Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Relaxation Response

So for the last couple of weeks I have been in a funk as noted by last week's Therapy Thursday post.  A few days after that I opened up to my husband about a few things that were bothering me and the more I talked the more I clued in to what it was that precipitated the funk.  I realized I had made a mistake on something and I was allowing that mistake to fester inside me instead of talking to someone about it.  Once we talked about it and he assured me that it was okay to have made the mistake and encouraged me to move forward from that point I have felt much better. 

I had been wondering if I had needed to increase my depression medication or something, but, again, as I wrote last week, I had failed to do the things that I need to do to make myself feel better.  One of those things is to "release" things and I needed to release the guilt I was feeling about my mistake.  Releasing our emotions is one of the major things that helps us to relax and then be able to move forward.  The following is one of my most favorite quotes (I might have even shared it before, I can't remember):

The "Relaxation Response" is fight-or-flight's polar opposite.  It's your body's inborn capacity to calm down.  When your body experiences the relaxation response, there is a measureable decrease in heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, oxygen consumption, stress hormone levels, and muscle tension.  You can bring on ("elicit") the relation response when you practice anyone of a number of relaxation, yoga, visualization, and other methods. . . .  Eliciting the relaxation response interrupts your body's physical and emotional response to stress, allowing it to return to a calm, relaxed state. . . .  It is worth noting that many activities you may think of as being relaxing, such as reading a book or watching tv, do not trigger the relaxation response.  From Be Happy Without Being Perfect by Alice D. Domar, Ph.D.

By just taking a few minutes and sharing my feelings I elicited that Relaxation Response that I so desperately needed.  Whether it is releasing emotions, taking a moment to be still or doing something you love, these things are our breath of life that help us survive our day to day life.

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