If you took stock of yourself at these times, would you describe your muscles as being “tense”, your mind as being “agitated”, your eyes as being “irritated”, and your feelings as being “low”?
Now imagine all of the above at the same time…This is how it feels for many concussion patients.
The state of relaxation is a function of your nervous system.
The autonomic nervous (sympathetic and parasympathetic) system is important for regulating many of the body’s subconscious actions like blood pressure, heart rate, digestion, eye-focusing ability, bladder function, mood, energy level, sleep and much more.
Concussion patients have autonomic dysfunction and as a result, difficulty with some of the functions of the autonomic nervous system. For many of us, learning to consciously control these specific functions seems impossible. However, many of us recognize that these functions work better when we are relaxed.
Ironically, relaxation is not easy for many individuals, it is a skill that requires practice.
Relaxation strategies are as diverse and varied as the individuals that use them, and sometimes the activities that an individual found to aid in relaxation prior to the concussion may not be possible or may not provide the same results post injury. There are many techniques for relaxation. The strategies that are recommended by our clinic reflect this diversity and often combine both psychological and physical strategies.
For example, mindfulness meditation can be effective in reducing depression, stress, emotional regulation, relaxation, awareness and improving physical and mental health in those with and without mental health diagnoses.
Similarly, examples of other strategies that show merit include mindful progressive muscle relaxation, passive muscle relaxation, autogenic training, guided imagery and visualization, diaphragmatic breathing, and muscle tension awareness.