Essay on Altered States of Consciousness

1003 Words Sep 19th, 2010 5 Pages
Altered States of Consciousness

Consciousness is a state of awareness. This includes a person’s feelings, sensations, ideas, and perceptions. There are many different states of consciousness.

Sleep is a state of altered consciousness, characterized by certain patterns of the brains activity and inactivity. An altered state of consciousness is when a person is not completely aware of their surroundings. Some researchers believe that we sleep to clear our minds of useless information. Other people believe that it is a type of primitive hibernation: we sleep to conserve energy.

There are four stages of sleep. In the first stage (10 min. into sleep), your pulse slows down and your muscles begin to relax. Your breathing
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The hypnotist induces a trance by slowly persuading the participant to relax and lose all interest in external distractions. The participant is not under the hypnotists control but can be convinced to do things that he or she would not normally do. However, anyone can resist hypnosis by refusing to open his or her mind to the hypnotist.

Another state of consciousness is meditation. Meditation is the focusing of ones attention to clear the mind and produce relaxation. There are three major approaches to meditation. The first approach is Transcendental meditation. Transcendental meditation involves the repetition of a mantra, usually a Sanskrit phrase. The participant sits with his or her eyes closed and meditate for 15 to 20 minutes twice a day. The second approach, mindfulness meditation, was developed from a Buddhist tradition. Mindfulness meditation focuses on the present moment. For example, the participant might move his or her focus throughout the body, from the tip of their toes to the top of their head, and paying very close attention to areas that cause pain. The third approach is breath meditation. Breath meditation is when a participant focuses his or her respiration-the process of inhaling and exhaling in a rhythmic pattern. Most people believe that proper breathing can help one self to be stress free. Researchers agree that most people can benefit from some sort of systematic relaxation
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