This experiment involves practicing the Benson Technique for 5 minutes once a day for 30 days. The Benson technique is a simple technique to activate the relaxation response, the opposite physiological response to ‘fight or flight.’ It involves choosing a specific short phrase/ word from a spiritual tradition or one that has meaning to you, like ‘peace’ or ‘calm’
You can also use the word ‘one’ like Dr. Benson did. He studied this technique and the effects on the brain and body for 40 years at Harvard concluding that practicing it leads to activation of the brain and body’s relaxation response which calms and focuses the mind and breaks stress circuits.
Once you have your word or phrase, you will repeat it in your mind on each exhale.
Focusing your attention on repeating your word/phrase on every exhale as you take relaxed belly breaths sitting in a comfortable position.
Adopt an attitude of patience and kindness to yourself when the mind wanders and just bring attention back to repeating your word/phrase.
Most studies had people practice the technique for 20 minutes for 8 weeks but even doing 5 minutes once a day for 30 days can give benefit and is easy to fit into any schedule.
Choose the time of day that you will do your practice and write it into your calendar with a notification. Set an alert on our phone so that you don’t forget! Try to stick to the same time each day. This helps create a habit and reduces mental effort to do your practice.