Deep relaxation: A sure shot

25Aug08

In many ways depression can be seen as an inability to control one’s own mind. A mind in depression goes around wandering and thinking of despair, loneliness and death as if it were powered by itself and out of any control (at least from us). So it’s my own mind that’s the enemy… but I’m not in control of it. If we were to examine this problem from the outside as mere observers then common sense would tell us something very simple: Learn to control it. After all this time I’ve come to think that it all comes down to that (easy to say, not easy to do) so at one point or another we better get started trying.

So how does one learn to control one’s own mind? It’s a very simple question but we will have a very hard time if we try to answer it from the knowledge we have gathered as a western civilization. Somehow and for no apparent reason the great minds of our culture have not dedicated much to this topic leaving it behind time after time. As many of you know we are not totally out of luck since eastern cultures have done much of the job already by developing several religions and disciplines (from Yoga to martial arts) all in which mind control (better said controlling one’s own mind) has a major role. Generally speaking the proper term would be ‘meditation’ and you can read more about it here. In short:

“Different meditative disciplines encompass a wide range of spiritual and/or psychophysical practices which may emphasize different goals — from achievement of a higher state of consciousness, to greater focus, creativity or self-awareness, or simply a more relaxed and peaceful frame of mind.”

I sometimes get mixed up when explaining to people what does deep-relaxation have to do with meditation and the relationship is that once you are truly meditating you are truly and deeply relaxed but not the other way around. So we could use this to our advantage by just focusing on taking ourselves to a state of deep relaxation without the need of any knowledge on meditation specifics or engaging in any religions. We will, however, borrow several of the techniques one would use to meditate… like focusing on things like one’s own breath, pulse, body, some mental imagery, special methods of breathing and combinations of them. Our goal is to achieve focus of our mind in something specific or maybe in nothing at all for extended periods of time.

I’m sure experiences are very diverse but for me normal deep-relaxation sessions are usually assisted by an audio track from a psychologist or a psychiatrist that normally last like 30 minutes. I’ve come to gather like 10 different mp3’s from many sources.

I’m not a big fan of Brian Weiss as I think his books are a bit too commercial and just say what everyone would like to read but that’s my opinion. Nevertherless I can say I had an excellent experience assisted by the CD that comes with his book “Mirrors of Time”. If you get the book then make sure it comes with the CD inside. Try searching for it in your language using this link.

I haven’t mentioned it yet but I keep a journal since my depression started and I’m going to share with you here some of the content that relates to this subject:

April 20, 2003

…”I remember now that during a critical day in March my mother took me to a psychologist girl right after I started seeing the first psychiatrist. She made me lay back and somehow induced me into a kind of trance. After a few of her kind words I completely gave in and found myself crying and then crying some more. They told me later that this went on for 45 minutes. I remember enjoying every single tear because it felt like I was alive. Strong but relaxed energy was flowing in my body like never before. That was a pivotal day in my life. After that life became a little more bearable and I don’t think I would be alive writing these words here if I hadn’t gone that day to her.”

November 6, 2003

…”Yesterday I felt unusually better and I drove to visit a friend. After some chat he said that we should practice some guided meditation. I told him I had just made it to a deep relaxation state with the psychologist and he mentioned it was sort of like that. After all what did I have to lose? He put a CD in the player and I quickly fell. About 20 minutes later I entered a state of pleasure (I guess this is what they call the pleasure of the nothingness) that was so great. It was like a step further than what I did with the psychologist. Lacking better words to describe it I started having sort of a mental orgasm. After 30 minutes the voice on the CD started giving instructions for us to wake up slowly. After we came back I remained in a comforting state of peace for a couple of hours. I actually felt happy and united with myself. It was like a drug and I started asking myself all kinds of things. I had heard before that deep relaxation and meditation are in fact one of God’s greatest gifts to us but we don’t use it. After yesterday I became a believer in it, call it whatever you want: Induced trance, self hypnosis, deep relaxation or guided meditation. I have been doing it a couple of times more since yesterday and I don´t have plans to quit.”

November 30, 2003

…”I have been inducing deep relaxations to myself on a daily basis. I do this on my lunch break, which is strictly 1 hour. I do this crazy thing everyday… I run to my car, drive to my father’s which is 15 kilometers away from my office, eat in 5 minutes and then induce me relaxation for 35 minutes and then drive all the way back. I can fall into deep trance in as little as 5 minutes. Since I have to drive at very fast speeds on the street and under the influence of Alprazolam, I could say that this is turning into a very needed but dangerous practice. Depression has been tough on me these days and I feel that this activity has been helping me to stand it somehow. I have come to the boiling point several times just before lunch time and this is the only way that I see that I could’ve gone on working.”

I believe mastering one’s mind is the one method I would recommend hands-down because of its immediate soothing effects that can (in my case) last to as much as 4 hours. For me it depends of the depth I achieve in the session.

So what are you waiting for? Go and try for yourself. If you’ve never done it then you will be surprised of how hard can something so simple as, say, counting from 1 to 10 with your eyes closed breathing in and out slowly can be. I recommend sitting or laying on your back comfortably breathing in deeply for 4 pulses of your heart (count them), hold your breath for 4 pulses more and then release in 4 more pulses. Do this from 1 to 10 and imagine that you inhale positive energy and that you exhale everything negative. if you ever lose count or find your mind wandering about anything but your pulse, breathing or the number you’re on then start all over from 1. Make sure all phones are diconnected or in silence and make sure noone interrupts you. Good luck! 🙂

I will be putting up more posts on self-relaxation constantly.

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