The Importance of Being Calm in the Chaos
Stress is often regarded as a psychological issue, but stress is definitely not all in our heads.
When the chaos that is life starts to get oppressive, excess stress hormones are released, including cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine.
This is supposed to happen, as the body is getting ready to face this real or perceived threat.
The problem is that in our world today, most of us are faced with some sort of threats daily meaning the human stress response is in overdrive and becomes imbalanced; it basically does not shut down
It does not take long for this human beneficial system to get out of wack.
When stress becomes chronic, your immune system becomes increasingly desensitized to cortisol, and since inflammation is partly regulated by this hormone, this decreased sensitivity heightens the inflammatory response and allows inflammation to get out of control.
Chronic inflammation is at the core of many chronic diseases.
When in stress mode virtually no systems in the human body works as they should. Stressed people have trouble sleeping, come down with colds often and have flare-ups of asthma or eczema, this all comes at the cost of ignoring the body’s need for calmness in the chaos.
Most all of us can benefit from having relaxation techniques ready when needed
There are many methods to choose from, so pick those that work best for you, all of the purposes are the same to help the body deal with an onslaught of stress by inducing your body’s relaxation response.
The RR (relaxation response) is the counterpart of the stress response.
Special a physical state of deep rest that changes physical and emotional responses to stress and may counter stress’ harmful effects. By evoking the body’s built-in relaxation response you can actually change the expression of your genes for the better.
According to one study in PLOS One: “RR elicitation is an effective therapeutic intervention that counteracts the adverse clinical effects of stress in disorders including hypertension, anxiety, insomnia and aging … RR practice enhanced expression of genes associated with energy metabolism, mitochondrial function, insulin secretion and telomere maintenance, and reduced expression of genes linked to inflammatory response and stress-related pathways.”
Relaxation techniques can be used to help us get through the daily grind as well as to help address specific health conditions or stressful scenarios.
For example: these techniques may help to lower blood pressure, relieve insomnia and lessen symptoms of depression. They may also reduce stress hormones, lower your heart rate, improve your mood and relieve muscle tension and pain.
Relaxation techniques can also be used to offer relief from symptoms such as nausea and reduce pain, including during labor and childbirth.
Indeed, entering a state of deep relaxation, in which the body is free of tension and your mind is free of distracting or negative thoughts, yields impressive results.
In addition, relaxation may help the following:
- Boost Immunity: Meditation is known to have a significant effect on immune cells, and research shows relaxation exercises may boost natural killer cells in the elderly, leading to increased resistance to tumors and viruses.
- Fertility: Research suggests women are more likely to conceive when they are relaxed as opposed to when they are stressed.
- Heart Health: Relaxation via Meditation, done once daily for 3 months, (I have been practicing meditation daily for 16 year), significantly lowered blood pressure and psychological distress, and also bolstered coping ability in people at increased risk of hypertension.
- Mental Health: People who meditate note reductions in psychological distress, depression and anxiety.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): When people with IBS practiced relaxation meditation 2X daily, their symptoms improved significantly.
Research by Dr. Herbert Benson, cardiologist and founder of the Mind/Body Medical Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues has shown that people who practice relaxation methods such as yoga and meditation long-term have more disease-fighting genes switched “on” and active, including genes that protect against pain, infertility, high blood pressure and rheumatoid arthritis.
Deep breathing, activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which induces the relaxation response, but taking even 10 minutes to sit quietly and shut out the chaos around you can also trigger it and exit the Chaos.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Breathe and Live lively
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