Hello residents of Rayleigh! Let me introduce myself. My name is Brad Mace and for the last 17
years I have been working as a Psychotherapist and hypnotherapist. Although I was previously
working from the Colchester area, for the last nine years I have been based in Hullbridge with much
of my client base from the Rayleigh, Hockley and surrounding areas. The ‘this is Rayleigh’ facebook
page have kindly asked me to write a blog that it’s readers may be interested in. I thought for this
first blog I would write about meditation, which obviously is an easier subject than psychotherapy
and hypnotherapy, but you can also access my website if you are interested in my service
provision….So here goes…..

I thought that this would be a good place to start because in this increasingly ‘fast’ world in which
we are living we are generally taking less time out for ourselves. People are not giving their minds
enough time to rest by literally ‘switching off’. We are surrounded by so much technology, mobile
phones, landline phones, computers, tablets etc that our minds are continuously being stimulated.
This can cause stress and ‘dis-ease’ when our mind and body is not given enough time to rest, heal
and recuperate. We all need that time to shut down our conscious mind and enter into a deep level
of relaxation. It does take some practice but is a discipline that you can train your own mind to
which is so very beneficial to your own physical and mental health.

To begin with it can just be a case of sitting down quietly somewhere you won’t be disturbed, and
trying to ‘switch off’ your thoughts. This is not always an easy task so it can be a good idea to use
your imagination to focus on something. Maybe imagining a flickering candle in your mind until you
feel your thoughts quietening and your body relaxing. You could also light a candle and focus on that
with your eyes open for a while depending on how strong your own imagination is. There is also a lot
of relaxing meditation music available that you can play in the background or even sounds of nature
such as sea sounds, rain or waterfalls etc.

The more you practice meditation the easier it will get until you start to find yourself deeper and
deeper in meditative states. In fact, it wasn’t until after I became a qualified clinical hypnotherapist
that I realised that this was actually a form of self-hypnosis. When we are meditating we actually
guide ourselves into the subconscious mind. If you find it hard to do this yourself at first there are
also many guided meditations available or you may choose to attend a meditation class.
There are many benefits to meditation which include the deep breathing exercises inducing
calmness and slowing down our bodies. Stress causes inflammation which has been linked to heart
disease and asthma and skin conditions such as psoriasis. Relaxation through meditation helps
switch off this stress response. This is also very good for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
A study at Harvard Medical School found that meditation lowered blood pressure by making the
body less responsive to stress hormones, in a similar way to blood pressure-lowering medication.
Meanwhile a British Medical Journal report found that patients trained how to relax had significantly
lower blood pressure.

Studies at the University of Western Australia have revealed that women are more likely to conceive
when they are relaxed and men have a boost of sperm count through relaxation.

Relaxation has been shown to help boost the immune system making it very beneficial to recovering
cancer patients. A study at the Ohio State University found that progressive muscular relaxation,
when practised daily, reduced the risk of breast cancer recurrence. In another study at Ohio State, a
month of relaxation exercises boosted natural killer cells in the elderly, giving them a greater
resistance to tumours and to viruses.

Meditation, of course, doesn’t only have to be done at home or a meditation centre. In fact, it can
be quite beneficial to take yourself out of the home environment where you could be surrounded by
chores to do and take yourself somewhere where you can let go of those ‘work’ thoughts. It’s quite
nice to take yourself out somewhere in nature. In Rayleigh there are a few places you might like to
take yourself. If you want an open space you might take yourself to the king George V playing fields
or you could go to the mound near Rayleigh Mill where you will be surrounded by nature. Practice
makes perfect, and you will find out what works best for you. Although nature is more accessible in
the summer it can be nice this time of year to wrap up warm, and breathe in the fresh crisp air. So,
whatever you decide always take time out for yourself and to quieten your mind. Your health
depends on it.
For more information click here

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