We all need relaxation to recharge our batteries or to escape current stresses or concerns. An athlete needs to relax after strenuous exercise in order for muscles to recover and for energy systems to recharge. Relaxation may well be needed by those who are extremely nervous, or have anxiety or those whose nervous systems are exhausted and can’t easily recover. As with sleeping, it is crucial to our health and full use of our faculties that we can relax.
We need enough of the neurotransmitter, serotonin, to be able to relax.Serotonin is popularly thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness. Approximately 90% of the human body's total serotonin is located in the in the GI tract, where it is used to regulate intestinal movements. The remainder is synthesized in serotonergic neurons of the CNS, where it has various functions. These include the regulation of mood, appetite, and sleep. Serotonin also has some cognitive functions, including memory and learning.
It is critical that our intestines and the intestinal bacteria are in good order as most serotonin is produced in the intestines. A failure to relax may mean that the beneficial bacteria are imbalanced or there is a gut dysbiosis. Those on certain medication get nervous because of side effects that alter gut bacteria. We also require sufficient B vitamins and magnesium so that nerves and muscles are relaxed. Again the gut system influences the production of B Vitamins. Additional supplementation of serotonin, B Vitamins and magnesium can enable anxious individuals to relax, sleep and improve their mood. Increased levels of serotonin can be achieved by the amino acid 5HTP which usually increases melatonin levels- the biochemical switch that enables better sleep.. Herbal remedies can also be used to reduce stress worry or relax. These include Avena Sativa (Hops), Passion flower and Valerian.
Relaxation techniques and therapies are manifold from meditation, mindfulness, yoga, massage and energy therapies. All can enable an individual learn to relax themselves or promote relaxation in that individual. Relaxation of emotions can be achieved through use of Bach Flower remedies or in more extreme situations such as phobias then through techniques of hypnotherapy or emotional freedom.
As well as increasing serotonin as a means of relaxing, less anxiety might also be achieved through addressing any deficiency in the neurotransmitter GABA. The purpose of GABA is to enable control and regulation. Again deficiencies in B Vitamins or Magnesium will compound any anxiety or compulsive disorders induced by GABA deficiency. Supplementing with the amino acid, L-Theanine, or the adaptogen, Rhodiola, may improve nervous or tearful behaviour.