Afternoon dreaming can make you happy!

sleep-secrets

As our understanding of neurology increases, we begin to understand more about the relationship between mind, body and emotions. One of the biggest questions that has puzzled science is: why do we sleep and why do we dream? Research in REM, the rapid eye movement function in the sleep cycle, shows us that we use REM to both input and retrieve information. Often this information is symbolic, so that the unconscious mind presents images and symbols to the conscious mind that can be confusing and mind-boggling.

One aspect of dreaming is to process and resolve negative feeling and experiences from the day. Research tells us that people who take a nap in the afternoon have less stress-related chemistry in their system and are, therefore, happier as people. This is what, in the Mediterranean, is termed a siesta. It might just be that the apparent health of the Mediterranean lifestyle has as much to do with sleep as it has to do with diet.

In the experiments, participants were given a 90 minute nap and had their bloods checked before and after to measure hormonal markers. For most people, the afternoon nap made them measurably happier.

I know from my yoga work that people who do relaxation and meditation have periods of REM as they go into the relaxed state. I have also seen many yoga students reduce the amount of hours that they sleep each night as their meditation and relaxation increases. It is reckoned that the ratio of concentrated relaxation to sleep is about five to one. So that twenty minutes good quality relaxation is like one hour of good sleep.

My own daily practice include three periods of meditation each day that will last between half an hour to one hour per day. The most important session for me is my lunch-time one that sets me up for the afternoon and is my mini-siesta.

Check out the recordings on the website that will help you with your task of relaxing, letting go and being happy.

Happiness comes, not from what we hold on to, but from what we let go.

Be happy,

Sean x

(Useful Research: Gujar, N. et al 2011 ‘A Role for REM sleep in recalibrating the sensitivity of the human brain to specific emotions.’ Cerebral Cortex 21, 1, 115-23. Griffin, J. and Tyrrell, I. 2004 ‘Dreaming reality: why dreaming keeps us sane or can drive us mad.’ HG Publishing)

Images credit: http://www.friendly-tips.com/tag/sleep/

What would you not leave home without?

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What is it that you ensure that you must have with you everyday? I guess that for most people these days, their mobile phone must be at the top of the list. The things that are most important to us are dependent on what we are doing at that time. Continue reading →

Amy, what have you done?

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There is a sadness when anyone dies unnaturally, and the younger they are, the worse it seems. When a loss is related to drugs or alcohol, we often feel that the death was unnecessary and many people can become judgmental and critical of the person that has died.

Such attitudes are often built around prejudice and ignorance. Addictive issues, like many other behaviours, are the symptoms of inner causes, and the idea that addicts should simply ‘pull themselves together’ is misplaced. Continue reading →

Happiness is infectious; it might become an epidemic!

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It seems that leaders across the world are now deciding to tell us that happiness is a state of mind, and of course it is. Bhutan is thought of as a place where happiness is described as their “gross domestic product“. This is a level of enlightenment that the rest of us can only observe with envy (or discount as nonsense).

All that we now know about the brain and neuroscience tells us that this idea is really on the money, and that we all do create our own experience, in the sense that we do have choices as to how we respond to any event in life. It is hard to decide whether the political drive behind publishing such an idea as happiness for all is real concern for our welfare or a way of making the difficult decisions about economic cuts more palatable. Continue reading →

Who Moved My Cheese?

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Last week saw the birthday of my son Robert, Happy Birthday Robert. Twenty-three is a good age! The issue of what do you buy a twenty-three year old doesn’t really come into play as Robert is a, not so secret, consumer, and so Rie and I took him to the Trafford in Manchester so that he could enjoy spending some dosh.

The Trafford (Centre) is one of those enormous shopping malls that are a world of their own. If you arrive at the Trafford on a midwinter day, with the snow thick on the ground, you would walk into the mall into a controlled temperature closer to the tropics amidst a Grecian, classic design and palm trees, not forgetting an amazing fountain that shoots water about forty feet into the air. Continue reading →

What would you do with £154,000,000?

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The issue of money comes up a lot in the work that I do. In the UK, as a part of the EuroMillions Lottery, we have just had the bumper prize fund. What a lot of money!

On my travels, I ended up in a monastery on a course in self-development entitled, “The Life That I Could Live”. The route that had taken me there was a dark one and I was attending it as part of my attempt to discover the answer to life, the universe and everything, motivated mainly by my ongoing depression about my childhood, and my life up to that point. Continue reading →

How Easy is it to Share?

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A while ago, a friend of mine, Brian, borrowed my car to take his brother John to a town about thirty miles away. About two hours later, a policeman knocked on the door to tell that I had been in a car accident and that I was in A&E. Well, it wasn’t me. Brian had put his face through the steering wheel in a head-on smash, and it was a long time before he looked like Brian again. Continue reading →

Celebration

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Celebration and gratitude go hand in hand and one without the other never works. When people talk about the law of attraction, that acknowledges that what we think about we bring about, states clearly that feelings of gratitude lead to an ever more positive experience and that by being grateful we can attract more of those good feelings to our self. It follows that if we live with ingratitude we attract as much misery as we desire. The universe has a bottomless well of misery just as it has a bottomless well of happiness. It is you who chooses which you will drink from.

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Can you keep faith with a liar?

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Well what a week since my last blog! Kate and Will tied the knot, Osama Bin Laden was (we assume) shot, the Liberal Democrats got a severe and powerful canning from the British electorate, and Marks and Spencer failed to deliver my wardrobes for the third time. I was meditating on the events of the last week and I was thinking about the similarity in all these three situations. All involve both truth and faith, let me explain.

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William & Catherine A Focus for Goodwill

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I find that I have two opposing sides. The cynical side of me is saying, “My God, people get married everyday, so why all the fuss?” The media are hyping it up and making as big a deal out of it as they possibly can, must be good advertising revenue. The positive emotional side of me is saying, “Wow, how good is that, a positive moment for us all to focus on”. You get the picture?

Continue reading →