Since stress is here to stay, everyone needs to develop methods for invoking the relaxation response, the natural unwinding of the stress response. Relaxation lowers blood pressure, respiration, and pulse rates, releases muscle tension, and eases emotional strains. This response is highly individualized, but there are certain approaches that seem to work. Combinations are probably best. For example, in a study of children and adolescents with adjustment disorder and Depression, a combination of yoga, a brief massage, and progressive muscle relaxation effectively reduced both feelings of anxiety and stress hormone levels. No one should expect a total resolution of stress from these approaches, but if done regularly, these programs can be very effective.
Revision date: June 18, 2011
Last revised: by Andrew G. Epstein, M.D.