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:
- 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
- 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.
My Relax Course will show you what true relaxation is and how the relaxation response can instantly cancel out the stress response.