5 Bona Fide Benefits Of Relaxation

You don’t have to be depressed or anxious to benefit from relaxation techniques!

When I first became a Relaxation therapist, people would often talk to me about feeling guilty when they wanted to do something nice and relaxing for themselves.

They felt it was an indulgence that they had to justify to their family. And studies are showing that people are spending less than 5% of their time seeking out and engaging in relaxing pursuits.

No,no, no.  Relax, take care of yourself!

Think of the most important rule explained in airplanes before you take off  – during an emergency, put your own oxygen mask on, before helping others.

The same rule applies to many situations in life.  Relax, take care of yourself, then when you are in the right headspace, energetic space and every other kind of good space, take care of everyone else.  This is not being selfish; it’s being smart and responsible.

But if you want to experience the health benefits of relaxation, you need to do more than lounge on your couch watching TV. You’re looking for deep relaxation, the kind where your mind stops running and your body is free of tension.

So, to inspire you to feel even more at ease with the idea of taking some time out for yourself, here are my favourite reasons why it’s so good for you to relax.

5 Bona Fide Benefits of Relaxation

1 – Relaxation helps to combat anger.

When we are tired, overwhelmed and running ragged we often find our temper flares VERY quickly, leading to anger.  And when we are angry, our adrenal glands flood our body with stress hormones (such as adrenaline and cortisol).  This puts you in a space where you have an abundance of hormones that keep you ramped up, and in a position to stay angry for longer.  As if that was not enough, the brain also shunts blood away from the gut and towards the muscles.

Your heart rate, blood pressure and respiration all increase.  In healing terms, you have just created an overabundance of the fire element in your body.  Congratulations… you are now in the running to win a headache, digestive problems, increased anxiety, high blood pressure, skin problems, or worse case scenario,  a stroke.

2-  Relaxation helps combat the signs of ageing.

Increased levels of chronic stress make your body age faster and are known to shorten your telomeres (or to put it simply, it shortens sections of your DNA).  This leads to increased inflammation and a compromised immune system.  Engaging in deep relaxation combats this effect and helps you look, feel and stay younger for longer.

3- Relaxation helps you make better lifestyle choices.

When your brain and emotions feel relaxed and happy, you are more likely to make good lifestyle choices.  You make healthy eating choices, exercise more, and drink less alcohol. All these things will help keep you younger, healthier and generally happier.

4 – Relaxation helps you manage chronic pain

Relaxation helps muscles to release and it helps us to breathe deeper and slower.  As you focus on your breath, your heart rate slows down and your mind becomes calm.  Your focus moves onto something other than your pain.

Scientists theorize that things in our environment compete for the brain’s attention. Essentially, the brain can only focus on a certain amount of input at once. Focusing on sensations other than tension and pain, or even introducing new sensations, can “close the gate” to pain. The pain doesn’t go away, it just drops into the background.

But healers know that as you relax, all the other physical systems relax and move into a sate of homeostasis (balance) which amongst other things reduces inflammation, greatly reducing pain.

5 – Relaxation helps your gut stay strong

The gut contains 70% of the body’s immune system, and the gut microbiota plays a major role in immune health.

Your digestive system is at the centre of your wellbeing and is involved in so many vital processes. It is responsible for converting food into simple nutrients and delivering them to the body via the bloodstream.

Your digestive system plays a big role in regulating hormones and excreting toxins, so keeping a healthy balance of good bugs in your intestine is critical to good gut health!

Prolonged stress can wreak havoc on your body, and impact on your digestive system. The ‘fight or flight’ response results in decreased blood flow to your digestive muscles and reduced secretion of digestive enzymes. Stress can also result in gastrointestinal inflammation, constipation or diarrhoea.

Now is a great time to relax and allow your body to heal, to let go of any tension – and meditation is a great tool to help you relax.

If you are struggling to meditate, or would just like to be a part of a meditation group, our Meditation in Motion Class may be the perfect place for you!


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