When Relaxation is Hazardous to Your Health: Why We Get Sick After the Stress is Over and What You Can Do Now to Protect Your Health

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It has been known for sometime that stress can lead to illness. But if stress leads to illness, then you would expect that people would always become sick while under stress. Yet, many people become sick or develop physical symptoms, after the stressful period is over (when they least expect it).

  • Learn how relaxing too quickly leads to ...
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It has been known for sometime that stress can lead to illness. But if stress leads to illness, then you would expect that people would always become sick while under stress. Yet, many people become sick or develop physical symptoms, after the stressful period is over (when they least expect it).

  • Learn how relaxing too quickly leads to the Let Down Effect and illness.
  • Learn how the Let-Down Effect causes illness and painful physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomach disorders, inflammation, colds and the flu.
  • Learn what you can do in just several minutes a day to help stop the Let Down Effect and Remain Healthy.
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What People Are Saying

John Milliman
This book contains practical and effective ways to deal with an important source of stress that is not discussed in other books. People who read and apply the simple, but powerful techniques in this book can become more aware of a relatively unknown, but often potent type of stress, and enhance their well being in both their careers and personal lives.
— John Milliman, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Department Chair, College of Business, University of Colorado.
Michael Hirt
This book takes Stress Management to the next level. Dr. Schoen's groundbreaking work demonstrates that ‘warm-up and cool-down' are critical concepts in staying healthy. Before you take your next deep breath read this book.
— Michael Hirt, M.D., Harvard trained physician Assistant Clinical Professor, UCLA School of Medicine.
Shari Roan
This groundbreaking book explains a baffling condition and gives readers simple techniques to remain healthy. Dr. Schoen has advanced the science of Mind-Body Medicine.
— Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times health writer and author of Our Daughters' Health
William Deardorf
Finally, a book that teaches you how to unlock the power of the Mind-Body connection to enhance health and prevent illness. Dr. Schoen presents new ideas in this area along with practical, easy to learn techniques you can begin using right away. Get this book now and take control of your health.
— William Deardorf, Ph.D., Assistant Clinical Professor, UCLA School of Medicine; Past President of the American Academy of Clinical Health Psychology, and author of Preparing for Surgery: A Mind-Body Approach to Enhance Healing and Recovery
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780971117600
  • Publisher: Mind Body Health Books
  • Publication date: 7/28/2001
  • Pages: 160

Read an Excerpt

All of the above situations can lead to the Let-Down Effect and result in illness.

What is the Let-Down Effect?

The Let-Down Effect occurs when we suddenly shift from a very High Activation state (in which we feel high energy, great joy or pleasure, anger, aggravation, tension, or anxiety) to a Low Activation state (when we feel relaxed, quiet, calm, tired, or still). Due to this sudden shift, we become vulnerable to illness and symptoms.

States of High Activation can be either pleasant or stressful. Any situation that increases our internal excitement can lead to a High Activation level. Most people believe that illness generally occurs during the throes of stress or work. In actuality, one of our most vulnerable times for illness is the time immediately following periods of stress or work, when we are, in fact, able to let go and relax.

Why do I call this phenomenon the "Let-Down Effect?" When we relax, we let down our guard, that state of mental vigilance and high mental and physical activity we experience when we are in a stressful or exciting situation. Ironically, at the same time we let down our guard, the body's immune system is also letting down its guard. The term "let down" in our language is also associated with disappointment. What could be more of a let down than anticipating a relaxing break from the demands of work or coming home feeling euphoric after an exciting social event, only to come down with a cold or a headache as soon as we get fully relaxed?

The first time I became aware of the Let-Down Effect was when I was in college going through my final exams. During exams, it was typical to sleep less, work late into the night, and eat poorly. The three Cs –candy, coffee, and chips were my basic staples. These conditions certainly were not health promoting.

Of course, my classmates and I were all determined to remain healthy. We just knew that becoming sick would be the kiss of death, for there would be no way to complete all the work we had to do. Yet we all felt we were teetering on the edge of a cold or flu. I remember promising myself that once finals were over, I would reward myself with plenty of sleep, exercise, and healthy food.

Fortunately, most of us remained healthy through finals. Yet several days after finals, while receiving plenty of sleep and eating healthy meals, the reaper of illness paid us a visit. Soon we were all falling victim to some form of sickness. The Let-Down Effect was alive and well.

After spoiling several of my own vacations by becoming sick, I was dead set on finding a solution to the Let-Down Effect. I was finished with sipping warm tea, taking aspirin, decongestants, and consuming tons of vitamin C when I should have been enjoying my holiday.

I began observing my patients and noticed a similar pattern in them as well. Many of my headache patients were not developing headaches in the throes of stress, but rather, once the stress was finished, such as at the end of their day or on the weekends. A similar pattern was apparent in my patients with skin disorders such as eczema or psoriasis, which manifests as itching, flaking, drying, or cracking skin. The pattern was most glaring in those who frequently developed upper respiratory infections, such as colds and sore throats.

Even autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus tended to have major flare-ups on the Let-Down side of stress. (By the way, an autoimmune condition is one in which the body's immune system actually attacks the body.) Chronic pain conditions such as back pain or fibromyalgia (a condition in which the body develops painful areas, such as the neck, shoulders, and back, often coupled with fatigue), also tended to worsen during the Let-Down phase.

I also noticed a Let-Down pattern in some recently retired patients. Many people who enjoy excellent health throughout their working lives, such as the hard-working executive who was a neighbor of mine, looked forward to retirement only to become ill shortly thereafter. I remember him often saying to me, "As soon as I retire, all I'm going to do is golf." He did finally retire, and three months later he had a stroke.

After observing the Let-Down Effect in so many of the patients who came to me for symptom improvement, I felt certain that it was not my problem alone. This gave me an even greater incentive to find a solution to Let-Down related illnesses. As a result, I developed simple techniques that have made a tremendous difference in my life and in the lives of my patients.

In this book, you will learn what you can do to stop Let-Down-related illnesses in your life. You will learn how to identify the Let-Down Effect when it is happening, and you will acquire tools that you can rapidly employ to turn it around and preserve your health. In following chapters you will discover simple techniques that you can easily learn and assimilate into your life. These tools can make a dramatic difference in reducing or stopping Let-Down related illnesses.

There is no longer any reason to feel at the mercy of your symptoms. Nor is there any reason that your symptoms should dictate when you can go out socially, travel, or enjoy a quiet evening at home. In just a few minutes each day, these tools can bring more health and happiness back into your life. And not only can you improve your health right now, you can also improve your chances of sustaining good health throughout your later years.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: In the Beginning 1
Chapter 2: The Let-Down Effect 3
Chapter 3: How the Let-Down Effect Leads to Illness 13
Chapter 4: Identifying When the Let-Down Effect is Occuring 28
Chapter 5: Your Activation Speed 47
Chapter 6: Somafocus 54
Chapter 7: Stopping the Let-Down Effect and Blocking the Delayed Reactor Effect 78
Chapter 8: Conditioning and Somafocus 89
Chapter 9: Sensitization-The Long Term Result of the Let-Down Effect 97
Chapter 10: Limiting Activation 104
Chapter 11: When All Else Fails: Resistance to Health 119
Chapter 12: Let-Down in the Work Place 137
Chapter 13: What's Next 149
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 11, 2011

    Highly Recommend

    Covers a topic that has plagued me for years. I was so happy to actually find something written about why I get sick after stress, and more importantly, how to stop the problem which has ruined so many vacations and holidays for me.
    Written in a straight forward and practical manner, with many important strategies to stop the Let Down Effect.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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