We cannot overemphasize the importance of this quote in our hectic lives. Amidst all the feverish activity, sometimes pressing that snooze button and relaxing can be one of the most constructive things to do. The problem, however, is that we have forgotten how to relax.
Not knowing how to relax the mind, among other things could mean that your body’s “fight-or-flight” reaction is always turned on. Overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones that follow, in turn, disrupt all your body processes. The increased risk of health issues include:
On the other hand, the ability to relax could bring about benefits such as:
What then are some of the things you can do to relax? While each of us has different stress busters, here are some practices most of us could benefit from:
The simplest answer to how to relax the mind is to undertake some breathing exercises. Simply breathing into a count of four, holding to the count of four and breathing out to the count of six, can help you lower stress. While you breathe out, visualize all your tensions being blown away.
You could also undertake progressive muscle relaxation practice. All it involves is lying down comfortably and progressively tensing your muscles in different body parts, one at a time. As you slowly relax each muscle, also let go of the accompanying stress. Start with your toes and work your way up!
Another thing that works well in helping you relax is to sit back, close your eyes and visualize a calm place. This could be a beach setting, a hill resort that you visited or any other place that you associate with a sense of peace and calm. Evoke the sights, sounds and smells of the place in your mind’s eye. Feel that balmy breeze, the soothing touch of the sand, the taste of that coconut water. Open your eyes to a renewed sense of rejuvenation! If you find it hard to visualize by yourself, guided visualization can also help you achieve the desired results.
The calming effects of nature are well known. Take a few minutes in the morning to walk on the grass. Weather permitting, pack up a picnic basket and have lunch in the park. Take time to stand and stare at the sunset. If you live in a beach city, go and spend that evening by the calming waves of the sea. Research has shown a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced stress, anxiety, and depression.
Music can make you laugh, make you cry, make you groove and even put you to sleep. Slow, rhythmic music is known to induce a trance-like state that goes a long way in relaxing you totally. You could also put on your headphones and play a mindful meditation that has you sleeping in no time.
The power of exercise in getting your mind to relax has a neurochemical basis. Go for that run or a hard workout and revel in a feeling of optimism caused by the release of endorphins. Not only do they elevate your mood, but they also are the body’s natural painkillers. The renewed vigour and energy that comes from exercise will help you take on life with a new-found zest!
Gift yourself the power of relaxation! The one healthy coping measure against living in a state of chronic stress. Next time around when you are frazzled by those urgent emails in your mailbox or a looming deadline, remind yourself of how to relax and see the tensions melting away!
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