A great way to deal with stress is to learn and practice relaxation skills. Most people don’t realise how much tension we carry in our muscles. Over time, some muscles can become chronically tense. This is especially true for people that are constantly “on the go”. During the day tension builds, resulting in ever increasing tension throughout the body. The problem is tense muscles make you feel more ‘on edge’ and ‘tuned in’ to your already high level of anxiety or stress.
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Tense muscles also respond to your emotions. So each time you feel frustrated, anxious, angry or upset, which regularly happens without you even noticing throughout the day, your muscle tension increases. Additionally when we become stressed or anxious stress hormones are released into the blood. This can result in physical changes such as increased heart rate, breathing, dilation of pupils and a shut down in digestion just to name a few. It can develop into a vicious cycle. Relaxation techniques have the ability to decrease our levels of arousal or anxiety and reverse the stress response.
How does relaxation work?
The good news is that learning to relax can actually reverse this vicious cycle. Relaxation techniques have the ability to decrease our levels of arousal or anxiety and reverse the stress response. By learning a relaxation technique, you create pleasant body sensations. Your tension, anxiety, stress and worry as well as any pain you may be experiencing eases and you gradually increase your sense of calmness and peace of mind.
Many people say they only realised how tense they were after they learned relaxation techniques and how to relax. Guy Leech, famous Australian ironman athlete commonly used relaxation techniques to prepare him before competition “Relaxation was a great way for me to prepare for an Iron Man race. Whilst all my competitors were on edge, hyped up and looking around, worried about their opponents, I was calm, focused and clear on what I needed to do to win!”