To be diagnosed with an autoimmune disease such as myasthenia gravis is a devastating experience, given that there is no known cure for autoimmune diseases, only control of the disease symptoms. Be that as it may, a diagnosis is not the end of the world. You must learn how to live as if everything is a miracle. To do just that, relaxation of the body and mind is important.
The human immune system is a complicated built-in mechanism equipped with antibodies for self-protection and self-healing from any disease or disorder. When this innate system becomes compromised or dysfunctional, its immune defenses may mistakenly attack the body’s own healthy cells, resulting in autoimmune diseases. There are over one hundred autoimmune diseases affecting different body organs. The causes of autoimmunity are complex. All in all, stress is one of the triggers of many autoimmune diseases because it affects the immune system.
Stress is your body’s natural response to increased tension. Stress can increase your production of hormone epinephrine (and thus wearing out your hormonal glands). After the initial stressful stimuli, your body should be able to relax, slow down, and return to a state of equilibrium. However, this may not often be the case, and, as a result, you become distressed with many adverse health effects may occur, including blood sugar elevation, breathing rate acceleration, muscle tension, pulse rate and blood pressure increase, excessive sweating to cool down the body, and among others.
Stress is caused by the mental interpretation or anticipation of a stressful event or incident, which has occurred or is about to occur. Of course, to effectively control stress, the root cause of the stress must be addressed or its related problems must be resolved first. If the underlying stress problem is not resolved, coping with stress is even more difficult.
Coping with stress has to do with the mind—after all, stress is what is commonly known as the “fight-or-flight” response of the mind to an event or circumstance.
To effectively cope with stress, you must, first and foremost, be mindful of the existence or presence of your stress. Mindfulness is the capability to see how your body, mind, and soul are intricately interconnected with one another. Failure to see this intricate relationship means the inability to live in the present moment. Living in the now holds the key to natural health because that present-moment mindset provides balance and relaxation for holistic wellness of the body the mind. and the soul.
The truth of the matter is that many of us are not mindful, given the fact that we are living in an age of speed, which fosters a compulsive mind. Our minds do not and cannot stop because our minds are obsessed with past and future thoughts. Our past thoughts dictate our future actions: we wish to avoid past failures and repeat past successes, and thus creating our desires and expectations. Unfortunately, this is how we have created our stress.
Mindfulness enables us to stay in the now, that is, in the present moment. The past was gone, and the future is uncertain; only the present is real—a gift, and that is why it is called a “present.”
Practice mindfulness by focusing on your breaths—notice how you breathe in and breathe out, how your diaphragm rises and falls during your inhalation and exhalation. This simple practice can be performed anytime: while waiting for the bus or train; in the office. Mindfulness slows down a compulsive mind. You may have a compulsive mind if you talk on your cell phone while walking. A compulsive mind is a major source of stress.
Meditation is an extension of mindfulness. It is most effective for stress control. Meditation is a proven mind-body therapy for body-mind relaxation.
The healing power of meditation lies in its capability to focus the mind solely on the very present moment for an extended time, thereby removing memories of the past and worries of the future. Meditation helps you focus your mind on the present moment to the exclusion of past and future thoughts. The mind in its natural and perfect stillness relaxes completely and totally.
In contemporary living, your mind is often riddled with thoughts of what you just did, what you will do, or should have done. Nearly all your thoughts, including your desires and fears, are based on either the past or the future. Your desires are no more than recollections of the past pleasures and hopes of repeating them in the future. Fears are also memories of past pain, and your efforts to avoid the pain in the future. All these rambling thoughts in your subconscious mind indirectly affect your conscious mind, and hence your body and your eyes.
The mental focus of meditation is not quite the same as the mental concentration on solving a difficult math problem or while performing a complex mental task. Meditation is focusing on something seemingly insignificant (such as your breathing) or spontaneous (such as eating and even driving) such that your mind can be conditioned to focusing on only the present moment. In this way, your mind concentration excludes all past and future thoughts, thereby instrumental in giving your mind a meaningful break. It is in this sublime mental state that you are capable of understanding the true nature of things, and their relativity to the meaning of life and existence. Meditation awakens you to what is real or what is quasi real.
How to meditate
Here are some important points to remember during meditation for stress control:
- Sit comfortably in a relaxed position. A full lotus position is not required. However, it is important that you maintain a consistent position or posture with your thumb tip and forefinger tip of each hand touching very lightly, while the other fingers are either curled or extended out. A consistent posture and hand position will promote a meditative mind to practice your meditation techniques.
- Focus on an object as your focal point of concentration: your own breathing; looking at a candle flame; listening to a sound, such as the sound of running water from a fountain, or just about anything that can easily draw you back to your meditation.
- During your meditation, if your mind wanders away (which is quite common), gently direct your mind to re-focus on the object of your concentration. You learn how to focus through your act of noticing that your mind has wandered off, as well as through your repetitive efforts of returning to your meditation.
Remember, relaxation has to do with the mind; a relaxed mind relaxes the body as well. Relaxation is not about taking a vacation or watching a movie. Taking a vacation is simply changing your daily work routine; sometimes it can be as stressful as going to work. Guided Meditation: A guided journey into the recesses of your subconscious mind for deep relaxation and stress control! Over 100,000 copies sold!
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Copyright © by Stephen Lau