I’m sure it’s no surprise to hear the statement, stress can kill you. Ask anyone who has been subjected to prolonged stress and they will tell you that it can be pure hell. According to researchers of one study (featured on CBS in 2003): the blood of 119 men and women taking care of spouses suffering with dementia were compared with 106 people of similar ages not living under the same stress of constant care giving.
In their findings, researchers found that blood tests showed a chemical called Interleukin-6 dramatically increased in the blood of the caregivers compared with blood of the others. Previous research has associated IL-6 with several diseases (heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, type-2 diabetes and cancer).
What’s the point? Do something to get your stress down!
In this recent University of Central Florida post, several relaxation techniques are offered with the intention of reducing stress. Types of exercises include breathwork, muscle tightening and relaxation, focusing, and guided imagery.
Guided Imagery is a relaxation technique that uses imagery or visualization to create a soothing journey in the mind. This type of activity can be very helpful for people who can access their imagination and picture “the scene” in their mind. Incorporating all your senses as you listen to the guided imagery helps you create a more realistic experience. For example as you imagine a scene at the beach try and smell the ocean air, hear the waves tumbling into the shore, feel the sand wiggling through your toes and see the birds flying low over the horizon. For some people this comes very naturally and easily. For others, practice allows them to relax more deeply as time goes on. These types of activities are most effective when “practiced” regularly. Many people report a “conditioned response” so that after using the technique for a while they start relaxing as soon as they hear the facilitator’s voice. It is commonly used to help people fall asleep and some who have had trouble sleeping, report falling asleep before the “guided imagery” is over.
Each relaxation technique is followed by an audio instruction guide.
Read more about the relaxation techniques to help deal with stress here.