It is free, it is legal, and you don’t need a prescription. We are all equipped with natural mechanisms to maintain a relaxed and happy approach to life.
Modern, non-invasive technology has enabled scientists to study the living brain’s activities to determine how people achieve healing states in their bodies and minds. One of the most beneficial findings has been that our brains produce chemicals (GABBA) that suppress anxiety, thereby producing a calm, relaxed, but focused state of mind. People who are in this state make much more accurate decisions, in addition to just feeling better. Another significant result of this relaxed state of mind is the physical healing that it brings.
The means to increasing the flow of GABBA is simply taking at least 3 deep breaths, slowly. The deep breathing process triggers a response in the brain that produces GABBA, suppressing anxiety, increasing focused relaxation, and a healing response in the body and mind.
Dr. Herbert Benson’s pioneering research in natural healing began in the late 1960’s at Harvard Medical School. He and members of his research team such as Dr. Joan Borysenko found that the healing responses achieved through deep breathing were greatly enhanced through following the deep breathing with meditation. Even simple forms of meditation trigger the body to lower blood pressure, balance heart rate, decrease pain (even migraine headaches), and enhance autoimmune responses that help regulate diseases such as diabetes and arthritis.
People who meditate also increase activity in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This increased activity in the prefrontal cortex increases happiness.
A simple method of achieving increased relaxation, happiness, and health is to take at least 20 minutes out of your day, once or twice a day, to go to a quiet place, close your eyes, take 3 deep breaths slowly, think of the muscles of your body relaxing, and visualize a beautiful, peaceful place in nature while continuing to breath deeply and slowly. You will find that with regular practice of this you will begin to feel more relaxed, happier, more clear in your thinking, and have improved overall health. (Providing that you are also following a basic healthy life style through adequate sleep, balanced nutrition and moderate exercise.)
Also, remember to use deep breathing as a quick stress reliever the moment you begin to feel anxious. This can be effective no matter where you are and no matter what you are doing. Be sure to follow-up with some calming thoughts, also. Having a quick phrase, such as, “All is well,” that you can repeat when you start to feel anxious is an instant stress-reliever.
Use the tremendous power of your brain to regulate your emotions, and your overall health, no matter what the diagnosis, and no matter what the circumstances. You can achieve relaxation and happiness regardless of what is going on in your body or circumstances, at any given moment.
Christopher Knippers, Ph.D., 06/22/2016
*Recommended reading: The Relaxation Response, by Herbert Benson, M.D. Minding the Body, Mending the Mind, by Joan Borysenko, Ph.D.