Your body notices stress long before your mind does. Think about the last time you felt stressed out. Did you notice any of these common feelings?
Overeating or Loss of appetite
Fortunately, the same signal that turns on fight or flight can also turn it off. Instead of maintaining the stress response, the relaxation response is naturally restorative. Metabolism, heart rate, breathing rate, muscle tension, and blood pressure all return to their normal levels. Consider the fact that it is physically impossible to breath quickly and slowly at the same time. Stress and relaxation are simply not compatible. One response cannot exist simultaneously with the other. Training the mind and body to enter a state of relaxation, to invite the relaxation response, leads to a reduction in physiological symptoms and is the key to managing and reducing negative outcomes of stress.
Learning relaxation techniques like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, autogenics, meditation, imagery, and so on, provides the body with the steps to achieve the relaxation response. As with most skills, the more practice and experience you have, the easier it will become for you to tap into physiological and emotional. Stay tuned for upcoming posts with more information and examples of each of these techniques!