IPsyc: Question 24 - If you practice one of the conscious-altering techniques we discussed, what does it do for you?
The power of thought is an incredible force that controls our actions and emotions. Often these thoughts can lead to distractions, suffering, and stress. However, many forms of meditation ease and diminish the negative ideas that humans face. Meditation has been practiced since ancient times and has a variety of different approaches and methods, but I will focus on what has helped me the most in my life, Zen meditation. As an individual who battles with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive thoughts daily, conscious-altering methods such as meditation have allowed me to escape my compulsive and frightening thoughts and relax my body…show more content… It started out with the constant fear of not being safe; I would have to check that the apartment door was locked at least five times before going to sleep. This fear has progressed to more routines that take up a lot more time. When my anxiety was at its highest, my obsessive checking routines would take up more than an hour of my day. It would consist of looking outside my window a certain amount of times, brushing my teeth in a specific pattern and a lot of other small things that seem insignificant to the ordinary observer. Most of my routine was done before going to bed, and if I did not do it, I would not sleep because my mind would be full of running thoughts that are frightening. As I grew up, my obsessive routines increased in length through negative reinforcement, until I started…show more content… Using the open monitoring concept of meditation, I become disconnected from my feelings and thoughts. This is a process of expanding attention and growing detached from the ongoing experience (author, pg 212). Meditation allows me to reduce rumination and guide my thoughts towards a more positive direction. The process enables me to evaluate the thoughts and understand that some are insignificant, which means there is no reason to obsess over them. I wake up and spend twenty minutes meditating, and this allows me to disconnect my negative thoughts and will enable me to focus on an upcoming day. If my thoughts are still prevalent, then I can not concentrate on what is being taught or said to me because I am in a spiral of negative what-ifs. Studies show that physical relaxation occurs during meditative periods. Oxygen consumption, heart rate, and carbon dioxide elimination all decrease in response to meditation (author, pg 212). Meditation allows an individual to block distraction and improve cognitive processes (Tsuji, 2017, 47). All these factors contribute to lowering stress levels in my body and allowing me to stay calm and concentrated on the right things instead of panicking. Overall, after beginning to meditate, I know how to detach myself from dark thoughts and gain more control over my