"Just Relax," Alan serves as FRONTIERS' guinea pig once again.
This time it pays off, as Dr. Herbert Bensonfounding
President of the Mind/Body Medical Institute and Professor
of Medicine at Harvard Medical Schoolshows Alan how
to evoke what he calls the "relaxation response." Benson believes
that relaxation not only feels good, but can help us "breakout"
of destructive or negative thought patterns and open the door
to different kinds of peak experiencesself-awareness,
creativity, productivity, athleticism, rejuvenation, and transcendence,
Benson provides the four simple steps to guide you to the
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Break-Out Principe How
to Activate the Natural Trigger that Maximizes Creativity,
Athletic Performance, Productivity and Personal Well-Being.
to Elicit the Relaxation Response By Dr. Herbert Benson excerpted
from: The Breakout Principle: How to Activate the Natural
Trigger that Maximizes Creativity, Athletic Performance, Productivity
and Personal Well-Being.
1: Choose a meaningful word or short phrase that can be repeated
silently on a single exhalation, or outbreath.
possible, the word or phrase should be solidly rooted in your
personal belief system. Remember, by combining the repetition
with your personal beliefs, you may enhance the impact of
the exercise by incorporating the placebo effect. This combined
repetition-belief exercise is what I have referred to in my
previous writings as the "faith factor."
if you are Jewish, you might say shalom. If a Sikh
meditator, you might use sat nam, as the participants
in our previous study did. If a Christian, you might choose
Jesus is Lord. Or if you affirm some nonreligious belief
system, you might select a line from a favorite poem of philosophical
work. On the other hand, if you don't have a particular personal
philosophy, any neutral or uplifting word or phrase will do,
such as one, peace, or love. In "Just
Relax", Alan chose the word calm.
2: Assume a comfortable sitting position, close your eyes,
breathe easily and regularly, and repeat your chosen word
or phrase silently on the outbreath for ten to twenty minutes.
3: Don't fight or be upset with distracting thoughts or interruptions-just
gently turn away from them and return to your silent repetition.
normal for your mind to wander, especially when you are just
getting used to this exercise. The important thing is not
to become uptight or begin to feel you have failed. Rather,
just sigh and say silently, "oh, well," and return to the
4: After the allotted ten to twenty minutes have passed, open
your eyes, sit quietly for a few minutes, and allow everyday
thoughts to enter your mind.
at this stage of the exercise that you are most likely to
experience a Breakout. Physiologically, your body is releasing
extra amounts of nitric oxide, along with neurotransmitters
associated with feelings of well-being and protection from
stress. Also, your brain has undergone a general quieting,
but with heightened activity in the attention and executive-control
repetitive activity has broken the prior thought patterns
of your conscious mental state-a precondition for the "release,"
"backing off," or "letting go" experience that will typically
precede a Breakout and peak experience. But even though you
have broken those old thought patterns and have reduced your
stress levels, the research, facts and analyses you have performed
are still resting there in the background, ready to be re-arranged
and reassembled into new, more creative configurations.
In essence, Breakouts and peak experiences often involve new
ways of looking at old problems and fact patterns. The trick
is to find a way to step outside or "float above" the previous,
dead-end trains of thought-and that's what this rather formal,
repetitive Breakout triggering mechanism is all about.
learn more about Herbert Benson and meditation please see
our resources section.