In my last article “Life’s Balance” I proposed approaching balance as a journey where you improve your resiliency to bring stability to your life during the constant transition of life. But, you may be asking, how do I do this? Where do I start? The answer…
With the Relaxation Response.
Dr. Herbert Benson and his colleagues built upon the work of Swiss Nobel laureate Dr. Walter Hess and discovered a physiological response that is opposite of our stress-induced, over-used, survival mode, fight or flight response. When the relaxation response is stimulated the results are a decrease in metabolism, heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and slowed brain waves. Benefits from this response include muscle relaxation, a quieter mind, decrease in negative emotions, increase in positive emotions, and a promotion of learning and creativity.
There are two steps to initiate the relaxation response: repetition and passive return. Repetition is repeating a word, sound, prayer, phrase, or muscular activity. During repetition of an activity thoughts will always unexpectedly intrude, and passive return is when your attention is gently brought back to the repetition or present moment.
By practicing the relaxation response and doing something everyday that triggers this response builds resiliency. Your relaxation response may come in many forms. But, choose something everyday to bring into your day to let go of the chaos, the crazy, and the survival mode. What are you interested in? What brings out your creativity? What are you hungry for in life? What would fill your soul/spirit/heart each and every day? How will you sink into a relaxation response, a resiliency practice? What will be the one thing you do for yourself each and every day?
A word, sound, prayer, phrase, or muscular activity. What can you do every day to stimulate your relaxation response? What resiliency practice can you make a habit of everyday?
Some may call this their “thing,” their hobby, their creativity, their spiritual practice, or their self-care. Self-care is taking a moment to replenish one’s self. It is a moment each day to heal the whole person in mind, body, and spirit and tap into one’s relaxation response to build resiliency. This is the “How To” for becoming the sturdy center column of a balance scale that holds the beam and two pans with elegance, grace, stability, and poise no matter what may come.