Harvard Men's Health Watch

Breathe away stress in 8 steps

Try this simple technique to enjoy a variety of health benefits.

Are you plagued by daily stress? If so, you can tap a simple, free, and powerful tool called the "relaxation response." A simple method for achieving this relaxed mental state was developed and popularized by Dr. Herbert Benson, a cardiologist and professor at Harvard Medical School. He is now director emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Research shows that eliciting the relaxation response for as little as 10 to 20 minutes a day pays off in numerous ways. It melts away headaches, helps you sleep better, and lowers blood pressure. "All of those effects of stress get turned off or decreased when you move into this other physiology—the relaxation response," says Peg Baim, clinical director of the Center for Training at the Benson-Henry Institute.

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