The Importance of Relaxation
Sometimes it helps to relax in a favorite place.

The Importance of Relaxation

     Learning to relax on a regular basis will greatly contribute to the overall enjoyment of your life

meditation by the sea
Sometimes it helps to relax in a favorite place.

 

In the hectic world in which we live, learning attitudes and techniques of relaxation is an important element of both physical and mental wellness.

There is no doubt that it makes sense to take relaxation seriously. The Mental Health Society of America has stated that relaxation as an important aspect of self-care. It’s actually essential for your complete wellbeing, both physical and mental.

Without relaxing our bodies can over load with stress hormones, such as cortisol, and neophinepohrine,  causing damage to cells, muscles and organs. Without relaxing our minds can be in a constant state of fight or flight which can lead to chronic anxiety and other mental health issues. In short without a good dose of relaxation every day you could be doing your body and mind irreparable damage.  [toc]

Ok…So How do You do it?

Effective relaxation techniques will vary somewhat from person to person, but some things are fairly universal. Ways that we can stop, calm down, and declutter the mind are all helpful relaxation techniques.

Meditate

Woman meditating or praying
Meditate and/or pray

Simply close your eyes and clear your mind of mental clutter. Focus on a positive, beautiful setting, or the flow of your breathing. You don’t have to be a student of eastern religion to do this.  For example, the bible says to set your mind on those things that are beautiful, pure and lovely.  Meditate on those things.  The old saying of “counting your blessings” helps us to be thankful when we have almost forgotten how many wonderful things and people in our lives we really to have to be grateful for. If you pray, it is a great release to give your problems and concerns to God.  That in itself, helps one to relax.

Practice breathing exercises. Inhale slowly and deeply. Then exhale slowly.  Listen to soothing music. Visualize yourself in a relaxing place such as a favorite beach or even a fantasy beach, or sunny lawn. Perhaps you feel relaxed in the presence of a certain friend you can bring to mind. Whatever makes you feel the best.

Relaxing will help your body release chemicals that will make your muscles and organs slow down and increase blood flow to the brain. It will help leave you in a state of calm and mental alertness that will ease the load on your nervous system.

Take a Walk

Woman walking outdoors smiling
Walking often relieves stress and invites relaxation.

Walking in a pleasant setting can greatly relieve stress. Just the body movement, getting the muscles moving and the blood flowing is helpful. Brisk walking is usually better than running. However, if you are a runner, you may disagree with me.  There is a “high” that runners experience, and it is a known fact that running often relieves depression bringing increased oxygen to the brain.  Whichever works best for you will be your best personal technique.  Some people may prefer swimming to walking. My daughter does this to relax, and she likes the comradery of the people at the pool as  well.

Relaxing this way will leave you in a state of calm and mental alertness that will ease the load on your nervous system.

Make a Point to be Around Positive People

Be around people who are for you, and believe in you. Being around positive people is infectious and wonderful. Seek them out.  Bask in their presence often.  I have had career colleagues tell me that they have turned down new job opportunities that were considerably more lucrative to be around a very nice group of people they were currently working with making less money. This can make all the difference in your day to day life and outlook.

Have Realistic Goals

If you shoot for the moon, you will at least land among the stars,” is a saying that might be too unrealistic. Learn to take your goals and dreams in realistic steps that are actually achievable.  Make a point to be around friends, teachers and coaches who are successful at what you hope to aspire to. Find good mentors.  Celebrate small achievements along the way. It may take longer to get to your ideal goal, but you will feel better and less stressed on the journey. You are also apt to feel more confidence about your ability to actually ultimately achieve your goal.

Eat Well

Woman walking outdoors smiling

A healthy meal can relieve stress and brighten spirits.This doesn’t mean to go out and eat the whole box of doughnuts or cookies. But eating well, and eating nutritiously makes a big difference in your state of mind. Sometimes stress and worry causes people to not want to eat, or eat the kind of foods that make you feel well and relaxed. Some individuals are profoundly affected by not eating well, even a just a few times. If one is hypoglycemic, needing protein and or proper blood sugar levels, it is not likely that skipping meals will help, but will only add stress to their system. It’s important to know your what “feel good”  foods are and respect them.

Relaxing Teas

woman drinking tea
Drinking soothing tea can invite relaxation

There are a number of relaxing teas that can make a big difference in helping to reduce stress.  Chamomile is a famous one. Shop your tea and coffee isle in your local grocery store, and read the labels. There are quite a few of them. Our family favorite will always be “Tension Tamer Tea.” You will know it as the box pictures a a lady sitting calmly on a dragon with the pink castle to the left.  My daughter and I have recommended this so highly that at times you could hardly find even one box the five grocery stores in or area. It was sold out a lot of the time!

Listen to relaxing music while you sip your tea.  Or for you it might be a cup of hot cocoa. Some people drink hot coffee with cream to relax. For other people this would be a mistake. It sometimes comes down to a matter of individual body chemistry.

Take a Warm Bubble Bath

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The champion relaxer: A warm bubble bath.   Relax in a Warm Bubble bath or Epsom Salts Bath. This will go a long way in calming both your mind and body.  Simple warm water therapy. The soft oils, and gentle scents of flowers, such as rose and jasmine in the bubble bath will heighten the relaxation experience. If you are short on sleep, it has been proven  that 20 minutes relaxing in a warm tub of water is the equivalent of two hours of sleep.  This has saved me on many a morning when I have been up late the night before.

Take a Power Nap

Try taking relaxing teas, then laying down for what I call a “power nap.”  Thirty  minutes can make all the  difference in making you feel relaxed and ready to face the rest of the day and on into the evening. Be sure to actually fall asleep for at least 15 minutes of the nap. This will recharge your cosmic batteries, I call them, and make you feel more refreshed and less stressed.

Don’t Over Commit – Watch Your Schedule

Unrealistically being involved in too many things will make you feel stressed and block relaxation. It may be necessary for a period of time, such as when you take on extra education on top of your regular job, but make a realistic end to it, or take good breaks before you restart up again.

Sometimes you have perfect control over how many events and commitments you agree to.  Watch for this, and unclutter your schedule whenever you can.

Turn off Your Phone

melenial female with her cell phone
Sometimes it’s good to take a rest from the phone.

Turning off your phone for a few hours can give you an amazing sense of peace and calm. It’s not that you are expecting bad news (or maybe you are?) but it’s the constant interruptions. . . the buzzes and beeps, the phone solicitors, the robo-calls.  We need a break.  It can  be disturbing to get a call from a phone solicitor when you were expecting an important call from a friend or family member.  On the flip side, if you have a friend you can call who is an encouragement to you, the lonely moments can be come instead, moments of enrichment and relaxation.

Related to the distractions of the phone, also give yourself a news media break. You don’t need to carry the weight of the world around on your shoulders. We aren’t made for that.

Attitude

woman laughing
Laughing relaxes the body in amazing ways and is actually healthy for you.

Keeping a positive attitude will go miles in reducing stress. People can be extremely busy but in keeping a positive attitude and a grateful heart about where the extra activity, service or education is taking them, will make a huge difference. Sleep and rest become sweet, and the ability to be resilient and start up again rested is so much more successful.

Laugh out loud whenever possible. Find those funny videos you love and watch them! You may have some on as a pod-cast that you can plug into your phone and watch.  Perhaps make a point to collect them!  Medical science notates that laughing heartily reduces stress levels sharply.

Conclusion

Achieving effective relaxation actually takes practice. Make it a new goal to take time to relax as often as you can. Don’t make the mistake of waiting for your next vacation or the long weekend. Keep positive. Make the effort to slow down and give yourself time to relax and rest deeply. Your body and soul will thank you, and the prospects for your building future will seem sweeter! 

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