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Relaxation and Meditation Techniques: A Complete Stress-proofing System

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Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2019 год
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      Relaxation and Meditation Techniques: A Complete Stress-proofing System
Leon Chaitow

Leon Chaitow examines the main causes of stress and its effects on health, and provides check-lists for assessing your own levels of stress.Meditation, visualisation and and breathing techniques, as well as sound advice on nutrition and exercise, are included in this natural relaxation-system which will enable you to cope more easily with stress and its related symptoms such as headaches, high blood pressure, depression, irritability and asthma.

Copyright (#ulink_1d16c9a6-6eff-5aaa-938c-7fd4a43c25ac)

Thorsons

An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

1 London Bridge Street

London SE1 9GF

www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk)

First published by Thorsons 1983

© Leon Chaitow 1983

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, nontransferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse-engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books.

HarperCollinsPublishers has made every reasonable effort to ensure that any picture content and written content in this ebook has been included or removed in accordance with the contractual and technological constraints in operation at the time of publication.

Source ISBN: 9780722508654

Ebook Edition © JULY 2016 ISBN: 9780008214975

Version: 2016-08-04

RELAXATION AND MEDITATION TECHNIQUES

A practical guide to overcoming stress and common ailments through relaxation therapies, including visualization, breathing and healing techniques.

Dedication (#ulink_e67a65f9-8bb9-5610-a63a-b96be4c7c1a6)

To my darling wife, Alkmini, whose help and support made

the writing of this book possible.

Contents

Cover (#uf6beb95b-92db-5424-bd47-2d36ff5c3a32)

Title Page (#u3aa3ef8e-4fd4-585a-8ae1-9ef6446553f9)

Copyright (#ulink_34132ac7-3c34-539e-adf9-85291df9613b)

Dedication (#ulink_35ae66a2-f1e2-5e0b-b85b-7ab432fb115d)

Introduction (#ulink_24b22607-681a-51ad-97a2-03fd1e3e024f)

Chapter

1. The Causes and Nature of Stress (#ulink_b8ca8d24-32d6-56a7-844e-fa9961e83ab3)

2. The Physical Effects of Stress (#ulink_7fff288d-c0e0-533d-a122-e66c294e2050)

3. Assessing Your Stress (#litres_trial_promo)

4. Starting to Stress-proof Yourself (#litres_trial_promo)

5. Relaxation Exercises (#litres_trial_promo)

6. Additional Relaxation Methods (#litres_trial_promo)

7. Meditation (#litres_trial_promo)

8. Using the Power of the Mind for Healing (#litres_trial_promo)

Keep Reading (#litres_trial_promo)

Acknowledgements (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Author (#litres_trial_promo)

Other Books By (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo)

Introduction (#ulink_2ac0ab7b-37b8-5068-a95c-e9a1b6930e91)

The aim of this book is to present a choice of methods, the application of which will better enable you to cope with stress. Stress itself therefore needs to be looked at, for it comes in a variety of shades and shapes. Once we understand the diverse nature of stress, and also its possible ramifications in terms of ill health and disturbed function, the importance of these methods will become apparent

Watches used to be described as ‘waterproof’. This has now been altered to ‘water-resistant’ where applicable. In stating the degree of resistance, the manufacturers have, of course, to pay due attention to both the nature of the hazard and the properties and qualities of the instrument. Such aspects would include consideration of the variations in water (salt, fresh, acid, alkaline, etc.) and also the materials and design of the watch. Finally, the watch is guaranteed resistant to water up to a certain depth (30 metres, 50 metres etc.). There are other hazards facing wrist watches, such as shock, intense heat, cold, magnetism etc. In the same way, the human condition faces a range of stress factors and it is not possible to ‘stress-proof’ anyone, absolutely. However, stress-resistance can be increased and, as in the case of the watch, attention needs to be paid to both the stress factors and all their variables as well as the instrument at risk, the human machine. The aim is therefore not to eliminate stress, but to modify it where possible and to encourage appropriate responses to it.

Health and ill health are the result of the complex interrelationship between the unique individual and the challenges and stresses of his particular internal and external environment. Stress can be a self-produced phenomenon (e.g. anger, fear) or it can be externally generated (e.g. job insecurity, an unstable marriage etc.). More usually, the stress-picture is an amalgam of internally and externally originating factors. Attitudes, beliefs, behaviour patterns, personality traits and deeply entrenched habits of thought may all be partly responsible, and several ways of examining and modifying such factors will be discussed. The importance of correct nutrition, sufficient exercise and rest, as well as such factors as adequate access to full spectrum light (daylight) will be touched on in as much as they relate to stress reduction and to our aim of stress-proofing the body. These areas are important, but the main point of this book is to show that there are defences which can be erected against stress whatever form it takes and that, by the regular application of these methods, great benefit can be derived in terms of health and well-being. We must certainly aim at reducing stress, but must also increase our resistance to it and learn to counteract its effects.

In brief, therefore, we shall examine some of the major causes of stress. This will be followed by a look at the physiological and pathological effects which prolonged stress can produce. Reference will be made to the relationship that exists between all changes in lifestyle (marriage, divorce, job changes etc.) and subsequent ill health. Knowing what constitutes stress can certainly alert us as to desirable evasive action and some consideration will be given to the roles in stress reduction of diet, exercise, rest, light etc., as well as positive suggestions relating to the changing of attitudes and coming to an understanding of those aspects of stress which are within our conscious control.

Finally, a number of different relaxation methods, as well as a selection of meditation techniques will be presented, together with a resumé of current thinking on the use of mind/body therapies, such as visualization, which stress the power of the mind in promoting good health. The power of the mind to create a disturbed physiology and actual disease, is matched by its equal ability to create health and harmony. A variety of techniques exist in this field, some more suited to a particular person than others. The main aim of this book is to enable the reader to find those methods that best suit him or her and to explain how important their regular use is in regaining and maintaining health. Whether active or passive relaxation methods are employed, or whether meditation alone is found to produce the desired results, is immaterial. What matters is that we learn to harness the mind’s latent force towards positive rather than negative goals, and that the mind/body complex is insulated, as far as possible, from those internally and externally generated stresses which, left unchecked, will first weaken, then cripple and finally destroy the body.

Health and disease and all the grey area between, are states which reflect the ability, or otherwise, of the body to maintain equilibrium (known as homeostasis) in the face of a host of environmental threats and hazards. At any given time, the individual represents a culmination of all that has been inherited, and all that has been acquired and developed up to that moment. The degrees of susceptibility and of resistance that the body can demonstrate, will be absolutely unique to him. With so many variables, it should be obvious that no one method, system or prescription can apply to everyone, even if similar outward manifestations of ill health are evident. For this reason, less emphasis should be placed on signs, symptoms and outward manifestations of ill health; whilst these are important, especially to the individual, they do not indicate more than the particular manner in which his organism has responded to those factors which have threatened him. The same symptoms (e.g. headache) can result from a variety of causes. The same apparent cause (e.g. anxiety regarding work) can produce quite different symptoms, say insomnia in one person, palpitations in another and headaches in a third.

Treatment of the symptoms can never bring more than short-term benefit. To remove the symptom and ignore the cause is patently wrong, for that or another symptom will surely manifest itself sooner or later. Only by improving the general level of function of the total organism and by removing, where possible, the causes of the condition, can a successful outcome be anticipated. Since causes of anxiety are often outside the control of the individual (‘Will there be a third World War?’; ‘Will the factory close down?’; ‘How will I pay my bills?’, etc.), it is necessary to provide ways of altering the ways in which such problems are viewed. In addition, techniques are necessary whereby, even if such stress remains to some extent constant, the individual can nullify and counteract its ill effects by positive action. This is where relaxation, meditation and other exercises of the mind come in.

The individuality of each person must be recognized; this leads to a realization that the particular factors which enable successful adaptation to the environment will vary. Stress-proofing involves gaining understanding and insight into the nature of the problems of stress, as well as a determination to make changes, alterations, modifications and efforts in accordance with this knowledge. Through this apparent maze, I would urge the reader to hold fast to one concrete thought: given the chance, the body is a self-healing, self-repairing and self-regenerating organism. The aim is to give it that chance, and at the same time to erect barriers which will provide protection against future hazards.

1. (#ulink_fd199f31-8f9e-58a2-812d-5ae21ac941a6)

The Causes and Nature of Stress (#ulink_fd199f31-8f9e-58a2-812d-5ae21ac941a6)

Stress-induced illnesses have now replaced infectious diseases as the most prevalent health afflictions affecting the industrialized nations. Many of these illnesses, including arthritis, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, cancer, depression etc., seem to be associated both with stress (and other factors), and particular types of personality. Aspects of the equation require attention of course, and stress reduction and stress-proofing, as well as personality or behavioural modification, all present ways in which the individual can evade the consequences of stress.

Stress can be seen to be most harmful when there is an inappropriate response to it. When, for example, a man strolling in a field is confronted by a charging bull, his sprint to the nearest gate can be seen to be entirely appropriate as a response to the stress factor. He judged and matched the required response and no ill effects would result from the incident. On the other hand, the individual’s judgement of what is an appropriate response may be faulty, for example when anger is generated and maintained in response to a minor incident. Attitudes, beliefs and habitual patterns of behaviour can be seen to be the arbiters of whether the individual responds appropriately to a particular stress factor and, therefore, of whether there is consequent harm in terms of physiological stress.

There are a number of defensive tricks which the mind can play in response to any challenge or stress. These include repression of thoughts and memories which might prove stressful, as well as ‘rationalization’, in which the individual makes up an account of his behaviour in response to stress, the true explanation of which would produce anxiety. Such common defences, if producing anxiety states or personality changes, require professional psychotherapy to provide insights into and a resolution of the problem.

It is self-evident then, that what is to one individual, a major stress factor, may to another be only a minor irritant. The difference lies in the individual’s attitude towards the stress factor. For one person, for example, the meeting of a deadline, the need to be at a particular place at a fixed time, is of vital importance, and the prospect of being late, of failing to meet the deadline, generates a great deal of tension and anxiety (i.e. stress). To another person, such deadlines are mere guidelines, and no particular worry is felt at their being missed.

Attitudes depend upon the individual’s concept of reality. The world as he sees it is his own reality, and when this comes into conflict with the external environment, stress results. To some extent, all change represents stress. Anything that calls upon the mind-body totality (the individual) to adjust or change from that which is normal, represents stress. The individual’s concept of what is normal, what is right, how things ought to be, is therefore the sounding board on which the external environmental factors operate. Beliefs and attitudes often determine the degree of stress, anxiety etc. experienced. For example, the death of someone close is undoubtedly a major stress factor, and yet to someone whose beliefs include a certainty of an after-life or of reincarnation, the death will be seen as part of a continuous process, not an end, and therefore the amount of stress will be minimized.

It has been possible to grade the potential of events or changes in an individual’s life. In the following chart, scores have been allotted to each event so that the degree of susceptibility to the effects of stress can be estimated. This can be valuable in alerting individuals to pay extra attention to dealing with those elements of health maintenance which are within their control. Some such methods will be dealt with in Chapter 5.

Stress and Changes in Lifestyle

This scale is based on the work of T. H. Holmes and R. H. Rahe (Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 1967, No. 11) and is meant as a guide to the assessment of measurable stress factors, resulting from having to adjust to change. There are many other sources of stress, but it is true to say that a high score on this chart (300 or more) over a short time-span (six months or so), is a strong indicator (affecting 80 per cent of people) of the likelihood of major illness becoming apparent. If the score is relatively high, anything from 150 to 299 points, about 50 per cent of people become ill soon afterwards, and if under 150 points are scored, fewer than 30 per cent become ill. The higher the score, the greater the need for stress-proofing.

It is known that these scores and the position on the scale of some of the incidents, vary in different cultures. Different belief systems place the stress of marriage higher in Europe, for example, than in Japan. It is also clear from the list that stress factors are not necessarily unpleasant episodes. A holiday for example is seen as a cause of stress. Change itself, pleasant or unpleasant, is therefore one potential for stress. But it can be argued that since even in high-scoring individuals, 20 per cent do not become ill soon afterwards, it is the response of the individual, his attitudes, beliefs and underlying health status, that is the real determining factor in the effects of stress. This list can be used as a guide, but it should be coupled with thoughts as to what are the most appropriate, least stressful, responses; these responses should then be cultivated.
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