Strategies for Staying Sane: Meditation: Part 1

Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus

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When Irwin was advised to learn how to use meditation to handle his stress, he scoffed at the idea. “I’ve never felt comfortable in the lotus position, ” he jeered. He also sneered that you have to be from India to benefit from the technique. Too bad. Irwin’s prejudices prevented him from learning an important method that has literally helped millions.

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Meditation involves various methods of mental and physical focusing that often lead to a lowering of tension and anxiety and an increase in contentment and tolerance of frustration. Most meditation techniques are very old and are often connected with Eastern philosophy and the teachings of various Indian gurus.

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Perhaps the most widely known meditation method is “transcendental meditation,” or TM, which is usually associated with the Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Maharishi began teaching the technique throughout India in the 1950’s, ultimately launching the world-wide TM movement.

In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the TM movement swept across the United States, and huge numbers of people flocked to TM teachers to learn how to “unlock their hidden potentials” through the TM method.

Many advocates of TM made rather exaggerated claims about its merits (suggesting it can raise IQs, eliminate the need for sleep, and cure psychological problems) and needlessly surrounded it with secrecy and a compelling mystique. Beyond the unwarranted hype, however, the fact remains that TM and other related methods of meditation do have very real mental and physical health-promoting effects.

Meditation appears to be a natural process, perhaps a “fourth state of consciousness,” quite distinct from waking, sleeping, or dreaming. Meditation does not require any mental or physical control, any drastic changes in lifestyle or belief system, nor does it involve hypnosis or suggestion.

In essence, meditation methods produce a hypometabolic state, during which the activity of the autonomic nervous system is reduced. This leads to a lower heart rate, reduced blood pressure, and more efficient respiration which, in turn, produces a variety of positive psychological effects, such as reduced levels of worry and anxiety and an increase in emotional well-being.

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Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus is a licensed psychologist, Co-founder and Clinical Director of The Lazarus Institute. In addition to his general psychotherapy practice, Dr. Clifford Lazarus specializes in health and neuropsychology.

Dr. Clifford Lazarus received his B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. in psychology from Rutgers University where he was a Henry Rutgers Research Scholar.  Seen here are excerpts from one of his books, The 60-Second Shrink – 101 Strategies For Staying Sane In a Crazy World, a book, he co-authored with his father “One of the ten most influential psychotherapists in America”  Arnold A. Lazarus, Ph.D.  For more details on Dr. Clifford Lazarus visit this link to The Lazarus Institute.  Or visit his page here on friendlysuggestions.com.

Books available at Amazon by Arnold and Clifford Lazarus

Direct links to two highly recommended books by Dr. Clifford Lazarus & Dr. Arnold A. Lazarus:

The 60-Second Shrink: 101 Strategies for Staying Sane in a Crazy World 

Don’t Believe It for a Minute!: Forty Toxic Ideas That Are Driving You Crazy

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