The Relaxation Response
The term, relaxation response, was coined by Herbert Benson, M.D.. The relaxation response results in real physical changes in blood pressure, heart rate and muscle activity. Over time this technique or similar ones may help you to turn off the stress which your mind and body seem to be continuously experiencing as a result of chronic pain. With practice, your ability to affect the body’s response to stress may enable you to calm yourself and more effectively manage your pain.
- Use a mantra which is a word, phrase, or sound you repeat to yourself either aloud or in your mind. The universal mantra is: Ohm. It means nothing whatsoever. It is just a word, a sound.
- Disregard thoughts, images and bodily sensations that may arise. The goal is not to force yourself to stop thinking but to bring yourself gently back to the mantra when you notice a pause in our thoughts or attention. For instance you may start using your mantra and then the thought comes in your mind about what you are going to have for dinner. Do not force yourself to stop thinking the thought but when you notice a pause bring yourself back to your mantra.
- Practice your meditation two times a day for 20 minutes. Do not set an alarm or eat before for meditating. Meditate at the same time every day. I have found that for about the first 10 minutes you be having a lot of thoughts come up but then after 10 minutes this calms down. The moment of transcendence in transcendental meditation occurs when you are not having any thoughts, just pure awareness. This usually does not happen for long periods of time.