The Rationale: Your mind and body are always affecting each other. What you are feeling and thinking will show up in how your body feels and vice versa.
When a person is under a lot of emotional stress, the body reacts as it would in a state of danger or emergency; i.e. increased heart rate, abnormal breathing, muscle contraction and tenseness, perspiring, cold hands and feet, etc. Your body NEEDS periods of rest from this heightened state in order to replenish its strength.
The “relaxation response” is your body’s natural protective mechanism, which reverses the physical changes brought on by stress. Relaxation is simply giving your body a chance to recuperate temporarily so that you can face your next challenge.
Relaxation is something we LEARN to do. Don’t expect that you should be able to do it right off the bat. It only takes about 10-15 minutes a day and you are the one who controls how you do it. Studies show that people who learn to evoke the relaxation response experience feelings of increased well-being and hope.
How You Can Do It:
Usually you need these things:
- A quiet environment
- A comfortable position
- A word/phrase/thought repeated over and over
- As clear a mind as you can achieve
BUT REMEMBER: There is no “right way” to relax – everybody does it differently…………so:
• Using your favourite soothing music is fine
• If you fall asleep, that’s fine.
• If you don’t fall asleep, that’s fine too
• If you want to use your own image or affirmation, go ahead…
Some helpful hints:
• Try not to do relaxation when you are hungry
• If you feel uncomfortable at any time, change your position, or open your eyes – don’t remain in an uncomfortable position
• Dim the lights (optional)