There's an enormous amount of info available on stress management and relaxation and the related mind/body/heart/spirit topics. This page, started on July 3, 1998, is expected to grow considerably. Come back and visit it for new tips, articles, techniques, theories, links and more
Relaxation techniques <> Stress Management techniques.
There's a difference between stress management and relaxation.
Stress management helps you to:
Relaxation Training helps you to
learn to keep your mind and body quiet.... or energized, but with maximal efficiency.
to maximize your energy resources,
manage how you use energy, so when you respond to stress, you only use what you need, since one of he biggest problems caused by an excessive stress response is the un-producive use of energy to tense muscles and over-arouse your nervous systems.
Some stress management tips:
Check yourself often. Don't get obsessive about it, but throughout the day, check to see if your muscles are as relaxed as they can be. Take a deep, slow breath, and let go. Don't take more than 30-60 seconds to do this. With practice you can do it in 15 seconds.
FAQ 1) If I learn to relax, will it me make me too easy going, so I won't be energetic, creative or aggressive at my work?
BF Skinner discussed, in his book, Beyond Freedom and Dignity, how a person born in a prison becomes accustomed to the prison walls. A person with a stress disorder becomes accustomed to the constriction of affective experience and expression which is often associated with stress or chronic illness, particularly pain.
In my workshops, when I talk about Smile activation and training, I usually mention how there is a risk, with the simplification of relaxation training, to teach the patient to make a dead face-- with intentionally inhibited, flaccid facial muscles.
It's important, in working with facial relaxation training-- a routine element in biofeedback relaxation training-- to remember that goal of facial muscle relaxation training is to quiet the muscle which reflect mental activity. You are using a wide frontalis EMG placement or SMR training or alpha training to quiet the mental activity, which leads to autonomic and musculoskeletal quieting.
It is a mistake to teach the client to shut off the face. That's why I recommend at least one session where smile muscle training is included-- with placement on the zygomaticus. You can easily demonstrate to a client that if he or she smiles, then lets go of the smile, the frontalis muscle activity will usually decrease from before to after.
Effective relaxation training is an important step in helping clients to expand their emotional intelligence. You need to be able to create an emotional tabla raza upon which emotions can be expressed. If there is too much high-stress "noise" then the common result is emotional flattening or alexithymia-- inability to express or feel emotions.
The purpose of this training is not to teach the person to permanently shut off the stress response. A Fortune 10 once fired one of the country's most famous psychologists for teaching stress management because they thought he was taking the "edge" off their salesmen. The goal is to teach peolpe to expand their repertoire of responses to stressors, and to increase the nervous system and physiological stability of the client. This allows the client to have a bigger, more diversified psychophysiological emotional pallette to pain his life picture with.
When I introduce clients to biofeedback, I routinely discuss the energy concept in self regulation. Stress managment and biofeedback don't shut off your energy so you are a passive wimp. They help you to fine tune your emergency stress responses so you use your energy more efficiently. If you want to put your passion and energy into your work-- to get excited about it, you can do a more effective, more impassioned job if you prune off the excess muscle tensing that does nothing to move you forward.
The outcome of a well tuned relaxation training program is more energy, clearer mental and emotional clarity and expression and a broader spectrum of consciousness within one can effectively operate.