Relaxation Revolution

Relaxation revolutionI’m reading a great book by Herb Benson called The Relaxation Revolution: The Science and Genetics of Mind Body Healing.  Since I teach nursing students to relax, it’s great to have a book about all the research behind the relaxation response, and how it can contribute to optimal health. It can also help students to retain more of what they study, and get better grades. I recently taught students how relaxing during an exam enables them to access the memories of what they studied much more easily and naturally. Just before a big final exam last week, six nursing students joined me in a quiet, dimly lit room on campus. They sat in seats just like the ones they would test in, and then I guided them in deep breathing and remembered wellness. I asked them to remember a time when they took a test and passed with flying colors. How did that feel? Then we did some guided imagery to their “special place” where the answers to the test could be found, just waiting for them whenever they wanted them. At the end of the session they appeared to be very relaxed. They were a little concerned about joining the chaos of pre-test jitters with the rest of their cohort, but I suggested they just sort of keep to themselves before the test. After the test I touched base with a few of them and they said it helped. Now…where do I go from here? I can do some research about relaxation before a test. Or I could simply begin holding relaxation sessions before every test and encourage other faculty to do so. Or I could set up a room on campus where students can go to relax when they are feeling overwhelmed. Or… lots of possibilities. I feel this topic calling to me and I want to follow up and advocate for nursing students who are stressed. Nursing is considered one of the highest stress majors in college. And the nursing profession itself is stressful. So I am committed to help future nurses to learn about coping and self-care. I’m excited! Perhaps I can start my own Relaxation Revolution.

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