Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Regularly brushing your mind

Remember how you are actually the CEO of a sprawling, complex organization? It pays to take a quick tour of the whole place each day and to review the reports your department heads write each day.  That tour and review of the entire Y.O.U., Inc. can be enhanced with mindfulness, which is best developed by meditation.  Here are some tools and words of advice to improve your C.E.O. reviews:
  1. Karen Maezen Miller's column from the 18th "The Knock at the Door"
  2. How to Meditate from Dr. Herbert Benson's (1972)The Relaxation Response
  3. Engaging in other relaxing, non-mentally engaging activities as listed by Benson in The Relaxation Revolution
    1. Repetitive aerobic exercise.
    2. Eastern meditative exercises. You may already be engaging in such practices as yoga, tai chi, Qigong, Transcendental Meditation, or mindfulness meditation...But with these techniques, remember that scientific studies have established that the anti-stress physiologic response—the relaxation response—does not depend primarily on any particular belief system. Rather, the capacity to experience the relaxation response is biologically innate, built into every human mind and body and accessible to all by the appropriate techniques.
    3. Repetitive prayer. In Western religions, repeating words, phrases, or longer passages
    4. Progressive muscle relaxation.
    5. Focus during the entire 12-to-15-minute session on relaxing different muscles and muscle groups throughout your body and also on your own steady breathing.
    6. Playing a musical instrument or singing. Some find that playing memorized sequences on an instrument can trigger the relaxation response. Others may prefer chanting or singing.
    7. Listening to music. Soothing music—either instrumental or voice-based with chanting or familiar, repetitive phrases—can be effective in achieving the desired physiologic responses.
    8. Engaging in a task that requires "mindless" repetitive movements. Such activities may involve gardening, tinkering on a machine such as an auto, woodworking, knitting, or doing needlepoint.
    9. "Natural" triggers. People have reported the relaxation response experience after lengthy, quiet exposure to water, such as floating in a calm pool; lying for a similar length of time in a full, relaxing bathtub; or simply standing under a shower. Others have the relaxation response experience while sitting alone in the woods and contemplating natural sights; lying on their back and looking up at the sky; or sitting by the ocean and watching and listening to the steady drumbeat of the waves.
    10. The Olivia CD. Used for 15 years by Mass. General Hospital Mind-Body Institute

Benson, Herbert; Proctor, William (2010). Relaxation Revolution (pp. 96-98). Scribner. Kindle Edition.

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