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A simple and practical tool

June 14
12:00 2008

image Written By : Sunila Karan. What is the solution? The thing that is common to all sufferers from stress, whether the over-stress of the fast track or the under-stress of boredom and frustration-is a feeling of not being in control. If you are someone who can handle significant amounts of stress and avoid its damaging effects, then you must be a person who maintains a strong sense of commitment to your work and other activities and who responds positively to challenges rather than feeling overwhelmed by them. But then you must also be someone who recognizes the insidious action of repetitive over-arousal before it affects your well-being. You also realize that there is no single solution to the problem of stress – after all, what is stressful to one person is not necessarily stressful for everyone – so the ultimate responsibility for our well-being rests first and foremost with ourselves.
In order to feel in control, we must develop a healthy, stress-proofed lifestyle. Today there is an increase in the awareness of the importance of balanced nutrition, the need for exercise, the dangers of smoking, alcohol, drugs, and the hazards of our environment pollution.
Stress can arise in any areas of life when we fail to respect the interdependence of human beings and all other living organisms or if we upset the rhythmic balance of rest ad movement, and complementary cycles of physical and mental activity, of work and leisure activities.
The common remedies that I will focus on, is to encourage awareness of mind-body balance, and to foster more understanding of the relationship between ourselves and our surroundings. On a practical level, the goal is to suggest different strategies and skills for surviving stress in particular areas of life, and to inspire new attitudes to familiar situations.
Most of the lifestyle changes that I will outline are simple to implement, and available locally as well. There probably is one aspect of your lifestyle that requires stress-proofing. Effective stress-management may simply mean making adjustments to your diet, or adopting one of the relaxation techniques described, such as yoga, meditation, massage- all have a direct influence on relaxation, and also help you to develop a more positive, confident attitude to life’s challenges. Give yourself a break!

Relaxation through
Meditation

If you had to name the calmest people in the world, monks, Buddhists and yogis would be pretty high on the list; these people just glow with peace and calm. They seem unshakeable, unflustered, and this state seems impossible for we mere mortals to achieve.
The benefits of meditation are many. It aids deep and restful sleep; it keeps you calm and relaxed; it enables you to cope with difficult situations; makes you far more creative and inventive; it can increase your level of intelligent….So get your met out. With benefits like that you would be silly not to give it at least a try.
Meditation works by emptying the conscious mind. You direct your thoughts away from your problems, far from your work, family, environment, and relationships.
Meditation releases tension, relaxes our systems and slows down the frantic brain activity which seems part of modern living. Meditation makes you focus fully on each and every moment. Everything that has gone before is irrelevant; everything that is about to happen is ignored. You stay in the moment, in a completely relaxed and unselfconscious state. Chilled out.
There are several types of meditation but the main two are Buddhist meditation and Transcendental meditation. Buddhist meditation is similar to positive thinking; it involves you thinking good thoughts and chanting mantras for the benefit of yourself and others. Transcendental meditation involves sitting in a single position and repeating a saying, phrase, or even a sound until the whole body is at one, completely in the meditation process.
Whichever method you choose, meditation is perfect for the relaxation of mind because it gives you a total sense of being yourself. You can focus on your mind and body and concentrate on clearing your own thoughts until you are totally relaxed and at peace.
Learning to meditate takes a bit of effort. It is really hard to get into the habit of emptying your mind and looking inwards, even if it is for 30 minutes a day. The best thing to do is to go to a class. Joining a class is also beneficial because it immediately puts you in touch with a group of like-minded people. And on a more serious note, attending a class will help you learn how to use the meditation properly to get in touch with your own thoughts. It may be that some fairly deep-seated troubles are worries are revealed when you meditate and having a trained teacher at hand can give the support that you need.
The discipline offered in a class will also help you ensure the techniques you use are fully understood. It won’t be easy to let your minder wonder. A class will help you discover the most appropriate position for you to meditate in. This is very important; you can hardly concentrate on your meditation if the whole time your legs are going to sleep, or your back is aching. The class will take you through the steps gradually until you feel happy to mediate on your own.
Your meditation should take only a short time each day- 30 minutes is great, and just after 30 to 40 minutes you will emerge calm, relaxed, and ready to take on the rest of the day. So go ahead, get your met out and get your meditation ‘fix’!
The object of meditation is to produce harmony between mind and body. So adopting the right position is important – you must feel relaxed without falling asleep, and the position you use must not make you twitch or fidget or cause or numbness.
Lying on the floor relaxes the back, limbs, and internal organs, and supports the body. Sitting on the floor, legs outstretched is also a good position. The full or half Lotus position, or simply sitting cross-legged, may appeal to anyone who is fit and active.
Breathing forms a pivot between conscious, voluntary states of being and transcendent, involuntary states of relaxation. Concentrating on your breathing is an ideal mental focusing device which helps block out other thoughts. When you are relaxed, close your eyes, and begin to concentrate on the rhythm and feel of your breathing. Imagine your tummy gently rising and falling with each in and out breathe. For a while think “in” as you breathe through your nose, and as you breathe out through your nose or mouth, think “out”. Then start to count each breath. Concentrate on your each breath, exclude all other thoughts from your mind.
Regular meditation has helped people overcome addiction and reduced hypertension, insomnia, migraine, depression, anxiety, and other psychosomatic illnesses. It can also improve creativity, concentration, mental alertness, and memory, as well as stimulating physical energy.
Meditation relies on the close links between mind and body. When you meditate successfully, the alpha brainwaves that are produced show that you have reached the most balanced, relaxed, and harmonious state your body is able to attain. This freedom from physical tension and mental strain allows the body to switch to the “relaxation response”, the complete opposite of the physical tension that occurs as a result of stress.
For the purpose of controlling and surviving stress, and utilizing it creatively, this article concentrates on the therapeutic relaxing benefits of meditation. But whatever your attitude or goal in meditation, it will both improve your well-being and offer the added possibility of expanded creativity and enhanced sensory awareness.

By Sunila karan
Counsellor/Personal Development Trainer
Ph: 6727861/9996807
sunilakaran@connect.com.fj
For stress management/counseling & communication training
Contact 6727861/9996807.

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