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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:55 am 
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Hi everyone,

Some people wanted more information on this subject after I mentioned in another thread how well it works for me with regard to chronic pain and anxiety. The terms meditation/self-hypnosis/guided imagery are often used interchangeably, although I prefer guided imagery (GI). Also, when searching for information on the subject online, GI brings the most relevant hits. I’ll try to explain this in enough detail to get people going. It’s helped me a lot and I hope it can be of help to you, too.

I learned how to do this from my long-time therapist. After I went off the xanax, pain pills, etc., I had no healthy coping skills to deal with my stress, anxiety, and panic attacks. I’ll admit I was very skeptical that this would even work.

The idea is to relax the mind and body and fully focus on something else outside of the pain, anxiety, etc. An essential part is using the right self-hypnosis “teacher”. By this I mean a cd track or download with the right voice to guide you as you learn how to do this. Tracks can be anywhere from 1 minute to more than 20 minutes. I suggest starting out with something fairly short, like 4-5 minutes. You want it to be easy to do. In the beginning start doing it 3 times a day. Use a chart/documentation to note your anxiety or pain level before and after you meditate. Don’t worry if you don’t notice a change right away – it’s normal not to. But soon you will, and by doing this you get to practice regularly and see your progress on paper. When we see our progress we’re more likely to continue that activity.

Start by finding a quiet, comfortable place. Position yourself in a way that’s best for you, be it sitting in a chair or laying down. Minimize outside distractions as much as possible. I like to also turn the lights off or down. Remember there’s always the option to do this in your car, like when the house has too many distractions or you need a few minutes away from work.

Most guided imagery tracks will walk/guide you through how to relax your body. Many of them start with tensing and relaxing all the muscles in your body, from head to toe (or vice versa). This doesn’t take as long as you might think. Then you might focus on your breathing. What you want to do is diaphragmatic breathing. This is breathing so your stomach/abdomen rises and falls instead of your chest. This allows you to breathe much more deeply.

There are as many variations in doing this as there are people in the world. The ones I’m used to and use regularly will next entail finding a “place” of your choosing to focus on, like walking in the woods, sitting on the beach, at the top of a mountain….whatever works for you. Take the time to recognize everything in that environment, all of the sounds, smells, sights…use all of your senses. Feel the sun on your face, the wind on your skin. You get the idea. So you feel like you’re right there.

Again, you can do this for just a few moments or for as long as you want. It's very individual and flexible. Find ways that it works for you. Oh, and try not to end your session abruptly, but rather open your eyes and sit up slowly.

I’ll leave it there for now; I think is a good start. The following is a really great link to some CDs that I really like. The site also has a free, 15-minute download to try it out before you buy:

http://www.healthjourneys.com/

(You can find many other sites with similar downloads and CDs simply by doing a Google search for “guided imagery cds”.)

Keep in mind it may be difficult or uncomfortable the first few times. I know I kind of “fought” it. I was convinced it was silly and wouldn’t work. As addicts, many of us haven’t been accustomed to feeling comfortable in our own skin. I know for me I was using all the meds/drugs to avoid myself and my feelings…to self-medicate.

If it is difficult at first please don’t get frustrated. Keep trying it. Everyone can learn to do this. I’m a very hyper/manic kind of person and if I can do it anyone can!! Once you get comfortable doing it, you’ll actually be able to do it without any assistance (i.e. without using a cd track), like for “quick fixes”. This can work even in a room full of distractions (dogs, husband, TV). I just close my eyes and get to "my place" almost immediately. I still use the tracks for everyday relaxation though.

I hope this makes sense. Sorry about the length, but I wanted to be detailed and specific enough so you can get a good “feel” for it just by reading this.

It would be great for anyone who tries this to post their own experience and what they think of it.

Good luck and thanks for suffering through this long post.

Melissa

Disclaimer: I’m not a therapist or professional of any kind in this field. Just someone who finds this helpful in dealing with anxiety, stress, and chronic pain.

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-I'm only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.


Last edited by hatmaker510 on Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 11:40 am 
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Thanks for takingg th time to post this. I have been ina 12 step program for the last 4 years and although I do my daily readings and pray........I have never been able to meditate....I have tried and tried. I see others that are able to do it very easily and I am envious of their success.(still a character defect). I am going to give it a shot as I would love to have a few minutes of serenity and be able clear my mind. Thank you for posting...........


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 8:29 am 
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I am starting to learn how to do this and have always had a hard time because I am so ADD that my mind goes all over the place. My therapist had me start REALLY simple so I will share because this I seem to be able to do and I can get my heartrate down pretty easily I have noticed. I will go more advanced over time but for now this helps.

Wherever you are, just start focusing on your breath. Take a deep breath in through your nose and focus on how it feels. Focus on the cooler air coming in. See how far in you can feel it and think about it when you do it. Can you feel it in your nose, airway, lungs? When you breathe out focus on how the air is warmer and how it feels coming out your nose. Any time you get distracted, just bring your mind right back to your breath.

The whole point is to pick something to focus on with the theory being that it is our thoughts that cause the anxiety and whatnot and all the stories your mind tells you. It is like my heartrate follows my mind and when I tone it down and think only of my breath, my heartrate follows along that simple pattern and slows down. I like it because it isn't complicated. I don't have to think of any complex imagery or try to make my mind hear things like birds and stuff that aren't really there. From my breath, I can add things such as listening to the wind or some other sound around me.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:08 am 
Hatmaker,

This is great great stuff. I just read your reply to my "belly" breathing post and searched for this. I am so glad you do this too. I thought I was kinda wierd for posting that!!!! Isn't that funny? Thinking I am wierd for "belly" breathing because filling my body with drugs is NORMAL? LOL

Why don't doctors just tell people to do this for a week instead of writing for Ambien? This type of stuff works SO MUCH better than Ambien!!! (well, don't answer that. I know why)

Anyway, I think this thread needs to be bumped up. This is the stuff we need to learn to stay off drugs. So thank you Hat. Kire


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:19 pm 
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Thanks, Kire. I just made this thread a "sticky" so it will be at the top. I hope this helps you and others.

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-As I have grown older, I've learned that pleasing everyone is impossible, but pissing everyone off is a piece of cake.

-I'm only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:26 am 
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There's been a lot of discussion lately from several members about anxiety. With suboxone many people aren't allowed to take benzos, too. All that discussion about untreated anxiety made me want to revive this thread.

At the risk of repeating myself, I can't stress enough how meditation, etc., really CAN help one's anxiety. I thought it was a bunch of hooey, but I learned and practiced and now my anxiety (that used to be treated by 6 mg of xanax a day), is pretty much nonexistent.

Plus for those of you who've never read Dr. J's blog entry about benzos and anxiety, I would encourage you to go through his blog and read it. Benzos are to be taken so people with anxiety can feel normal. The problem is many addicts don't take benzos to feel normal, but instead to feel "relaxed". I know for me I thought I was plagued by anxiety only to learn that it was pretty much in my head. The guided imagery/meditation REALLY helped me.

I can now get to that meditative state in a matter of seconds and even lower my blood pressure that way.

So if you've got issues with anxiety, why not give this a try? You might be very surprised. Good luck.

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-As I have grown older, I've learned that pleasing everyone is impossible, but pissing everyone off is a piece of cake.

-I'm only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:35 am 
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I just finished a class using Jon Kabat-Zinn's meditation methods for dealing with chronic pain. I suffer from very severe bone pain in all of my joints due to a condition called osteonecrosis. I am just starting Suboxone and am worried about whether it will give me adequate relief, but one of the tools in my tool chest is to use a type of meditation that Kabat-Zinn teaches called "The Bodyscan." This man has been doing this for 30 years at a hospital on the East Coast and he knows of what he speaks. He has an international reputation. Google him. You can buy books and CDs of his meditations. I took a class (Kaiser offers them and sometimes you can find other people teaching them who have been trained in his program) and it was good because there was also group support. If one were motivated and disciplined, one could also read the books and teach him/herself, using the CDs. I was never successful with visualizations or breathing-type meditations, but this method really has helped me.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 6:54 am 
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How did this saying of hypnosis can control people all start? Question says it all. I been scared of hypnotism since I first learned the word. I believe a person should control him/her self their whole entire life. No one should control you with words. So they shouldn't control it under their own will. Then I discovered it was nothing but superstition and just your own daydreaming. However, what gave people the idea that hypnosis is similar to mind control a bit? Just wondering. Thank you!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:49 am 
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Recommend to try my free app Self-Hypnosis Pendulum.

iTunes (IOS): https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/self-hypnosis-pendulum-free/id727355781?ls=1&mt=8

GooglePlay (Android): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.YuryKosyakov.SHPendulumFree

Official Site: http://self-hypnosis-pendulum.com/


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 8:09 pm 
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I can not speak well about hypnosis but deep breathing did work very well for me.

Just after a few minutes of telling your mind to breathe in deep through nose,then out through mouth I started to feel much calmer.In fact you might be holding you breath which is common for people who suffer anxiety.Once I started deep breathing I found myself breathing that way w/o contantly reminding myself too.Of course I still have to retrain my self but after just a few days you breathe slower and deeper w/o much thought.
A rythm helped me.1,2,3 in 1,2,3 out and a few simple words of your choice can really make a difference.If I repeat in my head,I feel calm or I feel anxious can effect my mood.Ever watch a scary or exciting movie before bed,then can't sleep.Read a book and fall asleep and think your still reading?
When I think or analyze that the mind can be that powerful I think it's just a bunch of nonsense.I must avoid this type of thinking.


A true story for me.
When I slept I'd breathe the same as when awake.I had a bad habit of holding my breath which effected my sleep and dreams.I had to nap during day and was always tired.
Only after 4-6 days of breathing through nose and out mouth,I used the deep breathing or counting method or thoughts as I slept.I could sleep in rythm and I could hear and feel myself breathing.
I was put on CPAP for I stopped breathing as I slept.It was either not smoking or the deep breathing in rythm but I feel much more rested since I quit smoking and deep breathing.Deep breathing helped with stopping smoking.
Try it,It's free and simple.Might be a video on you-tube on deep breathing.I don't think my Dr would teach it if it didn't work.


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