Exercise 29 Achieving Autonomic Muscle Control Calming The Heartbeat

To make voluntary that which is normally involuntary is bringing conscious control over areas of your body that are normally reflexive or automatically governed by "subconscious" signals. If you can consciously exercise control over your breathing, you can do the same with your heartbeat. Belief has little to do with the process; practice alone is important! Laboratory investigations have shown that muscle response, blood flow, skin temperature, brain waves, metabolism and blood chemistry shift in the direction of a relaxed state during practice, and abnormal conditions move slowly toward normalcy with continued practice. Actually, many emotional problems are also relieved with autogenic training, and these techniques are widely used in Europe to help people along these lines! You can get good at anything with continued practice, so why not get good at consciously mastering control over your autonomic bodily functions?

In the beginning, do this exercise lying down. Do the "warm-up" of "Exercise -Achieving Autonomic Muscle Control (Limb Heaviness)," and then repeat the heavy to warm formula 3 times. Now mentally bring your conscious awareness to your heartbeat. Become aware of it in your chest or in the pulse of your wrist or wherever. At first, resting your hand on your chest might help.

Now visualize an anxiety situation for yourself -- confronting a mugger, being buried alive or whatever. Can you feel its increased rate of speed? Now repeat silently, "My chest feels warm and pleasant," 6 to 8 times. Then say, "My heartbeat is calm and steady," 6 to 8 times. Visualize and feel your heart beating slower in response to your inner "thought beat." Visualize your heart beating slower. Then repeat, "I feel completely calm," 6 to 8 times. Practice this exercise for 10 minutes twice per day for 2 weeks.

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