Relaxation, Relaxation Response, Ways to Relax Your Body

Have you ever felt a tingling feeling run through your body after a sudden moment of fright? That’s your sympathetic nervous system instantaneously preparing you for the “fight or flight” (stress) response. Once the perceived danger passes, the parasympathetic nervous system causes a relaxation response. These opposing mechanisms automatically work for your survival.

However, both can be tripped with the mind. In fact, many folks mentally trip their stress response repeatedly throughout their hectic day. The effects of the stress in your body include:

Most of these changes are caused by the injection of hormones into your bloodstream, particularly adrenaline and cortisol. So for the health of it, mentally kicking the relaxation response helps counter stress effects.

After a threat is no longer perceived, the relaxation response lowers stress hormone levels by inhibiting their release. This brings your body down into its natural state as your muscles relax, heart rate slows, blood pressure goes down, breathing returns to normal, digestive juices start flowing and immune system restores its production of white blood cells.

For many, their thoughts and worries cause chronic low level stress without giving the body a sufficient opportunity to naturally relax. This imbalance results in persistent fatigue and some serious health problems over time. Therefore, you must intentionally elicit your relaxation response. One easy way to relax your body is to infer with that incessant inner dialogue or chatter.

A simple relaxation technique is through focused repetition. Essentially, you pick a positive, uplifting word, sound or phrase to repeat and focus on it. Create a rhythm by replaying your chosen repetition in your mind with each exhale. Don’t try to keep those stress causing thoughts from coming to mind. Instead, let them pass on by when they do. Keep up this rehashing interference until your body noticeably relaxes.

Every time you notice your mind start to recycle garbage thoughts, jump in with your repetition. In time, it may only take a few repetitions to prevent a stress induced hormone rush. Thus, your body remains calmed down.

There are other ways to relax your body through the stimulation of the relaxation response, for example:

Regular practice of intentional relaxation is highly beneficial for treating stress related health issues, for instance hypertension, chronic pain, insomnia, depression, anxiety, headaches and cardiovascular disease. Relax!