Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Relaxation Terminology

sunset lake FYI – For now, I’ve decides to blog once a week, see how that goes, and inform you if I decide to make any changes.

I’d like to discuss some general terminology as I understand it. I realized that some of the words I will be using with a great deal of regularity, may in fact mean different things to different people. It is important that you understand what I’m referring to when I use these terms. I often lack consistency with my terminology but I will try very hard to stick to the descriptions I will now lay out. If anyone is unsure of what I mean when I am discussing one of my ideas please let me know, I want to be clear, but I realize that often I’m not.

1. Calm and Relaxation: From this point on when I discuss calm I am referring to a state of mind, when I discuss relaxation I will be referring to a physical state of the body.
2. Anxiety, Stress, and Tension: Anxiety and stress are states of mind, while tension is a physical state of the body.

So let’s look at how these terms interrelate and how they factor into the discussion of sleep. When the mind is calm, our bodies will be more relaxed. When our bodies are more relaxed, our mind is more capable of achieving calm. When the mind is anxious and / or stressed, it in turn causes tension in the body. Conversely, tension in the body can greatly increase levels of anxiety and stress. It’s all interconnected. My nightly goal is to go to bed at night having achieved at least a reasonable degree of calm and relaxation. In order to realize my goal, I have learned to take “time out” throughout the day to check in with my mind and my body. I know that might sound a little NUTS, but it’s important to know when your body’s becoming tense, and correct the problem before it increases stress and anxiety, just as it is necessary to realize when anxiety or stress are causing body tension. It’s a vicious cycle and you have to know whether the body is negatively effecting the mind, or vice-versa.

I’d like everyone to try a little experiment. Set a clock or watch alarm for one hour intervals and do a physical and mental “check in”, determine whether you are experiencing higher levels of anxiety, stress, or tension, if you are, think back on the hours activities and try to determine what the source was and whether physical tension effected your anxiety and stress levels or was it the opposite. I always say “knowledge is power” and have found that by keeping track of my own personal observations, I can now recognize when my body or my mind might be creating a problem that could effect my coming night’s sleep. Once I’m aware of the potential problem, I can try to correct it before it gets beyond my control.

Sorry, I know I’ve been going on too long. General concepts are often vast, but I want to cover the basics before I deal with specifics.

Have a good night, and I hope 6 more follow.
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for keeping things clear. I know it's easy to take peoples understanding of a subject for granted, which can lead to confusion. It's very good practice to explain all terms clearly to avoid misunderstandings, especially in the health field.

8:42 AM  

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