi is an exercise that originate in Chen village in China founded by Chen Wangting around 1670. Tai Chi includes a sequence of slow gentle movements and physical postures, a meditative state of mind, and controlled breathing. 

The practice is based on ancient Chinese Taoism philosophy which insists on the natural balance in all things in the universe and the importance of living in spiritual and physical terms with the natural laws and habits of nature.


Many forms of Yoga exist.

  • One emphasizes complete relaxation.
  • Another uses vigorous exercise,
  • The other one concentrates on controlling body functions such as breathing.

Transcendental meditation (TM) is a simplified yoga that allows people to meditate after a short course.

The technique is simple.

An instructor gives you a secret word, sound, or phrase that's called your mantra.

You can mentally repeat your mantra over and over again while sitting in a comfortable position. 

If distracting thoughts enter your mind, you ignore them and return your thoughts to your mantra.

TM was developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, an Indian guru. In the 1960s, TM gained popularity, and millions of people practice it today.

Herbert Benson (1975), an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School and Director of the Hypertension Section of Boston's Beth Israel Hospital, simplified TM even further.

Instead of concentrating on your secret mantra, in Benson's procedure, you are asked to keep your thoughts on the word "one." The procedure has six steps:

  1. Sit quietly in a relaxed posture.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Deeply calm down all your muscles, beginning at your feet and progressing up to your face. Keep them relaxed.
  4. Breathe through your nose. Become mindful of your breathing. As you breathe out, say the word "one" silently to yourself. Breathe easily and naturally.
  5. Proceed for ten to twenty minutes. You may open your eyes to check the time, but do not use an alarm. When you finish, sit quietly for several minutes, at first with your eyes closed and later with your eyes open. Do not stand up for a few minutes.
  6. Do not worry about whether you are successful in achieving a deep level of relaxation. Uphold a passive attitude and allow relaxation to occur at its own pace. When drawing away thoughts occur, try to ignore them and return to repeating "one." With practice, the response should come with little effort. Practice the technique once or twice daily, but not within two hours after a meal, since the digestive processes seem to interfere with the elicitation of the relaxation response.

The usefulness of Meditation.

  • Meditation arouses the sense of an empty fresh mind and pure consciousness at the moment.
  • The two hours meditation has the power to move the mind into the past and future.
  • Meditation is an effective way to deal with fatigue, anger, anxiety, and stress.
  • Meditation helps a person to relax physically and mentally.
  • Group support meditation is responsible for reduced drug consumption.
  • The relaxation effect of meditation is responsible for the reduction in drug consumption.
  • Research suggests that regular meditation alters levels of norepinephrine, a neural transmitter.

Physiological and Subjective Patterns During Meditation.

Zen meditators achieve various levels of meditation. Tomio Hirai (1978)

Superficial levels or form meditation are accompanied by alpha waves while deeper levels or formless meditation are characterized by the disappearance of alpha rhythms and the appearance of theta waves. 

In his book Benson says, The Relaxation Response, as a physiological pattern during meditation improves psychological and physiological wellbeing.

Relaxation Response decreases oxygen use, respiratory rate, heart rate, muscle tension, and blood pressure. At the same time, it increases alpha waves to levels observed during other alternative states, including REM sleep.

The relaxation response is opposite to the fight or flight response, which involves increased oxygen consumption, respiratory rate, heart rate, and muscle tension.

Fight or flight response seems to have evolved to prepare animals for emergencies.

In humans, stressful situations activate the response, often needlessly, as when you are upset before an exam.

Frequent wrong responses may be a fundamental cause of strokes, heart attacks, and other stress-related disorders.

Life experience each day gives us a sense of awareness and it's a fundamental force to the mind and body's wellbeing. We can be in a body that wares a troubled mind, but relaxation hushes the anxiety and stress.


References 

Nyklíček, I. Aspects of Self-Awareness in Meditators and Meditation-Naïve Participants: Self-Report Versus Task Performance. Mindfulness 11, 1028–1037 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-020-01318-5

Benson H, Greenwood MM. (1976). The relaxation response: psychophysiological aspects and clinical applications. Avon; Reissue edition.

Tomio Hirai. (1978). Zen and the Mind: Scientific Approach to Zen Practice. Japan Publications; 1st edition.

Priddy, S. E., Howard, M. O., Hanley, A. W., Riquino, M. R., Friberg-Felsted, K., & Garland, E. L. (2018). Mindfulness meditation in the treatment of substance use disorders and preventing future relapse: neurocognitive mechanisms and clinical implications. Substance abuse and rehabilitation, 9, 103–114. https://doi.org/10.2147/SAR.S145201

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1 Comments

  1. Great read! Keep the content coming 😁

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