Can’t you just tell with everything that is going on in our society today that we could all benefit from a “chill pill”?
And none of us want this stress we are going through, we inherently know that it isn’t good for us.
As we perceive that something has gone wrong, that it is a threat to our happiness or our ability to cope with things, we activate our “fight and flight response”. Which would be fine if this threat were something we could run away from and then we did run away. (Remember the story about the cave man and the sabretooth tiger?)
Unfortunately all too often what we have perceived as a threat is something more like: too much to do, that we can’t really run away from or something that happens in life that we can’t escape by running away. (like a health diagnosis or the end of a relationship)
Well I am here to offer you one of the most widely used ways of creating relaxation for yourself in these circumstances. A technique designed to elicit the opposite bodily reaction from the "fight or flight" response. It was created by a medical doctor, Dr. Herbert Benson, in the 1970’s. He claims that training our bodies on a daily basis to achieve this state of relaxation can lead to enhanced mood, lower blood pressure, and reduction of lifestyle stress.
It is actually a more meditative or hypnotic process than pure relaxation, but Dr. Benson was wise enough to call it “RELAXATION RESPONSE” to get it into mainstream of our society without the resistance to the hypnotic and meditative terminology.
It is short (takes only 10 – 15 minutes), simple (I have taught it to stressed children aged 7) and just practicing it once or twice daily can be enough to counteract the stress response and bring about deep relaxation and inner peace.
Benson’s “RELAXATION RESPONSE”
1. Sit quietly in a comfortable position and close your eyes.
2. Choose a calming one syllable word such as "one" or “calm” or "peace" or a sound such as “om”
3. Relax all your muscles, beginning at your feet and progressing up to your face.
4. Breathe through your nose. Become aware of your breathing.
5. With each exhale, say the word you chose silently to yourself. Breathe easily and naturally.
5. Continue for 10 to 15 minutes. You may open your eyes to check the time, rather than using an alarm.
6. When distracting thoughts occur, ignore them by returning to exhaling your word.
7. When you finish, sit quietly for a few minutes, at first with your eyes closed and then open your eyes, continuing to sit quietly for another moment.
8. With practice, the response should come with little effort. Some report just the word alone brings on the relaxed feeling!
Let me know how you like it!!!