The effects of stress are every where. We know stress leads to reduced physical, mental and emotional capability. What can we do to take a step in moving from stress towards relaxation and vitality?
When was the last time you felt deeply relaxed, fully rested, and completely at peace?
Whats good about relaxation?
Feeling deeply relaxed has many benefits. Aside from the immediate experience of openness, trust and even joy, this kind of relaxation is called ‘Relaxation Response’. It is a physical, mental, and emotional state that leads to the body systems healing and strengthening. Relaxation is good for us, can help us heal underlying disorders and promotes resilience.
Whats good about stress?
Appropriate stress is good for us. We learn and retain more, perform better athletically, and in all other areas. Appropriate ‘doses’ of stress build strength and resilience.
When do the effects of stress become unhealthy and what happens?
We get into trouble from the experience of prolonged stress and insufficient recovery. Here is a refresher on how the body responds to stress. Energy in the body is immediately redistributed. The energy moves to support the ‘fight, flight or freeze response’. This is automatic.
Energy moves towards large muscles, increasing heart rate and lung capacity. Blood vessels in the skin constrict to prevent bleeding and assist blood clotting, and our pain threshold is boosted. To do this, digestion slows, blood sugar production is increased, blood pressure increases, and immune response diminishes. Prolonged and chronic stress results in distorted physical and emotional patterns leading towards a wide variety of maladies.
Effects of Chronic Stress
From a state of chronic stress, rest alone may be insufficient for recovery. Our bodies are locked into patterns of over, or under, response to stress and have misplaced the pathway to deep restorative relaxation. The ‘Relaxation Response’ heals.
Ideally we experience stress and then quickly return to a ‘stress free zone’. Information overload, a fast paced life, work/family stress, and illness are everywhere today. For most of us, deep relaxation requires active cultivation.
What can we do to manage the effects of stress?
Learn steps towards cultivating deep relaxation, and beginning to alter the habitual stress levels we accept. Over time, increase your ability to maintain a feeling of deep peace and relaxation, even when presented with highly charged situations. We are working towards a level of mastery in life.