Posts Tagged ‘depression’

A Followers journey

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Posted by powerfulbeautifulwise:

“Until I found your blog, I’d discounted meditation because I thought of it like you described “a Zen center filled with intellectuals pursuing the abstract awakening or enlightenment goal.” I’m starting with baby steps – breathing in self-acceptance and breathing out regret when difficult memories overwhelm me. By starting small, I don’t feel the judgment that I might be doing it wrong.

In working with people recovering from abusive relationships, I’ve also wondered why some are willing to invest in the hard work while others continue to suffer. I’ve concluded that suffering does bring some payout. Until I bottomed out, I took some pride in my ability to suffer. I try to understand that someone trapped in suffering is getting some reward from it. Western society has been elevating the victim status, which may explain one of the rewards.

Thanks for your post. You’ve helped me sort out some thoughts.”

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A few of the Benefits of a Meditation/Mindfulness practice:

Improving Attention

One of the most obvious benefits from meditation is that it improves our attention. One study has shown that just 5 days of 20 minute training can show significant improvements in our ability to focus and concentrate. The fact that mindfulness meditation can improve our attention is one of the most well-documented benefits. And the practice of staying focused on our breath can build concentration that often spills over into many other activities.

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Improving Cognition

Another interesting study showed that just 4 days of 20 minute training showed significant increases in cognitive functioning, especially memory and learning. Other related research indicates that meditation can help slow down Alzheimer’s and dementia. Some of this may in part be due to our increased attention, but it seems meditation also acts on other parts of the brain more directly related to learning and memory, such as increasing gray matter in the hippocampus.

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Managing Stress and Anxiety

Meditation has also been shown to reduce gray matter in the amygdala, which is a part of the brain commonly associated with stress, anxiety, and emotional processing. This demonstrates why meditation does so well in relieving stress and increasing relaxation. Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of The Stress Reduction Clinic and Center for Mindfulness in Medicine at the University of Massachusetts, is one of the leading teachers and researchers in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Here you can find a wonderful lecture he gave to Google summarizing a lot of the research demonstrating how effective mindfulness meditation is for reducing stress and improving medical outcomes.

Improving Heart Rate and Blood Pressure

In light of meditation’s ability to reduce stress, it has also been reported to lower your blood pressure and heart rate. This particular study followed 200 participants for 5 years who were at a “high risk” for heart attacks and strokes. They found that those who practiced meditation regularly reduced their risk for heart attacks and strokes by almost 50%.

Reducing Pain

Mindful breathing has also been discovered to reduce pain, according to a recent study in the Journal of Neuroscience. After just four 20 minute mindfulness sessions, participants did better at reducing unpleasant sensations (such as 120 degrees of heat, a temperature that most people find painful) than those who did not receive mindfulness training. Researchers theorize that mindfulness trainees have an easier time keeping their focus directed toward their breathing and thereby ignoring the discomfort caused by the heat. It’s likely that mindfulness can show similar effects on other types of pain as well.

Overcoming Depression

Surprisingly, mindfulness meditation is said to be on par with antidepressants in preventing depression relapse. According to researchers, mindfulness prevents excessive rumination (a common cause of depression) by teaching individuals how to reflect on thoughts and emotional states in a non-judgmental and non-attaching way. Instead of clinging to “negative” thoughts and feelings – and feeding into them – mindfulness teaches us to sit back and watch these emotions and thoughts without needing to overreact or feel guilty about how we feel. This makes it a lot easier to fully experience these passing thoughts and emotions, and then let them go.

Overcoming Fears of Death

Another recent study published earlier this year found that mindfulness can also ease fears and anxieties related to death. Mindful people tend to be more accepting of their limited time while alive. They also tend to be less dependent on fantasy-filled beliefs and desires for self-preservation or immortality. They understand that death is not the opposite of life, but a necessary part of it. Thus, they accept the reality of their demise, instead of being defensive.

Changing Bad Habits

There is a particular technique in mindfulness training that helps individuals overcome addictions and other bad habits. It’s called urge surfing, and it’s a popular tool in some psychotherapies to help individuals quit smoking or stop obsessive eating. The main goal of the meditation is to “ride out” your desire to do certain negative habits, but not act on them. Mindfulness teaches you that many of these desires are impermanent, and if we just sit back and watch them, it is very likely that they will subside and go away (without us necessarily needing to smoke another cigarette, or eat that slice of cake).

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Changing Brain Structure

In addition to many of the benefits mentioned above, it has also been shown that 8 weeks of mindfulness training can cause long-term changes to our brain structure. While this isn’t necessarily a “benefit” in-and-of-itself, it is evidence for just how powerful mindfulness training can be. For more on this you can also check out my article Mindfulness and Neuroplasticity.

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Freedom from Addiction

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“Are you constantly looking for the next fix, the next high?

Are you always looking for something else, something more?

Does life feel as though it’s missing something?

Does it feel like you can’t find the complete satisfaction you’re seeking, no matter how much you look for it?

…No matter how many drugs you take or drinks you drink?

…No matter how much stuff you buy?

…No matter how much you work?

…No matter how many experiences you have?

…No matter how much love or sex you get?

…No matter how much you gamble or eat?

If you answered yes to any of these, you may be suffering from addiction.

Addiction is the gaping hole in our lives that can never be filled.

Whether it’s a full-blown heroin addiction or an inability to stop scarfing down cookies, addiction has a way of controlling our lives.

It sets us on a course of constant, uncontrollable seeking toward the next moment.”

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On my bad days, I worked harder.

https://pixabay.com/users/mohamed_hassan-5229782/

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On my journey, there were low times, times when all seemed lost, helplessness tried to rule my being.

We meditate, train and practice for these moments.

Anyone can handle the good times, these are the critical moments in our life.

Our reaction to hitting bottom, determines if we stay there or have the ability to take action.

For me it took courage, my inner guide intuitively shared the need to take action at all costs.

Taking action was second nature, my father demanded I be twice as good as everyone else. So from an early age, overtraining, overachieving was by far, the strongest, easiest part of my life.

Accepting all of me right now, having courage, not trying to overachieve and being vulnerable is where I struggled.

Assess your strengths, apply them on your journey.

When things get tough, increase your effort, fill that negative void with activity and courage.

What we perceive and how we act, determines who we are and how we live, not the external world.

We all have have strengths and weaknesses, flaws.

Our “Ego” is the one who craves perfection, being right, having control.

We have to give up control to heal, being vulnerable is our strength.

Another counterintuitive truth.

On a bad day, let go, dig deep, take action, exhaust yourself, then rest, smile.

It’s all we can do, give all out effort with a good attitude. 😎

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Want to influence the mind to change?

https://pixabay.com/users/creozavr-2567670/

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The human mind is complex, inundated by an average of 60,000 thoughts each day, life is confusing.

Add to that mix a created identity (Ego). That “Ego” is like a peacock always wanting to show off that plumage.

Being special, wanting approval impacts the mind.

Something so complex is influenced in a simple way.

Abstract ideas may soar inside our heads, emotionally pleasing, but dedicated action never materializes.

I have found the mind changes when simple, concrete, immediate goals are combined with daily, repetitive practice.

Habits are formed through focused repetive actions.

My meditation practice started with a simple following the breath.

Over and over, until thought cleared, I entered a clarity beyond my “Egos” grasp.

I learned how we focus the mind determines all of life.

How could a poor man ever be happy without the minds help?

How many swings do you think a big league hitter has taken to be so skilled.

A great guitarist has spent a lifetime, repeating chords, over and over.

Elite practice leaves the mind and enters our bodies.

A great concert pianist is not thinking while performing.

A big league hitter has 357 milliseconds to react to a pitched baseball. Cognition takes up to five seconds.

If you are thinking you lose.

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Updated: The impact of Childhood PTSD

 

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At 67 I have finally found a calling that interests me.

 

 

 

My childhood abuse stole my life for decades. So much time was spent avoiding, denying, trying to make sense of PTSD’s symptoms.

 

 

I felt unworthy, flawed, shamed. I hid by overworking, trying to accomplish things that would give me status, worth.

 

 

 

That external search was misguided and uneventful, the real search was an internal one.

 

 

 

PTSD distorted my sense of myself , hid my strengths in plain sight, covered them in a cloudy anxiety blanket.

 

 

 

I think childhood abuse hides our true nature from ourselves. I had no clue who I was.

 

 

 

 

When I healed my therapist said your fathers abuse hid your true identity, an extrovert. My life was lived as an introvert until I was in my 50’s. I was quiet, easily shamed or embarrassed in a public setting.

 

 

 

All my emotions were aimed towards the bias of PTSD, making me a stranger to myself.

 

 

 

How could a shamed little boy, beaten and criticized, think he could be normal.

 

 

Now at 67, I have the desire to be a healer, a therapist.

 

 

 

First time in my life I know what I want to be.

 

 

 

Better late than never and I can find gratitude in my journey, not regret.

 

 

 

Life is not easy for any of us, challenges are given to every one of us.

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Perfectionism: “The Tao of Fully Feeling; Harvesting Forgiveness out of Blame”

Pixabay: geralt

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Perfectionism arises automatically in children subjected to excessive criticism and punishment.

 

Hoping to eliminate their parents’ apparent reasons for being so displeased, they strive to achieve the impossible goal of becoming mistake-free.

 

Out of fear of their parents’ disapproval, they vilify themselves for even the most minor miscues.

 

Many, out of fear of being a nuisance, eventually conclude that many of their normal needs are flaws that must be eliminated.

 

Perfectionism can also manifest spontaneously in a child as a response to neglect.

 

Perfectionism is often the child’s desperate attempt to win parental love.

 

If only he could faultlessly excel and be perfectly self-sufficient, and if only he never needed new clothes and never spilt his milk, and if only he didn’t get sick and could stay out of mom’s way, then maybe his parents would act lovingly to him.

 

And if only her nose were a little smaller, and if only she were more like that perfect little girl on TV, and if only she could remember to keep that smile permanently plastered on her face, then, maybe then, her parents would love her.

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Emptiness: Ever been told your “Full of it”. Some have added a sh

Pixabay: SnapwireSnaps

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“Emptiness means to be full of everything but empty of a separate existence.”

Thich Nhat Hahn

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My two cents: He is speaking of non-duality, the “Ego” we create (I, me, mine) does not exist.

Marty is the name that identifies me, not who I am. Now, I try to just be present, observing without Marty’s biased judgments.

Incredible how this action changes my thoughts, my enjoyment of life.

When we let this “Ego” recede we become more full of everything.

When the “Ego” dominates our existence life narrows substantially.

Full of Everything means desire and needs are in perspective, gratitude and giving are valued like gold.

Possessions are not an important part of everything.

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