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Page 12-Medication or Meditation Thomas Hushen

Page 12-Medication or Meditation Thomas Hushen

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Published by: Empowermentmag Sacramento on Oct 08, 2011
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Medication or Meditation?

by Thomas Hushen, Service Coordinator-HRC
The answer is BOTH! While prescription drugs continue to be the most common form of relieving mental health “symptoms,” they do not actually contribute to the healing of the “cause” of these symptoms. Finding the right combination of medication to manage our mental health symptoms can be a challenge, one that I am sure we all have experienced. Every day we are faced with external life stressors. Sometimes it seems that these stressors all happen at once, only to leave us with racing thoughts, anxiety and increased depression, and most of all a feeling of being overwhelmed! Those of us who are mental health consumers tend to easily get overwhelmed due to the nature of our human condition and mental illness. On top of our own life stressors, there is always something negative being broadcast on radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet. All this negativity creates and feeds ANTS (Automatic Negative Thoughts). There are many great benefits of meditation. Meditation is a time of silence, a time to clear the mind from all of our problems. It does not make the problems go away; it simply allows us to be better equipped to deal with them. To get significant benefits from meditation, one should meditate for 15-20 minutes at the same time. Meditating two times a day—morning and evening—is the best way to begin. I have listed below some of the surprising benefits of this practice that you may not know about!

1. Reduced Heart Rate: Normalization of High Blood Pressure
Heart rates and high blood pressures have been found to fall during meditation. The effect tends to persist even when not meditating (in those who have been practicing meditation daily).

Thomas Hushen is a
Service Coordinator and SacPort Instructor at Human Resource Consultants (HRC)

2. Perfect Rest: Physical Rest and Relaxation

rather than without for peace and comfort. Meditation tends to reduce the need for us to self-medicate, and allows us to see the world differently with a clear mind.
6. Relief from Insomnia

The state of consciousness attained during meditation is considered to be the deepest possible rest and relaxation there is for both body and mind. Experiments have shown The good news is that there are coping that the overall average breathing reduction skills that help us manage daily stress, rate shows a deeper state of rest and peace depression, and anxiety. One great cop- of mind during meditation. The meditator is able to maintain this perfect physical rest/ ing tool for “life” is meditation! Please relaxation even in activities after meditation. understand that I believe that medicaYou become calmer and more relaxed, and tion is a gift from the universe, and in can experience the activities you participate many instances, it allows us to have a in with more clarity and focus.

better quality of life.

Preventative medicine is progressing, and medical doctors and psychiatrists everywhere are embracing alternative practices as a way of healing the body and preventing disease. Many of these practices help us to manage our “persistent” mental health symptoms. I do take prescription medications for conditions that require it, but it alone sometimes is just not enough to help me deal with life and the challenges it brings. Meditation is a valuable practice that helps create a balance of body and mind and brings harmony to one’s entire “being.”

3. Reduced Stress
Stress, as we all know, is a psychologically agitated state which is the opposite of rest and relaxation. Cortisol (a hormone produced by the body) is released in response to stress. Cortisol levels are high when a person is highly anxious or under stress. Physiologists have found that during and after meditation there are lower levels of cortisol produced by the body, which means less anxiety!

Deep-rooted stress and anxiety can be one reason for chronic insomnia. As habitual meditation and breath work increases, it dissolves deep-seated stresses and the sleeping cycle naturally improves. I encourage you to take a class to learn the basics of meditation and breath work. I facilitate Sacramento PsychoSocial Options for Rehabilitation Training (SacPort) groups at HRC and incorporate this practice in every group.

Many group members are “amazed” at the level of deep peace they are able to feel after meditation. They report that they are able to absorb the material and 4. Increased Creativity As you practice daily meditation, you will find support from others more easily as a result! In conjunction with meditation, your level of creativity is enhanced. Once breathing exercises will help to regulate there is balance of our mind and body, we your breathing by simply inhaling through have replaced negative perceptions with your nose and exhaling through your positive ones and are now ready to experimouth. ence an increase in creativity. Creativity in Here is what meditation WILL do for you itself is another great coping skill! without ANY adverse side effects! Breathe in calmness and peace, and 5. Reduced Need to Self-Medicate exhale the negative thoughts that are The Benefits of Meditation racing through your mind! Is it really that Some people resort to using alcohol and As a mental health consumer myself, simple? Yes! You will find that even after drugs more when they experience depresand working with clients at Human Re- sion and anxiety, trying to escape the trouyour first experience in meditation and source Consultants (HRC), I have seen bles and symptoms they have by selfdeep breathing exercises, you will truly firsthand the results of this powerful medicating. When we get overloaded, it’s “feel” the difference! practice. time to look within

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