How to Handle Stress
- The Relaxation Response Lots of scientific studies show meditation improves health. It alleviates stress. Reduces blood pressure. Even the risk of getting diabetes or having a heart attack fall. But do you know why?
According to Herbert Benson its all down to the Relaxation Response. He says this is a "calm but alert state" produced by meditation. And that you can protect yourself from stress by regularly inducing it.
Benson noticed this effect when doing research on mantra meditation during the 1970's. His results were pretty unexpected. He found that the body slows during meditation. Breathing and heart rate are slower. But the mind remains active and aware.
But what makes this so special?
What's the difference between this and sitting down and just relaxing?
The answer is that you remain mentally very alert while your body is in deep physical relaxation, which is a unique combination.
So the relaxation response is very different to rest or sleep. As with sleeping, your body slows down. Your metabolism decreases and you consume less oxygen. But during this time you have an active brain. A scan of the brain (EEG) shows Alpha Waves during meditation. This usually only occurs when you're awake.
Many people will find this technique very useful. Especially since we live in a high stressed society. Why? Because the Relaxation Response protects you from the effects of the Flight or Fight reaction.
The Fight or Flight Response - What is it?
When you believe you are in some form of physical danger, your body reacts with this response. You are then urged through your system to escape from harm. Your body releases some hormones that:
* Speed up your heart
* Make you breathe faster
* Increase blood flow to your muscles.
When you are in danger this response works perfectly
. That's its purpose. But in present times, the stress we encounter isn't physical. We face work stress, future worries and family stress. We have bosses that are difficult and deadlines that are impossible.
Still, we find that by design we react as if we are in physical danger. With the Fight or Flight Response.
If there were a physical threat this response would give us the energy to escape or fight. Releasing the built-up energy. But if the stress is mental we cannot easily release it.
With time there is irreversible damage to our system that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
This is why the Relaxation Response becomes essential. When we practice it for 20 minutes in both the morning and evening it helps to protect us from chronic stress.
The Relaxation Response - How it is done
Often our minds are very busy. Full of thoughts. We're not usually aware of this though. But take a moment to sit and try not to think. Try it now... Impossible isn't it?
Unfortunately many of these thoughts are upsetting. The Relaxation Response is designed to help us disrupt this activity with a word repeated silently in our mind.
This is a simple process best done twice a day for 20 minutes in each sitting.
1. Select a short word, syllable or even a number.
2. Find somewhere comfortable. Sit down and let go.
3. Allow your body to relax.
4. Repeat your word silently.
5. Let go and don't focus on doing it right.
6. As your mind starts to wander, focus again on the word.
7. Make sure you do this at least for 20 minutes.
8. When you finish, rest for 3 minuteHealthy mind Stress Relief For Teachers The Fastest, Most Effective Way For Teachers Click Here To Get Stress Relief That Lasts!