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Tracey Maclay

Early childhood teacher, yoga teacher for children and adults, therapeutic massage therapist

Bachelor of Education (Preservice Early Childhood), Bachelor of Early Childhood. Assoc. Diploma of Social Science (Child Studies), Cert. 1V in Training and Assessment TAE40110, Angel Yoga for Kids Level 1 Teacher Training, Kids Yoga Certificate (Early Childhood, Primary & Teens) Being Yoga, Certificate of Level 1 Yoga Teacher, Currently studying Cert. 1V Massage

WELLBEING

How Mindfulness Can Heal the Body

By Tracey Maclay

Posted  July 5 2017 | 0 Shares

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Do you have disturbed sleep each night? Are you often irritable? Do you lack the ability to concentrate? Mindfulness can help.

In order to cope, some of us try to keep ourselves busy all the time and then wonder why this doesn’t help. These distractions won’t resolve these behaviours long-term, either.

A recent study has found that meditation and yoga can reverse DNA reactions which cause stress, which can lead to ill health and depression. Published in the journal “Frontiers of Immunology,” the study analysed how the behaviour of our genes is affected by different mind-body interventions (aka MBIs), including mindfulness and yoga.

The study followed 846 participants over 11 years and found the DNA changes benefited participants’ mental and physical health. These activities can reverse the effects stress can have on our bodies at a molecule level. This means less chance of diseases such as heart disease or cancer.

Yoga participants should already be aware of how continued practice can bring stress relief, but what we didn’t know was how deeply our bodies’ physical make up was affected and how mindful activity such as yoga and Tai Chi prevented psychiatric and medical problems at a cellular level.

Furthermore, you may have asked yourself, why learn mindfulness yourself and pass this onto your children? It’s because studies have shown that children have better emotional resilience, relationships, and more happiness in work and home life, if we parent our children incorporating mindfulness into their lives and teach them ways to be more mindful. It we start with ourselves as parents, we can pass this more easily onto others.

Read: New baby? Here’s how to keep up with your yoga practice

The more we practice, the more we re-train our brain and nervous system, which has positive long term effects.

Long-term anxiety can lead to depression with loss of memory, concentration, creativity, and general irritability. Sleep deprivation and hormonal changes can also change our way of thinking and can turn negative.

Here are some tips to begin your mind/ body transformation:

Exercise 1: Daily yoga stretches and body scans can help you gain control again of your mind and slow down our entire system. Do a body scan: where do you feel tense or strained? Then observe your thoughts and your behaviour from an outside perspective, including your physical body.

Put a label on an emotion or feeling you have if someone irritates you. It starts with observing the feelings and thoughts you tell yourself. Allow time to look at the emotions with more curiosity, rather than just reacting. Reacting in a certain way to distress is often hard-wired through our development as humans and due to our early learning environment, where our parents role modelled coping mechanisms that are hard wired into our own brains and can be repeated easily by us as adults.

Exercise 2: Again, do a body scan meditation. Breathe more deeply and send this breath to spaces in your body that are tense.

Exercise 3: Role model being calm and balanced, rather than behaving in an easily upset fashion in front of your children or in a non- assertive way. This will in turn affect your child’s future relationships. When you get it wrong, admit it, apologise if necessary, and then move on.

Exercise 4: Slowing your breath down to slow your mind.

Faster breathing = more stress

Slower breathing = more calm

Greater nerve cell connections in the brain are created with breathing exercises, which in turn supports greater emotional resilience, so connect to your breath and you will stress less.

Is there any muscle tension or discomfort in the body now, following your slowing down of your breathing and breathing more deeply?

Exercise 5: Write a list of what irritates you and then note where you feel this in your body.

Stress is from increased stress hormones, like cortisol that builds up in the amygdala, which is located deep within the temporal lobes of your brain, away from the front ‘thinking’ part of the brain (the frontal lobe).

Feelings should just rise and fall — we don’t have to get stuck in the story of them and become more and more irritable. Negative memories of situations, which seem similar to our current stressors take over when we are irritated by something or someone and automatic responses arise.

Exercise 6: Try a short meditation practice. There are plenty of free and paid apps you can use.

Stories based on experiences from the past get triggered in current situations and we can react automatically without knowing we are repeating behaviours.

This is called ‘reactivity,’ and you may want to recite to yourself ‘reactivity go away.’ Be with the experience and observe what is happening — not for problem-solving or squashing down any feelings or trying to suppress them in anyway, but to just become aware of them.

Take your mindfulness from yoga practice into your everyday life. We reinforce negative reactive thought processes when we don’t notice them when they arise and instead try letting them rise and fall consciously.

Exercise 7: Focus on what is working in your body and in your life. Spend time recalling good times in your life and places you have felt happy in. Draw on these when you start to feel stressed.

Read: 5 things your child needs to know to be emotionally strong

Exercise 8: Reflection: What are the particular situations that you can predict that cause you to have reactions in your body and negative thought processes? Restlessness, boredom, frustration? Feel them then let them go.

Exercise 9: Going deeper using self-enquiry. Ask further questions during your mindfulness session:

1. Is it true? Whatever you are telling yourself about a situation, is it actually absolute? For example, are their no doubts at all in your mind whether what you are telling yourself is true?

2. How do I react when I think that thought? Are your thoughts determined, resentful? Is your body tense?

3. Who would I be without this thought? Would you feel calmer if you just let the thought go or were willing to take another perspective of the thought itself?

4. Now turn the thought around. Is it possible to write down an alternative view which would cause you less stress in your life? Are their other creative solutions? Are you willing to let go of some thoughts which may be influenced by your past and up-bringing?

Exercise 10: Now, list what you are grateful for. Write down 3 good things at the end of each day for a week and then each week continue the practice.

Why were they good things? Draw upon these reflections whenever you feel a negative reaction arising within you. Good luck and enjoy healing your body from the inside out.

References: https:www.sciencedaily.com,17/06/2017 (assessed 4/07/17).

Dr. Dianne Korvaar Mindfulness for mums and dads.

Byron Katie, Self enquiry. ‘The work’.

http://facebook.com/Yogamotorskills

http://Yogamotorskills.com

Tracey will be available for a chat about her programs for adults and children on mindfulness and yoga at the Raising Happy Kids Expo at Southport Community Centre on the Gold Coast on the 9th and 10th of Sept. see www.raisinghappykidsexpo.com.au

Image from the New York Times.

Reviewed by Tracey Maclay 5 July 2017 references
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This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.

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How Mindfulness Can Heal the Body

WELLBEING

By Tracey Maclay

Do you have disturbed sleep each night? Are you often irritable? Do you lack the ability to concentrate? Mindfulness can help.

In order to cope, some of us try to keep ourselves busy all the time and then wonder why this doesn’t help. These distractions won’t resolve these behaviours long-term, either.

A recent study has found that meditation and yoga can reverse DNA reactions which cause stress, which can lead to ill health and depression. Published in the journal “Frontiers of Immunology,” the study analysed how the behaviour of our genes is affected by different mind-body interventions (aka MBIs), including mindfulness and yoga.

The study followed 846 participants over 11 years and found the DNA changes benefited participants’ mental and physical health. These activities can reverse the effects stress can have on our bodies at a molecule level. This means less chance of diseases such as heart disease or cancer.

Yoga participants should already be aware of how continued practice can bring stress relief, but what we didn’t know was how deeply our bodies’ physical make up was affected and how mindful activity such as yoga and Tai Chi prevented psychiatric and medical problems at a cellular level.

Furthermore, you may have asked yourself, why learn mindfulness yourself and pass this onto your children? It’s because studies have shown that children have better emotional resilience, relationships, and more happiness in work and home life, if we parent our children incorporating mindfulness into their lives and teach them ways to be more mindful. It we start with ourselves as parents, we can pass this more easily onto others.

Read: New baby? Here’s how to keep up with your yoga practice

The more we practice, the more we re-train our brain and nervous system, which has positive long term effects.

Long-term anxiety can lead to depression with loss of memory, concentration, creativity, and general irritability. Sleep deprivation and hormonal changes can also change our way of thinking and can turn negative.

Here are some tips to begin your mind/ body transformation:

Exercise 1: Daily yoga stretches and body scans can help you gain control again of your mind and slow down our entire system. Do a body scan: where do you feel tense or strained? Then observe your thoughts and your behaviour from an outside perspective, including your physical body.

Put a label on an emotion or feeling you have if someone irritates you. It starts with observing the feelings and thoughts you tell yourself. Allow time to look at the emotions with more curiosity, rather than just reacting. Reacting in a certain way to distress is often hard-wired through our development as humans and due to our early learning environment, where our parents role modelled coping mechanisms that are hard wired into our own brains and can be repeated easily by us as adults.

Exercise 2: Again, do a body scan meditation. Breathe more deeply and send this breath to spaces in your body that are tense.

Exercise 3: Role model being calm and balanced, rather than behaving in an easily upset fashion in front of your children or in a non- assertive way. This will in turn affect your child’s future relationships. When you get it wrong, admit it, apologise if necessary, and then move on.

Exercise 4: Slowing your breath down to slow your mind.

Faster breathing = more stress

Slower breathing = more calm

Greater nerve cell connections in the brain are created with breathing exercises, which in turn supports greater emotional resilience, so connect to your breath and you will stress less.

Is there any muscle tension or discomfort in the body now, following your slowing down of your breathing and breathing more deeply?

Exercise 5: Write a list of what irritates you and then note where you feel this in your body.

Stress is from increased stress hormones, like cortisol that builds up in the amygdala, which is located deep within the temporal lobes of your brain, away from the front ‘thinking’ part of the brain (the frontal lobe).

Feelings should just rise and fall — we don’t have to get stuck in the story of them and become more and more irritable. Negative memories of situations, which seem similar to our current stressors take over when we are irritated by something or someone and automatic responses arise.

Exercise 6: Try a short meditation practice. There are plenty of free and paid apps you can use.

Stories based on experiences from the past get triggered in current situations and we can react automatically without knowing we are repeating behaviours.

This is called ‘reactivity,’ and you may want to recite to yourself ‘reactivity go away.’ Be with the experience and observe what is happening — not for problem-solving or squashing down any feelings or trying to suppress them in anyway, but to just become aware of them.

Take your mindfulness from yoga practice into your everyday life. We reinforce negative reactive thought processes when we don’t notice them when they arise and instead try letting them rise and fall consciously.

Exercise 7: Focus on what is working in your body and in your life. Spend time recalling good times in your life and places you have felt happy in. Draw on these when you start to feel stressed.

Read: 5 things your child needs to know to be emotionally strong

Exercise 8: Reflection: What are the particular situations that you can predict that cause you to have reactions in your body and negative thought processes? Restlessness, boredom, frustration? Feel them then let them go.

Exercise 9: Going deeper using self-enquiry. Ask further questions during your mindfulness session:

1. Is it true? Whatever you are telling yourself about a situation, is it actually absolute? For example, are their no doubts at all in your mind whether what you are telling yourself is true?

2. How do I react when I think that thought? Are your thoughts determined, resentful? Is your body tense?

3. Who would I be without this thought? Would you feel calmer if you just let the thought go or were willing to take another perspective of the thought itself?

4. Now turn the thought around. Is it possible to write down an alternative view which would cause you less stress in your life? Are their other creative solutions? Are you willing to let go of some thoughts which may be influenced by your past and up-bringing?

Exercise 10: Now, list what you are grateful for. Write down 3 good things at the end of each day for a week and then each week continue the practice.

Why were they good things? Draw upon these reflections whenever you feel a negative reaction arising within you. Good luck and enjoy healing your body from the inside out.

References: https:www.sciencedaily.com,17/06/2017 (assessed 4/07/17).

Dr. Dianne Korvaar Mindfulness for mums and dads.

Byron Katie, Self enquiry. ‘The work’.

http://facebook.com/Yogamotorskills

http://Yogamotorskills.com

Tracey will be available for a chat about her programs for adults and children on mindfulness and yoga at the Raising Happy Kids Expo at Southport Community Centre on the Gold Coast on the 9th and 10th of Sept. see www.raisinghappykidsexpo.com.au

Image from the New York Times.

Reviewed by Lisa Kelly 5 July 2017
references
  • current version

  • PEER REVIEWER

  • Doc id

  • next review

This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.

make a comment

0 comments

more articles by Tracey Maclay

view more

latest articles

view more

MEET THE EXPERTS

view more