Apr 192011

by K.P. Rajagopalan

The term ‘Stress’ when related to human physiology refers to the body’s responses to everything from viruses and cold effects to emotions such as fear and anger.  Dr. Hans Selye, the foremost exponent of the effects of stress, has defined stress in the following manner i.e. stress is the body’s non-specific response to any demand placed on it, whether that demand is pleasant or not.

All of us have a stress “Savings A/c” deposited in our body as our life force. The object is to spend it wisely over the longest time span possible. The difference between our stress savings A/c and the normal bank A/c is that we cannot make any more deposits into the stress A/c. We can only make withdrawals.

The reason most people age at different rates is that our society is full of “big spenders” who over-react to harmless circumstances as if they were life or death matters. We see it everyday on our roads and on buses when we are on the way to work.

It is impossible to be truly creative when we are tense & nervous.  When one is tense, he works at a greatly reduced level of efficiency.  Some of body’s warning signs that stress is beginning to seriously affect us are:

(1)  Intestinal Distress
(2)  Insomnia
(3)  Nail biting
(4)  Memory lapse
(5)  Hunger for sweets
(6)  Frequent illness
(7)  Rapid Pulse
(8)  Persistent fatigue
(9)  Irritability
(10) Lack of concentration
(11) Increased use of alcohol

The best way to overcome this state/situation is the practice of conscious relaxation techniques which lead to a condition of relaxed alertness i.e. the body going to a totally relaxed state but the mind remains alert-the ideal state for super accomplishment.  The more often these exercises are repeated the more they will become a part of our habitual thinking.  We shall begin to think habitually of relaxation, rather than pressure and strain.

Relaxation can be easily achieved by deep breathing followed by rolling the eyes upwards & counting backward from 50 to 1.  By this process, there is a reduction in our brain wave frequency (as measured by EEG) and we reach the ‘alpha’ level where the brainwave frequency is 8-14 cycles/sec— found by research to be the most productive level for impacting the sub-conscious mind. We can deepen the relaxation by visualizing/imagining peaceful scenes like being in a garden or at the beach or watching humorous scenes or listening to humorous stories which make you laugh.

There are long relaxation techniques and short relaxation techniques.

If you lead a really hectic life, or if you are currently in a period of increased stress, the long relaxation procedures are recommended.  However, most people can turn on their mental computer in a few seconds and do not need minutes to get into a state of  physical and mental relaxation.  For them, the short relaxation techniques work fine.

Three long Relaxation Techniques

1. Sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Relax your scalp. Relax your forehead. Relax your cheeks, mouth, neck, chest, back, thighs, legs, feet and toes. Take your time—-visualize  each body part.  Move each part, also mentally “talk” to it and  ask it to relax.

2. Sit in a comfortable position.  Close your eyes.  Take 3 deep breaths, exhaling slowly after each breath.  Now, count backward  from 100 to 1. Mentally visualize each number before going onto the next.

3. Sit in a comfortable position.  Close your eyes & imagine you  are in an elevator that is about to descend.  It could be an elevator in a department store, in which case you can “hear” the automated voice recite “Seventh Floor, Women’s clothes etc.” When you reach the 1st floor, you are ready to begin programming your mental computer.  Or the elevator can be in a mine shaft.  See signs stating each 100 ft down.  When you reach 2000 ft, you are ready to begin mental programming.

A short relaxation technique

1. Sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes.  Take a deep breath & exhale slowly. Do this again. Do this a third time.  Now, visualize several peaceful scenes you are familiar with.  Enjoy each scene as if you were there being sure to recreate the colors you saw. You are now ready to program your mental computer.

Copyright 2011 K.P. Rajagopalan
All Rights Reserved

The author is working as Deputy General Manager In-charge of the Unit office of Steel Authority of India Ltd, Bokaro Steel Plant (A Govt of India Enterprise) at Chennai, INDIA and can be contacted at Phone: 91-44-9444397294 / 9791071534  and  at the e-mail ID: www.sundararajagopalan@yahoo.com.

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