Check out the reading that inspired this response.

This article discussed the relationship between stress and health issues in the US. The article states that relaxation techniques can be a good strategy in dealing with and coping with stress. The main goal of this article is to, “describes a research-based relaxation technique aimed to identify stress and enhance resources to cope with stress.” Through my own personal experience I always knew that stress was bad for your health but seeing it explicitly stated in this article was eye opening for me. The science behind this was extremely interesting. Stress influences behavioral and biological pathways. Behavior is modified because stress can change an individual’s health practices, social coping, and medical compliance. Biologically stress has been shown to increase, “physiological state that alters the function of the central nervous system, neuroendocrine system, and ultimately the immune system”. Another interesting point in this article was that stress is a subjective experience. This relates nicely with one of my previous readings about work life balance and how that as well is subjective in nature. The amount of stress different life events brings into your life is subjective to every individual. Every person perceives stressful events differently and become stimulated differently. As such this article focuses less on what stressors are but more on what an appropriate response can look like.

SO what can you do?

There are a multitude of coping techniques you can utilize to reduce stress. This article aims to focus on relaxation as a means to help rejuvenate one’s ability to utilize other over used techniques during times of chronic stress. Relaxation techniques involved in this study were, “progressive relaxation, meditation, visualization, deep breathing, Yoga, and noticing natural

elements in one’s environment”.  Findings suggest that implementation of these things can help restore other coping ability by restoring fatigued resources. It sounds kind of silly but when I think about some of the most stress from times of my life stopping and taking even five minutes to relax helped me gain perspective and move forward. I remember vividly one day in my first year of teaching I was at my stress capacity and ready to blow. One day after school I literally just laid on the floor behind my desk and took 5 minutes to relax and think about nothing. Even though it was a super short amount of time taking that opportunity and just letting myself relax made it possible for me to move on.

Relaxation has a very specific meaning in this article. It is not just talking a minute to slow down and taking breaths. Relaxation is, a learned skill that takes practice and involves observation and

conscious release of physical arousal and stress“. Purposeful and specific relaxation techniques can stimulate portions of the brain that balance concentrated stimulation and relieve exhausted portions of the brain. When reading this I imagine a tea kettle on the stove. It bubbles and builds pressure inside the pot. When there is enough pressure there is a need for release and the steam escapes through the top of the pot making a whistling noise. Relaxation is that release of pressure for your brain!  The article goes on the outline specific procedures that can be utilized with college ages students as they was the primary focus of the study. Although I am not an undergraduate student any more I can still see the usefulness for this in my life! I would love to increase awareness and ability to purposefully relax and release some brain pressure! I am think I have found my focus for next week’s reading response, if you’re interested check it out next week!

Can’t wait until next week? Check out other great learning #ds106 and #ILT5340