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February 20, 2018

Relaxation Response

By Dr. Richard Boyum

Research has demonstrated that in order to relax four things are needed.
They are:

1. A quiet environment
2. A comfortable position with normal deep breaths
3. Adaptation of a passive attitude
4. A mentally distracting device

Relaxation can take place in as short a period as five minutes. A comfortable position for you may mean sitting down, gut it can also mean going of a stroll. A quiet environment can be anything including your room, to a place in a house, or being outside. Relaxation is something that cannot be forced; therefore, a passive attitude is required. It is something that you have to just let happen, you can't make it happen. A mentally distracting device is something used to keep thoughts out of your brain and verbal centers. By focusing on your breathing or a single syllable word like the word "One," you will be able to focus on the relaxation activity. Certain types of visual images may also be helpful. Picturing a very comfortable or favorite spot that you like can help. You may also picture yourself going through succeeding levels of relaxation by moving down an escalator or elevator.

Relaxation is a learned activity, and with practice an individual should be able to develop competency in this area. Interestingly enough, for some individuals rigorous cardiovascular exercise can be relaxing, or just doing something that you really enjoy. Cardiovascular exercise is important because much of the tension we experience can be stored in our skeletal muscles. Brisk walking, running, bicycling, or cross-country skiing can relax these muscles. Likewise, a pleasant activity (which in itself can be productive) takes our mind off that which makes us tense and consequently reduces stress.