How Mindfulness May Change the Brain in Depressed Patients

I’ve seen the benefits of Mindfulness practice in my own life and in the lives of my clients for many years. Scientific studies continue to affirm the benefits with an increasing frequency of studies and an expanding set of tools.

As Alvin Powell describes in his recent article in Mindful magazine,

The number of randomized controlled trials — the gold standard for clinical study — involving mindfulness has jumped from one in the period from 19951997 to 11 from 20042006, to a whopping 216 from 20132015.
randomized controlled trials

Rising scientific interest in the benefits of mindfulness practice

The tools used to study the effects of mindfulness also continue to increase. For example,  Harvard researchers are using brain scans to explore how 8-weeks of training in present-moment awareness might break the cycle of self-rumination. Findings from this research may add to growing evidence that mindfulness can help sufferers of depression, chronic pain, and anxiety.

Researchers are quick to note that well-designed, well-run studies confirm mindfulness effects similar to other existing treatments, but not necessarily better results than existing treatments. Why, then, is there so much interest in mindfulness? As  Benjamin Shapero, an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and a psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital’s (MGH) Depression Clinical and Research Program explains, “Many people don’t respond to the frontline interventions.  Individual cognitive behavioral therapy is helpful for many people; antidepressant medications help many people. But it’s also the case that many people don’t benefit from them as well. There’s a great need for alternative approaches.”

To better understand how mindfulness works in the brain, Shapero and his colleague Gaëlle Desbordes, are using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which not only takes pictures of the brain, as a regular MRI does, but also records brain activity occurring during the scan. They are studying clinically depressed patients, performing functional magnetic resonance imaging scans before and after an eight-week course in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, or MBCT.

During the scans, participants complete two tests, one that encourages them to become more aware of their bodies by focusing on their heartbeats (an exercise related to mindfulness meditation), and the other asking them to reflect on phrases common in the self-chatter of depressed patients, such as “I am such a loser,” or “I can’t go on.” After a series of such comments, the participants are asked to stop ruminating on the phrases and the thoughts they trigger. Researchers will measure how quickly subjects can disengage from negative thoughts, typically a difficult task for the depressed.

I encourage you to read Powell’s complete article and to check back for the results of these ongoing studies.

With so much public interest in Mindfulness and increased activity in the scientific community, I predict that we will soon have a much greater understanding not only of how Mindfulness benefits us, but also how it works, and for which problems it is most effective.

Mindfully yours,

Dr. Pamm

Happiness Begins with Gratitude

New neuroscience reveals 4 rituals that will make you happy

Best-selling author Eric Barker recently shared some insights about happiness on Ladders.com. What makes Barker’s points so interesting is the neuroscience behind them. For example, did you know that gratitude affects your brain at the biological level? Scientists have shown that feelings of gratitude boost the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is the same way that some antidepressant medications work.

Want to know more? I encourage you to read Barker’s entire article, but here’s a summary of what brain research says will make you happy:

  1. Ask “What am I grateful for?” No answers? Doesn’t matter. Just searching helps.
  2. Label those negative emotions. Give them a name and your brain isn’t so bothered by them.
  3. Decide. Go for “good enough” instead of “best decision ever made on Earth.”
  4. Give and get hugs, hugs, hugs. Don’t text — touch.

Once you’re on the gratitude path, it will lead to an upward spiral of happiness, the author explains. To get started, it could be as simple as sending someone a thank you email or text message.

Is gratitude really that powerful? Barker thinks so. He concludes with these observations from UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb:

Everything is interconnected. Gratitude improves sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety, which improves focus and planning. Focus and planning help with decision making. Decision making further reduces anxiety and improves enjoyment. Enjoyment gives you more to be grateful for, which keeps that loop of the upward spiral going. Enjoyment also makes it more likely you’ll exercise and be social, which, in turn, will make you happier.

 

Mindfully yours,

 

Dr. Pamm

When Work Stress Keeps You Awake, Try Mindfulness

Even short meditation training brings relief from stress

We now have years of research showing the negative effects of stress on our wellbeing. Happily, we also have years of research on mindfulness practice and its proven ability to bring calmness to our mind and body.

Not surprisingly, workplace stress is a common cause of sleeplessness. As Adam Hoffman’s excellent article in Mindful magazine notes, about 85% of American workers report losing sleep due to job stress. Lack of sleep decreases our coping abilities, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed by stress.  

When we’re stressed, the smallest task may seem huge, but de-stressing can be very simple. Studies show that even a small amount of mindfulness meditation will help calm our hyperactive minds and grant us restorative sleep.

For example, Hoffman describes a study done in the Netherlands in which people  with no formal meditation training read some basic tenets of mindfulness and listened to a few recorded guided meditations over the course of two workweeks. Using these tools for only 10 minutes before and after work each day, these participants experienced steady improvements in sleep quality, sleep duration, and mindfulness.

The researchers did not see improved ability for the participants to detach psychologically from work, but it’s likely they would see improvement with more intense mindfulness practice or if they practiced for longer periods of time.

Making mindfulness practice part if your life on a regular and ongoing basis has real benefits. As these studies show, you may notice the first improvement in your sleep, because sleep quality seems to be highly sensitive to the practice. As you continue mindfulness practice, you’re likely to see its positive effects in many aspects of your mental, emotional,  and physical health.

Mindfully yours,

 

Dr. Pamm

Can Mindfulness Help You to Stop Drinking?

Regain Freedom with Mindfulness Practice 

Whether you’ve been struggling with addiction or are just wondering if you have a drinking problem, consider mindfulness practice as a way to free yourself from dependence on alcohol.

I’ve long believed and taught my clients that it’s possible to develop and bring mindfulness into all activities of daily life, both internal and external. Keri Wiginton’s recent article in The Washington Post reveals how she learned to focus more on the present moment and was able to break her unwanted drinking habit.

Keri credits mindfulness techniques with identifying what triggered her cravings. By observing those behaviors in a non-judging way and being in the moment with those cravings, she was able to stop “pairing stress-relief with Shiraz” and felt fewer urges to use alcohol.

Benefits she experienced from mindfulness practice include

  • fewer urges to use alcohol
  • feeling more present in the evenings
  • uninterrupted sleep
  • no morning mood swings

Her results are not unique, but have been duplicated in controlled studies. As she notes,

Practicing just 11 minutes of mindfulness — like paying attention to your breath — helped heavy drinkers cut back, according to a study out of University College London. Brewer showed that using awareness techniques were more effective than the gold-standard behavioral treatment at getting people to quit smoking.

Drinking too much isn’t the only habit that can be relieved with these techniques. Any behavior that gets in the way of your happiest life could benefit from mindfulness practice.

Mindfully yours,

Dr. Pamm

Lifetime Achievement Award for Dr. Pamm

The Marquis Who’s Who has presented Pamela Cappetta, Ed.D., with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. An accomplished listee, Dr. Cappetta celebrates many years’ experience in her professional network, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes she has accrued in her field. Read more about Dr. Pamm’s achievements and recent honor.

Practicing “Stealth Mindfulness” All Day Long

Our culture today seems to almost deify disconnection. Young schoolchildren have the latest iGadgets, 2-year-olds are adept at smartphones, and it’s not unusual to see everyone at family gatherings ignoring each other while tapping on their devices.

Connecting with others, however, is an opportunity to practice mindfulness—speaking, listening and interacting—and we can do it all day long. Faculty and staff at the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center even have a term for that kind of practice: It’s called taking mindfulness “off the cushion” and into the world of “relational mindfulness.” In my training, “off the cushion” is called the “informal mindfulness practice” with everyday interactions.

Why is it important to get metaphorically get off the cushion or practice informal mindfulness? Because, say Center researchers, busy people today feel as if they don’t have time to stop and practice mindfulness. How, then, can mindfulness be incorporated into our everyday lives? Try some of these ideas:

  • Stay deeply present. When feeling spaced out, gently bring yourself into the present moment. And when interacting with others, display authenticity and love.
  • Be a mindful listener. Often, we cut people off, jump in and try to “fix” people, or turn the conversation toward us. If you listen attentively, people feel seen and understood.
  • Notice your body. It might be your feet touching the ground, hands on your lap, or back against a chair. For most people, noticing a physical sensation serves as a reminder to come back to the present.
  • Speak skillfully. Use words with care and intentionality. Talk authentically from the heart.
  • Keep internal awareness alive. Cultivate an inner awareness when you’re speaking, noticing, for example, when your cheeks feel flushed or how tired you are. This allows you to learn more about yourself and what’s happening in the present moment, says Diana Winston, director of mindfulness education at the Mindful Awareness Research Center. “It keeps an internal awareness alive.”
  • Practice when it feels right to you. Just be aware that you have opportunities 24/7.
  • Choose what you want to practice. It might be: listening, speaking authentically, or just putting away your phone to fully engage with the check-out person at the grocery store.

Finally, remember that no one needs to know what you are doing when you are practicing informal mindfulness because it’s a form of “stealth” mindfulness—mindfulness you can quietly practice all day long.

More information: https://www.mindful.org/mindfulness-247/

Mindfulness Techniques Lessen Feelings of Anxiety, Isolation

Get “interconnected” with yourself, others, and the world.

Ever feel as if you’re living in a bubble, separate from everyone else? All of us have moments when we feel somewhat isolated from life. For some, however, this sense of isolation exacerbates anxiousness, creating feelings of despair, painful separation, and a longing to feel integrated with life.

Studies now indicate that two Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction practices can alleviate anxiety by helping sufferers get back in touch with themselves and the world around them.

 

Informal Reconnect Practice

This practice, which uses the power of interconnectedness, is designed to help you get a sense of being unified with your surroundings. “When you deeply reflect on the ripples of interconnection that pulse through your life, you can directly experience how you are never isolated,” says author and teacher Bob Stahl, Ph.D. “Recalling this unity can break through feelings of disconnectedness or isolation, bringing a sense of interconnection that can suffuse you, like the sun emerging from a cover of clouds.”

Do this simple practice as soon as you realize you’re feeling separate. It can be done in any position, but keep your eyes open and stay engaged.

Deepen awareness of your body. Become aware of the points of contact with the surface beneath you, a sense of weight as you rest in gravity, or a feeling of how you fully inhabit three dimensions. Relax any tension. Allow your vision to expand, and soften your gaze. Connect with your breath and your heart, be present, and actively bring kindness to yourself.

Engage your visual field and body awareness together. Open your peripheral vision so you’re aware of your hands on your lap, or more fully sense your entire body. Hear the sounds around you, feel sensations, and gently acknowledge any thoughts or feelings.

 

 

Formal Interconnection Practice

Set aside 20 minutes for this meditation practice. Do it seated, standing, or even lying down—just be comfortable and alert.

Pause to check in. Check in with yourself and acknowledge how you’re feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally. (Remember that mindfulness is a non-judging awareness in the present moment.)

Gently shift awareness to breathing. Be aware of naturally breathing in and out, tuning in to one inhalation and one exhalation at a time. Focus on your breath wherever you feel it most distinctly, like your chest, belly or nostrils. Let your awareness rest there… being mindful of breathing in and out. 

Feel your body’s connection. Feel the surface supporting you. Then notice how that surface is connected to the floor, which is connected to the building you’re in, which is connected to the Earth. Reflect on being in a safe place with nothing you need to do, nowhere you must go, and no one you have to be. “Just allow yourself to be held in the heart of the earth with kindness and ease,” says Stahl. 

Expand your awareness. Sense the connection of the Earth to the solar system, and then the vast universe. In this way, we’re all interconnected.

Feel the grace of this universe. Appreciate that you are an intrinsic part of this universe and can never be separated from it. Feel a sense of connection and interconnection; you are at home within your being.

Gradually return awareness to your breath. Feel how your entire body breathes in and out, from head to toe, to fingertips—unified, connected, and whole.  

View the article:

Feeling Separate When You’re Anxious: Two Mindfulness Practices to Reconnect

 

Mindfully yours,

Dr. Pamm

Praise for Dr. Pamm’s Mindfulness Group

Attendees of the Spring 2017 8-week Mindfulness Group had this to say about the experience:

Mindfulness has the potential to change your life for the better, and Dr. Pam Cappetta is a wonderfully caring and engaged teacher of the practice.

I too felt it was a fantastic group and will miss our shared experience. I found that participating in the mindfulness training was fulfilling at a personal and cerebral level, while also being applicable and useful in day to day living. Thank you for the wonderful class.

In my view mindfulness approach of thinking is best gained by being guided as opposed to being taught. Dr Pamm Cappetta does just that, she gently guides you through the very logical thought process which includes the seven pillars of mindfulness: non-judging, patience, beginner’s mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance, and letting go.

See the calendar and call (757) 253-5708 to and sign up for the next group.

When Teachers Learn Mindfulness, Students Win

UVA Study: Mindfulness Improves Classroom Climate

It’s no secret that many teachers suffer stress from being overworked, devalued, and underpaid. And teachers aren’t the only ones feeling stressed-out in the classroom today: When teachers feel pressured, students can easily become stressed themselves, impacting their well-being and their academic achievement, as well. 

New evidence strongly indicates, however, that mindfulness training for teachers can create a classroom environment that’s more emotionally positive, says a new study from University of Virginia researchers. The study was reported in “Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life,” from the University of California, Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.

“If you’re a teacher, you can’t walk out while you’re teaching; and if you’re a student, you can’t walk out, either—it puts a level of pressure on teachers that I don’t think many people recognize,” said Patricia Jennings, the lead author of the study, which involved 224 teachers from 36 elementary schools.

Teachers in the study were given instruction through CARE (Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education), a mindfulness-based program designed to teach awareness, stress reduction, and emotional skills. And results indicate that the training improved teachers’ mindfulness, increased their ability to manage difficult emotions, and lowered their psychological distress.

“I had a very strong suspicion that emotional reactivity was interfering with  teachers’ ability to be their best, and that the solution wasn’t just a matter of teaching more skills,” Jennings said. “It was really a matter of teaching them to self-regulate so they could be their best.” 

This latest study is just one in a growing body of research strongly suggesting that mindfulness training increases teacher well-being and improves the emotional climate of their classrooms—an important link with students’ academic achievement. I encourage you to read more about this study, be aware of what’s going on in your children’s classrooms, and do whatever you can to support the well-being of teachers, in whose care our children spend most of their young lives. 

As Jennings says, “If we don’t turn the corner on how we’re helping our teachers, we’re not going to have enough teachers to do the job.”

View the article at Greater Good

 

Mindfully yours,

Dr. Pamm

Good Relationships Make a Good Life

Long-Term Studies Reveal Keys to Happiness

Want to be happy? Develop and maintain close relationships with people you can count on. Be your true self with them. Those are the keys according to two long-term studies conducted by Harvard University.

“It’s not just the number of friends you have, and it’s not whether or not you’re in a committed relationship. It’s the quality of your close relationships that matters.”

So says Robert Waldinger, current director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the longest longitudinal studies ever conducted on our physical and emotional well-being.

As author Melanie Curtin points out in her summary[1] of this study, one thing surpasses all the rest in terms of importance:

“Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period. Not how much is in your 401(k). Not how many conferences you spoke at … or how much power you wielded … No, the biggest predictor of your happiness and fulfillment overall in life is, basically, love.”[2]

Note that “love” doesn’t necessarily mean a romantic relationship. It’s more about having someone to rely on.

In quality relationships we

  • feel more relaxed
  • enjoy better brain health
  • feel less emotional and physical pain
  • avoid loneliness, which keeps us healthier longer[3]

What makes quality relationships?

  • how much vulnerability and depth exists within them
  • how safe we feel sharing with one another
  • the extent to which we can relax and be seen for who we truly are, and truly see another
  • being able to cope with trauma in ways that don’t push love away

I encourage you to read more of the author’s tips to prioritize your connections and your capacity to process emotions and stress. As she so aptly states, “… the data is clear that, in the end, you could have all the money you’ve ever wanted, a successful career, and be in good physical health, but without loving relationships, you won’t be happy.”[4]

Peace and happiness,

 

Dr. Pamm


[1] Melanie Curtin, “This 75-Year Harvard Study Found the 1 Secret to Leading a Fulfilling Life,” Inc., Feb. 27, 2017.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

A 10 Minute Guided Meditation to Foster Forgiveness

Forgiveness Helps Us Let Go of Whatever Holds Us Back

I often work with clients who are weighed down by feelings of anger and resentment over old hurts. Sometimes they’re burdened by guilt caused by their own actions. Either way, peace comes through forgiving others and ourselves.

If there’s someone you’d like to forgive, but don’t know how to do it, I encourage you to listen Dr. Mark Bertin’s guided meditation below. Through the simple story of two monks who encounter a rude woman, he gently illustrates the way that we add to our negative experiences by fostering anger and resentment. Then, he leads us through a mindful release into a state of forgiveness. A transcript of the meditation is available on Mindful.org as well.

Peace,

 

Dr. Pamm

Stuck in Therapy? 3 Ways to Make the Progress You Want

How to Make Progress in Therapy

Therapy has the power to transform our lives. So why does research shows that it’s effective only 50 percent of the time? Author Jon Frederickson explains in his article “Stuck in Therapy?”[1] that although therapist effectiveness varies, the main variable in successful therapy is the patient. That’s right, if you’re feeling stuck in therapy, it might be time to consider these ideas:

First, decide on a clear internal problem to resolve in therapy.

If you want to fix a problem, it helps to be clear with yourself and your therapist about the nature of the problem you want to resolve. It’s crucial to make sure that it’s a problem you have and not someone else. No therapist can fix a problem for someone she’s not seen … besides, blaming others doesn’t help you to grow.

Second, face what you usually avoid.

Talking alone doesn’t resolve problems. Facing the truths we’ve avoided and discussing them with a skilled therapist does. When your therapist points out something that’s painful, try not to argue or dismiss the concept. Be present to the idea and consider that the therapist may be helping you face what’s difficult. That’s where change and healing begin.

Finally, go toward what makes you anxious.

It can be hard, but therapy is the best place to face the things that make us anxious so they can stop taking control of our lives. By facing them, we take charge. As Mr. Frederickson so aptly states,

“If we avoid what makes us anxious, we don’t become stronger; we just get better at avoiding. Meanwhile, life goes by and our therapy money goes down the drain. If you are not somewhat anxious in therapy, chances are you are not facing what you need to face.”[2]

I’ve seen these truths with so many patients over the years. I agree that you’ll reach your goals and get the most out of therapy if you’re clear about the problem you want to resolve, you’re willing to face what you usually avoid, and you move toward what makes you anxious. Trust the process – it works!

Peace,

 

Dr. Pamm


[1] Jon Frederickson, “Stuck in Therapy?”, LinkedIn, Jan. 11, 2017

[2] Ibid.

Self Love Is Key to Getting the Love We Want

Lack of Self Love Sabotages Relationships

Many relationship problems come from our subconscious belief that we aren’t worthy of love. If self-love is a problem for us, we’ll seek love, respect, and acceptance from others, but feel disappointed when they don’t provide the kind we want. Even more frustrating, we’ll sabotage a potentially loving relationship because our inner voice tells us we don’t deserve love and happiness.

Marriage counselors Katie and Gay Hendricks have analyzed this common problem and share excellent advice on their Hearts in Harmony website. I encourage you to learn the telltale behaviors caused by this subconscious problem. They also explain that

Loving yourself isn’t about being conceited. It’s about accepting yourself and your feelings and not needing to look to outside sources to feel like you’re worthy of love and consideration.[1]

What Does Self-Love Feel Like?

Once we understand where this lack of self love comes from, we can begin to heal and welcome love into our lives. How do we know what self love feels like if we’ve never had it? The Hendricks offer this helpful list:

  • Loving yourself means you don’t hide who you really are. You share your feelings – even the messy ones – and own up the truth of your life and your mistakes.
  • You don’t need to prove anything to anyone, because you know the only opinion that matters about your self-worth is your own.
  • You don’t accept bad treatment, or social pressure, or feel compelled to do things you don’t want to do just because you are “supposed to.”
  • You can fully accept and enjoy being loved by someone else. You aren’t doubtful of their feelings. You never worry if their love will end, or if you aren’t good enough, or unworthy.
  • You aren’t afraid of getting hurt. You don’t push love away, or run away, or subconsciously create reasons why your relationship will let you down.
  • You are at peace with yourself, and can channel your energy into CREATING what you want, not PROTECTING what you don’t want to lose.
  • You feel giddy, light… free.[2]

Peace,

 

Dr. Pamm

[1] Katie and Gay Hendricks, “Why Constantly Complaining About How Others Treat You Could Be A Sign Of A Much Deeper Truth… About Yourself,” Hearts in Harmony,

[2] Ibid.

America Has Problems Dealing with Chronic Pain

Robert Bonakdar, MD, is Director of Pain Management at the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine. In a recent editorial published in USA Today, he courageously disagrees with the United States Surgeon General’s campaign to reduce opioid drug dependencies through education and addiction awareness. The real problem, Dr. Bonkadar argues, is that there are other ways to manage chronic pain, but insurance companies won’t pay for them.

Chronic pain is a complex scenario that not only affects the back or shoulder, but one that over time can shrink the brain while creating or worsening fatigue, insomnia, depression, anxietyobesity and risk of suicide. The pain transformation called for by the IOM and most recently the National Pain Strategy requires not just a campaign, but an integrative, patient-centered approach to support someone whose entire existence is affected. – Dr. Robert Bonkadar[1]

The doctor does see signs of hope, however, that decision makers are beginning to understand the human benefits and corporate cost savings of pain management methods such as exercise and diet, biofeedback and nutrition, Tai Chi, yoga, acupuncture, CBT and mindfulness.

After focus groups with chronic pain patients found that ‘fix-it’ strategies were failing while also bankrupting the state, Rhode Island created the Ease the Pain Program, which uses case management and treatments like acupuncture, massage and manipulation. Similarly, starting this year, the Oregon state insurance program will cover acupuncture, CBT and more, based on findings that ‘lack of support for and knowledge of biopsychosocial pain self-management treatments are serious public health problems.’ [2]

If you are one of the 100 million Americans who suffer with chronic pain, I urge you to consider mindfulness meditation and other non-drug treatments as part of your pain management program.

 

Peace,

 

Dr. Pamm

[1] Robert Bonkadar, M.D., “Docs Need Help to Ease Opioid Epidemic,” USA Today, September 28, 2016.

[2] Ibid.

Deep Relaxation Changes Our Bodies on a Genetic Level

For many years now, scientific studies have shown that mindfulness meditation has a profound effect on our health and wellbeing. Still, new clients routinely express skepticism about meditation—they assume it’s just a timeout from the stress of everyday living with no long-term health benefits.

An article I keep handy to encourage these doubters appeared in the January 2012 SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, titled “7 Health Benefits of Meditation.” It’s worth reading the full article, but here’s my synopsis in case you’d rather spend your time meditating than reading.

7 Health Benefits of Deep Relaxation 

  1. Increased Immunity
  2. Emotional Balance
  3. Increased Fertility
  4. Relieves Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  5. Lowers Blood Pressure
  6. Anti-Inflammatory
  7. Calmness

Somehow we all know that relaxation is good for us, right? When we pause, take a deep breath, and let it out, it helps us to relax our bodies and clear our minds so that we can refocus with more clarity and energy. But is that all? What does science say about why intentional meditation for 10-15 minutes a day is so beneficial?

Meditation Changes Our Bodies on a Genetic Level

Researchers at Harvard Medical School did a comprehensive scientific study showing that deep relaxation changes our bodies on a genetic level and in long-term practitioners of relaxation methods such as yoga and meditation, far more ”disease-fighting genes” were active, compared to those who practiced no form of relaxation.

The study showed that regular meditation practice turned on genes that protect from disorders such as

  • Pain
  • Infertility
  • High blood pressure
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Inflammation
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Cancer
  • Immune system deficiencies

How can relaxation have such wide-ranging and powerful effects?

On a biological level, stress is linked to fight-flight and danger. In survival mode, heart rate rises and blood pressure shoots up. Meanwhile muscles, preparing for danger, contract and tighten. And non-essential functions such as immunity and digestion go by the wayside.” Relaxation, on the other hand, is a state of rest, enjoyment and physical renewal. Free of danger, muscles can relax and food can be digested. The heart can slow and blood circulation flows freely to the body’s tissues, feeding it with nutrients and oxygen. This restful state is good for fertility, as the body is able to conserve the resources it needs to generate new life. – Dr. Jane Flemming [1]

How to switch off stress 

The researchers found that yoga, meditation and even repetitive prayer and mantras all induced the relaxation effect. Try one or more of these techniques for 15 minutes once or twice a day:

  • Mental Body Scan
  • Breath Focus
  • Mantra Repetition
  • Guided Imagery

I hope you’ll learn more about those methods by reading the full article, or explore the Mindfulness section of this website.

Peace,

Dr. Pamm

[1]7 Health Benefits of Meditation,” SYDNEY MORNING HERALD,
republished on Food Matters, Jan. 26, 2012.