Posted by Mirabai Holland MFA on March 07, 2015
So what do we do about chronic stress? How do we get rid of it?
How? Relax. That's what my first yoga teacher used to say when I was all bent up in the pretzel pose with a grimace on my face. And, like that meditation you just did, it actually worked. Once I was able to relax, I was stress-free even in the pretzel pose.
Seriously, daily conscious relaxation exercises can make real difference in the way your body responds to stress. Dr Herbert Benson coined the phrase "relaxation response" in his book by the same name in 1975.
Since then he and others have conducted numerous studies, including a recent one at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine, that have detailed the body's intricate positive response to conscious relaxation exercises. In a nutshell, the relaxation response has the opposite effect of fight-or-flight. It engages the parasympathetic nervous system to counteract the effects of stress. You experience a feeling of deep relaxation and well being. And if you practice relaxation regularly you'll feel better and help yourself avoid those stress related health issues. That's how we get rid of chronic stress.
Here is a Mini Relaxation Video