The Relaxation Response

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Our bodies know how to relax.




Just as we have the "stress reaction" as a one of the body’s built-in response systems, so there is innate relaxation response.

The relaxation response undoes what stress has been doing to you. The relaxation response brings about decreased muscle tension, lowered heart rate and blood pressure, a deeper breathing pattern, calming of the belly, and a peaceful, pleasant mood. The problem we face in managing stress is that the stress reaction is more easily elicited than the relaxation response. The stress reaction happens immediately without any effort on your part. A loud noise at this moment would startle you, and the stress reaction would speed through your body. A stress reaction happens automatically while the relaxation response must be purposefully sought and brought under control. While the relaxation response will occur naturally as when you sit on the beach watching the ocean; hectic modern society does not give us many chances for such natural elicitation. To control our stress we must engage in an intentional practice of creating the relaxation response.

Next, learn to relax.

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