Mental Fitness Power Point
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MENTAL FITNESS By Karen Ziegler, B.S. June 13th, 2013
Body, Mind and Spirit
Introduction What is Mental Fitness? What are the Benefits of Mental Fitness? Research Studies Demonstrating Healing from Mental and Spiritual Focus Exercises/Activities that Improve Mental Fitness
Mental Fitness? Olympic athletes train daily challenging their physical skills in an exhaustive attempt to be the best of the best at the Olympic games. Olympian Mental Fitness is a process that involves training the mind to be at its best. This systematic inner development involves challenging ourselves on a daily basis in an effort to master the ability to eliminate chatter and find a stillness within that can empower us with no limits. Training our mind involves taming the mind so it can be still, without chatter, and then transformed into a permanent state of exceptional inner health. There ARE limits to how physically fit our bodies can be but there is NO limit when developing the qualities of the mind (Dacher, 2006).
BENEFITS OF MENTAL FITNESS Eliminating chatter allows better focus on tasks and problem solving.
A calm mind works with the body to enhance better health. A controlled mindset helps us be non-reactive using intentional actions. Mental fitness helps us see the world clearer. It gives us inner peace which grows with loving-kindness and wisdom. It allows us to see what relationships are of quality and to let go of the others. It helps us “become the change you want to see happen in the world.” (Ghandi from Dacher, 2006) Our mind can give us optimum health and eliminate illness and disease.
THE LUTZ STUDY The Lutz study, by Antoine Lutz, was conducted using a group of scholars and a control group of students to measure a certain type of brain wave called the gamma wave. The authors, through the use of EEG, evaluated each group prior to, and after, the meditation. The scholars had 15-40 years of meditation practice where the students were given only one week of introduction (Quantum Consciousness, 2012). The groups were asked to create a compassionate mental state. The scholars were found to have remarkably higher brain activity which was present even before the study but showed much synchrony during the study. This result suggested that a trained mind can function at a higher more organized level because of the measured increase in organized gamma wave movement. It was pointed out that mental training may work for short-term as well as long-term training of the mind (Dacher, 2006).
Dr. Peter Schnall Stress Study: 1998 Midlevel business managers that worked in stressful work environments were studied to examine the health status of each worker noting their perceived workload. Those who felt overwhelmed developed disturbing emotions and were also found to have chronic hypertension and enlarged hearts (Dacher, 2006). Dacher points out that this study showed those who had feelings of “helplessness & powerlessness,” also had disturbed emotions. This study, and many related studies, show us that stress does affect our mind and body and our perceptions are part of the coping needed to remedy these detrimental effects. When I was told my high diastolic blood pressure was due to stress I immediately started listing my stressors and dealing with each individually in a desperate attempt to calm down. This information helped me eliminate the perception that I had a clogged artery or anything related to cardiovascular disease which had been an ongoing fear of mine.
Dean Ornish Study in 1980 Dean Ornish, and a fellow student in their second year of medical school, came up with the idea of taking 10 heart subjects and putting them on a life-style changing program, housed in a hotel, for 30 days. They injected thallium which served as a tracer so that they could track the blood flow to the heart. The results were favorable as the patients subjectively felt better. After both doctors graduated they organized the same study on 48 heart patients and found a significant improvement in the patients following their program. The control group got worse and the patients on their program completed it with lower cholesterol levels by 40% and this was only after 3.5 weeks! There was a 91% reduction in chest pain! There was improved blood flow to their hearts! The buildup of coronary artery blockages reversed (Dacher, 2006)! This is an amazing study, to me, since the timeframe was under one month. Ornish states, in Dacher, that stress is not just what you do, it’s how you react to what you do. Ornish spent much time with these patients over the course of many years and he states that “many of them had something else in common: an emotional or spiritual heart disease” (Dacher, 2006). His observations included “loneliness, isolation and alienation”. Stress is truly an extremely damaging psychosomatic cause of illness affecting both the mind and body.
A Visualization: Meeting Asclepius Find a private setting in a quiet room and plan on approximately 15 minutes for the session. Sitting comfortably in an upright position, with eyes closed, visualize the image of a wise person for whom you have utmost respect. This person doesn’t need to be living. Feel their presence and reflect on his/her love, compassion, warmth, wisdom… When your focus is settled in on him/her visualize a strong white beam of light coming from his/her head. Allow this beam of wisdom to enter your mind and receive this energy so that it becomes one with you. Slowly allow this transformation to settle in as you acquire all the wisdom from your wise friend. Visualize a second beam of light that comes from his/her throat and receive it into your throat. This beam brings with it wise and soft speech which you receive and it allows you to speak from a platform of wisdom. Take your time as you receive this power to speak wisely. A final beam of light begins to glow from the heart of the wise one and it reaches out and enters into your heart. This beam carries love and kindness with compassion all being shared from the wise one. You receive this pure unconditional love. You can now focus on the wisdom that you have received into your mind, throat and heart as you become the wise person. Allow the wise friend to become a bright white light as his/her entire body enters your body through your forehead. Let this beam of wisdom fill your entire body and become you as you continue through life’s journey. Allow your friend to fade away leaving you with powerful wisdom. Recognize this wisdom was within you all along.
Subtle Mind Exercise This 30 minute exercise takes us from a witnessing mind, through calm abiding and ultimately into unity consciousness. It begins with 10 breaths taken in and out while relaxing and concentrating on the breaths. The mind follows the breathing so if we “still the breath we still the mind” (Dacher, 2006). When distractions appear acknowledge them bringing your focus back to the breathing. As the exercise proceeds you’ll find that less focus is on the breathing and more on the mind which randomly moves between objects and thoughts. As you leave each thought alone it dissolves. This is called “taming the mind” (Dacher, 2006). Each session will bring you closer and faster into calm-abiding and ultimately into unity consciousness. This exercise takes time to fully evolve as we relax and find the stillness of our mind and we’re able to re-center or ground our thoughts. When you feel you have finished open your eyes and slowly observe your surroundings and your sense of calm. Dacher points out that it’s important to observe your ability to stabilize your mind. Some people meditate better after a meal or exercise. Some must have a quiet room where others prefer music or soundscapes. Perhaps it’s aromatherapy that assists with your relaxation. The goal is to quiet our mind, through practice, so that we can stabilize it and move into the human flourishing of unity consciousness. This new calm becomes our base. This process is different for everybody and if obstacles appear the remedy is found within each of us.
Summarization There are many studies available showing the connection between mind and body and the fact that the two cannot be separated. In this presentation we touched on the coordinated gamma wave movement acquired by experienced meditation, the effects of perceived stress on mid-level management and the results showing the importance of lifestyles changes in heart disease patients. However, there are many studies available showing the connection that makes it easy to understand how human flourishing requires we train both the body and the mind. There are many exercises available that do not require physical movement. Meditation is one “taming of the mind” that may help many eliminate, or at least control, chatter that can lead us toward inner stillness. Exercising physically is a popular stress reliever but the West has ignored their psychological health. Calming our mind can be a walk around the yard, sitting on the beach, or talking to God but ignoring it’s power to balance our overall health is a grave mistake.
REFERENCES Dacher, E.S. (2006). Integral health: The path to human flourishing. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Publications, Inc. Quantum Consciousness, (2012). Retrieved June 9, 2012 from http://www.quantumconsciousness.org/EEGmeditation.htm