What Does Relaxation Look/Feel Like?

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 8, 2022

How do you know if you are relaxed?


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.

My little Shiz Tzu likes to curl up on the tiled vestibule area by the front door of our condo. We have a split full glass door that allows us to drop the top and let fresh air in through the screened portion. On warm days she lies there and enjoys the breeze coming through the window. On colder days when the top window is shut she likes to feel sun warming the tiled floor and her little body. She also likes to get under the covers and sprawl out on the bed like the little princess she is.


She is relaxed, content, and at peace. Sometimes she gets so comfortable her snoring can be heard in the upstairs bedrooms.


Watching my little dog do this never ceases to amaze and inspire me. Whenever I feel tense or jittery and just can’t seem to sit still and just “be”, I think of her curling up in front of the warm patch of sun by the front door or on the bed under the covers and it helps bring me to my own happy, relaxed state of being. Here is a little table to show the differences between the relaxed and stressed states:


Stressed State

  • Increased cardiac output
  • Increased body metabolism
  • Increased muscular tension
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood-clotting time
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased blood flow to the major muscle groups involved in fight-or-flight
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Increased oxygen consumption


Relaxed State

  • Decreased cardiac output
  • Decreased body metabolism
  • Decreased muscular tension
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Decreased blood-clotting time
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Normalized blood flow to the major muscle groups involved in fight-or-flight
  • Decreased breathing rate
  • Decreased oxygen consumption


When we are relaxed, there is a decrease in both skeletal and smooth muscle tension. Our muscles are not in the chronic state of mild contraction that characterizes the stress response. This protects them from the cumulative negative effects of being constantly tensed.

Our breathing rate decreases, and the depth of our breathing increases. We breathe more evenly and fully, allowing efficient oxygen utilization and carbon dioxide removal.

The number of times our heart beats per minute decreases, and blood  pressure also decreases; both reduce wear and tear on our cardiovascular system. In addition, we have more efficient circulation. Blood is allowed to move freely throughout our bodies, no longer pooling in our internal organs. Our extremities warm up as circulation is restored.

When we are relaxed, our blood volume decreases and normal water balance is restored because we no longer are producing extra chemicals that retain sodium and increase blood volume and pressure.

Our metabolic rate returns to normal, as our relaxation response  exerts control over the many processes that are set in motion by the stress response. In a relaxed state, we simply cannot be stressed.

To stress less and live more you need to start putting your body in a relaxed state on a regular basis.

If you loved this post, learn more by…

Reading the Relax Book

Listening to the Relaxation Audio Collection

Taking the Relax Course

Signing Up for Executive Coaching



You May Also Like…

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.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.



My free report will show you how to relax your muscles, calm your runaway mind, and get more energy and time to live a life filled with passion and purpose.

Thank you! We've added you to the mailing lists you selected.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This