Presentation on theme: "The Key Role of Thought in Wellness and Healing Michelle Snyder Kaplan University HW-420 Professor Johnson November 16, 2010."— Presentation transcript:
The Key Role of Thought in Wellness and Healing Michelle Snyder Kaplan University HW-420 Professor Johnson November 16, 2010
Mental & Physical Health Correlations Mental health has major impacts on physical health and wellness Physical fitness activities are a great way to relieve mental stress & strengthen the focus of the mind It is important to foster both mental & physical wellbeing to attain & maintain total wellness.
Strength of mind improves an individuals overall health and wellbeing. Individuals who suffer from afflictions of the mind often find these complications to be accompanied by physical aliments as well. The volition of the mind leads the body in either a healthy or unhealthy manifestation.
The awareness and acceptance of ones self is an extremely important aspect of healing. Fostering a loving, compassionate & mindful awareness to the self is the first step in bringing about healing( Journal Of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 2004) This awareness of self creates the Optimal Healing Environment (OHE) for the patient.
Nurses have found great benefit in teaching their patients mindfulness meditation in an effort to facilitate a greater wholeness of healing(J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv. 2004). Patients learning the mindfulness meditation have experienced a reduction in pain, stress and an enhanced ability to make decisions pertaining to their health.
Mindfulness based stress reduction programs have shown to reduce the amount of pain experienced by patients suffering from neck and back pain as well as arthritis(J Psychosom Res. 2010). Improvements were also noted for those who suffered from migraines & fibromyalgia but they were smaller improvements.
Mental exercises that benefit mental fitness foster both psychological and physiological aspects of improving the mind body connection such as- Meditation, hiking & Abdominal Breathing relaxation These are just a few examples of mental fitness that some individuals utilize which vary in physical intensity to suite peoples specific needs.
There are many types & forms of meditative practice available to suite each individuals needs. Vipassana Meditation is the practice that I will briefly outline. Courses are offered in Vipassana traditionally 10 day silent retreats & are only taught by qualified teaching assistants. The following will provide a brief overview of the Vipassana Technique.
Vipassana utilizes the bodies breath and sensations as tools of awareness to go to the deepest levels of the mind to purify the thought process. The initial practice of anapana brings attention to the breath around the nostrils and any associated sensations are to just be observed. If the mind drifts just bring it back to the focus of the breath. The purpose of this practice is to heighten the focus of the mind & this practice typically last 3 days to sharpen the awareness of the mind.
The second phase is called panya which slightly expands the field of awareness to the triangle below the nostrils extending to the corners of the upper lip. This will be the next area of focus for approximately 1-2 days. This phase brings great acuity to the mind preparing for the next stage.
The final stage is known as samadi or right practice which expands this awareness of sensation throughout the entire body. Now the focus is to move through the body part by part and piece by piece methodically as not to miss any area, observing the sensation that are present within the body. It is believed that when we experience interactions both internally and externally we experience sensations with them but instead of awareness to our bodily reactions we just react to them with a closed mind in a viscous cycle creating a disconnect between our mind body.
Vipassana Meditation is a practice that frees people from the bondages of negativity & allows people to open to a more peaceful and harmonious existence. For those who are interested in looking into Vipassana Meditation in greater detail and possibly attending a course please visit –
Hiking is a repetitive type of exercise while out in nature really allows the mind to let go of all the daily stresses and steadily track along the trail. Hiking also foster that sense of connectedness to nature and also provides a great sense of attunement with nature. As you walk along the path open your awareness to all the sights sounds and smells that nature has to offer on that given day.
Find a place that you enjoy hiking weather solo or with company. Hiking can be at a nature museum or on a trail appropriate for hiking in your area. Properly equip yourself for the hike such as water, snacks and extra layers of clothes. If you go alone be sure to let someone know where you are going. Once at you destination to hike lace your boots up and one step after the other along the trail you go. Completing a hike can be a very rewarding and uplifting feeling to the mind and body.
Start with a mindful awareness of the breath & observe how deep or shallow the air is flowing into your body ( Without changing the breath just observe the rise and fall of your chest or abdomen. Bring your awareness to how deep or shallow your breath is. After observing the natural flow of the breath, begin to relax the torso & draw the breath deep into the abdomen so that the belly rises up. You may place your hand on your abdomen to gain a greater sense of awareness.
Release any tension in the body you may be holding such as in your shoulders or neck, relax and loosen the body. Continue with deep relaxed breaths drawing deep down into the belly as to make the stomach rise and fall with each breath creating a deeper sense of relaxation( Practice may be as short as observing 10 breaths or last several minutes with a mindful intention & awareness of the breath cycle. It is also an option to lay down for this practice as it may enhance the relaxation experience.
Mental & physical fitness are important aspects of daily life as well as ones long term health & wellness. The mind is a powerful link in the mind-body, spirit wellness paradigm of the human being. If one of these elements is out of balance or neglected these effects will be felt throughout an individuals overall health & wellness (Dacher, 2006).
Meditation, Hiking & Abdominal Breathing are excellent exercises for enhancing ones mental fitness & maintaining the crucial mind-body & spiritual balance within the human body. Exercises in mental fitness are vast & uniquely individual to each person. This is a path well worth exploring.
Dacher, E.S. (2006) Integral Health: The Path to Human Flourishing. Basic Health Publications J Altern Complement Med. 2004;10 Suppl 1:S7-14.Mindfulness and healing intention: concepts, practice, and research evaluation. Schmidt S. University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany. S J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv Jul;42(7):22-9.Mindfulness meditation: a path of transformation & healing. Ott MJ. Pain and Palliative Care Program, and Pediatric Oncology, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02115, MJ J Psychosom Res Jan;68(1): Mindfulness-based stress reduction for chronic pain conditions: variation in treatment outcomes and role of home meditation practice. Rosenzweig S, Greeson JM, Reibel DK, Green JS, Jasser SA, Beasley D. Office of Educational Affairs, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.Rosenzweig SGreeson JMReibel DKGreen JSJasser SABeasley D