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Mental wellness exercises for you to try at home
Practice Loving Kindness
Maintain a positive outlook
Benefits of Mental Fitness Mental acuity/environmental awareness Less stress Improved immunity response Improved communications Better coping/decision-making skills Improved physical fitness Helps build strong family dynamic Increased ability to withstand stress Overall increased quality of life
Mental Fitness = healing? Several research studies have shown that increased mental fitness and spiritual awareness can actually improve the body’s ability to heal and fend off illness, disease, and common ailments.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine A study of 298 college students suggests that transcendental meditation made a significant improvement in total psychological distress, anxiety, depression, anger/hostility, and coping ability. Additionally, blood pressure decreased in the study group, further reducing their risk for future hypertension. Nidich, Rainforth, and Haaga. 2009. American Journal of Hypertension.
Journal of Counseling and Development A 1981 study of 28 Vietnam veterans revealed that transcendental meditation promoted significant improvement in delayed stress syndrome, anxiety, depression, insomnia, alcohol use, family problems, and employment status. Furthermore, the characteristic foundation of Transcendental Meditation explores a deeper understanding and has been shown to restore normal brain function after damage caused by trauma and unresolved after-effects (Hankey, 2006).
American Academy of Sleep Medicine 11 study participants found that transcendental meditation techniques during the daytime induced better, more restful sleep at night (Gourineni, 2009). Also, Kria Yoga was taught as a measure of decreasing elevated arousal levels, thus reducing the state of hyperarousal chronic insomniacs face.
Think yourself well… The possibilities are endless in the world of mind-body medicine. Two tried and trusted methods of restoring and maintaining mental fitness are practicing loving kindness, and maintain a positive outlook.
Practice Loving Kindness Also referred to as “metta,” the practice of loving kindness allows the contemplator to cultivate love, sympathy, benevolence, friendship, and good will within oneself and towards others.
Loving Kindness Meditation Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down, quiet of daily noises and distractions. Take a few deep breaths and begin to focus your thoughts and attention in six areas:
A good friend
A "neutral" person
A difficult person
All four together
The entire universe, or all sentient beings
Loving Kindness Meditation
Keep On the Sunny Side! Maintaining a positive outlook on life creates and embodies whole wellness. Enjoy and savor the little moments, the daily joys. Appreciate the wonderful things in your life: people, health, strength, intelligence, etc. Keep a gratitude journal and make note of your blessings every day. Find the lesson in every obstacle, the silver lining in every dark cloud.
References Dacher, Elliott S> MD. 2006. Integral Health: The Path to Human Flourishing. Laguna Beach, California: Basic Health Publications, Inc. Audio CD, track 2. Gourineni, Ramadevi. 2009. American Academy of Sleep Medicine: Meditation May Be An Effective Treatment For Insomnia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 25, 2010, from <http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2009/06/090609072719.htm> Hankey, Alex. 2006. Journal of Counseling and Development: CAM and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Transcendental Meditation in the treatment of post-Vietnam adjustment. Retrieved Monday, May 24, 2010 from <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1810367/> Nidich SI, Rainforth MV, HaagaDAF, et al. 2009. American Journal of Hypertension: A randomized controlled trial on effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on blood pressure, psychological distress, and coping in young adults. Retrieved Sunday, May 23, 2010 from http://www.nature.com/ajh/journal/v22/n12/pubmed/ajh2009184a.html