Archive for Stress Management

Seven Ways to Deal With Stress

By Deepa Kandaswamy

In today’s world, most of us spend each moment of our life working. We are caught up in the race to stay ahead that we don’t even notice as life passes us by. We are surrounded by cell phones, computers, pagers, TV, ATMs, and other technical gadgets that are meant to help us. Instead, they are keeping us plugged into the world 24/7. It is almost like we are all wired to one another. As a result, stress has become a part of our everyday life.
Nature of Stress

Stress is our body’s response to external or internal stimuli. External cues can be any of the following: a move to a new city, a death of a close relative, a marriage in the family, or a long-awaited promotion. Internal stimuli consist of both physical and mental comfort and discomfort.

Physical triggers can include sitting in uncomfortable chairs, working in cramped spaces, overworking, and many other situations.

Emotional triggers include boredom, anxiety, or a conflict in personal or work relationships. Apart from these, personality traits, like the need to please others and to be perfect at everything, can also cause stress.

The events that provoke stress are called stressors. These cover a whole range of situations – everything from outright physical danger to making a class presentation.

The human body reacts naturally to fight the stressors. This reaction is called the fight response or the stress response. It activates the nervous system and specific glands that release hormones.

These hormones speed up heart rate, breath rate, blood pressure, and metabolism. Blood vessels widen to let more blood flow to large muscles putting them on alert. Pupils dilate to improve vision. The body releases some of its stored glucose to supply more energy. Moreover, sweat is produced to cool the body.

All of these physical changes prepare a person to react quickly and effectively to handle the pressure of the moment.

If the body is working properly, then the fight response actually helps to perform better under stress. However, the fight response can cause problems if after the stressful situation passes, the body doesn’t reset to its normal condition.

Good Thing

Stress can be good as it keeps a person on his or her toes. For example, being alert while one is driving is good stress. It can help avoid accidents by making the driver slam the brakes at the right time. Another example is stepping up to play a crucial penalty kick during the World Cup that might win the game. Stress can carry many students through their finals as well.

The thing about good stress is that it only lasts for a small amount of time and helps enhance performance or avoid accidents. After the event passes, the nervous system goes back to its normal mode.

When Good Goes Bad

Stress becomes bad when we are stuck in situations where the body has to fight back constantly. This can be an ongoing divorce, overworking on a regular basis, or coping with a learning disability. It can be related to different types of abuse ranging from physical to emotional.

According to Dr. Catanza Rite, author of The Rite Way to Immortality: 7 Rite Rules of Wellness, Energy & Longevity, “Long-term stressful situations can produce a lasting, low-level stress that’s hard on people. The nervous system senses continued pressure and may remain slightly activated and continue to pump out extra stress hormones over an extended period. This can wear out the body’s reserves, leave a person feeling depleted or overwhelmed, weaken the body’s immune system, and cause other problems.”

Stress Overload

Facts & Figures:

· Up to 80% of industrial accidents are due to stress.

· Over 50% of lost work days are stress-related.

· 14% of all workers say stress caused them to quit or change jobs in the previous two years.
· 43% of all adults suffer adverse health effects due to stress.

· 75-90% of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related complaints or disorders.

· An estimated 1 million workers are absent on an average workday because of stress related complaints.

· Stress is said to be responsible for more than half of the 550,000,000 workdays lost annually because of absenteeism.

Although a small amount of stress can be a good thing, too much of it is not. Pressures that are too intense or last too long, or troubles that are too big to be handled, can cause people to feel stress overload.
According to the Encyclopedia of Occupational Safety and Health, some studies link stress overload with ulcers, cancer, impaired immunes function, and suicide. Job stress is linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders such as neck pains, and psychological disorders such as depression and burnout.

Every one experiences stress differently. Some people become angry and act out their stress or take it out on others. Some people internalize it and develop eating disorders or substance abuse problems. Others who have chronic illnesses may find that the symptoms of their illness flare up under a stress overload.

With revolutionary advancements in medicine, living a stress-free life should be a reality. Instead, more people than ever before suffer from stress and stress-related illnesses. According to Rite, who runs the Central for Better Health in the US, it comes down to bad habits.

The reason is individuals fail to change as they are literally “slaves” to unhealthy behaviors and are compulsively driven by habits formed in the subconscious. Bad habits foster an unhealthy lifestyle and over time, as poor choices become engrained in the subconscious mind, the ability to overturn these poor living habits seems overwhelming.

However, when there is a stress overload, the body sends out warning signs. Some of these signs are sleep disorders, anxiety attacks, overeating, and stomach problems. Irritability, depression, an allergic reaction like asthma, and a feeling of being constantly pressured or rushed are also related signs of stress overload.

Seven Steps

If you would like to see what stress does to your body, go to the mirror and clench your fists, scowl, and tense your body as the participants do at Mr. Universe. Look at yourself now. Do you make a pretty picture? This is what happens inside your body when you experience stress overload!

If you think you look horrid on the outside in this pose, imagine what it is doing to your poor nerves, tiny veins, and delicate body parts on the inside. It is not surprising that stress overload is ruining to health. Usually, some lifestyle changes can help manage stress. Here are seven steps to reduce stress.

1. Don’t overwork.Never take on more work than you can complete on your own. If you feel stretched, consider cutting down a task or two. Try to focus on the tasks that you think are the most important.

2. Get enough sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep keeps your body and mind in top form. If you work during the night, then sleep during the day. Whatever your sleeping pattern is, make sure you get six to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. Getting enough sleep helps your body combat negative stressors.

3. Don’t be a perfectionist. Don’t try to be perfect, and stop expecting others to be perfect too – the truth is no one is perfect. This expectation of yourself or others will only add to your stress level. Be realistic. Delegate tasks instead of doing all of it yourself just because you don’t think others will do it perfectly. If you do not delegate, then you may burnout because of the cumulative effects of stressors.

4. Solve the little problems. Learning to solve everyday problems gives a sense of control. Avoiding them will only cause depression and stress to accumulate. This buildup over time will lead to a stress overload. Feeling capable of solving little problems builds the inner confidence to move on to life’s bigger and more stressful situations and be ready for them.

5. Treat your body well. Your body is the canvas on which you paint your life. Treat it well. Experts agree that regular exercise helps combat stress. However, excessive or compulsive exercise routines can add to stress. Eat nutritious food rich in vitamins and minerals. Otherwise, during stressful conditions, you may turn to junk food, alcohol, and drug abuse. Although alcohol and drugs may seem to temporarily relieve stress, relying on them during stressful conditions increases the problem as it slowly wears down the body.

6. Learn to relax. Do yoga or simple breathing exercises. Ensure your schedule is calmed down by making time for relaxing activities on a daily basis. When the body and mind rest, a relaxation response is triggered that can combat stress.

7. Change your attitude. You are what you think. Change the way you view things around you. Treat setbacks as temporary problems. Believe that you’ll achieve your goal if you work towards it. Your attitude, outlook, and thoughts influence the way you see and react to events around you. A little optimism helps combat stress. This is how some people stay cool under pressure.

Try to follow these seven ways regularly and not only when you are overloaded with stress. This will help you avoid stress on a day-to-day basis. However, in case of stressors like rape and other traumatic events such as an earthquake, it is better to seek professional help.

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Du’as for Stress

General advice from Prophet Muhammad (s) when you are in distress or suffering from anxiety:

In hadith #599 narrated by Abdullah ibn Abbas in Sunan Abu Dawood, The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: If anyone continually asks pardon, Allah will appoint for him a way out of every distress, and a relief from every anxiety, and will provide for him from where he did not reckon.

When in distress or difficulty or sorrow:

Source for this dua subsection: Fiqh-us-Sunnah, volume 4, no 128

1. Ibn ‘Abbas reported, “The Prophet, peace be upon him, at times of sorrow and grief used to supplicate, La ilaha illa Allah Al-’Azim, Al-’Alim, la ilaha illa Allah, Rabbul ‘arshil ‘Azim, la ilaha illa Allahu, Rabbus-Samawati wa rabbul ardi wa rabbul ‘arshi karim (There is no god but Allah, the Mighty, the Forbearing, there is no god but Allah, the Lord of the mighty throne, there is no god but Allah, the Lord of the heavens and the earth, and the Lord of the throne of honor)’.”
Source: Bukhari and Muslim.

2. Anas said that when the Prophet, peace be upon him, was faced with a serious difficulty, he would always supplicate, “Ya Hayyu, ya Qayyumu, bi-rahmatika astaghithu (O the Living, O the Eternal, I seek help in Your grace).
Source: Tirmidhi

3. Abu Hurairah reported that whenever the Prophet, peace be upon him, was faced with a serious difficulty, he would raise his head to the sky and supplicate, “Subhan-Allah al-’Azim (glory be to Allah, the Mighty).” And when he implored seriously and strongly, he would say “Ya Hayyu, Ya Qayyum (O the Living, the Eternal One).”
Source: Tirmidhi

4. Abu Bakrah reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “The supplications of distress are, ‘Allahumma rahmataka arju, fala takilni ila nafsi tarfata ‘ain, wa aslah li sha’ni kullahu, la ilaha illa anta (O Allah, I hope for Your mercy, so give me not over to my self even for as little as wink of an eye, and set right all my affairs, there is no god but You).”
Source: Abu Daw’ud

5. Asma, daughter of ‘Amais, reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, asked her, “Shall I tell you words that you may say in times of pain or distress. These are, ‘Allah, Allah, Rabbi la ushriku bihi shai’an (Allah, Allah, my Lord, I associate none with Him).” Another narration says that these words should be said seven times.
Source: Abu Daw’ud

6. Sa’d ibn Waqas reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “The supplication made by the Companion of the Fish (Prophet Yunus) in the belly of the fish was, ‘La ilaha illa anta, subhanaka, inni kuntu minaz-zalimin (there is no god but You, You are far exalted and above all weaknesses, and I was indeed the wrongdoer)’. If any Muslim supplicates in these words, his supplication will be accepted.” In another report we read, “I know words that will cause Allah to remove one’s distress. These are the words (of supplication) of my brother Yunus, peace be upon him,”
Source: Tirmidhi

7. Ibn Mas’ud reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “If any servant of Allah afflicted with distress or grief makes this supplication, his supplication will be accepted: ‘O Allah, I am Your servant, son of Your servant, son of your maidservant. My forehead is in Your hand. Your command conceming me prevails, and Your decision concerning me is just. I call upon You by every one of the beautiful names by which You have described Yourself, or which You have revealed in Your book, or have taught anyone of Your creatures, or which You have chosen to keep in the knowledge of the unseen with You, to make the Qur’an the delight of my heart, the light of my breast, and remover of my griefs, sorrows, and afflictions‘.” A supplication in these words will be answered. Allah will remove one’s affliction and replace it with joy and happiness.
Source: Reported by Ahmad and Ibn Hibban

8. Anas reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, used to supplicate, “O Allah, there is no ease except what You make easy, and you alone can turn a difficulty into ease.” (Ibn As-sinni)

Source: Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 4, #131

9. Allah’s Apostle used to say at the time of difficulty, “None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, the Majestic, the Most Forbearing. None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, the Lord of the Tremendous Throne. None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, the Lord of the Heavens and the Lord of the Honourable Throne.”

Source: narrated by Ibn Abbas in Sahih Bukhari, volume 9, #526.

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25 Ways to Deal with Stress and Anxiety

Stress is life. Stress is anything that causes mental, physical, or spiritual tension. There is no running away from it. All that matters is how you deal with it. This article does not deal with the factors of stress, anxiety, and depression, nor is it a clinical advice. If you feel depressed, you are not alone. It has been estimated that 75 to 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians in America are for stress-related problems. This is why it is wise to consult a doctor if you are having physical symptoms of stress. However, here are some tips that can help from a spiritual perspective. Please send us your feedback so that we can improve this article Insha Allah.

Torture. Beatings. Loss of property. The death of loved ones. These were just some of the enormous challenges the Muslims of Makkah faced in the seventh century following their acceptance of Islam in fiercely tribal and polytheistic Makkah.

Detention. Harassment. Beatings. Discrimination. Loss of Job. Profiling. Hate Crimes. Constant media attention. Surveillance. These are just some of the challenges Muslims in America today face, post-9/11. Like our predecessors in Makkah, we have begun to face great stress, anxiety, and pressure, more than ever in our recent history on this continent, although Muslims who were brought here as slaves faced worse than what we can even imagine.

  1. Ask Him. He Listens: Dua

    Turn each anxiety, each fear and each concern into a Dua (supplication). Look at it as another reason to submit to God and be in Sajdah (prostration), during which you are closest to Allah. God listens and already knows what is in your heart, but He wants you to ask Him for what you want. The Prophet said: Allah is angry with those who do not ask Him for anything (Tirmidhi).

    The Prophet once said that in prayer, he would find rest and relief (Nasai). He would also regularly ask for God’s forgiveness and remain in prostration during prayer praising God (Tasbeeh) and asking for His forgiveness (Bukhari).

    Allah wants you to be specific. The Prophet advised us to ask Allah for exactly what we want instead of making vague Duas. Dua is the essence of worship (the Prophet as quoted in Tirmidhi).

    “Call on your Lord with humility and in private: for Allah loveth not those who trespass beyond bounds. Do not make mischief on the earth, after it hath been set in order, but call on Him with fear. And longing (in your hearts): for the mercy of Allah is (always) near to those who do good”  (Quran 7:55-56).

  2. Tie your Camel: Do your Part

    One day Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it. He asked the Bedouin, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I put my trust in Allah.” The Prophet then said, “Tie your camel first, then put your trust in Allah” (Tirmidhi).

    Muslims must never become fatalistic. Although we know only Allah is in control and that He has decreed all things, we are each responsible for making the right choices and doing the right thing in all situations of our lives. We must take action (link to planning articles on SV). We must work to alleviate the hardships we, our families and our communities face.

    Ask yourself the following questions if you are worried about the state of the world: are you part of the peace movement? Is your Masjid part of the peace movement? Are you part of an interfaith group with an agenda of peace and justice? Are you working with a group fighting discrimination? If your answer is no, it is time that you sat down to plan your share of time and money in finding solutions to the problems you face. “Verily Allah does not change men’s condition unless they change their inner selves” (Quran 13: 11).

    Turn each worry into a Dua and each Dua into an action plan. That will show your commitment to your request and will focus your energy in the right direction.

  3. Remember that human responsibility is limited

    While we need to carry out our duty to the best of our abilities, always remember that you don’t control the outcome of events. Even the Prophets did not control the outcome of their efforts. Some were successful, others were not. Once you have done your duty, leave the results to Allah. Regardless of the results of your efforts, you will be rewarded for the part you have played.

    However, never underestimate your abilities. Understand the concept of Barakah (blessings from Allah) and remember that Allah can and Insha Allah will expand them if you are sincerely exerting your energies for the right path.

  4. Leave the world behind you five times a day

    Use the five daily prayers as a means to become more Hereafter-oriented and less attached to this temporary world. Start distancing yourself as soon as you hear Adhan, the call to prayer. When you perform Wudu, keep repeating Shahada, the declaration of faith, as water drops slip down your face, hands, arms, and hair. When you stand ready to pray, mentally prepare yourself to leave this world and all of its worries and stresses behind you.

    Of course, Shaytan will try to distract you during prayer. But whenever this happens, go back and remember Allah. The more you return, the more Allah will reward you for it. Also, make sure your Sajdas (prostrations) are talking Sajdas, in which you are really connecting to God and seeking His Mercy, praising Him, and asking His forgiveness. (link to Sajda article…ramadan page)

  5. Seek help through Sabr

    Seek help through Sabr and Salat (Quran 2:45). This instruction from Allah provides us with two critical tools that can ease our worries and pain. Patience and prayer are two oft-neglected stressbusters. Sabr is often translated as patience but it is not just that. It includes self-control, perseverance, endurance, and a focussed struggle to achieve one’s goal. Unlike patience, which implies resignation, the concept of Sabr includes a duty to remain steadfast to achieve your goals despite all odds.

    Being patient gives us control in situations where we feel we have little or no control. ‘We cannot control what happens to us but we can control our reaction to our circumstances’ is the mantra of many modern-day self-help books. Patience helps us keep our mind and attitude towards our difficulties in check.

  6. Excuse Me! You are Not Running the World, He is.

    It is important to remind ourselves that we don’t control all the variables in the world. God does. He is the Wise, the All-Knowing. Sometimes our limited human faculties are not able to comprehend His wisdom behind what happens to us and to others, but knowing that He is in control and that as human beings we submit to His Will, enriches our humanity and enhances our obedience (Uboodiah in Arabic) towards him. Read the story of the encounter of Moses with the mysteries behind God’s decision (Quran: 18:60-82). Familiarize yourself with God’s 99 Names, which are also known as His Attributes. It is a powerful way of knowing Him.

    “God-there is no deity save Him, the Ever-Living, the Self-Subsistent Fount of All being. Neither slumber overtakes Him, nor sleep. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth. Who is there that could intercede with Him, unless it be by His leave? He knows all that lies open before men and all that is hidden from them, whereas they cannot attain to aught of His knowledge save that which He wills them to attain. His eternal power overspreads the heavens and the earth, and their upholding wearies Him not. And He alone is truly exalted, tremendous.” (Quran 2:255).

    The Prophet recommended reading this verse, known as Ayat al kursi, after each prayer, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. Once Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, approached the Prophet during a difficult time and he found the Prophet in Sajda, where he kept repeating “Ya Hayy Ya Qayyum”, words which are part of this verse.

  7. Birds Don’t Carry their Food

    Allah is al Razzaq (the Provider). “How many are the creatures that carry not their own sustenance? It is Allah Who feeds them and you, for He hears and knows all things (Quran 29:60).” By reminding yourself that He is the Provider, you will remember that getting a job or providing for your family in these economically and politically challenging times, when Muslims are often the last to be hired and the first to be fired, is in God’s Hands, not yours. As Allah says in the Quran: “And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if anyone puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish His purpose. Verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion (Quran 65:3).

  8. God controls Life and Death

    If you fear for your physical safety and security, remember that only Allah gives life and takes it back and, that He has appointed the time for it. No one can harm you except if Allah wills. As He says in the Quran: “Wherever you are, death will find you out, even if you are in towers built up strong and high!” (Quran 4:78).

9. Remember that life is short

It’s easy to get caught up in our own stress and anxiety. However, if we remember that our life is short and temporary, and that the everlasting life is in the Hereafter, this will put our worries in perspective.

This belief in the transitory nature of the life of this world reminds us that whatever difficulties, trials, anxieties, and grief we suffer in this world are, Insha Allah, something we will only experience for a short period of time. And more importantly, if we handle these tests with patience, Allah will reward us for it.

  1. Do Zikr, Allah, Allah!

    “… without doubt in the remembrance (Zikr) of Allah do hearts find tranquility” (Quran 13:28).

    If you commute, use your time in Zikr. Pick any Tasbeeh and do that instead of listening to the radio or reading the newspaper. Maybe you can divide it up between Zikr and planning. Personally, I recite the Tasbeeh of “Subhana Allahe wa be hamdihi, subhan Allahil Azeem” 100 times as I drive. The Prophet taught us these two short phrases which are easy to say but will weigh heavy on our scale of good deeds in the Hereafter.

    When your heart feels heavy with stress or grief, remember Allah and surround yourself with His Zikr. Zikr refers to all forms of the remembrance of Allah, including Salat, Tasbeeh, Tahmeed, Tahleel, making supplication (Dua), and reading Quran.

    “And your Lord says: ‘Call on Me; I will answer your (prayer)…” (Quran 40:60)

    By remembering Allah in the way He has taught us to, we are more likely to gain acceptance of our prayers and His Mercy in times of difficulty. We are communicating with the only One Who not only Hears and Knows all, but Who can change our situation and give us the patience to deal with our difficulties.

    “Remember Me, and I shall remember you; be grateful to Me, and deny Me not” (Quran 2:152).

  2. Relying on Allah: Tawakkul

    When you awaken in the morning, thank Allah for giving you life after that short death called sleep. When you step out of your home, say ‘in Your Name Allah, I put my trust in Allah, and there is no power or force except with Allah’ (Bismillahi Tawakal to al Allah wa la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah). At night, remember Allah, with His praises on your lips.

    Once you have established a plan you intend to follow through on to deal with a specific issue or problem in your life, put your trust in the most Wise and the All-Knowing. “When you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah” (Quran 3: 159).

    Rely on Allah by constantly remembering Him throughout your day. When you lay down to sleep, remember that sleep is death. That is why one of the recommended supplications before going to sleep is “with Your (Allah’s) Name I die and become alive”.

  3. Connect with other human beings

    You are not alone. Muslims are not alone. We are not suffering in silence. There are millions of good people who are not Muslim with beautiful hearts and minds. These are people who have supported us, individually and collectively, post-9/11, by checking up on us and making sure we are safe. These are individuals and organizations who have spoken up in defense of Muslims as we endured harassment and discrimination.

    We must think of them, talk to them, connect with them, and pray for them. Through our connections, we will break the chain of isolation that leads to depression and anxiety.

  4. Compare your dining table with that of those who don’t have as much as you do

    The Prophet said: Whenever you see someone better than you in wealth, face or figure, you should look at someone who is inferior to you in these respects (so that you may thank Allah for His blessings) (Bukhari, Muslim).

    Next time you sit down to eat, eye the table carefully. Check out the selection of food, the quality, the taste, the quantity, and then think of the millions of others who don’t have even half as much. The Prophet’s Hadith reminds us of this so that we can appreciate and thank God for all that we have.

    Also remember that the Prophet only encouraged us to compare ourselves to others in two respects: in our Islamic knowledge and level of belief in God (Deen). In these two areas, we should compare ourselves with those who have more than what we do.

  5. Say it Loud: Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar: Takbirat & Adhan

    Find a corner of a lake, go out in the wilderness, or even stand on your lawn at your home and call the Adhan with your heart. While driving, instead of listening to the same news over and over again, say Allahu Akbar as loudly as you can or as softly as you want, based on your mood. Year ago, I remember calling Adhan on a Lake Michigan shore in Chicago after sunset as the water gushed against my knees. I was calling it for myself. There was no one else accept the waves after waves of water with their symphony. It was relaxing and meaningful. Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar.

  6. Pray in congregation (Jamat)

    Pray with other people instead of alone. If you can’t pray all five prayers in congregation, at least find one or two prayers you can pray with others. If you are away, establish Jamat in your own family. During the Prophet’s time, even though the Muslims endured great persecution, including physical beatings, they would sometimes meet on the side of a mountain or valley and tried to pray together. This is a great morale booster.

16. How is your Imam’s Dua?

Does the Imam at your local mosque make Dua silently or out loud? Ask him to supplicate with the whole congregation. Suggest Duas for him to make. Ask him to make Dua for other people.

  1. Work for the Unity of Muslims

    Bringing Muslims together will not only help the Muslims, but it will also encourage you to focus your energies on something constructive versus zeroing in on and consistently fretting about difficulties you are going through.

    Invite Muslims from other ethnic groups to your functions. Visit Masjids other than yours in your city. When you meet a Muslim leader, after thanking him for his efforts, ask him what he is doing for Muslim unity. Ask Imams to make Dua for this. These are just small ways you can help yourself and the Muslim community.

  2. Sleep the way the Prophet slept

    End your day on a positive note. Make Wudu, then think of your day. Thank Allah for all the good things you accomplished, like Zikr and Salat. Ask yourself what you did today to bring humanity together and what you did to help Muslims become servants of humanity. For everything positive, say Alhamdu lillah (Praise be to Allah). For everything negative say Astaghfirullah wa atoobo ilayk (I seek Allah’s forgiveness and I turn to You [Allah]). Recite the last two chapters of the Quran, thinking and praying as you turn on your right side with your hand below your right cheek, the way the Prophet used to sleep. Then close your day with the name of Allah on your tongue. Insha Allah, you will have a good, restful night.

  3. Begin the Day on a Positive Note

    Get up early. Get up thanking God that He has given you another day. Alhamdu lillahil lazi ahyana bada ma amatana, wa ilaihin Nushoor (Praise be to Allah Who gave us life after death and unto Him will be the return). Invest in an audio tape driven alarm clock so you can get up to the melody of the Quran. Or Let Dawud Wharnsby’s joyful notes put you in a good mood. Sing along if you like. Develop your to do list for the day if you didn’t do it the night before. Begin with the name of Allah, with Whose name nothing in the heavens or the earth can hurt you. He is the Highest and the Greatest. (Bismillahillazi la yazurru maa ismihi shaiun fil arze wa la fis samae, wahuwal Alee ul Azeem). The Prophet used to say this after every Fajr and Maghrib prayers.

  4. Avoid Media Overexposure: Switch from News to Books

    Don’t spend too much time checking out the news on the radio, television or internet. Spend more time reading good books and journals. When you listen to the persistent barrage of bad news, especially relating to Muslims nowadays, you feel not only depressed, but powerless. Cut down media time to reduce your stress and anxiety. It’s important to know what’s going on but not to an extent that it ruins your day or your mood.

  5. Pray for Others to Heal Yourself.

    The Prophet was always concerned about other people, Muslims and non-Muslims, and would regularly pray for them. Praying for others connects you with them and helps you understand their suffering. This in itself has a healing component to it. The Prophet has said that praying for someone who is not present increases love.

  6. Make the Quran your Partner

    Reading and listening to the Quran will help refresh our hearts and our minds. Recite it out loud or in a low voice. Listen to it in the car. When you are praying Nafl or extra prayers, pick it up and use it to recite portions of the Quran you are not as familiar with. Connecting to the Quran means connecting to God. Let it be a means to heal your heart of stress and worries. Invest in different recordings of the Quran and their translations.

    “O humanity! There has come to you a direction from your Lord and a cure for all [the ills] in men’s hearts – and for those who believe, a Guidance and a Mercy” (Quran 10:57).

  7. Be thankful to Allah

    “If you are grateful, I will give you more” (Quran 14:7).

    Counting our blessings helps us not only be grateful for what we have, but it also reminds us that we are so much better off than millions of others, whether that is in terms of our health, family, financial situation, or other aspects of our life. And being grateful for all we have helps us maintain a positive attitude in the face of worries and challenges we are facing almost daily.

  8. Ideals: One step at a time

    Ideals are wonderful things to pursue. But do that gradually. Think, prioritize, plan, and move forward. One step at a time.

  9. Efforts not Results Count in the Eyes of Allah

    Our success depends on our sincere efforts to the best of our abilities. It is the mercy of Allah that He does not demand results, Alhamdu lillah. He is happy if He finds us making our best sincere effort. Thank you Allah!

Abdul Malik Mujahid

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Islamic Perspective in Stress Management

Islamic Perspective in Stress Management

by Shahid Athar, M.D. 

While stress may be necessary for human survival, the excess of it certainly affects our health and productivity. It is claimed that in the United States nearly 20 million people suffer from stress in terms of attributing their illness or symptoms to it. Stress related compensation cost nearly $200 million per year. Loss of productivity and stress related illness directly or indirectly amounts to $50 billion per year. Many corporations and individuals are spending nearly $15 billion per year on stress management of their employees. (Newsweek 042588)

There is enough medical evidence to link stress to the causation of peptic ulcer disease, hypertension, coronary artery disease and depression. In addition, many common problems like tension headache, insomnia, impotency (in man), frigidity (in women), are stress related to causation of diabetes, suppression of immune system and development of cancer.

In our day to day life, stress affects peace at home, job performance at work, grades in school and even our eating and mating behavior.

Warning Signs Of Stress 

The earliest signs of stress are irritability, mood swings, difficulty in sleep, lack of concentration, abdominal distress, extreme sensitivity to criticism, weight gain of weight loss, fear of failure, poor appetite, or hunger, and increase dependence on tranquilizers or alcohol for sleep. 

Conditions  Which Cause Stress

Psychiatrists have identified some 50 stressors. In fact any change, good or bad, is stressful. A change in job, or job description, in school, residence, financial status, loss or gain of a family member or close friend, injury or illness, national calamity or news of riots or violence all can be extremely stressful. Muslims living in a non-Muslim society may acquire some additional stress. These may include such factors as preserving their identity, practicing Islam (i.e. in food matters or timing of prayer), defending Islam on a hostile media and settling conflicts between family members: the spouse, parent /child, and practicing / non practicing factions.

Who Are Prone to Stress

Although stress spares no one including children, certain professions get more then their share. They include the sales person, the stock broker, the secretary, the inner city school teacher, the air traffic controller, the medical intern, the police officer and those handling complaint departments. It is interesting to note that qualities like being ambitious, compulsive, high achieving, productivity oriented are looked upon as signs of efficiency by the employer, are also type A personality traits, so dangerous to our health. So the art is to have these qualities, with a cool type B personality in order to live happily and have a longer time.

Coping With Stress

Although we are all exposed to stress, why can some of us cope with it better then others ? Is it the way we deal with the stressor, or the way we are built? There is some evidence to suggest that some of us may be genetically predisposed to depression, or have deficiency in the level of neurotransmitters, the mood regulating hormones, or just do not produce enough adrenalin on demand. 

A person’s religious belief has an important bearing on his personality and his outlook in life. By putting the trust in God, a believer minimizes the stress on him by reducing his responsibility and power to control his failures. 

Proven ways to handle stress as being practiced now range from meditation, sleep, exercise, socialization, biofeedback, psychotherapy and tranquilizers. In this article we are going to discuss how to deal with stress in the light of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. 

Psychologically the stress results from the following factors.

  1. Fear of the unknown, and our inability to recognize, foresee and control it.
  2. Loss of things, and people in our life dear to us, and our inability to recover these losses or accept them.
  3. Our inability to see through the future. In fact we might be more stressed if we do see the future.
  4. Conflicts between the mind, and the reality and our failure to accept the reality (i.e. the phase of denial). It is the lack of the inner peace due to our internal conflicts which leads to the external disturbances in our behavior and affects our health.

Let us examine how the Qur’an deals with such situations. Our losses are a part of trial for us:

“Be sure We will test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives, but give glad tidings to those who are steadfast, who say when afflicted with calamity: To God we belong and to Him is our return. They are those on whom (descend) blessings from God and mercy and they are the ones that receive guidance.” (Qur’an 2:155)

Whatever we are given is a gift from God. We are not their owners. Everything belongs to God and returns to Him. So if we don’t own these things why mourn their loss or wax proud on receiving them.

  1. Only God knows what our ultimate destiny is. We cannot peek into our future. We do, however, have a limited free will; we are free to choose between good or bad, to believe in God or not to believe in Him, but we have no control over future not related to our ability to act in the present – whether my wife will have a son or daughter, whether his / her eyes will be brown or black, or whether I will have an accident tomorrow or not. Worrying over such things is of no use.
  2. Rejection of faith in the Qur’an is described as a disease, its cause being arrogance and reluctance to accept truth.

“In their heart there is a disease and God has increased their disease and grievous is their penalty because they lie to themselves”. (Qur’an 2:10)
 

Thus when a man lies to himself, he creates an inner conflict – between his heart and the mind. In order to contain that conflict, the mind sends signals to glands for secretion of hormones like adrenalin which leads to rapid heart rate, perspiration, tremor, the basis of a lie detector tests.

This conflict could be due to “small” crimes like theft or adultery, or big crimes like rejection of God.

Three Stages Of Spiritual Development Of Soul Age

  1. Nafsul Ammara: The Passionate Soul

    “I do not absolve myself. Lo the (human) soul is prone to evil, save that whenever my Lord has mercy. Lo, my Lord is forgiving; merciful”. (Qur’an 12:53)

    This soul inclines toward sensual pleasure, passion and self gratification, anger, envy, greed, and conceit. Its concerns are pleasures of body, gratification of physical appetite, and ego. In a hadith we are told, “Your most – ardent – enemy is your evil self which resides within your body”. (Bukhari)

    If this evil soul is not checked, it will lead to unusual stress and its resultant effects. 

  2. Nafsul Lawammah: The Reproaching Soul 

    “Nay, I swear by the reproaching soul” (Qur’an 75:1)

    This soul is conscious and full aware of evil, resists it, asks for God’s grace and pardon, repents and tries to amend and hopes to achieve salvation.

    “And (there are) others who have acknowledged their faults. They mix a righteous action with another that was bad. It may be that Allah will relent toward them. Lo Allah is relenting, merciful”. (Qur’an 9:102)

    “There are two impulses within us. One, spirit, which calls towards good and confirms the truth. He who feels this impulse should know that it comes from Allah. Another impulse comes from our enemy (devil), which leads to doubt and untruth and encourages evil. He who feels this should seek refuge in Allah from the accursed devil” (Hadith). 

    This soul warns people of their vain desire, guides and opens the door to virtue and righteousness. It is a positive step in spiritual growth.

  3. Nafsul Mutma ‘innah: The Satisfied Soul

    “O (you) soul in (complete) rest and satisfaction. Come back to your Lord, well pleased (yourself) and well pleasing unto Him. Enter you then among My devotees, enter you in My heaven”. (Qur’an 89-27-30)

    This is the highest state of spiritual development. A satisfied soul is in the state of bliss, content and peace. The soul is at peace because it knows that in spite of its failures in this world, it will return to God. Purified of tension, it emerges triumphant from the struggle and resides in peace and bliss.

What Should We Do In Panic And Despair? 

In panic situations non-believers behave differently from believers. They have no one to turn to, to ask for mercy and forgiveness, they know and believe not in nay life other then this worldly life, over which they have no control. Naturally they get more depressed which in turn leads them to even more wrong doing. If they were used to casual drinking, after drinking,  they will increase their consumption of alcohol and end up as alcoholics or habitual criminals.

In a state of depression a believer, on the other hand, is advised to do the following:

  1. Increase Dhikr (remembrance of God).
    “He guides to Himself those who turn to Him in penitence – Those who have believed and whose heart have rest in the remembrance of God. Verify in the remembrance of God, do hearts find rest”. (qur’an 13:27-28)
  2. Be constant in their prayers.
    “O you who believe, seek help with steadfastness and prayer. For God is with those who are steadfast”. (Qur’an 2:153)
  3. Pray to God for Forgiveness.
    “And I have said: Seek forgiveness from your Lord. Lo He was ever forgiving”. (Qur’an 71:10)

In addition to the above believers are also expected to constantly struggle to better ourselves.

“Surely God does not change the condition in which people are until they change that which is in themselves”. (Qur’an 13:11)

Qur’anic Recitation  In Reducing The Stress

“O mankind! There has come to you a direction from you Lord, and a healing for (the disease in your) heart, and for those who believe a guidance, and mercy. (Qur’an 10:57)

The echo of sound has a medical effect, and is now widely utilized. The recitation of Qur’an or listening to the same has a wholesome effect on the body, the heart and the mind. It is said that the letter ‘alif’ echoes to the heart and latter ‘ya’ echoes in the pineal gland in the brain. Dr. Ahmed El Kadi of Akbar Clinic, at Panama City, Florida, conducted and has published the effects of listening to the Qur’anic recitation on physiological parameters i.e. the heart rate, the blood pressure and the muscle tension and reported improvement in all, irrespective of whether the listener is a Muslim or a non- Muslim, Arab or non-Arab.2 Obviously it can postulated that those who can understand and enjoy the recitation, with a belief in it as word of God, will get maximum benefit.

Prophet Muhammad’s Prayer During Stress

All the prophets, being human beings, had to undergo tests and trials which resulted in temporary stress. They constantly remembered God and received peace through His remembrance. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), for example, himself used and advised his followers to use the following D’ua (prayer) in times of distress.

  • “Allah is sufficient for us, and He is an excellent guardian, and we repose our trust in Allah.”
  • “Surely we belong to Allah and to Him shell we return. O Allah, I beseech you for the reward of my hardship. Reward me, and compensate me for it with something good.”

Dr. Shahid Athar is a Clinical Associate Professor at Indiana University. He has written and published over 110 articles on Islam, authored “Peace Through Submission” and edited “Islamic Perspective in Medicine”. He is a frequent speaker at many Muslim institutions, mosques, universities and churches all over the USA.

  1. The above article was first published in Hamdard Medicus, Volume XII, No. 4, Winter 1989
  2. For more details, please refer to Dr. Ahmed El-Kadi’s article on this subject in this book. Islamic Perspectives in Medicine (pages 135 -140 )

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Islamic Oases from Daily Stress

Islamic Oases From Daily Stress

By Sahar Talaat, MD*

 

In our highly regimented, fast moving, competitive environments, we frequently complain of unresolved feelings of alienation, inadequacy, and personal powerlessness. Many face a constant feeling of insecurity, and worry about their own basic survival and ability to measure up. This stressful lifestyle produces many types of mental and physical illnesses in modern societies(1).

As it is not possible to change the style or pace of our modern life, we need to discover suitable mechanisms to cope with daily stress(2). The Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) told us that we could find this internal peace and relaxation during praying.

It was reported by Imam Ahmad in (Al Musnad) that the Prophet (May peace and blessings be upon him) has told Bilal “call for the prayers, it will comfort us.”

This raises very important questions: Why do different forms of worship lose their capacity to help us cope with stress; and how can they be performed in a better way to improve their capacity to help us cope with stress?

Before considering the different types of worship and their mechanisms in combating stress, let’s define the different types of stress, their mechanisms of action and their adverse effects on human beings.

Psychological Stress: Types and Effects

The body tends to show signs of chronic stress very gradually, so the onset of stress may actually go unnoticed in its early stages. Symptoms of stress may appear so gradually that some people are unaware of the severity of their stress condition until they suffer a general nervous breakdown(3).

It was found that when one is experiencing stress, one’s brain produces high levels of two specific hormones: adrenaline and cortisol. This response is called the “Fight or Flight response”. The body prepares itself for a fight or for an escape from a fight by releasing these two hormones, which gives the body a temporary increase of strength and energy(2).

This hormonal response mechanism is considered to be “the general stress response syndrome”. This chemical stress response is entirely appropriate for the short-term. It is these hormones that make one able to respond more efficiently, both physically and mentally, to the hazards in one’s environment (4).

These hormones are not normally dangerous in the short-term. The problem only begins to surface when these messages of danger or emergency continue to be broadcast from the psyche over long periods of time. The situation gets worse when there seems to be no option to confronting the stressful situation directly, or to escaping from it in any way. Feeling trapped by the circumstances, the mind responds to the permanent warnings of impending emergency by manufacturing more and more of these hormones. Ultimately, these hormones have no physical or mental outlet and the energy just implodes, collapses in on itself, and produces a chaos of energy(3).

The response to stress can be divided into three stages:

1. The alarm stage: in which there is an increase in the level of previously mentioned hormones.

2. The resistance stage: during which the body utilizes the produced energy.

3. The exhaustion stage: which results from persistency of the stresses over a long period of time (2).

Stresses can be classified according to their period of exposure into temporary intermittent stresses and chronic persistent stresses. Considering sources of stresses, they can also be classified into internal stresses (which are related to personal characteristics) and external stresses. In addition, they can be classified according to their effects on individual health into a good type of stress (eustress) or a destructive type of stress. Good stress is defined as the ability to respond to the challenges of life in a way that promotes stimulation and encourages personal growth; stress management tools can facilitate this reaction. Examples of destructive, unhealthy reactions to stress are feeling overwhelmed or anxious (2).

This stressful life can produce many types of mental and physical illnesses and imposes its effects on body, psyche and mind. Some of the possible symptoms of prolonged exposure to stress are headache, brain tissue damage, high blood pressure, heart disease, weakening of the bones, general immune deficiency, muscle tension, menstrual disorders, miscarriage, depression, anger, fear and nervousness. If the body’s immune system is allowed to deteriorate because of stress, it may lead to other serious medical conditions such as a variety of malignancies (3).

Coping With Stress: Islamic Viewpoint

Those who are extremely stressed can find peace and relaxation by utilizing different Islamic ‘oases’

Medicine has been proven to be inefficient in dealing with the original causes of stress,  nor can it adequately eliminate all of its symptoms. Medicine may be necessary for a person in the most critical stages of chronic stress, but medicine alone may not be enough to achieve a cure for all its symptoms. Scientists are trying to find new strategies to cope with stress and minimize its effects. These include relaxation techniques, meditation, imagination (2, 5) and Yoga (6). These techniques are extensively studied to determine their effects and mechanisms of action. Different studies have confirmed the efficacy of these techniques in coping with stress and eliminating its effects. These techniques are now entering the medical mainstream and are included in many treatment programs (2).

Most of these techniques are rooted in Islamic spirituality and different Islamic forms of worship, ‘ibadatat, which can be – if performed in the correct manner – considered as good tools for coping with life’s stresses.

Those who are extremely stressed can find peace and relaxation for their minds, body and soul utilizing the following different Islamic ‘oases’; in terms of a safe place where one can seek refuge from the ‘desert’ of life:


Different Islamic forms of worship, if performed in the correct manner – are considered as good tools for coping with life’s stresses.


1. The Faith (iman) Oasis: Some people are more able to cope with stress than others. The determining factor of the level of stress experienced is the perception of something as a threat, which triggers the stress response, and not the threat itself.

It seems that the stress response is not created by any particular type of event or situation but rather by the way that event is perceived. It turns out then that stress response is a matter of perception, or awareness. The stress reaction is activated by neural perceptions or by what amounts to one’s worldview. A worldview can be described as the prism of ideas and beliefs through which the world is perceived and judged. This means that your worldview becomes central to the way any stressful circumstance is handled (2, 3). Islamic spiritual practices can dramatically alter your worldview and thereby restore your feelings of self worth and personal meaning, giving you a feeling of deeply rooted power and control.

Control has been found to be a key factor in the psychology of chronic stress. It has been observed in clinical studies that the extent to which you feel that you are in control of your environment, is the extent to which you will, or will not, experience the hormonal stress response. Those who feel most powerless or unable to control their circumstances tend to experience the highest levels of stress. On the other hand, those who feel they have great personal control and power over themselves and their environment will be much less likely to experience the hormonal stress response, and this is regardless of the potential seriousness of the threat (2). In Islam, Muslims feel Allah, Who controls the whole world and all the creatures in it, supports them.

It was reported by Omar may Allah be pleased with him that the Prophet has said: “if you people depended on Allah as you should, He would provide for you as he provides for the birds leaving their nests hungry and coming back satisfied.”

2. The Meditation and Relaxation Oasis: Meditation is being riveted on any one idea or object to the exclusion of all other ideas or objects. Meditation is really a natural quality of the mind. With meditation, the mind is trained to pay attention and to follow commands. In this way one learns to quiet the thought traffic in one’s mind, thereby freeing up mental and physical energy. The basis of meditation is to adopt a posture of body and mind that allows one to remain comfortable for long periods of time without expending significant amounts of energy (7).

Dr. Herbert Benson, a Harvard University physician, researched the physiologic effects of meditation in the early 1970s. He coined the term “relaxation response” to refer to the stress-reducing effects of meditation, which we now know can be elicited through a variety of relaxation practices including meditation (8).

In the mid-1980s, Dr. Dean Ornish, clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, incorporated an extensive meditation program into a comprehensive lifestyle program for patients with heart disease. Data published from his five-year trial revealed reductions in total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, decreased anginal symptoms, and regression of coronary artery disease (9).

Meditation works by eliciting the relaxation response. The relaxation response is characterized by decreased heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen consumption, and muscle tension. Meditation seems to produce these changes to a greater extent and more efficiently than sleep. For example, reports from Dr. Benson’s work show that oxygen (O2) consumption diminishes by 8 percent during restful sleep over the course of four to five hours, while the relaxation response results in a 10 to 17 percent reduction of O2 consumption in a matter of minutes (4).

Other studies demonstrate significant reduction in total peripheral resistance (TPR) and systolic blood pressure in those practicing meditation regularly. TPR is the maximum degree of resistance to blood flow caused by constriction of the systemic blood vessels. Reduction of TPR will reduce the overall blood pressure (10). Studies also showed diminished lipid peroxide levels resulting in reduced oxidative damage(11). Also, meditation was used intensively and effectively in control of cases with chronic pain (12) and anxiety disorders (13). Meditation by concentrating on Allah’s creatures (plants, animals, space, human body, etc.) is considered one of the most efficient and powerful forms of Islamic worship.

In this form of meditation, one concentrates on an object or group of objects from the same category (categorical meditation).  

Those who remember Allah standing and sitting and lying on their sides and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: Our Lord! Thou hast not created this in vain! Glory be to Thee; save us then from the chastisement of the fire: (3: 192)

3. The Remembrance (zikr) Oasis: As we mentioned in the previous paragraph, meditation can be done by concentrating our thoughts on an object or group of objects of the same category. Meditation can also be performed by concentrating on one word or a few words that give the person a sense of internal peace and calm; for example by repeating the words subhan Allah (glory be to Allah) or al-hamdu lillah (all praise be to Allah). Deep and silent repetition of such words produces the same physiological effects of meditation (7). It also adds an additional factor that helps in stress elimination and that is giving the individual the feeling that he or she is in extreme proximity with Allah, the Controller of the whole world.

Those who believe and whose hearts are set at rest by the remembrance of Allah; now surely by Allah’s remembrance are the hearts set at rest. ( 13:28)

4. The Imagination Oasis: this is considered one of the most powerful methods of stress reduction. During this practice, the person imagines that he or she is in a place, which gives him internal peace, calmness and rest. Muslims can find their safe place through imagining what will be present in the Paradise.

Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported:
Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, said: I have prepared for My pious servants’ bounties which no eye (has ever) seen, no ear has (ever) heard and no human heart has ever perceived.”

5. The Praying Oasis: This includes all of the previously mentioned oases including meditation, remembrance and imagination. While praying, each one of us feels that we are in extreme connection with the controlling power of this world (Allah) and that from Him we receive maximum support.

O you who believe! seek assistance through patience and prayer; surely Allah is with the patient.(2: 153)

It was reported by Gaber may Allah be pleased with him that the Prophet has said: “your prayers are like a flowing river at your doorstep you wash yourself in it five times a day”

Recent scientific investigations show that praying reduces post-operative complications following open-heart surgery. Praying also markedly reduces the percentage of patients exposed to depression following hospitalization (14).

Nowadays, doctors suggest that praying can be used as an alternative therapy as successfully as meditation, exercise, or herbal treatments. According to Koenig of Duke University, “when prayer uplifts or calms, it inhibits cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine – hormones that flow out of the adrenal glands in response to stress. These fight-or-flight chemicals, released over time, can compromise the immune system, upping the odds of developing any number of illnesses, including heart disease, stroke, peptic ulcers, and inflammatory bowel disorder (IBS).”

Many experts feel that the immune system is strengthened and nourished by a sense of peace elicited during praying. Many doctors believe that praying with their patients before and after surgery or before administering a course of powerful drugs might actually assist in the patient’s recovery (15).

Five prayers have been prescribed to us daily. This is a good chance to make use of that time not only for spiritual enhancement but also for physical and psychological healing. Although Ramadan has passed, its spirit should still be fresh in our hearts and minds. Investing this spirit into our daily prayers and meditations could well be the way to a stronger and more relaxing mental health.

Sources:

1. Relaxation techniques-stress management techniques from mind tools. http://www.mindtools.com/stress/RelaxationTechniques/IntroPage.htm

2. Sultanoff BA & Zalaquett CP. Relaxation therapies. In: Novey DW, ed. Clinician’s Complete Reference to Complementary and Alternative Medicine. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby; 2000:114-129.

3. Stress at Williams (and Elsewhere . . .) http://wso.williams.edu/orgs/peerh/stress/index.html

4. deLeon D. The relaxation response in the treatment of chronic pain. In: Micozzi MS, Bacchus AN, eds. The Physician’s Guide to Alternative Medicine. Atlanta, Ga: American Health Consultants; 1999:335-337.

5. Alive and healthy – meditation. http://www.aliveandhealthy.com/meditation.html

6. Faheem MA,Yoga and Human Being’s Spiritual Energy (Arabic).

7. Learning meditation. http://www.learningmeditation.com/

8. Meditation. http://1stholistic.com/Meditation/hol_meditation.htm

9. Ornish D, Scherwitz LW, Billings JH, et al. Intensive lifestyle changes for reversal of coronary heart disease. JAMA. 1998;280(23):2001-2007.

10. Barnes VA, Treiber FA, Turner JR, Davis H, Strong WB. Acute effects of transcendental meditation on hemodynamic functioning in middle-aged adults. Psychosom Med. 1999;61(4):525-531.

11. Schneider RH, Nidich SI, Salerno JW. Lower lipid peroxide levels in practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation program. Psychosom Med. 1998;60(1):38-41.

12. Kabat-Zinn J, Lipworth L, Burney R, Sellers W. Four-year follow-up of a meditation-based program for the self-regulation of chronic pain: treatment outcomes and compliance. Clin J Pain. 1987;2:159-173.

13.Kabat-Zinn J, Massion AO, Kristeller J. Effectiveness of a meditation-based stress reduction program in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Am J Psychiatry. 1992;149(7):936-943.

14. Prayer and spiritual healing. http://1stholistic.com/Prayer/default.htm

15. International network on personal meaning. http://www.meaning.ca/conference04/presenters/koenig.htm

www.islamonline.net

 

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