The Relaxation Response: A Quick How-to Guide
by Farzana Rahman
This article talks about how to evoke the relaxation response.
We have already talked about stress, the relaxation response and how nearly all cultures have developed techniques to evoke it.
The relaxation response is important as it counteract the negative effects of stress at a cellular level. In fact, there is data that the evoking the relaxation response can help delay ageing. So rather than slapping on that expensive serum made of snails sprinkled with gold-leaf, give this cheap and simple technique a go !
Components of the Relaxation Response
Luckily for us, researchers who have studied the relaxation response haven’t trademarked a secret technique or designed a prohibitively expensive course. Instead, they have helpfully broken down the fundamental commonalities of techniques that evoke the relaxation response. It’s pretty simple:
- They are often repetitive mental (or physical) activities where an individual tries to passively ignore distracting thoughts
- They break the train of everyday thought
The Relaxation Response: A Quick How-To guide
- Find a quiet space where you will not be disturbed.
- Sit in a comfortable, upright position. This doesn’t mean you have to sit cross-legged or on the floor. Sit in a way that leaves you relaxed and comfortable, not thinking about that cramp in your leg.
- Come up with a mantra, word, sound, phrase or prayer that you wish to repeat. Try something innocuous that won’t leave you distracted.
- Once you’ve picked what you’re going to use, start repeating it to yourself silently.
- This exercise should be thought of as relaxed repetition rather than focused concentration so try to relax your mind and body.
- It’s natural for your mind to wander or thoughts to pop into your head. It’s normally at times like this you realize you’re out of milk. When this happens, gently return to the world, phrase or prayer you’ve chosen.
- Practice for 10-20 minutes. If you can, try not to set a timer but have a watch or clock nearby. If you do have to set a timer then the Insight Timer app is a great tool.
- You can practice the relaxation response at anytime during the day. Try to make it a regular habit by practicing at the same time everyday. First thing in the morning is a great time, try waking up 15-20 minutes earlier than usual and making this the first thing that you do.
- Feel free to practice with background music if this helps.
That's it, it really is that simple.
The relaxation response is important as it not only helps us to relax and become more tolerable humans, it also helps to counteract the negative effects of stress at a cellular level. We'll be posting more about the physiology of stress and the relaxation response, subscribe to keep upto date !