4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
My blood pressure is much lower after reading this book.,
This review is from: Relaxation Response (Mass Market Paperback)I found this book to be extremely helpful. I've suffered from an anxiety disorder and its related symptoms, such as hypertension, for almost ten years now. Ever since I became aware of what anxiety was and started reading up on it, about five years ago, I had heard about Dr. Benson's classic book on the subject, but I never got around to reading it until now. I'm glad I finally did.
I had always heard that incorporating some form of meditation into one's daily routine would do wonders for calming the various symptoms of anxiety. For the last five years, I've tried over and over again, unsuccessfully, to sit quietly and do nothing. But it's extremely hard to make any mind sit still for long, and maybe especially an anxious one.
THE RELAXATION RESPONSE is written in such a clear and no-nonsense way, and it's so easy to follow, that it's got me to do what I had come to believe was the impossible: to sit quietly for ten minutes every morning with a relatively empty mind.
Herbert Benson is a Harvard cardiologist who pioneered the research into stress-related causes for diseased such as hypertension. Always weary of having his research seen as nothing more than new age fluffery, Dr. Benson made sure to prove his results by rigidly adhering to the scientific method.
Dr. Benson's results show that there is a capacity inherent in all human beings to invoke a "relaxation response" that can counter the effects of the "flight or flight response" which is at the root of many modern stress-related illnesses.
By learning to invoke the "relaxation response" once or twice a day for just ten minutes at a sitting, one can effectively lower high blood pressure, and gain more tranquility in their emotional life.
This book is easy to read, and it really works. I read it over the summer, and was able to start meditating successfully almost instantly. My main problem I found out was that I tended to meditate while lying down and so I would just fall asleep. I always found the idea of sitting stiffly so counter to relaxation, that I was never able to attempt to meditate that way. But Dr. Benson's book helped me to see that one doesn't need to meditate for long periods of time, so I found it easy enough to sit cross-legged with my eyes closed and my hands on my knees for five minutes at a stretch. (I then slowly worked it up a minute at a time to ten minutes, which is the recommended length).
I simply count my breaths up to four and start over again. That way if thoughts intrude on my stillness, I know it, because I lose track of my counting, so I just start counting again.
Meditation is still not the easiest practice, but this book has helped me make it part of my daily activities, and for that I'm extremely grateful. I had a doctor's appointment about a month after starting my new mediatation habitat, and for the first time in almost a decade, my blood pressure was normal.
I highly recommend this book to anyone suffering from any effects of anxiety, or anyone who would like to make meditation a part of their daily routine. It's an excellent book. Thank you, Dr. Benson.