Dr Akilah El – Celestial Healing Wellness Center

The Natural Health and Holistic World According to Dr Akilah El

Category Archives: Meditation

5 Ways To Clear Your Mind Before Bedtime

By Rob Dobrenski, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

People often assume that bad sleep simply means feeling fatigued the next day. The reality is, that’s just the tip of the iceberg: mood, concentration, work performance, and even learning are all impacted. In short, sleep is the cornerstone of mental health. And while a prescription for Ambien certainly has its place – I took sleep agents myself in graduate school – it is always desirable to implement as many natural strategies as possible when sleep is poor.

Consider these as potential “mind clearing” ideas before you hit the sheets.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

This type of breathing, also known as Belly Breathing, helps to slow your heart rate and induce relaxation. I discussed how to do it before but below is a quick summary:

Lie on your back. Slowly push your stomach outward as you take in air through your nose. Try to keep your chest flat as you picture the incoming air flowing through your body. Slowly count to four as your belly rises and gently push out the air through your mouth as your stomach comes to rest. Note and enjoy this feeling. Repeat for one minute.

While you are doing this, try to visualize your heart rate lowering, the muscles relaxing, your body appreciating the rest it’s receiving. Too often our cognitions revolve around “How much sleep will I get?  Will it be enough?  How much longer before I have to wake up?”  Instead, try to focus on what your body is doing as it begins its recovery from a day of activity.

Create Your To Do List Before Bed

Many people with hectic schedules climb into bed and immediately begin to ruminate on what they need to do tomorrow.  Instead of creating mental checklists under the covers, take ten minutes before you go to bed to write down what’s on the agenda for tomorrow. The keyboard strokes or the pen-on-paper effect can help to clear your mind.

Build Your Worry List

A hallmark symptom of worry is poor sleep. Pair that with a busy schedule and the mind is racing around what is wrong with life and how to get things done. Jot down your worries before bed. Even if there are not solutions at your immediate disposal, this can help. I would recommend doing this an hour or so before bedtime, just in case there is a spike in anxiety as you notice the many things that are troublesome. The trick here, again, is to write it down, and add the following at the end:

I will deal with this tomorrow, during the day. Now is time to prepare for sleep.

You’ll be surprised how, with practice, you can train your mind to temporarily shut down troublesome thoughts.

Mindfulness

This is a very hot topic in psychology right now. Research continues to emerge on the benefits of mindfulness in treating anxiety, panic, and other conditions that impact sleep. There are countless books and internet pages dedicated to mindfulness. I personally recommend “The Miracle of Mindfulness,” by Thich Nath Hanh.

Remember What is Currently Working for You

I mentioned this idea before but it bears repeating: poor sleep leads to frustration which, in turn, pushes us to hyperfocus on what is unsatisfactory in our lives. A list of positives in life can help us keep our thinking balanced. Balanced thinking has a powerful calming effect, which is always useful at lights out.

www.healingpowerhour.com

Five Meditation Techniques To Keep You Younger Longer!

by Babs ‘O’Reilly

Since the ancient times, meditation has been used by a lot of people, especially those on the oriental side of the world. According to them, meditation is a good way of freeing the soul.

Thus, meditation is mostly associated to spiritual exercises. However, another good effect of meditation is that it can relax the mind and the body which is good way of maintaining a healthy body.

Moreover, meditation is a good technique to relieve stress. Thus, meditation is being suggested by most stress management experts as an excellent tool for use in coping with life’s daily frustrations and pressures.

However, in the recent years, there are also findings that link meditation to slowing down the process of aging. So, if you want to be healthy and young looking, meditation is one solution.

Here are the steps on how you can add meditation to your arsenal of tools against the aging process.

1. Location – It is better to choose your location first on where you can do your meditation. If you plan to do it in your house, select a place where it is quiet and with calm ambiance. Your room and the guest room can be a good candidate.

2. Schedule – It is important to set aside at least thirty minutes for your meditation. So, if you can schedule it, all the better. And, make sure to stick to your schedule.

3. Relax – Start relaxing yourself by sitting down cross legged on the floor. You can use a blanket or something that may provide comfort to you. If you can’t do that, you can start by sitting on a chair instead.

4. Free Your Mind – Close your eyes and don’t think of anything. Just allow the energy to flow into your mind and your body. Don’t put any expectations. The concept is to allow your mind to be free from anything. So, don’t fantasize or think of your problems or the solution to your worries.

5. Breath – Breath normally. Avoid controlling on how you breathe but you have to focus without controlling it. It is essential in meditation.

Once you have mastered the above mentioned tips, you will not have any difficulties in meditating. But the problem is that mastering meditation is not that easy. So, it is better to not lose hope. With practice you will be able to get it and when you do meditation will be a favorite part of your day.

If you are still having problems, then you may seek a meditation instructor to help you. Moreover, there are classes that can be enrolled in order to master the art of meditation.

So, better inquire with them because the results of meditation are really desirable. You will be very healthy and at the same time, slow down the process of aging.

www.healingpowerhour.com

Benefits of Meditation for Stress Management

The Benefits of MeditationsBy Elizabeth Scott, M.S.

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Overview of Meditation:
Throughout the day, when we experience stress, our bodies automatically react in ways that prepare us to fight or run. In some cases of extreme danger, this physical response is helpful. However, a prolonged state of such agitation can cause physical damage to every part of the body. Meditation affects the body in exactly the opposite ways that stress does, restoring the body to a calm state, helping the body to repair itself, and preventing new damage due to the physical effects of stress.
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The Benefits of Meditation:
The benefits of meditation are manifold because it can reverse your stress response, thereby shielding you from the effects of chronic stress. When practicing meditation, your heart rate and breathing slow down, your blood pressure normalizes, you use oxygen more efficiently, and you sweat less. Your adrenal glands produce less cortisol, your mind ages at a slower rate, and your immune function improves. Your mind also clears and your creativity increases. People who meditate regularly find it easier to give up life-damaging habits like smoking, drinking and drugs. Meditation research is still new, but promising.
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How Meditation Works:
Meditation involves sitting in a relaxed position and clearing your mind. You may focus on a sound, like “ooommm,” or on your own breathing, or on nothing at all. It’s necessary to have at least 5 to 20 distraction-free minutes to spend. (Longer meditation sessions bring greater benefits, but sometimes starting slowly can help you maintain the practice long-term.) It’s helpful to have silence and privacy, but more practiced meditators can practice medtation anywhere. Many practitioners of meditation attach a spiritual component to it, but it can also be a secular exercise.
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Pros Of Meditation:
Meditation is wonderful in that it’s free, always available, and amazingly effective in short-term stress reduction and long-term health. Benefits can be felt in just one session. An experienced teacher can be helpful, but isn’t absolutely necessary; you can learn many effective meditation techniques from a book or from the meditation resources on this site.
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The Cons of Meditation:
It does take some practice, however, and some people find it difficult to “get it” in the beginning. It also requires a little patience, and may be difficult for people with little free time (like some stay-at-home mothers who get little privacy from small children). However, the time and effort it takes to learn and practice is well worth it in terms of the benefits it provides.
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How Does It Compare To Other Stress Reduction Methods?:
Unlike most medications, meditation has no potential side effects. People with physical limitations may find it easier to practice than strenuous physical exercise for stress relief, plus, no special equipment is required. Unlike enlisting the help of a professional, meditation is free. However, it does take discipline and commitment, so some people may find it more difficult to maintain as a habit than methods that enlist the help of someone or something outside themselves for added motivation. Also, some people may find it more difficult to free their minds of the thoughts of the day, and thus find it more difficult than methods like journaling that involve focusing on these events, or methods that in themselves are distracting, like physical exercise or the use of humor.
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www.healingpowerhour.com

How To Stop Punishing Yourself For The Past

How often do we overlook the above aphorism as we repeatedly revisit past mistakes, injuries, and confrontations?  There are times I lie sleepless and recall arguments I had with college sweethearts, high school teachers, and even the grade school bully.  What do I get for my trouble?  Sometimes I experience that all-too-familiar wave of panic, other times an uneasy stomach or a rapidly beating heart; that feeling is almost always accompanied by guilt, resentment, or both.  The experience never benefits me and I’ve reached the point in my life where I need to stop it.

The Problem of Repunishment

We’ve been conditioned from birth to retain our flaws and mistakes in two ways: by example and through confrontation.  The first form of conditioning is by example; we see and hear our parents do it every day.  Your dad forgets to take the trash out after dinner; your mom gets angry and calls him on it.  But instead of saying: “Dear, your forgot the trash”, she says: “You forgot the trash again!  You NEVER remember to take it out!” Now your dad doesn’t deal with the current situation, rather he relives every time he forgot.  He feels guilt and frustration well up, he becomes defensive, and the argument begins.  The second form of conditioning is more direct; someone will be displeased and say: “How many times do I have to tell you…” Then we relive each of our past mistakes and feel the guilt, the pain, and the frustration.

By the time we’re in high school (if not long before), we’ve become so conditioned that we put ourselves through the ringer.  We don’t need anyone else to do it to us; we start repunishing ourselves.  You run late for work after school, again.  Instead of focusing on today’s tardiness, you relive each time you have been late.  The panic and guilt start to build, and build, and build as you revisit each transgression.  When you finally get to work you have rehashed every time you have been late to work, and you re-experience all of the negative energy from each time.

The worst part of the situation, however, is that we don’t let anything go.  We retain all of this emotional poison and add the new stuff.  Then, the NEXT time something happens, we get to revisit it all AGAIN.  And the cycle continues, because we have great memories and consciences.  We make a mistake, we judge ourselves, we find our selves guilty, and we punish ourselves.  No wonder we go through our lives feeling defensive, guilty, and uncertain.

Taking Control Of Our Lives

However, we can take control of our lives and stop this painful cycle.  The process isn’t difficult, but it will be unsettling at first and require some adjustment.  We experience this discomfort as we rebel against what we’ve learned and become accustomed to our entire lives.  The more ingrained our solution becomes, however, the more comfort it provides as we adapt to the new standard.  I’ve outlined below the process I have been using to stop this self punishment.

1. Acknowledge and own the mistake. This not only calms us but gives us some power over the situation.  If something “isn’t our fault”, then how can we take action to correct the situation?  We can’t.  By accepting responsibility for a situation, we make ourselves “response able” (thanks to Steven Covey for this phrase).

2. Identify the mistake. Analyze the situation and see just exactly what caused the undesired outcome.  It could have been a simple typo, it could have been procrastination, it could have been a misunderstanding, it could have been an omission, etc.  Whatever the source of the problem, we need to identify it as clearly and completely as possible.

3. Correct the problem. Implement a new system to avoid omissions, determine where our scheduling technique broke down, etc.  Make sure that, to the best of our ability, that we have implemented a solution that should prevent the same (or a very similar) mistake from recurring.  Be proud of this accomplishment – it enables us to let go of our disappointment, guilt, frustration, fear, anger, etc.

4. Move on. Obviously this is harder than it sounds.  However, our preparation above has led us to a position where we can honestly tell ourselves that we know what happened, we don’t like what happened, and we have fixed the problem that led to it occurring.  By taking both responsibility and action, we create a powerful combination that allows us, with a bit of discipline, to live in the present and not rehash the past.

Final Thoughts

If we find ourselves trying to rehash a past mistake, it is important to STOP.  Observe what we are doing, identify the problem triggering this response, and remind ourselves of the solution we implemented to stop that problem from repeating.  Then focus on our solution and a couple of instances where our solution has led to positive outcomes.  As we train ourselves to make this part of our process, we’ll be pleasantly surprised to find this easier and easier to accomplish.

About the author: this post was written by Forrest McDonald.

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For more tips on relieving emotional pain from the past please visit our Emotional Wellness Page or click on this link http://www.celestialhealing.net/emotional_stress_therapy.htm

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