Relax - It's Only Stress By Lesley Solomon, M.A., LPC

Yes! It is possible to learn to relax. What do you experience when you are stressed? The response is typically muscle tension, anxiety and discomfort – much like the feeling on a roller-coaster ride at the amusement park. Most people choose this activity voluntarily, even paying for this fun privilege. Are you one who does not choose this roller-coaster ride but suffers from the effects of fear and anxiety?

Stress is a phenomenon one experiences in a particular context. For example:

  • You are sitting in an airplane buckling your safety belt. The doors of the cabin are closing and an overwhelming sense of foreboding takes over.
  • It is morning and you must leave the house to go to the grocery store. The thought of leaving your home fills you with terror.
  • You are sitting at a desk. The teacher/professor is handing out the test papers. You have studied extensively and are well prepared. Your anxiety and apprehension are mounting to almost unbearable levels.
  • You have to attend a social gathering where you are expected to entertain several of your firm's important clients. You spend most of the day trying to think of excuses for not attending and when you get there, try to stay close to the door for an easy exit.

The physical sensations vary from person to person, but common symptoms are:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Choking or smothering sensations
  • Stomach distress
  • Cold and tingling feelings in you hands and feet
  • Feelings of unreality or disorientation
  • Sweating
  • Faintness
  • Blurred vision
  • Trembling
  • Shortness of breath

Whatever it may be, stress and anxiety place enormous demands on the body. These sensations can be very frightening, but remember, they are the body's normal response to perceived danger and are meant to protect you, not harm you. You have a greater capacity to control your anxiety than you may believe. Learn relaxation techniques to manage your stress and anxiety. Biofeedback-assisted techniques include, diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic training, and visual imagery. This series of six sessions is offered to children, adolescents and adults. For more information call Lesley Solomon 713-621-9515 x 241.