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Mindful Tip #30: De-Escalate Anxiety by Activating Your Body’s Relaxation Response

Mindful Tip 30 Innate Capacity for Relaxation

For our last post in the anxiety series, I want to leave you with a hopeful message about your own capacity to transform times of havoc and headache into peace and relaxation.

And this isn’t something only the lucky few can do, this is something each and every one of us can do.

Early on, I talked about your body’s natural ability to rise to the occasion in an anxiety-provoking situation. In a matter of seconds, your resources are mobilized, and you’re ready to fight, flight, or freeze.

As it turns out, you also possess an innate capacity that’s opposite of this response. Our mind has a built-in ability to elicit a relaxation response.

Tell me that’s not incredible!

And if it sounds a bit mystical, take a pause for a moment to recall a time in your life when the body was aroused, the mind was abuzz, and you were eventually able to reverse the effects to restore a state of calm and relaxation.

This short audio clip from Herbert Benson, a Mind-Body Medicine Professor at Harvard Medical School, beautifully summarizes our capacity for peace – right in the midst of stress and anxiety.

The whole point of mindfulness training is to learn how to mobilize this capacity. Time and again, I have the privilege to watch people re-discover a sense of natural strength and stability – even when the situation is heated, stressful, and heart-pounding. They acquire a renewed confidence in themselves to navigate change and challenge in fresh ways. They become active participants in their own health and healing — realizing that they are just as much part of the solution as medication and doctors.

This is a tremendous shift that we’re all capable of realizing. I hope you know (and remember) to also turn inward when life throws you a curveball. And if you’re ever in need of a tune-up, I’d love to see you at an upcoming class.

Thank you for journeying through this series with us – and for making your health and well-being a priority!

Breon Michel

About Breon

Mindfulness teacher, compassionate community leader, entrepreneur, writer, stress reduction aficionado, hope igniter, adventure seeker, mountain biker, devoted to others