Managing stress and addiction through Meditation and Qigong

Reasons to Address Your Stress with its Related Drug Addiction by Acharya Ricardo B Serrano

"It's not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it." -- Hans Seyle

Stressed OutThe stress hormones that trigger the fight-or-flight reaction caused by persistent stress over the long term pose serious threats to your health which is why you must address your stress.

Elevated levels of stress hormone cortisol lead to inflammatory conditions such as atherosclerosis. Cortisol suppresses the immune system and also lead to flare-ups of existing conditions such as ulcers, asthma, cold sores or eczema. Elevated levels of stress hormone adrenaline elevate both blood pressure and heart rate increasing your risk of heart attack or stroke.

The chemical changes created by stress can alter brain function and trigger anxiety and depression that produce chronic insomnia, obesity and substance abuse; affects cognitive function such as short and long term memory; and reduces sex drive leading to impotence and lower fertility.

Symptoms of persistent stress include anxious or negative thoughts or feelings, loss of concentration, frequent illness, changes in diet or sleep patterns, nervousness, chest pain, irritability, procastination, and feelings of isolation.

Evidence for the Link Between Stress and Addiction:

"Every one of us has things in life that really bother us," NIDA's Dr. Kreek says. "Most people are able to cope with these hassles, but some people find it very difficult to do so. In trying opiate drugs for the first time, some people who have difficulty coping with stressful emotions might find that these drugs blunt those emotions, an effect that they might find rewarding. This could be a major factor in their continued use of these drugs."

When the effects of opiate drugs wear off, the addict goes into withdrawal. Research has shown that, during withdrawal, the level of stress hormones rises in the blood and stress-related neurotransmitters are released in the brain. These chemicals trigger emotions that the addict perceives as highly unpleasant, which drive the addict to take more opiate drugs.

This theory about stress and drug addiction is derived in part from studies conducted by Dr. Kreek's group in which addicts were given a test agent called metyrapone. This chemical blocks the production of cortisol in the adrenal glands, which lowers the level of cortisol in the blood. As a result, cortisol is no longer inhibiting the release of CRF from the brain and ACTH from the pituitary. The brain and pituitary then start producing more of these chemicals.

"We think that addicts may react to emotional stress in the same way that their stress hormone system reacts to the metyrapone test," says Dr. Kreek. At the slightest provocation, CRF and other stress-related neurotransmitters pour out into the brain, producing unpleasant emotions that make the addict want to take drugs again, she suggests. Since life is filled with little provocations, addicts in withdrawal are constantly having their stress system activated, she concludes.

While stress produces many negative effects, they are reversible. In fact, stress can be managed and reduced by going with and being in the flow of all things using Qigong and other natural Oriental healing modalities elaborated in this website.

See Psychological Stress and Drug Addiction and Multifaceted Health Benefits of Medical Qigong

Embodied Centered BeingAccording to Qi Dao Master Lama Tantrapa, "Struggling against the flow of a night-dream is a sure way to turn it into a nightmare. Similarly, if you struggle against the flow of your daily life, you single-handedly turn your life into a nightmare. Going against the flow of things only exhausts your energy, takes a toll on your health, and wastes your time. As soon as you realize that life's challenges can be perceived as learning opportunities rather than problems, you will become less tense or "stressed-out" and find yourself in the flow of life. Being in the flow will empower you to live your dreams."

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Our lives are filled with stress reflected by our mental attitude and emotional experience. Because of our own ignorance, we look for love, happiness, peace, joy and contentment outside where they are not. Shaktipat meditation is a simple and direct means to experience within you an ocean of love, peace, joy, happiness and well-being in a continuous basis.

"One's own thought is one's world. What a person thinks is what he becomes -- That is the eternal mystery. If the mind dwells within the supreme Self, One enjoys undying happiness." - Maitri Upanishad

Baba MuktanandaAccording to Siddha Guru Baba Muktananda, "There is one great obstacle that keeps us from knowing the Self, and that is the mind. The mind veils the inner Self and hides it from us. It makes us feel that God is far away and that happiness must be found outside. Yet the same mind that separates us from the Self also helps us to reunite with it. That is why the ancient sages, who were true psychologists, concluded that the mind is the source of both bondage and liberation, the source of both sorrow and joy, our worst enemy as well as our greatest friend. That is why, if there is anything worth knowing in this world, it is the mind.

The sages of the Upanishads said that the mind is the body of the Self (Consciousness). The Self shines through the mind and makes it function. But although the Self is so close to the mind, the mind does not know it. The mind is always moving outside, focusing on external objects, and as a result it has become very dull. It has lost the capacity to reflect the radiance of the Self, just as a lake whose waters are filled with silt loses its capacity to reflect the sun. However, when we practice meditation, the mind goes deeper and deeper within, and becomes more and more quiet. When it is truly still, we begin to drink the nectar of the Self. That is why yoga and meditation came into existence: to quiet the mind, to make it free of thoughts, and to enable it to touch its own source...

True psychology is born of meditation. The scriptures of meditation are the greatest works of psychology. Psychology is not just talking, talking, talking. Real psychology is yoga. There was a great sage called Maharshi Patanjali whose Yoga Sutras are the authoritative text on yoga. Patanjali said that through yoga one can still the movements of the mind. That is true psychology. One cannot cure the troubles of the mind by talking, nor can one steady the mind by using herbs or drugs. Drugs may calm the mind for a while, but once the effect of the drugs fade away, the mind will return to its former state. One can straighten out the mind only by making it still, by calming the thoughts and feelings that cause it to become agitated. If psychotherapists truly understood what the mind is and improved their own minds with meditation, they would be be able to practice great therapy...

In our yoga scriptures, the mind is represented as the horse that pulls a chariot. The reins are in your hands. If you let the horse go where it wishes, it will take you into a pit. You should not be defeated by your own mind. You should still the mind, purify the mind, discipline the mind. You should bring it under control with your intellect..."

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