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Article on “Non Specific Tension”

NST(non-specific tension)

This is the the epidemic nowadays. In reality, there is unlikely to be a specific, single cause for tension as the condition is the result of cumulative, unmanaged, unrecognized stress.

This kind of stress is not confined to our musculature but is reflected in our body chemistry, brain function, attitudes, and mental and emotional state. Thus it affects our performance and relationships both at work and at home.

The difficulty lies in our acclimation; we become conditioned or habituated to the stressful situation and, in doing, we dont perceive the need for discharging the accumulated stress chemicals on a regular, ongoing basis. For example, you visit friends and, sitting down at the kitchen table for a cup of tea, you become aware of the incredibly intrusive noise produced by their old refridgerator. After the tea is poured and you have entered into conversation, you cease to be aware of the noise until it suddenly stops. this is called habituation.

If, as is inevitably the case in a progressively stressful work or home environment, the levels of stress chemicals have been gradually increasing or even maintained for an extended period, we tend to operate as if this is "normal". And by doing this, we cease to register the effect it is having on our performance, health, and vitality. By learning and regularly practicing concious and deep relaxation, we can increase awareness of and sensitivity to our bodily processes. We also begin to break the numbing patterns of habituation.


Choose up to six events or moments that regularly occur throughout your day, like taking your morning shower, turning the ignition of your car, pulling into the parking lot, going up in an elevator, having morning tea, eating lunch, buying your evening paper, travelling home, turning the key in your front door, checking your emails etc.

For example, let’s look at your morning shower. Decide that you will be aware of each and every breath from the moment you enter the bathroom until you finish dressing. Don’t try to control your rate of breathing, simply mentally become aware, “I know I am breathing in and out”. Be sensitive to the flow of breath, feel the difference between warmer air leaving and the cooler air entering. The criterion that you should apply, as far as possible, is that the method should not interfere with the activity in which you are engaged, but preferably enhance it.

Becoming present and activating the Relaxation Response for brief periods throughout your working day prevents the otherwise inexorable build-up of stress.