Stress is a pervasive problem for most Americans -- one that affects a person's health and vulnerability to disease. In fact, between 60-80% of visits to healthcare providers in the U.S. are related to stress. For people with chronic illnesses or vulnerablity to them, stress can profoundly affect overall health. Stress prevention and managment is vital.
Want to learn more about the importance of stress management? Check out our eSolutions newsletter, Stress and Health: The New "Apple a Day" Prescription.
The Relaxation Response
Research has found that changing thought patterns can lead to decreased metabolism, rate of breathing and heart rate, and slower brain waves. These changes appeared to be the opposite of the commonly known stress response. Benson-Henry Institute Founder Herbert Benson, MD, labeled this the “relaxation response.”
How does you elicit the relaxation response?
There are two essential steps:
- Repeat one word, sound, phrase, or muscular activity.
- Passive disregard of everyday thoughts that inevitably come to mind and the return to your repetition.
- Practice for 10-20 minutes daily.
Thinking positively and avoiding negative self-talk is an effective stress managment tool. The Mayo Clinic's Positive Thinking: Reduce Stress by Eliminating Negative Self-Talk gives you tips to think more positively to reduce stress.
The American Heart Association offers numerous tools to effectively manage stress.
Recent and evolving research suggests that people of color may be at increased risk of health problems because of unique stress related to racism.
The Development of a Patient-Centered Program Based on the Relaxation Response: The Relaxation Response Resiliency Program (R3P) from the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine.