Stress relaxation techniques can involve a hammock, can't they? And if it is December where you are, and the snow is about 10 inches deep, like it is here, then the memory of a hammock and a summer breeze, and swaying gently in the shade will be just as effective at changing distress into eustress as any pill, potion, or 87 proof scotch.
If you couple that change in attention inside your noggin with a change in breathing patterns, doing some deep enough breathing that your belly moves, you will have partaken of the most powerful stress relaxation technique known to human kind.
Here is the catch. You need to do deeper breathing and attentional switches frequently in order to keep the inside of your body relaxed, given our training these days to keep our body prepared for a life or death struggle so that we can produce more widgets and earn more money.
That takes some awareness of how fast the central nervous system (CNS) works and also some awareness of the human orienting response.
So go back to your image of yourself in the hammock, beneath the large oak tree, gentle breeze soothing you, you are nodding off to a nap, deeply relaxed, and suddenly your computer alerts you to an incoming tweet at your tweetdeck account.
You wake right up, because there has been a rapid change in internal chemistry in your body, which alerts you. That process of alerting is what we humans do to any movement in the environment. We pay attention to it, which changes the chemistry in our body.
So we move from relaxation to alertness in much less time than it takes to blink your eyes, and if you are not careful, and remember to switch back to relaxation chemistry, you may never get back to that internal hammock again without turning off your tweetdeck account.
But what if you miss that most important tweet, the one that brings you fame and fortune? Can't turn off all that technology, right, because today could be the day?
to manage eustress and distress heart beat by heart beat so that we could minimize the harmful impact of unnecessary stress chemistry?
Can research and technology help us out here? Can it even be done on my computer?
Yes, on all counts.
Research which increases the amount of knowledge washing over me, has provided a solution to this stress relaxation techniques puzzle, and the solution is Heartmath, or heart rate variability biofeedback.
until fifteen or 20 years ago, when a new field emerged called neurocardiology, or the study of the heart's own nervous system.
It turns out that there are lot of neurons in the heart, enough neurons that the heart can learn and make decisions on its own, given some feeback, and the best feeling, longest lasting stress management technique yet discovered was born, called Heartmath.
Using the Heartmath program, which is simple to put on my computer, and a few hours of practice, in my case about six one-half hour practices, I was able to begin to generate and most importantly, sustain a coherent heart rate, and the chemical bath that comes with that process is DHEA, rather than adrenalin and cortisol.
So when I am in my mental hammock, buzzing along with a healthy, coeherent heart beat and all its healthy brain corollaries, and my tweetdeck program alerts me, I can effectively check it out, and then re-cue my heartmath physiology.
In other words, I work and rest and work (pay attention to the external world) and rest in very brief increments.
If fact, I can get so good at heartmath that I can practice it for two heart beats every five minutes or so, to feel good, and sustain all of its healthy impacts, just because I want to.
I have taught this to many, many of my counseling clients, anger management clients, and domestic violence clients too, and I have only had one person since 2008 take more than 10 practices, or five hours, to learn the tool.
If you are curious about Heartmath, click on the link below for some video demonstations and their best sales pitch. Heartmath has my recommendation.
When I was beginning my personal growth journey, a wise person told me that when I was feeling resentful or afraid or sad, that I should remember the phrase "gratitude is the attitude" when I was ready to feel better. That phrase has helped me feel better tens of thousands of times.
Would you share what you are most grateful for? Your story could be just what another person is searching for to renew themselves? Thanks.