Relaxaton is the antidote to stress

Stressors are events that provoke stress and they often come in pairs - like hunger as opposed to feeling too full and feeling cold as opposed to feeling hot. When we react on stressors we often want to find some kind of balance in between these states. To react on stressors is a natural and good thing since it increases our chances of survival.

Stress overload

Problems with stress come when we experience too much stress during longer periods of time. In modern societies we tend to often find ourselves in states that make us tense or think and worry a lot. These states can be triggered by a lot of things like having too much to do, always being on the go and conflicts. When the body continues to pump out stress hormones during a prolonged period of time we will suffer from many problems. Stress hormones suppress the immune system and can also have severe mental effects like producing anger, anxiety and depression.

Relaxation concerves resources

Relaxation goes beyond just avoiding stressors or a stressed state. Relaxation can help us unwind, but also enhances the resource replenishment in both body and mind. Reduced oxygen consumption,decreased heart and breathing rate, lower blood pressure and muscle tension are common effects of practicing relaxation. These simple things actually increases the body's efficiency and can help us sleep less, get more energy and improve our metabolism. A lowered blood pressure also means that the likelyhood for strokes and heart attacks is reduced. Relaxation reduces the amount of stress hormones and allows the immune system to recover and work more effeciently.

Relaxation can help us unwind, but also enhances the resource replenishment in both body and mind

Mental effects of relaxation

Relaxation reduces the activity in the limbic system of the brain, which is responsible for negative emotions. This should make us feel better and can also make it easier to reduce smoking and alcohol consumption. Other positive effects include an improved concentration, a feeling of inner peace, a comfortable feeling in the body and improved relations.

Relaxation for patients

Due to all the positive effects of relaxation the self healing abilities of the body and mind can be improved. Problems that can be overcome range from sleeping problems to wound healing. Some diseases and complications that can be helped by relaxation are diabetes, cardiac disease, high cholestrol and stress-related disorders.

The best relaxation exercises

Many adults (according to some most adults) do not know how to relax but rather have to learn this skill. Research has shown that simple relaxation exercises are best for health. If the exercises are simple they can help us replenish energy, if they on the other hand are complex (for instance involve complex visualizations) and difficult the exercises will instead use energy.

In Zhineng Qigong we often use simple relaxation exercises.

 

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