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As I go to counseling and talk to my family and friends, the truth of things that have happened to me or that I have done will come out. Some will be graphic, others sad, some might just be angering for others. For all this I am sorry, but it needs to come out so that people can understand where my depression and anger come from. There for I do want to apologize a head of time and please don't be afraid to comment or leave your thoughts on my Blog. Thank You.

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

To Stressed to Meditate Tips

What can you do when you're too stressed to meditate?

Don't meditate. You'll be fighting your nervous system.
When you're highly stressed, one branch of your nervous system, the sympathetic nervous system, is trying desperately to keep you safe. That's the branch that's in charge of fight-flight-freeze responses. It's going to resist you telling it to back off.

Here's how to get that cranky branch to calm down a bit. You can do one, some, or all of these.

1. Relax your mouth. That's not just a different way of saying stop talking. If you lower your jaw so that your teeth aren't touching, and let your tongue soften in your mouth, you'll be sending messages from a different branch of your nervous system, the parasympathetic branch, which is responsible for relaxation, rest, and repose (and digestion, which is where the mouth comes in). There's a reason why, when we relax into a warm bath, we say, “Ahhhh.”

2. Let your jaw drop enough so that your lips are parted. When your jaw is down, you're far less likely to be doing the little subvocalizations – movements in your mouth and throat – that are often a part of stressful self-talk. (There was even a study with patients who had delusions that voices in their head were telling them to do things – if they kept their mouths open wide, the “inner voices” often stopped.)

3. Breathe in, and breathe out, for the same number of counts. Longer inhalations and exhalations are good, but avoid making them so deep that you feel like you're working at it – that'll just tell the fight-flight-freeze monitors that there's something to be worried about. Easy, slightly-deeper than usual breaths, to the count of, say, 5, will do fine. Breathe in for 5, and out for 5. Do this a few times, or more.

4. Conjure up an image of someone or something for which you feel grateful. It doesn't have to be in your present life – it could be your childhood dog, or the friend from high school who taught you to play tennis. Or central air conditioning. Feel the gratitude. Areas of the brain that are busy when we're feeling gratitude are “incompatible” with those that are involved in anxiety.

5. Forgive yourself.  For... whatever. For not meditating. For being human.

These are tips from Dr. Marsha Lucas....

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