If spending time worrying about things that could go wrong is something you’d like to do less of, then Qigong meditation may be of interest to you.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the stomach, spleen and pancreas are grouped together as an organ system that holds the negative emotion of worry and the positive emotions of trust, fairness and compassion. But, for the sake of simplicity, I’m just going to focus on the stomach.
We all know what it’s like to have butterflies in the stomach, but did you know that that feeling is mainly traced down to the millions of nerve cells that are in this organ?
These cells communicate with each other via chemical and electric signaling and they learn from past patterns.
They send and receive messages that reach the nerve cells in your brain, affecting your emotional and physical state. The continual conversation going on between the nerve cells in your brain and the nerve cells in your stomach is influenced by how you have responded to things in the past.
This means that if you’re inclined to worry a lot, as time goes by, that inclination will be strengthened, unless, you create new patterns of behavior through self-calming techniques.
The Six Healing Sounds exercise to release worry (see below) uses smiling, deep breathing, vibratory breathing, visualization, touch and gentle movements to interrupt the dialogue between the stomach and the brain.
Doing it calls a “time-out” on the anxiety-driven chain reaction set off by worrying thoughts and gets the stomach and the brain to calm each other down.
Smiling, for instance, releases serotonin and a very large proportion of that ‘feel-good’ chemical goes to the stomach to help with digestion. Smiling also lowers your blood pressure and reduces cortisol, adrenalin and noradrenaline, so you not only feel happier and more relaxed but your immune system is supported by it too.
And, when you smile and breathe deeply it opens up parts of the brain that are needed for generating ideas and gaining insight into problems, enabling you to think more creatively.
Visualization, another important element of the exercise, involves conjuring up images of natural beauty which make the present moment awe inspiring. It lifts you out of the mundane and lights up your inner-world, making you feel grateful to be alive.
I could go on (and on!) about the benefits of all the different components, but trying it yourself is the best way to see just how effective qigong meditation is. So if you can, I hope you’ll take five minutes or so to do the following: