Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Healing Power of Relaxation

Another key that helps in times of crisis is the healing power of relaxation. Research shows relaxation can lessen the effects of many physical symptoms and it can reduce many of our negative emotions - anger, anxiety, fear and depression. One study of men who took an afternoon nap showed that they had 30% to 50% less risk of heart attack.  

In another study individuals who were taught relaxation techniques were able to fall asleep four times faster than they were previously. Relaxation can lessen pain during medical and dental procedures and during surgery. Relaxation can lessen nausea and vomiting connected with chemotherapy, and can reduce the length and pain of childbirth. Relaxation can even boost the functioning of our immune system.

Relaxation is almost discouraged by the culture. Our life styles are rushed and our commitments are many. When we have “free” time we look for a chore to do or we flip on the TV, the computer or reach for the telephone. Many of us don’t know how to relax. We can learn to relax by doing it.

Begin by setting aside 20 minutes each day. Use your imagination to keep your mind off your pain and to help you relax. Visualize a peaceful scene. See yourself in this scene and use all your senses to notice specific details such as a soft breeze, a butterfly, puffy white clouds. Concentrate on deep breathing and letting go. Let this special time be a gift to you. There is no right or wrong way to relax. Experiment and notice what helps your body and mind let go. Be patient with yourself and with the process of learning to relax. To learn more about relaxation read: The Relaxation Response by Herbert Benson, M.D

Be still and know that I am God.” Psalms 46:10

Blessings, Dottie

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