We’re desperately grasping outside ourselves for stress relief, when the remedy has been within us all along.
The title of a recent On Being podcast rings true for many of us: The Urgency of Slowing Down. In a society saturated with stress and burnout, it’s vital that we take time to pause.
The growing anxiety economy has caught on. As Elizabeth Yuko writes in The Calmnivore’s Dilemma, “we’re perpetually seeking and consuming anything that promises us less stress and more calm.” We’re bombarded with products and services that guarantee a quick fix.
Yet, we don’t need to be fixed…we need to rest.
The power of relaxation
The more stressed we become, the more anxiously we look for an instant panacea. Paradoxically, this is when we most need to turn inward.
Our innate relaxation response is a powerful tool—perhaps the most powerful—to turn off stress. It’s actually in our very nature to be calm.
Overwhelmed with stressors, we’ve forgotten this essential part of us. We’ve forgotten how to relax.
Unwinding a lifelong habit
Stress in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. It’s our body’s natural alarm system. The alarm is a normal response to a perceived threat. Once a threat has passed, and we’re safe, our relaxation response takes over—it’s our inborn counterbalance.