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Stressed Out? Tips For Relaxation
Dr. Dale V. Atkins, November 2008

In the 1960s, Dr. Herbert Benson coined the phrase RELAXATION RESPONSE. Fortunately, since then, many of us have incorporated a time into our day to calm ourselves; to quiet the noise within. Research has continued to show us that our health improves when we practice this. Wherever I go, with whomever I speak, I encounter people who are worried and stressed out. Particularly now, they feel overwhelmed and challenged by issues related to work, family, finances, and security.

Participating in a repetitive movement (like knitting, running, playing music) is one way to find balance and tranquility in your life. Another important activity is getting involved with your breath, shutting out other concerns for 10-20 minutes to help you face whatever you are dealing with. When you do this, you will find a renewed sense of strength.

Giving yourself 10-20 minutes during your day to allow your mind, spirit, and body to connect, to release tension through breathing can make a tremendous difference in how you face life's challenges. Enjoying these moments will help bring you to a calmness at your center. As Jon Kabat Zinn advises in one of his mindfulness mediations, the surface of a lake may be agitated or quiet but there is always stillness at its depth.

Here are two tips for finding your relaxation response through breathing:

Visualize - If your mind wanders, which it likely will, watch your breath and visualize the world CALM as you breath in. Adjust to physical changes with an attitude of CAN DO rather than that which you can no longer do. As you breathe out, visualize the word STRESS leaving on your breath.

Choose Your Words - Whatever words works for you are the words you should use. Some people use WHOLE as they inhale and FRACTURED as they exhale. Others see PEACE coming in and FEAR going out. Some enjoy LOVE coming in on the inhalation and PAIN leaving on the exhalation.

Do this every day once or twice for at least one to two weeks. You will surely see a difference and then, keep it up! Your health and well being, during times of strife, is something you can truly monitor.

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