To get a sense of what it looks/feels like to be truly relaxed, watch your dog seek out a warm spot in the sun. She finds a quiet spot away from the main traffic of the house, circles it a few times, stretches her legs, rolls her head and neck, lies down and fully arches her back, takes a deep breath and exhales deeply, and then curls up or sprawls in the warm rays.
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In my Five R’s of Coping Model I identify five different levels of defense against stress; Rethink, Relax, Release, Reduce, and Reorganize. Reduce works as a level of defense against stress by learning how to find your optimal level of stimulating activities and demands (what some people incorrectly call stress).
In a previous blog (What is Stress?) I described the three components of stress: (1) a potential stressor, (2) what your mind tells you (your self-talk) about it and your ability to cope with it and (3) a stress response that kicks in if you feel unable to cope with it.
When you start to view stress this way you begin to change. You no longer see stress as something that just happens to you, and is beyond your control. Stress becomes more than just “bills, traffic, the government,” or other things that exist independently of you.