Friday, February 20, 2009

Healthy Thinking

Relaxation Tip

Get clues from your physical body as to how you are doing emotionally - unusual body aches that don’t go away – if you pay attention early on, you can usually connect some thoughts that are causing them and take the steps necessary to remedy the situation.

The Body/Mind Connection

Back in the day, people thought of their body and mind as very separate entities. We are now much more aware of the intricate connections. Our body deals with stress through both conscious and unconscious pathways which we are not always aware of. Perhaps thoughts in our mind lead to a reaction from our nervous system that create an emotion. Perhaps an emotion creates thoughts in our mind.

You might get a message from your body that you are feeling very fearful about a presentation to the class. You might get the “butterfly” feeling in your gut, feel sweaty, even nauseous. You can tell yourself, “I’m fine, I’m well prepared, there is no reason to be nervous.” Your body is, however, a more truthful indicator than your mind. That is why it is important to train yourself to be aware of the signals from your body.

Denying that stress is there does not make it go away. Stress tends to build and accumulate. If we don’t use some skills to decrease our stress level, we head into the next stressful situation with some leftover stress from the previous situation. Taking time during your day to take a few simple deep breaths, to slow down, stretch and pay attention are all good strategies for keeping stress at a good and manageable level. As you learn to pay attention, there is greater ability to discern between tension and relaxation and there are more options to do something about it.

Very interesting research is being done in many scientific domains that show us how much our own thoughts and perceptions create our reality.

Thymus tapping to relieve stress

Friday, February 13, 2009

God! God. God?

Relaxation Tip:
Go to a very quiet place and take a very long walk alone.

Got God?

College is a time for experimentation in many areas, including spiritual beliefs. Some students may have attended synagogue, church or faced east to pray on a regular basis because they were at home with family. Being out on their own, some of these practices fall by the wayside because of the pressures of academic life but also because students may start to search and question for themselves.

In a survey done by students in 2007 at Loyalist, 62% of our students did not feel that spirituality and religion were the same thing. Do you feel spirituality plays a strong role in your life? What about religion? 43% of students in the poll in 2007 said they searched for greater meaning in their lives.

Being at college may mean you have the opportunity to be exposed to different belief systems. Some good rules of thumb for entering into interesting discussion:

Discuss ideas to learn, not to criticize
Take advantage of the diversity on campus to get to know about other beliefs.
Don’t push your ideas on others; rather be ready to discuss and share information.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and challenge your own stereotypes.

Students may find their “beliefs” take a back seat to the pressures of college. Others may find that the pressures are a way of deepening and strengthening their beliefs as they have to actually call on inner strengths to get them through the pressures of these first years out on their own.

Separating body and mind separates purpose from intent. Bringing them together brings purpose and intent into union and you end up feeling like there is meaning in what you are doing and living.

Short video with white robed man explaining awareness- being aware of a thought that causes stress

TED link Karen Armstrong provocative original thinker on the role of religion in the modern world.