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Effectively Combat Stress With Deep Relaxation

Updated on August 9, 2010

Our lives are full of stress and it's taking a toll. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 90 percent of the doctor visits in the USA may be triggered by stress-related illness. Chronically high levels of stress weaken your immune system, cause muscle pain and tension headaches. Daily deep relaxation is a powerful weapon against stress.

"Regular practice of deep relaxation for 20-30 minutes on a daily basis can produce, over time, a generalization of relaxation to the rest of your life. That is, after several weeks of practicing deep relaxation once per day, you will tend to feel more relaxed all the time." says Edmund J. Bourne, Ph.D. in his book, The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook.

What is Deep Relaxation?

Deep relaxation is different from curling up with a good book, taking a bath or watching TV. It is a specific set of physical changes including:

• Decrease in heart rate

• Decrease in respiration

• Decrease in blood pressure

• Decrease in skeletal muscle tension

• Decrease in metabolic rate and oxygen consumption

• Decrease in analytical thinking

• Increase in skin resistance

• Increase in alpha wave activity in the brain

Benefits of Deep Relaxation.

Aside from the above-mentioned generalization of relaxation when done consistently, deep relaxation has many benefits including:

• Reduction of generalized anxiety.

• Reduction of frequency and severity of panic attacks

• Gives your body some healing time to recover from previous stress, sort of recharging your stress capacity levels

• Increased energy and productivity levels

• Improved concentration and memory

• Reduction of insomnia and fatigue and get a better night's sleep

• Prevention and/or reduction of psychosomatic disorders such as hypertension, migraines, headaches, asthma and uclers

• Increased self-confidence and reduced self-attack

• Increased awareness of emotions due to decreased muscle tension

Methods of Deep Relaxation.

There are various methods to achieve states of deep relaxation. You're sure to find one that works for you.

• Abdominal breathing

• Progressive muscle relaxation

• Visualizing a peaceful scene


• Guided imagery

• Biofeedback

• Sensory deprivation


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    • Marisa OConnor profile image

      Marisa OConnor 7 years ago


    • Japemwellows profile image

      Japemwellows 7 years ago from 5ifth Dimensi0n

      This is a very relevant for me! learning to relax pretty much saved my ass, nice hub Marisa =)