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How can the Silva Method training help manage and reduce stress

Posted by Irene Joseph
February 20, 2015

Learning to relax will help you save your life.

First of all what is Stress and how many kinds of Stress are there?

Stress is when a stimulus, ie. a person, situation or event, is perceived as a threat. Our emotional brain then prepares us for the fight or flight response, and cortisol and adrenaline shoots through our body preparing and energising us to either fight or flee from what we'll call the Dinosaur.

There is acute stress, which is short lived, and chronic stress which is prolonged stress.

Acute stress affects the majority of people, such as someone cutting you off in traffic and you swerving to avoid them, or you are informed that the boss wants to see you immediately, or your baby or a friend is suddenly unwell. Once the event is over, the brain sends a message that all is well and the body returns to a state of homeostasis.

Prolonged stress is when the anxiety about an event that has happened or is about to happen continues for days or weeks or sometimes years. This is when stress begins to affect our health adversely. And the result is anger, frustration, depression, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, migraines,  and increased chances of a stroke or heart attack. All stress be it mental, physical or psychological leads to emotional stress or distress. This in turn leads to impairment of the physical, mental and emotional faculties evoking helplessness, a state of powerlessness, anxiety and depression.

Now take an imaginary scenario : a cat spies a bird and stealthily approaches and finally lunges with all its power. At the last moment the bird quickly flies up and alights on the branch of the tree nearby. The cat went through a phase of acute stress as did the bird. Now that the event is over the cat goes back to licking its paws and stretches out peacefully. The bird meanwhile is busy chirping and looking for twigs or food.

Humans unlike animals and other creatures are the only beings who go over the stressful event over and over again, little realising that the Mind cannot differentiate between an imagined event or a real one.  And if the event being imagined is stressful then the stress hormones will continue to be released!! Thus creating even more stress, leading to further mental and physical dis-ease.

This is where the SILVA Method training comes in. The Silva Method program of mindful meditation is the original Stress Reduction program created in 1966. The Silva Method first teaches one how to physically relax. This is done through a series of guided meditations of progressive relaxation. Here the participant experiences first hand how the mind guides the body, for it is interconnected and how it feels to be truly relaxed. In relaxing the body, the stress hormones are released,  and the feel good chemicals are activated.

Next the student learns how to relax their mind. This is important to know, because when we are stressed not enough oxygen is reaching the brain, and the mind cannot think clearly.This is easily seen when students who have studied and prepared for their exams, yet have a fear of examinations, enter the exam hall. Suddenly they have what is known as brain freeze, and the answers which they knew are now not forthcoming and the more they try, the harder it becomes. Once they leave the hall, the answers come flooding back, because now they are relaxed.

As William James, the father of American psychology stated : "The greatest weapon we have against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another."

The Silva Method will help you become aware of the thoughts you are thinking- more specifically, the negative thoughts which are creating the stress. It is the thought you are thinking that is creating the feeling, so positive thoughts create positive feelings and stressful/anxious thoughts create stress and anxiety. Remember, you cannot be relaxed and stressed at the same time!

Now you realise that Stress can be managed and reduced simply by  your choosing to think differently.

You will be now be able to re-programme your thinking by deleting the thoughts that are creating the stress and create a new way of thinking by consciously choosing positive and happy thoughts. This will lead to feelings of positivity and happiness, clarity and focus. The Silva Method will give you the tools to choose the thoughts, attitudes and beliefs which will create a healthy, happy life for you.

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Irene Joseph is the Certified Instructor for the New Zealand region. Contact Irene for further info and to register for a seminar.
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