Different Kinds of Rest -
Recent Research

by Shaun
(Swindon, SouthWest England)

There was an article in the Mail on 21.9.10 detailing recent research by Dr. Matthew Edlund. It suggests that rest i.e. 'active rest' reduces stress levels and gives a better chance of a healthier and longer life.

Dr. Matthew Edlund describes four different kinds of rest:




Spiritual (using meditation and prayer to relax).

Social Rest

Social rest is spending time with friends and relations or work colleagues. Socialising isn't just pleasant but crucial for survival. Amazing that just chatting can reduce levels of stress hormones and have psychological benefits.

Mental rest

Mental rest is the ability to concentrate on one task in its entirety. The brain needs to focus on one thing so that the big issues are not so dominant. Maybe just reading this through is helping!

The practice of visualisation comes in here.

Physical rest

Physical rest is breathing - in a controlled, measured way. Feel the effect of richly oxygenated blood circulating around your body.

The article suggests this: I did it yesterday:

Stand up straight with feet apart, toes facing forward.

Look straight ahead and try to align ankles, knees, hips and shoulders into an imaginary straight line.

Roll your shoulders back, tuck in your chin and breathe in deeply for a count of four feeling the air filling your lungs as your chest expands.

Breathe out slowly to the count of eight, hearing and visualising the moving air as you breathe.

Focus only on two things: keeping alignment straight and breathing evenly and deeply.

Napping (for 15-30 minutes) is another excellent rest technique. Refreshing and heart maintaining.

Spiritual rest

The Effects of spiritual rest are to expand certain areas of the brain....frontal lobes which control concentration, attention, focus and problem analysis.
Meditators are also able to build up more grey matter in the mid-brain (handling functions like breathing and blood circulation) and the front cortex (impt. for muscle co-ordination and active memory)

They also show changes in the thalamus, critical for information processing flow from all parts of the body

Prayer has effects on longevity and similar brain response as meditation.

Then we give the rest to God. :-)

Shaun, UK

Comments for Different Kinds of Rest -
Recent Research

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Nov 07, 2010
Thank you re Research into Different Kinds of Rest
by: Katherine T Owen

Dear Shaun,

Thank you for such an informative article on the different kinds of rest.

I love the fact that spiritul rest is included. How interesting to see that there is now evidence that meditation and prayer have benefits for the brain. I have read this elsewhere too.

Re: Mental Rest

Being able to focus on a task to the point of losing oneself in it is such a wonderful feeling. It is one that is more difficult to attain for those people who have to manage their energy.

If you have to watch yourself to check you are not doing too much, it is hard to have that single-minded focus.

It is one of the reasons why I found such benefit in using a timer to manage my activity periods. That way I could forget myself, until that is the bell rang!

Thank you again.

Holding a space of peace and rest for all who come here,


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