Literature abounds with the latest “you beaut” stress reduction techniques, all of which probably work for the person that wrote down the technique. But, of course, we are all different. Depending on our basic belief systems we SEE, FEEL and HEAR the methods presented to us in a different context to the person trying to convey them. The techniques presented here are based on established emotional and physiological research, the outcome of which is difficult to confuse. By following these techniques you should be able to establish a pattern in your life which leads to long term results in lowering stress levels.
Whatever affects the mind affects the body, and whatever affects the body affects the mind. We can no longer treat mind and body as separate parts of our system.
We know that high levels of anxiety dramatically change the way your body functions, often causing severe toxic imbalances in the body’s biochemistry. This in turn affects emotions and neurological pathways so that thinking processes become difficult. Such symptoms can show us what problems lie underneath and give us a clear understanding of how to treat them.
The original root cause event is probably not even making itself known in consciousness, as we find that, in most cases, the triggers for later physiological reactions are in the first five years of life when the basic beliefs were formulated. But as the years go by and greater internal conflicts develop as a result of apparently changing beliefs and values, the body begins to change the way it behaves to cope with the on going activation of the well known “flight or fight response”.
The “flight or fight response” is described as being the physiological result of a life threatening stressor. It developed when evolution gave us the ability to produce adrenalin in response to the sight of a lion or other predator coming around the corner and surprising us! The adrenalin then circulating in our veins made substantial changes to other areas of the body so that we could run away from the danger or use our resources to fight the offending beast. Blood would be diverted to muscles and away from the skin to prepare for sudden action and reduce the likelihood of bleeding if injury was incurred. Extra reserves of energy laden chemicals would be released from storage to allow the impending physical reactions to take place. And levels of strength would be increased. But these reactions were designed to be short term, later settling down when the danger was no longer present and hence reducing the physical stress on the body and allowing it to recover.
In the way our modern society demands achievement and places on us restrictions in our behaviours many of us have the “flight or fight response” permanently turned on. This results in permanently high levels of the physiological stressor chemicals in our system, to which the body tries to respond by changing the way we produce energy and other essential chemical reactions in order to try to return a degree of balance or homoeostasis. The result is the physiological symptoms we have described for highly stressed individuals including the concentration and memory problems, changes to the way we view and experience the world, dizziness and often illogical fears of impending madness or suicide.
Listen to your body. The symptoms are easily eradicated by providing the body with the nutrients it needs in this changed state until you can defuse the underlying stressor. By providing the correct nutrition, eliminating the foods which are actually increasing stress levels, you will find the ability think clearly again and reduce anxiety to an easily manageable level.
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Our social habits and lifestyle have created a dietary time-bomb. The following foods ALWAYS cause problems in our diet (and many of us are addicted to them).
- All sugars and foods containing sugars, including sucrose, fructose, glucose and alcohol. These foods include:
- Sweets, chocolates
- Soft drinks
- Sweet biscuits
- Ice Cream
- Sugar in beverages
- Alcoholic beverages
Processed grains such as white flour or white rice and products which contain these grains including:
- White bread
- White rice products
Caffeine containing products also cause severe problems and addictions:
- Cola based products
When arranging meals try to stay with the meat, vegetable, salad routine, wholemeal grains and nuts. A Diet for Stress Management is available HERE. These foods will provide continuous supplies of energy at a constant level and will tend to eliminate the anxieties and depressions causes by the poisons listed above. At the same time make sure that you include relatively high levels of a good Vitamin B mix in the form of a “Mega B”, “Stress B” or “Executive B” from your health shop. Take these vitamins 3 times per day WITH meals to reduce anxiety and improve clarity of thought and memory recall. As the immune system “listens in” on your emotional state it is a good idea to take plenty of Vitamin C which is essential for a wide range of biochemical reaction, especially important in boosting the immune system.
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At different levels of mental activity your brain produces electrical activity which is relevant to the type of activity being engaged in. Four types of activity have been defined and each defined type has certain characteristics which are generally consistent from one person to the next.
The highest level of activity is BETA which relates to our normal conscious waking state when we are thinking. This level defines a frequency range of 14 to 21 hertz, or cycles per second. The higher the level of mental activity or anxiety the higher the frequency which our brain produces. Long term involvement at these high frequencies ultimately produce dis-ease in the emotional state which will finally produce physical disease.
When we relax we enter ALPHA, with its characteristic brain-wave frequency of 7-14 cycles per second. A massive collection of research data is available on the effects of living in this relaxed state and of performing specific functions in this state. It has been found that we perform up to 15 times more efficiently in this state. We enter this state when we are day dreaming, listening to slow music, or engaging in light meditation. We are still able to think but the thinking is more concentrated and non stress inducing.
In fact it has been found that we can learn up to 15 times more quickly be learning in this state. Superlearning techniques use arm chairs and slow Baroque music to allow the student to drift into the alpha state whilst listening and viewing the information to be learned in defined units, about one every 4 seconds. Using these techniques entire languages have been learned, with 85% retention, in two or three days! Alpha also “irons” out the spikes, the sharp edges of the beta state and by doing so eliminates the dis-ease of that state. Alpha allows the body and mind to begin to heal. It has been used with great success in treating a large variety of physical complaints, including cancer.
Ainslie Meares, a well known Melbourne psychiatrist was a pioneer in used such relaxed states to treat disease and pain producing defects. Since then a large number of programs have developed around the idea of inducing and maintaining alpha states.
The next level of brain-wave activity is Theta, at 3.5-7 cycles per second. This is the level you pass through in that deep dreamy state between sleep and awareness as you go to and return from sleep. It’s that beautiful state when you are not quite conscious, but you’re not quite awake either. It is a very difficult state to maintain normally unless your have trained yourself over a long period. The Zen masters in deep meditation aim towards it as the insight about reality at this level can be quite startling. Such insight leads to “enlightenment” and seems to by- pass the thought/feeling reactions from the subconscious memory system. All levels of creation are enhanced at this level, especially health.
The lowest frequency, 0.5-3.5 cycles per second, is DELTA. This is sleep state where we are no longer conscious of the outside world and live in our inner world of dreams and subconscious memories. We have created a powerful cassette or CD program called “The Journey of the Crystal Cave”. It is designed to allow you to slow your brain-waves down to around 5-7 cycles per second. It does this by directing your concentration to relaxing the muscles of your body, allowing that relaxation to transfer to the mind. Remember, whatever affects the body affects the mind. A special sound is placed in the background of this tape that actually paces the low alpha wave frequency. The senses are aware of this signal and the brain-waves actually slow down to match it, allowing automatic relaxation. You can listen to is for free here – if you like it click on the link in the player and buy it to download.
It is not unusual for people using this program for a few days to find that just the first few words are sufficient to invoke a Theta state. The option is provided in the context of the tape to either wake at the end of it or to lapse into a deep sleep. You make the decision according to the environment you are in when using the tape.
WARNING: Do not use this program whilst driving a vehicle or using dangerous equipment and always allow yourself a few minutes to come back to full waking consciousness before driving!
Sometimes when you have some trauma or unresolved emotional conflict in your subconscious memory system the mind will take the opportunity of the alpha state to present that emotional content in order to have it resolved. If this happens when you start to use the MP3 please call us. We can relatively easily remove the problem. You will probably find that the problem involved the root cause of your stress levels. By removing it the problem goes away.
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Eastern religions have long held the belief that breath is important in maintain health and happiness. Apart from Yoga devotees this information has been largely ignored by the western world, preferring to become caught up in the world of ego and achievement. But now science once again is beginning to support such ancient wisdom, showing that the way we breath does indeed affect our emotional and physiological state.
Dr. Maurice Cottle, an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist in Chicago has found that certain breathing patterns affect disease states. Before we go on, spend a few minute becoming aware of your breathing. Do you notice if you pause for a while after you inhale, or perhaps after you exhale. Or do you stop half way through either cycle? Or does your breathing pattern appear even, one breath following the other in a smooth, uninterrupted cycle? Do you breath in the upper chest or in your belly, allowing it to hang out? If the latter was the case you are breathing well.
The ideal case is a continuous, uninterrupted flow of breath through the bottom of the lungs being controlled by the diaphragm. This method induces emotional harmony and allows the diaphragm to stimulate blood flow in all organs of the abdomen, inducing physical well-being. Dr. Cottle found that breathing in the upper chest, the macho thing to do in western society, created significant undesirable pressure on the muscles of the heart and lungs and actually caused dis-ease emotionally.
Anger often manifests itself when you take a pause just after the inhalation. A pause after exhaling and before inhalation is found in a high percentage of cases of heart attack as is the case of those who breath through the mouth instead of the nose! Correct breathing on the other hand lowers internal stress levels and enhances emotional states of harmony. Dr. Ballantine, in the Science of Breath, states that the lining to the nasal cavity also contains important neurological pathways between the nose and the autonomic and central nervous systems. The olfactory nerves receive input from the outside world and convey signals to the limbic system of the brain, the seat of our emotions.
REMEMBER: Breathe in a continuous cycle, without pause, and breath using the diaphragm, allowing your belly to move in and out rather than in the chest.
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Summary – Stress Reduction Methods
Using the three methods we have discussed:
you will be able to always maintain a state of relaxed efficiency. You will find that things which worried you in the past no longer affect you. You will be more in control, enjoy life to the fullest and perform in every way as you have never performed before. The greatest benefit is in maintenance of good health and good relationships.
When you can relax easily in any situation you will find that the emotional “stuff” that use to come to the surface when you least expected it will slow down and eventually stop. Your creativity will be enhanced. The changes that you need to make may take a little effort for a short while until they become automatic but the effort is ALWAYS worthwhile! Please feel free to contact us in Melbourne by email if you need assistance in any area of the program.