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  • Writer's pictureAngela Belcher

Relaxation




Embracing Relaxation: Breaking Free from the Cycle of Chaos

Most people plod through their lives not realizing they are overloaded, overworked, and overstimulated on a daily basis. They’ve been trained to thrive in chaos and have come to believe they must have chaos in order to thrive; this just isn’t so. Chaos is stressful! The normal human body cannot thrive on chaos for extended periods of time because it has the same effects on the body as chronic stress.


The Necessity of Relaxation

Relaxation is necessary for wellness. The Mayo Clinic explains relaxation as “a process that decreases the stress effects on your mind and body” (Mayo Clinic, 2022). Techniques such as breath focus, body scan, guided imagery, meditation, and yoga help achieve relaxation. The goal is to empty the mind of all conscious thought, pause the body’s sensory system, decrease stimuli, and replace these with non-threatening sensations that promote the relaxation response (Seaward, 2021). Relaxation is how we undo the damage caused by the craziness in the world.


Benefits of Relaxation

The benefits of relaxation are well-documented:


  • Reduced Resting Heart Rate

  • Reduced Blood Pressure

  • Less Anxiety

  • Improved Digestion

  • Reduction in Stress Hormones

  • Reduced Muscle Tension

  • Reduced Chronic Pain

  • Improved Mood

  • Improved Sleep Quality and Focus

  • Increased Energy and Self-Confidence


Effective Relaxation Techniques

Some relaxation techniques suggested by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH, 2021) include:


  1. Progressive Muscle Relaxation: This technique systematically clenches and then releases muscle groups in the body until all the groups have been addressed, leading to full-body relaxation.

  2. Autogenic Training: This involves autosuggestion, where the person guides themselves through mental exercises while focusing on the body’s experience.

  3. Visualization (Guided Imagery): In this technique, a person pictures images in their mind and creates the relaxation they would feel if they were in that imagined scenario.

  4. Breathing Exercises: This involves paying attention to each breath as it goes in and comes out, aiming to create a rhythmic, steady flow of oxygen in and out without pausing.


Incorporating Relaxation into Daily Life

To effectively integrate relaxation into your daily routine, consider the following steps:


  1. Set Aside Time: Dedicate specific times in your day for relaxation, just as you would for any important activity.

  2. Create a Relaxing Environment: Find a quiet, comfortable space where you can relax without interruptions.

  3. Practice Regularly: Consistency is key. Make relaxation a regular part of your day to reap the full benefits.

  4. Experiment with Techniques: Try different relaxation techniques to find what works best for you.

  5. Combine Techniques: Sometimes, combining techniques can enhance the relaxation experience. For instance, you might combine breathing exercises with visualization.


Conclusion

Relaxation is essential for breaking free from the cycle of chaos and restoring balance to our lives. By incorporating effective relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic training, visualization, and breathing exercises, we can reduce stress, improve our health, and enhance our overall well-being. Make time for relaxation, and watch as your mind and body reap the benefits of a calmer, more balanced life.

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