Calming the brain and mind

Nicola - Monday, March 3, 2014

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Become less stressed as this creates space to develop a landscape view over your life, and calmness to achieve clarity with your thoughts and goals.   By simply focusing on slow and long deep breaths you can stop the stress response (sympathetic nervous system), and engage the rest relax response (parasympathetic nervous system), which frees up the conscious and unconscious part of your brain.

Turning on the para-sympathetic nervous system also has multiple benefits for your health such as; increasing the immune system; improving cardio-vascular health; reducing the risk of metabolic disorders; improving sleep; and to your brain by improving thinking, memory and goal achievement because the brain works more efficiently and effectively when calm.

But the real joy in this story is that relaxing and being calm, like meditation, makes permanent changes to the brain through neuroplasticity. Having a calm mind changes the brain in magnificent ways.  Studies show that being calm and relaxed is associated with a number of positive brain benefits like increased brain volume, lower risk of inflammation and dementia, and increased brain reserve, more brain credits if you like.  Being calm becomes a positive cycle as the more often you get into a calm state the easier it becomes to get there, and the more often you will be calm automatically. Aim to get to  10 -14 breaths per minute. Change your mind to be calm – change your brain to stay calm.

1.      The easiest and simplest way to meditate is to simply focus on your breathing.

2.      Get comfortable wherever you are and breathe.

3.      Feel your diaphragm (the area just under your rib cage) rise, and fall.

4.      As you exhale, say relax and imagine all your concerns and worries falling away.

5.      Repeat, but this time count in 4, pause 2, exhale 4.

6.      Visualise your breath life force like a gentle wave, up on the inhalation, down on exhalation feel the rhythm calm and relaxing.

7.      ……….focus your attention on your breathing =meditate on your breath.

8.      When thoughts come in simply wash them away with your next exhalation and return your focus to your breath.