“Chill out… just relax a little bit.” It’s something people regularly say to me, including myself. I find it hard to choose a relaxing activity over an activity on my to do-list or daily goal list. But why is it so important to engage in relaxing activies or meditate regularly? This blog shows the proven results of relaxation; creating psychological, but also fysical resilience.
How our bodies respond to relaxation
Of course I don’t have to tell you how relaxation feels. And of course you believe me when I tell you that relaxation has proven anti-depressant, anti-anxiety and anti-stress effects beneficial to a healthy and happy life. But what you maybe don’t know yet is that relaxing mind-body approaches actually improves important feelings and even changes our gene expression creating resilience.
The study of Jahnke et al. (2011) shows that relaxation produces feelings of increased creativity, of infinity and immortality and relaxation makes mental and fysical suffering vanish. Relaxation does actually the opposite of triggering a fight or flight response.
Scientists Bhasin et al. (2013) found that relaxation also produces rapid fysical changes. Relaxation increases expression of genes involved in energy metabolism, mitochondrial function, insuling secretion, and telomere maintenance. Relaxation decreases expression of genes involved in the inflammatory response and oxidative stress.
Proven relaxation techniques
What are those mind-body techniques that produce those positive results and what do they have in common? Examples of mind-body approaches are meditation, repetitive prayer, yoga, tai chi, Qi Gong, progressive muscle relaxation, biofeedback, breathing exercises and guided imagery. I conclude from this list the following advice: Focus on doing something repetitive with a disregard of intrusive everyday thought. I think this explains why knitting relaxes me and a friend of mine loves to do the dishes by hand, and my other frind just bought a new colouring book for adults. Important is to just take a repetitive activity that really takes your mind of things, of course preferably one of the upper list.
What do you love to do to relax? Please comment below, I love to hear from you!
Don’t know what to do to relax? Read this article about making a happy list.
Regularity is key
Of course the epigenetic effects can be bigger or smaller, it depends on everybody’s unique genetic make-up. But the acute effects of relaxation are astonishing. What else you need to know is that Bhasin et al. (2013) also found that repetition amplifies the positive effects. He researched gene changes before, directly after and after a 20 minute meditation training. Both genes of the trained newbies as the peoplt that regularly engage in meditation showed changes, but those were significantly bigger for the last group. Meditation especially boosted energy metabolism and insuling secretion and decreased inflammatory gene responses.
So the more often you engage in mind-body relaxing techniques, the more you’ll make your body resilient and stress resistant. My advice, don’t read another article but engage in a repetitive, distracting activity that relaxes you. You’ll be grateful for the happiness and health boost it will give you! Of course, you can always bookmark this website before turning off your device. Happy relaxing!
> Read how to make hard decisions
Upcoming: a blog about creating your happy list, enabling you to spend your time being happier.