Self Health Care

Articles about alternative ways of treatment and self health care

Using the Internet for Stress Management Anxiety Meditation Hypnosis Relaxation Sleep

Since 1997, Herbert Benson, of the Harvard Medical School, has reaffirmed that “Sixty to ninety percent of [doctor-patient] visits are prompted by conditions related to stress.” Especially in today’s world, stress management is truly vital to emotional, relational, and overall physical health. As a psychologist, I understand that most tend to consider meditative exercises as too difficult to learn; and too time consuming to practice.

Although activities like watching television and listening to music can be relaxing, they do not elicit the relaxation response that is most beneficial for managing stress. In order to de-stress, people need to do something that sounds contradictory, namely engage in activity that is not passive. The Surgeon General recommends physical activity for stress management. One can also manage stress by engaging in self-meditations.

I have had much personal and professional success from my use of audio meditations, many of which can be downloaded off the Internet for free. I recommend a search for “free hypnosis downloads,” “free progressive muscle relaxation,” “mindfulness,” and “free light and sound machine.”

Most people are familar with the availability of self-hypnosis. These hypnotic programs are guided exercises in deep meditation.

Progressive muscle relaxation is a systematic method of tensing and relaxing most of the major muscles of the body. When a muscle is tensed beyond its current level of tension and released, it rebounds to a more relaxed state. This phenomenon helps to create penetrating relaxation, throughout the entire body, within 15 minutes.

A Light and Sound Machine is a relatively new technology that assists its users in achieving near effortless levels of deep meditative states. Relying upon a process known as brainwave synchronization or entrainment, a Light and Sound Machine (or Mind Machine) purportedly uses light and/or sound to alter the brainwave frequency of the user, resulting in altered states of awareness that have been compared to those obtained from transcendental meditation.

Similar to the effect of watching the flicking flame of a fireplace, but more pronounced, the specifically timed flicking pattern of a Light and Sound Machine will surprisingly help to induce its effect, within just a few minutes. Despite their beneficial use, most people also consider Light and Sound Machines to be too expensive. Nonetheless, you can sample the positive effects of these devices, by conducting the aforementioned Internet search. The available freeware actually creates a “virtual” Light and Sound Machine, via your computer monitor.

I also recommend complementing the effect of Light and Sound Machines with soft music or one of the free audio hypnotic downloads that can be found online, as previously discussed above.

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