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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
Dr. Schwartz's Weblog

It's Official: Relaxation is Necessary for Health

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Oct 5th 2007

The Mayo Clinic recently (October 2007) announced that research clearly proves that relaxation must be on the top of everyone’s list of priorities. This is true not only for all of you who are work-a-holics but for stay-at-home moms and everyone who wants to remain in good health. According to the report relaxation reduces wear and tear on the mind and the body. For example, they state that relaxation reduces blood pressure and heart rate while increasing blood flow to the major muscle. It also reduces back pain, headache and muscle tension while improving concentration. The likelihood of emotional responses such as anger and frustration, but of which are damaging to the body, are also reduced.

It is important to note that relaxation does not mean being a "couch potato." Instead, relaxation calls for a change of pace from the daily routine, according to Mayo Clinic. Thus, activities such as walking, or using relaxation techniques like deep breathing and muscle tension reduction and meditation or visualization, reading, writing a journal and other such activities extremely helpful in bringing about a state of true inner calmness.

Now comes the "tricky part" of relaxation: To achieve the positive health goals that you want to achieve it is important to refocus your mind away from worrying, stressing over work or home problems and think about and imagine happy and good things. This is where meditation can be helpful because it helps you learn to ignore those distracting thoughts that bring you back to worrying.

What everyone should avoid doing after work is indulging in things that might feel good at the moment but cause real health problems and have no long term beneficial effects: over-eating, drinking and using drugs are examples of those self indulgent activities that are harmful.

The old saying is true: "All work and no play make Jack and Jill dull" and angry and unhealthy.

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at dransphd@aol.com for details.

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    Stress Reduction - Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. - Jul 5th 2008
    Readers may wish to explore our Stress Reduction and Management topic center for more information on the various effective ways to reduce stress. 

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