Increase tension to relax
Do relax exercises work? Most people chose an easy way. If that is available, why not? The easy way seems to work but the results are only temporary. Going to a sauna, taking a massage or spend quality time in a salt water bath. All this relaxing can increase stress instead of relieving it.
Muscles, the cause of our conception of stress, only relax after “complete” contraction. ( ) A muscle can only contract. There are no stretching muscles. It is called antagonistic functioning. When one muscle contracts, the other relax. But this relaxation is temporary until the contraction is finished and the joint need to be restored to the original position. Than the opposing muscle contracts, trying to restore a begin situation.
What is the problem with stress? Muscles do not contract completely nor go back to their original position. This accounts for all joint related muscles. But stress often is felt in muscles of which we think that there is no joint connection. The location of most stress is the back and neck. ( ) Our backbone is a long flexible channel of nerves and has many flexing sides. Each move is coordinated by muscles.
If a muscle is not able to contract to its full potential, it is not able to relax either. When the muscle get constant contraction signals but there is no action it builds up lactic acid ( ) which is not broken down. Cramp symptoms, micro cramp, occur and cause irritation and pain.
Muscles need to be used properly to get rid of the lactic acids and cramps. But it is not that simple as written here. Some more complicated processes surround the building up of stress. Mental factors are of major concern. Many people join meetings to relax. Talking helps, does it? Stress is easily shared and transferred to others. Group processes can increase stress even more.
More and more evidence occurs that group processes do help with a decrease of stress when properly guided and conducted. The group should combine exercise and talking to create a community feeling. Within a trusted environment it is possible to relax. Physical exercise produce endorphins, sweat and coherence between people. All should be in a not competitive and supporting environment. Help each other to proceed and success.
Yoga classes are often on top of the list to combat stress. A teacher leads the exercise and all others follow. The best of the class are in front, others behind them. To many this is another stressful experience but they never admit so. Yoga is a start to search alternative ways to cure the problem of stress but this road often leads to more problems.
Interhuman connection, a community feeling, the feeling to belong to a group or “family” is a core need of all human. Research has proven that only people who are socially well connected and engaged can age to “extreme” levels. Nearly all 100+ interviewed had strong social networks. The social network takes parts of stress away. Sharing improves health.
Connecting in a society were individualization is increasing day by day is a complex issue. One of the best exercises to combat stress is dancing. Impulsive, intuitive following the music each in its own unique way. No pre-coordinated moves. The group members support each other in moves, flexibility, power and while doing so, talk. They talk about everything in soft voice, sharing the day and life. There is no teacher but a guide. Someone offering assistance where needed, choosing the music and the topic. The group has its own dynamics. It works fabulously and most people leave the meeting with a feeling of connection and relaxation. But it is a temporary solution.
A more permanent solution is the return of living communities in a modern way. Groups of people and living together in relative harmony. The goal is to support each other on a physical and social way.
There is a need to combat stress for every agegroup. In my book “Age Control” (published on the website ) there is more information. My goal is to spread the news and collect people with the same idea’s. Are you interested to follow up? Take action and contact;
Arnaud van der Veere
Increase tension to relax
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