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Quiet the mind

By Caroline van der Mey
from Healing Solutions

Our minds seem to travel at lightning speed jumping from one thing to another – and one worry or concern to another. Stilling the mind is an important aspect of reducing stress and helping us to feel good about ourselves.

Today’s society is very go hard, go fast and go more places. It is hard to find stillness and quiet in that. The continual fast pace of life means that we are living in a constant state of stress. So much so that many of us do not realise we are stressed. Stress used to be something that was associated with an extreme event of a physical, emotional or spiritual source. Now stresses are endemic and we are living it constantly every minute of every day and as a result we our nervous system never reverts to relaxation.

The stress response in the body is based on a balance between two branches of the nervous system – they are called the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.

Ideally the sympathetic nervous system is ignited as an immediate stress response reacting to something that has just happened, we react to this event and in a short period of time – usually less than a minute, 10 minutes at the most, the danger is over and the sympathetic nervous system can relax and the parasympathetic nervous system can come back into life.

Picture this, You are out for a walk and a wild bear suddenly appears in the path in front of you. Your body immediately senses danger and prepares you to fight the bear, or flight (run away) from it.  To do this you need energy in your feet and legs to run, and energy in your arms to fight this creature, and your heart to beat faster so you can do this. Your sympathetic system gets everything activated in a matter of microseconds and you are ready to go. To do this it takes energy from your digestive system, it knows you don’t need to digest breakfast. If your nervous system doesn’t save you then you are going to be the bear’s breakfast. It also takes energy from your reproductive system, you don’t need to get pregnant right now, and your immune system. You body has worked out what it needs for immediate survival.

Today we are going to run away from the bear to safety, in that split second we decided we have a better chance of running quicker than the bear, than trying to fight the bear with our bare hands.

We run away and use up that energy that the body has shunted from our digestive, reproductive and  immune systems – Whew we are safe! Well done you and your nervous system. The bear has now ambled off and is out of your life.

In the perfect world what would happen is that you would realise you are safe and your parasympathetic nervous system would take over and your digestive, reproductive and immune systems would return to normal.

So why doesn’t that happen?

Today we don’t have many wild bears on our path. What we have is a constant barrage of stress from things like – not enough money, poor health, relationship issues, not liking our jobs, a mean boss, a child with special needs, an aging parent that needs care, busy traffic and stressful commutes, a constant barrage of email and social media to attend to, then add to that feelings of not being good enough, of needing to do more, to be thinner, to be prettier, to be more …

This constant bombardment means our body feels constantly under stress and our mind is constantly on the go.

When was the last time your mind was quiet for even 5 minutes?

It is important that we learn to quieten our mind, as this helps us to feel good about ourselves, to plan rather than react, to nourish ourselves, to activate our digestion, reproductive and immune systems.

One of the top suggestions to help quieten our mind is meditation. Which is great except, that busy mind means meditation just becomes another frustration. We feel a sense of failure from it as our mind wont stop long enough for peace to enter. So what can we do?

Start with something that can occupy part of your body.

A colouring in book is a great tool to start with, It requires little investment, a colouring in book and some pencils and 10 minutes.  Set aside 10 minutes a day for colouring in, set a timer. Colouring in frees you from having to produce an art piece, it gives you some structure whilst still giving you some creative license – if you want to colour the sky green you can.

If colouring in is not your thing consider playing a musical instrument, doing a jigsaw, painting, crochet, knitting or other craft, baking, gardening, or photography.  Find something that you love, that you can do every day for 10 minutes and that feeds your soul.  That 10 minutes will start to turn your world around and as you master your chosen craft you will create something and that enriches your soul and life.

When you feel ready,  you can progress to meditation, start with small chunks.  3 minutes a day is a good starting place for meditation.

Flower essences can be an amazing tool to assist in stilling the mind you may consider –

  • White Chestnut
  • Cherry Plum
  • Rose Cone Flower
  • Pink Fairy Orchid
  • Yellow Flag Flower
  • Black eyed Susan
  • Boronia

We are all unique and what works for one person may not work for another. With your health be informed so you can make the best decision for you, and if in doubt seek the advice of a natural health care professional.

More about the author

Meditation and Stillness
Caroline van der Mey
– Healing Solutions

I have been a practitioner since 1994 and am a current member of ATMS and the Guild of Naturopathic Iridologists.

I am passionate about natural health and helping others on their healing journey. Iridology is a key area of interest for me and as well as physical iridology I have studied Rayid and Personality iridology with the original founders of these techniques.

Being able to see eyes through magnification gives great insight into the persons health and personality. I love sharing my knowledge with others and this has lead me to lecturing at local naturopathic colleges as well as overseas.

I also run courses sharing my knowledge with others on a variety of topics including Nutrition, Iridology, Intuitive Healing, Tissue Salts, Flower Essence and more. As a naturopath, I see people with all sorts of health issues, and have specific interest in thyroid related health issues, autoimmune conditions, digestive health and the body mind connection.

This has led me to have a great understanding of the nervous system and how stress is intimately related to many of the health conditions that are prevalent today.

I always look forward to being part of Natural Medicine Week as it gives me a chance to share my knowledge with those who may not normally get to meet me.