RELAXING YOUR BODY AND MIND
SATURDAY DECEMBER 12, 2020
It is no secret that stress can damage your emotional well-being; but chronic stress can ultimately destroy your physical health, too. Prolonged exposure to stress can make you sick, and if left unaddressed, the effects can be life-threatening!
RISK OF LONG TERM STRESS:
- Frequent headaches and body pain
- Troubles sleeping, i.e insomnia or night terrors
- Chest pain and heart problems
- Stress related diseases
- Forgetfulness and confusion
- Social isolation and loneliness
- Increased use of drugs, tobacco and alcohol
- Increased appetite or lack of it and consequently weight gain or loss
- Feeling of depression, potentially suicidal thoughts
- Loss of punctuality and general appearance
- Increased sensitivity and/or exaggerated reaction to minor inconveniences
HOW CAN WE RELAX?
When it comes to relaxation, “easy is better”. As a start, try to find 5 minutes in a day to practice some simple relaxation techniques, like:
Breathing: Breathing exercises are one of the simplest ways to relax and can, very effectively , at any given moment calm your mind and body. Siting or lying down in a quiet peaceful space (bed, chair, sofa) place your hand on a belly. Slowly inhale and count to 3, exhale and count to three. Feel the movement of the belly and repeat 5 times, or more, until you finally calm.
Release physical tension: When we are emotionally tense this very often reflects as a physical tension in the body. Relaxation of this tension also helps relaxing stress in body and mind. Lay down on a soft surface (carpet, bed, yoga math) and slowly release individual parts of the body. First tighten the muscles and then release them. Notice the feelings in the body and how they change. You can start at the top with your head and continue down to your feet. Or vice versa, as it suits you best.
Write down your thoughts: Sometimes helps if you write down your thoughts, so you can relieve and relax. When you feel the tension, take few minutes and write down short remarks about your feelings, or about your day. Use a classic notebook or smart phone. Don’t care about grammar or the structure of the text, the most important part is for you to release stress and tension.
Make a list: Make a list of everything you are grateful for. When we are stressed, it is much more likely we’ll pay attention to negative things or to things which we dislike. But when you think about things or people you are grateful for, you redirect your attention to the good that happened (like delicious meal you had during lunch break).
Visualisation of calmness: Sit in a quiet peaceful spot and visualize your “happy place” where you can be totally and completely calm. Close your eyes and imagine all the details of that place: the view, light, smell, temperature, sound, etc. You can think of the sound of the waves if your happy place is by the beach, you can imagine the air swirling around your face, wind blowing through your hair, noise of seagulls or the flavour of your favourite ice cream. The more detailed the vision and / or image of the place you have easier and quicker you will be able to relax.
Connect to nature: Only few minutes spent in the nature can help you wind down, reach calmness and relaxation. Go for a walk or just sit somewhere outside and mindfully observe nature around you. If you can’t go physically outside, use technology and create a virtual environment using wonderful images and sounds of nature you can find on the net. Dive for short time into wonders of abundant beauty of Mother Nature.
POSITIVE EFFECTS OF RELAXATION:
- Clearer thinking and better decision making
- Strength to face challenges the future might bring
- A more positive outlook to life and our experience in it
- Healthier body, lower frequency of breath, more relaxed muscles and lower blood preasure
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular problems, autoimmune disease, emotional issues and stress related diseases.
Regular relaxing will help you improve your sleep, which is also one of the crucial elements of good quality of life. Deep relaxation and meditation slow down brain wave which rejuvenate not only the brain but also whole body.
If you still do not believe that any of the above solutions can help you, try listening to the free recording, listed below. You can listen to it anytime - during the day or before you go to sleep; but not in the car, and never while driving.
* Currently only available in Slovenian