The stress response is the body’s natural response to a stressful situation.  With The stress response we unleash our “fight or flight” response where our bodies release stress hormones.  In the days of humans as hunter gathers, we needed this response to stay safe and it served us well. In today’s world our stress response can be triggered more frequently in our 24/7 hi-tech society.  However, the effects of triggering your stress response frequently can lead to many health issues. Whilst having some stress in your life is positive, having too much can lead to an imbalance in your body.

Some of the effects of the stress response are:

  • Heart rate increases
  • Blood pressure rises
  • Shallow breathing
  • Muscles contract
  • The immune system is less effective
  • Anxiety increases
  • Digestion is less effective amongst many other bodily and brain responses

In the 1970’s, Dr Herbert Benson conducted an extensive amount of research on the effects of how we respond to different situations – a stress response vs a relaxation response and how they affect our bodies. He found that a relaxation response can counterbalance the effects of stress.

A relaxation response is a more positive response that helps to keep our stress levels down. The relaxation response is the polar opposite to the stress response as it helps to restore a state of equilibrium in the body.   The relaxation response is what helps us to increase mind and body balance as well as concentration, creativity, immunity and digestive health and also to reverse the predominant stress response effects. There are many ways to cultivate more of the relaxation response, think about what you can do when you are relaxing, nourishing or nurturing your body.  Some ways that I like to have more relaxation in my life are having a bath, a quiet cup of tea, a massage or reading a book.  It is a time when nothing is required of you and you are doing something you feel is pleasurable. More relaxation, less stress sounds like a great recipe for living your best life.

STRESS RESPONSE “fight or flight” RELAXATION RESPONSE
 

Breathing rate increases

Heart rate increases

Blood pressure rises

Adrenaline increases

Cholesterol levels go up

Immune system is less effective

Anxiety increases

Depression is more prevalent

Sleep disorders increase

Fat is more likely stored around stomach

Irritability increases

Digestion works less effectively

Sex hormones/sex drive decreases

 

 

 

 

Breathing rate slows down

Heart rate slows

Blood pressure lowers

Adrenaline lowers

Immune system improves

Sense of wellbeing increases

Sleep improves

Brain wave patterns slow down

Thought process increased

Digestion improves

Increase in creativity and concentration

Sex hormones normalise

Aurora Spa

Author Aurora Spa

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