Mindfulness and the Autonomic Nervous System

“The autonomic nervous system is controlled by the hypothalamus and is involved in blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, sleep, gut, bladder and sexual function. These functions and the overall immune response are adversely affected by stress.

“….It is possible to regulate the autonomic nervous system. Meditation and breathing exercises help you to calm down and to become focused in the here and now. In a study tracking patients who practised mindfulness daily, levels of asthma, psoriasis, and inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis patients, decreased significantly.”           Joint Ability Magazine

So how do we practise mindfulness daily? Here’s a simple practice that is surprisingly effective:

Choose an activity that you practise every day eg washing your hands, brushing your teeth, driving to work

Every day when you carry out your chosen activity, use your senses to bring you fully into the moment. If you are brushing your teeth, for example, feel the toothbrush in your hand; see the toothpaste spread onto the brush; as you brush, be aware of how the toothpaste tastes and smells; register the feel of the brush in your mouth; be aware of the water in your mouth as you rinse and spit. For the duration of a practice like this, when you are mindful of the moment through using your senses, your mind falls quiet. That is mindfulness; being mindful of what is happening right here and now, rather than being caught up in the head in what happened in the past or what might happen in the future. Living in the now brings better health. And happiness.

Don’t accept or reject what I say – try it out for yourself. You may be pleasantly surprised.






About Jill M Jacques

I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, and have spent most of my life here doing the usual things - marrying, having children and caring for an array of pets ranging from dogs to silkworms and chameleons. I first became interested in philosphy and its practical application in everyday life in my early 20s and spent many years as part of a group that pursued this goal. Drawing on this experience, I have been running "How to live in the Now" programmes for over 10 years. I wrote this book in response to requests from group members for something "simple and practical". I tend to see the funny side of life situations and enjoy writing humorous back pages as well as short stories and some poetry. Some of these have been published. Being here now is what really matters.
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