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Meditation

Meditation

Become Your Own Relaxation Expert

Become Your Own Relaxation Expert

Become Your Own Relaxation Expert

Meditation has been practiced around the world for thousands of years. It is a techiniqe used to quiet the mind and body, and release stress. It can also bring focus and clarity, and often, after meditating, problems that you have been struggling with, miraculously become solved. Meditation has also been known to inspire people to write, and to spur lucrative business ideas, as your subconscious comes to light.

One simple form of meditation, requires you to sit in a quiet room, either on a pillow, or cross-legged on the floor, or in a comfortable chair, making sure your spine is straight. It is advised that you use the same place every day. It is also suggested that you personalize your spot, by beautifying it with candles, flowers, and pictures of the people that you love.

The idea is to sit quietly, with your eyes closed, and focus on a point inside of your forehead. Try not to think of anything in particular, but don’t try ‘not’ to think either, allowing your mind to become calm, and peaceful. If you find that your mind is ‘chattering’, don’t try to control it, just let it finish what it is that it is working on, it will eventually quiet down. It is also recommended for beginners to begin with ten to twenty minute sessions, each day. After awhile of doing this, you will start to feel deep relaxation and joy during these sessions.

The first step to this self-hypnosis is to sit in a quiet, comfortable spot, making sure you are facing a wall about eight feet away from you. Pick a spot or object on that wall, and make that spot or object your focal point. Looking at your focal point, begin counting backwards from 100, one number for each breath you exhale. As you do this, imagine yourself floating, and feeling very relaxed. You will begin to feel your eyelids getting heavy, and may begin to blink. Let your eyes slowly close, and as you continue to count backwards, imagine yourself as limp as a ragdoll, totally relaxed, and floating in a safe and comfprtable place. Stop counting, and just float in your space. If any disturbing thoughts should come while in your space, just let them flow out again, and allow yourself to continue to feel safe and relaxed. This technique can help you to cope with stress, and discharge the tension that accumulates during stressful situations.

When you are ready to come out of this self-hypnosis, you can either let yourself drift off to sleep, or you can count from one to three and exit. First, count one, and get yourself ready to exit. At two, take a deep breath, and hold for a few seconds. At three, exhale and open your eyes slowly. As you open your eyes, continue to hold on to that relaxed and comfortable feeling.

You may then want to increase the length of your sessions to thirty minutes, or maybe even an hour. In our highly active lifestyles of today, it is imperative that we include a brief time for meditation in our daily schedule. For more self-help techniques and tips, please visit my website.

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Meditation

Balancing Hope And Reality To Plan A Dignified Death

Balancing Hope And Reality To Plan A Dignified Death

Balancing Hope And Reality To Plan A Dignified Death

Dealing with the end of life and the decisions that accompany it bring critical challenges for everyone involved-patients, families, friends and physicians. In fact, “managing” the progression toward death, particularly when a dire diagnosis has been made, can be a highly complex process. Each person involved is often challenged in a different way.

Communication is the first objective, and it should start with the physicians. In their role, physicians are often tasked to bridge the chasm between lifesaving and life-enhancing care; thus, they often struggle to balance hopefulness with truthfulness. Determining “how much information,” “within what space of time” and “with what degree of directness for this particular patient” requires a skillful commitment that matures with age and experience.

A physician’s guidance must be highly personalized and must consider prognosis, the risks and benefits of various interventions, the patient’s symptom burden, the timeline ahead, the age and stage of life of the patient, and the quality of the patient’s support system.

At the same time, it’s common for the patient and his or her loved ones to narrowly focus on life preservation, especially when a diagnosis is first made. They must also deal with shock, which can give way to a complex analysis that often intersects with guilt, regret and anger. Fear must be managed and channeled. This stage of confusion can last some time, but a sharp decline, results of diagnostic studies, or an internal awareness usually signals a transition and leads patients and loved ones to finally recognize and understand that death is approaching.

Once acceptance arrives, end-of-life decision-making naturally follows. Ongoing denial that death is approaching only compresses the timeline for these decisions, adds anxiety, and undermines the sense of control over one’s own destiny.

With acceptance, the ultimate objectives become quality of life and comfort for the remainder of days, weeks or months. Physicians, hospice, family and other caregivers can focus on assessing the patient’s physical symptoms, psychological and spiritual needs, and defining end-of-life goals. How important might it be for a patient to attend a granddaughter’s wedding or see one last Christmas, and are these realistic goals to pursue?

In order to plan a death with dignity, we need to acknowledge death as a part of life-an experience to be embraced rather than ignored when the time comes. Will you be ready?

Mike Magee, M.D., is a Senior Fellow in the Humanities to the World Medical Association, director of the Pfizer Medical Humanities Initiative, and host of the weekly Web cast “Health Politics with Dr. Mike Magee.”

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