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This is a wonderful stress management tool:

The Meditation Relaxation Technique 

This popular relaxation technique was developed by Herbert Benson M.D., author of the best-selling book, The Relaxation Response.

It is a simple method of meditation that is used as a natural stress reliever.

Like many easy meditation techniques, this one derived from Transcendental Meditation TM®. Dr. Benson’s method allows for the desired relaxation response to occur. That is your best defense to counter the damaging effects of the opposing stress response.

This self-relaxation technique promotes a level of consciousness for deep meditation and healing that you don’t ordinarily experience. It delivers the benefits of meditation to relieve stress while removing some of the mysticism.

Although a program of two 20-minute sessions each day is ideal – you don’t have to feel that anything less is not going to be beneficial. If you try sticking to a troublesome routine you can create more tension than it helps to ease.

“The ideal is to develop a routine, a time to bring forth the relaxation response that becomes as much a part of the day as brushing your teeth.”

~ Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine – BHI Staff

It is suggested that you start out practicing once a day for 10-20 minutes.

Try to plan your session before meals when you are less likely to doze off. Falling asleep may successfully relax you, but it cuts short the duration and full benefit.


Steps for the Meditation Relaxation Technique:

STEP 1: Find a quiet location free of distractions where you won’t be disturbed.

STEP 2: Choose a word, sound, prayer, or phrase (a mantra) to focus on. Dr. Benson recommends the word “one”. Or, try picking for yourself something that signals peace of mind like the word “peace” or “calm”. Once you pick your mantra however, don’t change it. You will come to associate that word with the tranquil effects of the relaxation response.

STEP 3: Sit upright in a comfortable position with your hands resting naturally in your lap.

STEP 4: Gently close your eyes, relax your muscles and quiet your mind – taking a few deep breaths to prepare for meditation may be helpful.

STEP 5: Breathe in slowly and naturally – become aware of each breath. Working with the normal rhythm of your own breathing, silently say your focus word to yourself as you exhale.

STEP 6: Assume a passive attitude. Simply disregard any distracting or worrisome thoughts by saying to yourself, “Oh well” and without criticism, gently return to your repetition in relaxation meditation.

STEP 7: Continue for 10-20 minutes. Judge your time or take a peek at a wristwatch. Do not use the disturbing sound of an alarm clock or timer. When your time is up, remain sitting quietly with your eyes still closed. Allow a minute for other thoughts to return and readjust to full wakefulness. Then open your eyes and sit for another minute before rising.
The deep breathing relaxation technique in meditation is just one of many different types of meditation. Sometimes that “just right” stress reducer may be listening to a tape or CD with guidance or “a voice” that helps you focus.

Experiment with ones that seem to line up with your area of comfort—maybe a stress relaxation techniques exercise that deals more on a physical level. Try progressive muscle relaxation or yoga that involve movement – these may provide a better fit.

But whatever you choose, keep in mind that all reliable relaxation methods should evoke that state of profound peacefulness within.

“Over 35 million US adults use mind/body approaches for better health.”

~Herbert Benson, MD

People who regularly practice some sort of relaxation technique or meditation to relieve stress are typically less anxious or tense and better able to resist its ill-effects.

Harmonize your mind/body connection and use your own ability to limit the impact stress has on you.

Learn to harness your innate healing power.

link for above article and exercise:                                                                                                                <a href=”http://www.essenceofstressrelief.com/relaxation-technique.html”>Meditation Relaxation Technique, Easy Meditation To Relieve Stress</a>

The Mayo Clinic offers valuable information regarding the benefits of exercise to reduce stress, and includes important information to assist stress reduction which translates to better physical and mental health

Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress

Exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever. Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries.By Mayo Clinic Staff

You know that exercise does your body good, but you’re too busy and stressed to fit it into your routine. Hold on a second — there’s good news when it comes to exercise and stress.

Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever. If you’re not an athlete or even if you’re downright out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management. Discover the connection between exercise and stress relief — and why exercise should be part of your stress management plan.

Exercise and stress relief

Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, which puts more pep in your step every day. But exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits.

  • It pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity helps to bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling.
  • It’s meditation in motion. After a fast-paced game of racquetball or several laps in the pool, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements. As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything that you do.
  • It improves your mood. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise also can improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All this can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.
  • Put exercise and stress relief to work for you

    A successful exercise program begins with a few simple steps.

    • Consult with your doctor. If you haven’t exercised for some time and you have health concerns, you may want to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
    • Walk before you run. Build up your fitness level gradually. Excitement about a new program can lead to overdoing it and possibly even injury. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity (think brisk walking or swimming) or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity (such as running). If you’re new to exercise, start at the moderate level and then add vigorous activity as your fitness improves.
    • Do what you love. Virtually any form of exercise or movement can increase your fitness level while decreasing your stress. The most important thing is to pick an activity that you enjoy. Examples include walking, stair climbing, jogging, bicycling, yoga, tai chi, gardening, weightlifting and swimming.
    • Pencil it in. Although your schedule may necessitate a morning workout one day and an evening activity the next, carving out some time to move every day helps you make your exercise program an ongoing priority.

    Stick with it

    Starting an exercise program is just the first step. Here are some tips for sticking with a new routine or reinvigorating a tired workout:

    • Set SMART goals. Write down specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and time-limited goals. If your primary goal is to reduce stress in your life and recharge your batteries, your specific goals might include committing to walking during your lunch hour three times a week or, if needed, finding a baby sitter to watch your children so that you can slip away to attend a cycling class.
    • Find a friend. Knowing that someone is waiting for you to show up at the gym or the park can be a powerful incentive. Working out with a friend, co-worker or family member often brings a new level of motivation and commitment to your workouts.
    • Change up your routine. If you’ve always been a competitive runner, take a look at other less competitive options that may help with stress reduction, such as Pilates or yoga classes. As an added bonus, these kinder, gentler workouts may enhance your running while also decreasing your stress.
    • Exercise in increments. Even brief bouts of activity offer benefits. For instance, if you can’t fit in one 30-minute walk, try three 10-minute walks instead. What’s most important is making regular physical activity part of your lifestyle.

    Whatever you do, don’t think of exercise as just one more thing on your to-do list. Find an activity you enjoy — whether it’s an active tennis match or a meditative meander down to a local park and back — and make it part of your regular routine. Any form of physical activity can help you unwind and become an important part of your approach to easing stress. www.mayoclinic.org

Painting sample by Steff Shorr