Release Stress-Related Tension and Energy in Healthy Ways

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Dr Rich Blonna - Your Guide To Less Stress and Better Sex

Written By Dr. Rich

For more than 30 years, I have devoted myself, both professionally and personally, to helping people just like you stress less, have better sex, and enjoy life more.

Learn more about Dr. Rich

I am a university professor, author, and a world-renowned expert in how the mind and body work together in creating and managing stress. I’m proud to be one of the creators of Acceptance and Commitment (AC) Coaching, an exciting form of cognitive psychology that combines mindfulness, acceptance, and commitment to help people stress less and enjoy better sex and a more fulfilling life. I’m certified in Naikan and Morita, two forms of Japanese psychology that emphasize mindfulness and acceptance training respectively. I’m also a Board Certified Coach (BCC), National Certified Counselor (NCC), and Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). My eclectic approach combines the best practices from all of these disciplines. I’ve helped thousands of people from the United States, Europe, South Africa, and Asia through my books, audios, and adult training courses. My home is in Marco Island, Florida where I live with Heidi, my wife of 48 years. I love writing, tennis, running, kayaking, swimming, biking, weight training, meditation on the beach, and anything that gets me outdoors in the sun.

July 7, 2022

If you’ve read anything

about stress over the years you probably recall the phrase, the fight-or-flight response. It refers to your body’s preparation to confront or run away from potential threats to your well-being. Many experts consider fight or flight a response to perceived threat, whether it is real or imagined. In the days of the cave person, you either fought or ran away from the saber-toothed tiger when you discovered that you both inhabited the same cave. The earliest humans were equipped with an incredible self-defense system that activated when they perceived a threat to their well-being such as a saber-toothed tiger attacking them.

 

 

 

 

As a modern-day human you are still equipped with this ability to mobilize strength and energy to fight or flee, but you rarely have the opportunity to do this energy when confronted by the less life-threatening but just as real modern threats to your well-being. The irate boss, traffic jam, inconsiderate sales clerk, and excessively demanding friend all are capable of invoking the same intense stress response as the saber-toothed tiger. Unfortunately, you cannot always fight or run away from most of your modern-day threats (also known as potential stressors).

Also unchanged is your ability to deal with threats to your well-being through physical release. When you are under stress and your body has mobilized  the fight-or-flight response, you are prepared for action. You are in a state that calls for physical release. You have the energy, your muscles are tense and ready, and your mind is alert and willing. When you act, you use the by-products of this response (blood sugars, hormones, muscle tension, and high blood pressure) constructively.

 

 

 

 

If you do not act and dissipate this stress response, it begins to exact a toll on your body, mind, and spirit. In the short run it makes you tense and irritable. You feel all wound up and are unable to sit still and focus. You find it hard to get to sleep and stay asleep. You lose your zest for living. In the long run, the response will lead to a decreased quality of life, inefficient functioning, illness, and breakdown.

Sometimes you can shut down the fight-or-flight response by using relaxation techniques that lead with the mind such as diaphragmatic breathing or meditation. Sometimes these mind-based techniques work. Other times they do not. Often, when you are really stressed out and all wound up you need more physically-active strategies to break the stress response.

This is where Release techniques work. Release is one of my five lines of defense against stress called, The Five R’s of Conquering Your StressRelease, as a line of defense against stress, leads with the body, not the mind.

There are a host of mild, moderate, vigorous, and cathartic types of physical activity and exercise that will release stress-related muscle tension and use up the energy mobilized to fight or flee in healthy ways. These run the gamut from mild physical activities such as Systematic Muscle Relaxation to cathartic forms of release such as anaerobic exercise and orgasm.

 

 

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What Does Relaxation Look/Feel Like?

What Does Relaxation Look/Feel Like?

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.

How do You Reduce Stress?

How do You Reduce Stress?

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).

Change Your View of Stress and Coping

Change Your View of Stress and Coping

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.

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