Friday, December 30, 2005

Nature Sounds for Relaxing

For those of you who haven't tried the sleep-aid / relaxation tools on the soundsleeping.com website, this article will describe the tools and give advice on how to use them. For those who have used the tools already, the following tips may help you to use the tools more successfully.

The two tools can be found at: Relaxing Music with Drums.
and Relaxing Music with Vibes.

These tools allow you to mix nature sounds with drumming or vibraphone music to create your own relaxing ambience. You are able to control the volume of each sound, enabling you to fine-tune the music to suit your own unique tastes. I'd like to share with you my method of finding effective mixes.

Turn up each sound on the tool to it's highest volume (100). Very few people will enjoy the result of this mix. Concentrate on the feelings the music evokes, trying to find the sound that is working the least for you. Once you have found that sound, reduce the volume until it no longer bothers you (this may be a volume of 0). Continue doing this until all disquieting sounds have been either removed altogether or reduced to a comforting level.

Your “ultimate mix” may change from day to day, depending on your mood. To help me relax, I usually have thunder as my highest level (100), ocean (65), a light rain (26), and faint wind chimes (13). This mix makes me feel as though I am vacationing, and because of the inclement weather, I have no choice but to stay inside and relax. For me, this creates a very peaceful and calming atmosphere.

Experiment on your own. If you’ve found your own methods of using the tool, please share them with us all.

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Stress - What Causes It?

Stress. It has been described as America's #1 health problem. Hard to imagine something that you can't see, can't feel and can't even measure on any kind of scale as being so dangerous. In this article and the series that follows we're going to cover the causes of stress, how to identify if you are under stress, what it does to the human body and treatments. In spite of the fact that this is the invisible killer, we know a lot about stress and how to keep it under control.


To start with, you can hardly pick up a newspaper, listen to the radio, watch TV or for that matter go out in the street without hearing about stress. It seems that there should be such a big to do about something that has been around since the beginning of time. Is stress more prevalent today? Is it more dangerous? Or is it simply that modern science has finally figured out that stress can kill you? Well, according to modern science, the answer is a big YES.
Unfortunately, stress is a part of life and something that can't be avoided. To list the number of things that cause stress would take a book the size of a dictionary, but for this article we'll list the most common causes of stress.


Probably the most common and severe form of stress is our jobs. Let's face it, in order to live in this world we need to have money to at least buy the absolute necessities, like food and shelter. The only way to get that money is to go out and earn it, and that means getting a job. In the perfect world we would get a job doing something that we absolutely loved to do. But this isn't a perfect world and many times we have to settle for a job simply because it's available. That alone causes stress, doing something we really don't want to do. Add to that a boss who maybe isn't the nicest person in the world, bad working conditions and the realization that if you lose this job or quit you will be out on the street and hungry. If that isn't enough to cause the kind of stress that can kill you then nothing is.


Then there is the stress of taking care of your home. Maybe you have several kids. Maybe they're reaching college age and you're wondering how you're going to afford to get them into college. In the meantime you still have to clean the house, do the laundry, do the food shopping, pay the bills and if you're really unlucky, have to balance that with a job because your spouse doesn't make enough money to support the whole family.


Then there is the stress of everyday life. Dealing with rude people at the supermarket, motor vehicles, neighbors who play music too loud at night and don't let you sleep, and the list goes on and on.


So how exactly to we identify when we under stress, at least enough considerable stress to do us harm? We'll be answering that question in our next article.

Michael RussellYour Independent guide to Stress

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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Enhanced Healing Through Music

Music has always been a very important part of our lives, from childhood to our being an adult. As a part of our experience, music can have both a physiological and psychological affect upon us as human beings. In addition to the influence that it has on our life, music also has many therapeutic qualities and has been utilized in promoting a variety of healings throughout the ages. As we know further, music can be a very powerful medium for altering our state, of changing how we actually feel. More specifically music can be very effective in producing a very deep and healing state of relaxation and in the process, reduce stress and even promote sleep. Music can also be used to assist one in improving his or her self-esteem and furthering an individual’s personal growth and development, transformation.

As a therapist I have always used relaxation music in my clinical and counseling work with others. I have found that when I use relaxation music during both an individual and group counseling session that my clients do more productive work, are able to focus more effectively on themselves and the issues that they are becoming present to because they are more relaxed, focused and centered and as a result, better able to concentrate. Being relaxed during the counseling process always tends to generate more productive results for the individual being counseled. Relaxation music can be a very effective and powerful aid for assisting a client to reach resolution with respect to that which he or she is working on with their counselor.

The relaxation music that I now utilize during both my individual and group counseling sessions with others is that which is found on the CD, Prescription for Stress. The musical patterns that are on Prescription for Stress were originally developed for my work in counseling and especially in my hypnotic work with clients. In addition to its application for a traditional counseling session, the musical patterns on Prescription for Stress are excellent for assisting in the induction of a hypnotic state in that this music helps the client enter into a very relaxed state of hypnosis more easily. In the past I have used a variety of other musical compositions in my counseling practice but was very dissatisfied with the results that my clients and I achieved with them. As a musician I eventually decided to compose my own music and have found the results of my compositions with the clients that I work with to be excellent. After using the relaxation music that I composed for my work in counseling, I also discovered that the music had another application as well, that is, to assist anyone in achieving a very deep state of relaxation and as a result to effectively and efficiently reduce the stress in their lives

Managing our stress is very important if not crucial to our overall well being. Prescription for Stress is an audio product specially designed to assist an individual in managing and reducing the stress that he or she may experience on a daily basis. This audio health care product utilizes two components to assist an individual in effectively experiencing a very deep state of relaxation, reducing stress and also in promoting a peaceful, restful sleep. The first component is the musical pattern itself. I have found that musical compositions that are harmonically slow, repetitious, with sustained voices, which are rhythmically, random in tempo assists an individual in experiencing a very deep state of relaxation. The second component of this product is the binaural audio tones that are interwoven into the music. The binaural tones, through a process referred to as entrainment or frequency following, gently guides or directs the mind/body to generate more of the targeted frequency of brain wave activity whether it be for either profound relaxation or sleep. The first CD contains binaural audio tones within the alpha and theta range, which induces a very relaxed state. The second CD contains binaural audio tones within the delta range and thereby assists one in experiencing a peaceful, restful sleep. Anyone can experience the technology and effect of Prescription for Stress by merely playing it on their home audio system. Use of this powerful relaxation music can be accomplished by listening to it with ones stereo speakers or with headphones, the latter being the more effective way to listen to his product. Listening to Prescription for Stress with headphones allows one to experience the full effect of the technology, the uniquely designed music compositions combined with the binaural audio tones and thereby gain a deeper state of relaxation. Those who practice meditation, self-hypnosis or yoga will find that their practice is even more enhanced while listening to this audio product. I now also recommend that mental health and addiction counselors use this product when conducting counseling sessions with their clients whether it is in a group or individual setting. While many counselors are not present to the power of this type of relaxation music when utilized within a counseling context, those who do employ it find that their sessions with a client to be more effective and productive due to the reason stated above.

Self-esteem is also extremely essential to ones well-being. Enhancing My Self Esteem is an audio health care product uniquely designed to assist an individual in improving his or her self esteem, supporting the development of a positive self-image and promoting the individual’s personal growth and development, transformation. Enhancing My Self Esteem will assist a person in changing negative and possibly even destructive thought patterns to positive and empowering beliefs about him or herself. Utilizing the same combination of original musical compositions and binaural audio tones as Prescription for Stress, Enhancing My Self Esteem is an audio health care product that creates a very profound and relaxing auditory environment, a space for the individual to become open or highly suggestible to a series of very positive affirmations. Within a conversation of transformation, the thoughts that we think and say or commit to word are very important, very powerful for improving our self-image and transforming our lives. Enhancing My Self Esteem is an audio product that creates a very relaxed auditory environment for the person to listen to, begin to practice and eventually accept 50 positive affirmations, affirmations designed to improve a person’s self esteem and begin the process of transforming his or her life.

To fully experience the beneficial effects of Enhancing My Self Esteem it is recommended that a person listen to both tracks once a day for a minimum of 90 days. The first track has been designed for use with your stereo system’s speakers and should be listened to during the morning or afternoon hours. Track One provides a person the opportunity to consciously practice all of the positive affirmations, to commit them to word, to make them real. Track two has been developed exclusively for use with headphones and should be listened to during the evening hours preferably before the individual goes to sleep. The second track has been developed for a person’s unconscious mind and will be that which the individual takes into his or her dream state. Each listening should be done when the individual will be completely free of any distractions. After the first ninety days of use, it is recommended that the person listen to both tracks two times a week for another 90 days to further enhance the beneficial effects.

In addition to anyone wanting to improve their self esteem and further his or her personal transformation, I also recommend that mental health and addiction-oriented counselors utilize Enhancing My Self Esteem with their clients. Most of the clients that mental health and addiction counselors see in treatment in either an individual or group setting have an impaired self-image and are continuously experiencing extremely low self-esteem. For whatever reason the clients that are seen by mental health and addiction oriented counselors tend to have many negative thoughts and beliefs about themselves, many negative affirmations about who they think they are. Assigning Enhancing My Self Esteem as homework for a client to listen to outside of the counseling session allows that client the opportunity to begin a process of improving his or her self-esteem and as a result to be more productive within the counseling session.

I am currently using Enhancing My Self Esteem with all of the clients at the Holistic Addiction Treatment Program, a residential and outpatient program in North Miami Beach, Florida. The Holistic Addiction Treatment Program is an agency that treats individuals who suffer from alcohol or drug dependency. The vast majority of clients of this agency experience chronic relapse. Within Transformational Counseling, Enhancing My Self Esteem is assigned as homework for all of my clients, as a way of continuing the work that is presented in my individual and group counseling sessions, as a way of transforming the thoughts and words of the client. The prescription for use of this product is the same as mentioned above. After the assignment is made I always ask the clients about their use of this product, about what they are becoming present to as they listen. In addition to assisting the individual in eventually feeling better about themselves and increasing their motivation with their recovery, I have also found that Enhancing My Self Esteem tends to elicit important thoughts and memories from the past, thoughts and memories that are then processed in the preceding counseling session.

Enhancing My Self Esteem is a very powerful, healing product. With continued use, clients tend to always report that they feel better about themselves and are more motivated, especially with respect to their recovery. When utilized in conjunction with Transformational Counseling, the effects can be extraordinary for a client. As Transformational Counseling is about an individual altering his or her very thoughts and words, that which has defined their very being in the past, Enhancing My Self Esteem is a product that allows a client to powerfully practice their transformation on a daily basis. While the basis or foundation for the actual transformation is in an individual’s language, the thoughts that he or she thinks and the very words that they say, the environment from which this takes place is one that is initially created through the power of music.

Harry Henshaw is in private practice in North Miami Beach, Florida. www.enhancedhealing.com

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

SoundSleeping.com Update

SoundSleeping.com has made a number of of changes in the last week. The site is now offering free relaxing mp3 recordings. The music on these recordings is all composed and performed by the webmaster, Mark Altman. All tracks are free to download from the home page of the site, and each month a new recording will be made available.

In response to viewer's feedback, some of the sounds on the SoundSleeping Soundboard have been changed. The old metal wind chimes have been replaced with wooden woodchimes and the Rain sound has been updated.

I hope you enjoy these recent improvements to the site.

If you have any comments or suggestions for this website, please email me at info@soundsleeping.com or leave a post in the discussion.

Thank you,
Mark Altman
www.soundsleeping.com

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Recognizing A Baby's Sleep Patterns

It's true, the number one milestone most parents seek look forward to is the day (or night) their newborn starts sleeping through the night.

You don't have to suffer endless night after night without sleep however, even with a newborn.
Baby's actually follow certain sleep patterns, and if you get to know what these patterns are you'll start sleeping more soundly and better the times you do have a chance to get some sleep!
Baby's don't actually sleep at the same intervals adults do. They actually sleep very unsoundly. Their sleep is full of interruptions because their sleep cycle is not yet fully developed, thus they wake more often during the night.

Generally grown adults spend about six hours every night in deep sleep. This is the really restful phase of sleep you require to feel fresh and new in the morning. Usually time permitting another 2 hours are spent in light sleep.

Baby's generally have twice as many light sleep cycles as adults though, and their deep sleep cycles are much shorter than adults.

Baby's also have to LEARN how to fall back asleep, it is not a skill that comes naturally. Whereas adults might zonk out the moment their head hits the pillow, a baby will actually lie there looking for something to soothe them back to sleep.

Newborn's actually sleep a lot, approximately 16 to 18 hours every day, but they don't enjoy this sleep all at the same time. Most baby's will sleep in increments of only two to three hour intervals. Sometimes their internal sleep clocks are also confused from being in the womb, and they mistakenly believe that night is day and day is night. This means that they'll spend more of their time sleeping during the day than at night!

Here's the good news, your baby's sleep patterns will eventually changes, usually by about the time they are 12 weeks old. They will start sleeping about 14-16 hours per day, and many of those hours will be spent sleeping at night.

What can you do in the meantime to feel more refreshed?

- Sleep when your baby sleeps. No matter what time of day, take a nap whenever your baby does catch some zzz's.
- Open the blinds and keep things bright during the day. This will help change your baby's clock around so they spend more of their time sleeping at night and not during the day.
- Sleep near your baby at night. This will help comfort them and allow them to sleep more easily. There are many co-sleeper products available that allow you to sleep with your baby safely at night. Consider trying one until your baby is about 12 weeks old, when they are old enough to start sleeping on their own.
- You can teach your baby to be a good sleeper with a little time and a little patience, armed with a little bit of knowledge about their sleep patterns!

About the Author
Adwina Jackson is a wife and mother of a young boy. She's also the editor of Inspiring Parenting, an online source of valuable parenting information. Please visit Inspiring Parenting for helpful and free parenting info.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Mindfulness Exercises

Mindfulness exercises let you "tune in" to yourself. Distractions are let go, and your brain power is increased. The exercises help you think more clearly and concentrate better. They also don't have to be difficult.

Easy Mindfulness Exercises

Anytime you are stressed, stop, and carefully watch yourself to identify what's bothering you. You may be expecting something bad to happen, or perhaps there is an argument going on just below the surface of your consciousness, or you're worried about something, or in pain in some way. Notice everything you can.

This self-observation is crucial. It will get easier as you do it more. You'll start to realize just how many things are going on in your own head, distracting you.
Now deal with these mind-irritants. Make the phone call that's on your mind, take an aspirin, apologise to whomever you were fighting with. You can write things on tomorrow's to-do list, to get them off your mind. And if there's nothing you can do right now, tell yourself that. When you do this exercise, you'll feel less stressed, and more able to concentrate on the tasks at hand. You can have more brain power today.

A Better Mindfulness Exercise

Sit down, relax and breath deeply through your nose. Let your eyes close and be aware of your breath going in and out. Move your attention to your body, one part at a time, noting sensations of cold, hot, tight, sore and anything else you identify. After a few minutes, start listening to sounds in the room, without thinking about them. Just listen, while still maintaining an awareness of your body and your breath.

In ten minutes or so, or when it feels right, open your eyes and look around as if you are seeing for the first time. Let your eyes rest on an object for half a minute, examining it without talking about it in your mind. Then move to another object, and another, while still maintaining an awareness of your body, your breathing, and any sounds. Just stay in this state of mindfulness for a few minutes, until you are ready to get up.

When you are aware of your body, breath and immediate enviroment, you are more fully "in the moment." Your mind is in a receptive state, with fewer mental distractions that can prevent clear thinking. An exercise like this before important mental tasks will give you greater brain power, specifically more focus and concentration. Today is a good day to learn something new. Why not try one of these mindfulness exercises?

Steve Gillman has been studying brainpower and related topics for years. For more on How To Increase Brain Power, and to get the Brain Power Newsletter and other free gifts, visit: http://www.IncreaseBrainPower.com.

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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Yoga For Relaxation

People practice yoga for a variety of reasons. Many yoga practitioners are interested in the health benefits that come from regularly performing the routines. Others want a state of harmony between inner and outer self. Still others practice yoga primarily to relax.

A State of Harmony

The profound relaxation available through yoga includes a state of clarity of mind, and of harmony with and understanding of the world. If such a state of relaxation is your goal, you will need to use most of the yoga techniques available. Pay special attention to breathing, diet, correctly performing the exercises, and meditating.

The deep, prolonged breath one learns through yoga helps the brain stay oxygenated, which contributes to mental clarity. Diet influences the structure of our body as well as our brain. The exercises (called asanas and pranayamas) were developed thousands of years ago to produce beneficial results.

To have the desired effects, yoga routines must be carried out correctly. Poor yoga practices will likely produce disappointing results.

The Keys

Your attitude and your focus are the keys to making your yoga experience deeply satisfying. Entering the profound stage of relaxation and synchronization between your inner and your outer self can occur only with appropriate action.

Relaxation is actually a necessary part of every yoga routine. The body needs to relax after practicing the exercises, especially the more demanding ones. Certain asanas require an unusual positioning of the body, which can result in discomfort if the relaxation stage is omitted.

Bridging Worlds

Yoga connects the spiritual and material worlds, and relaxation is the bridge that brings the practitioner back fully to the present reality.

As a general rule, during relaxation exercises, you will lie down comfortably and meditate. Your yoga trainer will suggest ways for you to gradually move and position your feet and arms. Yoga routines may have different relaxation exercises, but they all have the purpose of cushioning the shock of contact with the surrounding reality. Relaxation also helps to maintain a certain degree of peacefulness created by the routine.

But talk is never enough. The only way to be sure of the relaxation benefits of yoga is to try it yourself. The only thing you have to lose is your tension.

About the Author: Visit yoga4u-now.com to learn more. Ron King is a full-time researcher, writer, and web developer. Copyright 2005 Ron King.

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