We just returned from a short break in South Australia, a mixture of business and pleasure. The above photo is of the ruined Port Willunga jetty. I am looking forward to the beautiful summer months! But in the wind down towards the end of the year, it can be a stressful time. Getting adequate sleep and rest will assist you to cope better.
The ‘relaxation response’ helps combat unhealthy effects of “bad” stress. Bad stress can lead to high blood pressure, high blood sugar, poor immune function, heart risks, and altered genetic function. Stress also can lead to poor lifestyle choices such as poor food and drink choices, too much alcohol consumption, smoking and inadequate movement.
Creating the ‘relaxation response’ can combat this bad stress: “It incorporates a deeply relaxed physical condition and a focused, clear and alert mental state. This combined state of body and mind is sometimes also called ‘restful awareness’ or ‘active calmness’ because it enables us to take effective action while feeling inwardly calm1.”
1The Essence of Health – The Seven Pillars of Wellbeing, Dr Craig Hassed, pg 48, 2008.
If we achieve the ‘relaxation response’,
this is how it can benefit our body:
– Improved digestion
– Lower blood pressure
– Lower pulse rate
– Thinner blood
– Better immune function
– Reduced stress hormones, such as cortisol, and reduced inflammation
– Better healing of wounds, fractures and diseases
– Improved mood and more optimism
– Better brain function
– Faster reflexes
– Better pain management
What about our mind? Our mind benefits greatly from the ‘relaxation response’ too!
- Lower anxiety
- Less depression
- Better self-awareness
- Better coping abilities, increased resilience
- Our circumstances have less of an impact on our level of feeling happy
- Increased wellbeing feelings
- Less drugs support required
- Less alcohol usage
- Increased empathy, reduction in aggression
- Better memory, enhanced learning
- Increased work efficiency
- Improved time management
- Improved emotional intelligence
- Less impulsive
- Pain better controlled
So how do you achieve this wonderful state;
the ‘relaxation response’?
…See ACTION Tips below:
Choose 1 or 2 of these techniques below to get started.
Achieve the relaxation response more often, and enjoy the benefits for your body and mind. Enjoy!
- Incorporate some relaxation or meditation techniques into your life.
- Listen to music that really sends you into a deep state of relaxation.
- Spend some time enjoying hobbies or interests that you find you get into a flow when doing them, and you forget other stresses.
- Incorporate some movement activities into your life, such as walking amongst the beauty of nature, yoga or tai chi.
- Develop more humour, laugh more.
- Solving problems can achieve the relaxation response.
- Accept those things you have no control over. Fully accept it.
- Incorporate prayer into your life.
- Sporting activities are great too.