Month: April 2007

Relaxation Technique 9: Acupressure for stress reduction

I am a big supporter of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). An important part of the TCM is the concept of the energy meridians and acupoints. These acupoints are active points that have effect on the body or the mind, when stimulated. The usual form of stimulation in the Traditional Chinese Medicine is inserting very thin needles into the points and leaving them there for about 20 minutes. This is called acupuncture and it can be very helpful in many conditions where modern medicine still struggles. A simpler form of acupoint stimulation, which can be practices without studying TCM, virtually by anyone is acupressure. In acupressure, the same acupoints are stimulated using pressure instead of needle insertion, which makes it more accessible to general population. There are guides for when to stimulate in specific conditions. One of the best guides I’ve seen is available on the site of Stanford Stanford University School of Medicine, called PointFinder. For example the points for treating anxiety are shown below (captured from the above site): You should stimulate those points by pressing on them for a about a minute on each side of the body. More conditions can be selected from the site and another set of points will be...

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Relaxation Technique 8: Thought substitution for calming and relaxation

Thought substitution is a simple technique to understand but might be difficult to master. I first learned them from reading a Brian Tracy’s book, who is a known motivational speaker and writer. It is based on the fact that a human mind can only hold one thought at a time. Thus, if you have negative thoughts in your mind that continuously stress you, it is possible through conscious effort substitute it with another thought, i.e. think of something else instead. As you do not think of the problem, you reduce your level of stress. Of course, pervasive negative thoughts will try to return to your mind. You should take notice of them and immediately return to your substitute thought. Examples of this technique can be seen in Relaxation Technique #1 – Breathing to relax and calm down – where the concentration on the air flow through the nostrils should substitute the previous thought you’ve had. Of course, you can just substitute your negative thought by thinking about your loved ones or reliving joyful memories from your past. So, the next time you have troubling thoughts, take notice of them. Recall the fact that you can substitute your thoughts with better ones and start thinking positive...

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Relaxation Technique 7: Meditation for the long run benefit

If you think that your life is full of stress and you find it hard to cope with it, you might need to take more action with larger dedication on your part. One of the things that can help with reducing the stress from your life in the long run and teach you how to relax is meditation. Meditation is a practice of the mind where you train yourself to control your thoughts, willpower and emotions. Some meditation are still – you meditate while sitting, closing your eyes and clearing your mind of distractive thought. Usually, you’d try to concentrate on something specific and hold that thought in your mind. Incorporating visual imagery into the meditation practice is also quite common. Technique #3 – Calming Visualization – is an example of such meditation technique. Meditation requires dedication and setting time aside for its practice. Its positive effects are both short and long term effective. You will feel better, more relaxed, after a meditation session and in the long run you will behave in a more relaxed manner overall. Scientific studies have shown meditation to be positive as well. For examples, see: Benefits of meditation Meditation and neuroscience research Meditation leads to happiness research shows Yoga and meditation help sleep better Transcendental Meditation helps the heart Another form of mediation involves movement. Tai Chi, Qigong and yoga can be seen...

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Relaxation Technique 6: Entering alpha state of mind by yourself

Continuing the subject of the previous Relaxation Technique 5: Inducing alpha and theta levels using audio programs, it is also possible to learn and enter the alpha state of mind by yourself, without the aid of special audio recordings. Of course, it requires some learning but has the benefit of allowing you better control over your brain. Jose Silva1 has dedicated his life to develop a technique to better utilize the human potential. His work is based on knowledge to enter and stay in the alpha state of mind. There are several ways to induce alpha state. Here’s one that works well for me: Sit comfortably or lie down, closing your eyes. Perform a number of deep breaths. Visualize the number 3 and say to yourself “Three” 3 times. Visualize the number 2 and say to yourself “Two” 3 times. Visualize the number 1 and say to yourself “One” 3 times. Visualize the number 10 and say “I’m relaxing” Visualize the number 9 and say “I’m calming down” Visualize the number 8 and say “I’m relaxing more and more” Visualize the number 7 and say “I’m calming down more and more” Visualize the number 6 and say “My consciousness is clear and tranquil” Visualize the number 5 and say “My whole body is relaxed” Visualize the number 4 and say “I’m so relaxed so that I can’t feel the...

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Relaxation Technique 5: Inducing alpha and theta levels using audio programs

The human brain operates at different states of consciousness and attention. The different levels differentiate by the frequency of the brain waves, as can be seen on EEG (Electroencephalography1). These are called using letter of the greek alphabet. The general agreement regarding the brainwave patterns is as follows: Beta – 14Hz and higher. Alert, active state of mind. Associated with thinking and being awake. Alpha – 8 to 14Hz. Relaxed state of mind. Associated with daydreaming, general relaxation. Theta – 4 to 8Hz. Deeper relaxed state. Light stages of sleep. Hypnosis. Meditation. Delta – below 4Hz. Deep sleep. No conscious awareness. The alpha state was discovered to be a very healthy state of mind as it is associated with relaxed brain activity. It is also used a platform for advanced mind control techniques such as meditation, Jose Silva Method, and similar. It is possible to induce alpha brainwave activity using special audio recordings, utilizing binaural beats2 effect to directly affect the brain and bring it to work at the desired frequency. One such recording that gives good relaxation results is Immrama Institute’s Insight Program (CD or MP3). It provides the benefits of binaural beats to reduce stress layered over the sound of falling rain, which by itself has a tranquilizing effect. There are many other recordings available that utilize similar technology but some are said to be better than...

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