Take Time to Relax...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Posted by gilly

It happens to everyone at some point or another... the trials and tribulations of life begin to feel as though they are piling up too rapidly. One begins to act in ways that are non-typical - maybe they are more emotional than usual, irritable, depressed, complain of headaches or stomachaches. Perhaps they become prone to sickness, or their muscles become tense. Maybe they over eat or under eat, or cannot sleep.

These are all common symptoms of stress. According to Wikipedia, "stress is the disruption of homeostasis through physical or psychological stimuli." Essentially - our sense of contentment becomes unbalanced, and our bodies respond to these disruptions in different ways.

Stress can be managed in a number of different ways. I find taking time to relax each and everyday is vital in 'staying on top' of the stresses in my life. Here are a few tips to help you relax:

  • As Helen has mentioned before regarding exercise, relaxation is another 'appointment' that you should keep with yourself. Try to schedule it in at least once a day. Sometimes only 5-10 minutes is all you need - although I prefer about 15.

  • Find a quiet place to relax with minimal distractions. This doesn't have to be within your house - if it's quiet in your yard, or in a park somewhere, that's great.

  • Wear comfortable clothing.

  • Start by taking deep breaths - the ones that engage your tummy along with your chest. Focus on breathing in for a count of 5, then exhaling for a count of 5. You can close your eyes if it helps you to focus better. Do this for a few minutes.

  • You can use guided imagery to help relax, or focused relaxation to tackle tense muscles. Or even better, do both:
    • Next, imagine a warm, safe, peaceful place. This is a place that makes you feel at ease, and is quiet. It can be a real place, or an imaginary one. Once you are there, take time to imagine how things look, smell, feel, and sound like there.
    • Allow any distracting thoughts to gently float away like a balloon, or pass by like scenery, always returning your focus to your safe place. While you are here, nothing else is important enough to pull you away.
    • Next, slowly working from your head down to your feet, sense any tension in your muscles. It may be obvious - like a sore back, but be aware of all types of tension - perhaps in the small muscles around your eyes, mouth, jaw. Or inadvertent heaviness in your chest or stomach.
    • Imagine tension as a slow moving liquid, and allow it to gently seep out of your muscles and skin, into your surroundings. Align this tension release with your slow exhaled breaths.

  • Once you have a bit less muscle tension, go back to imagining your safe place for a few more minutes - taking time to really enjoy and experience it.

  • When you wind up your session, count slowly back from 5 -> 1, and with each number, connect more and more with the outside world, noticing sounds and movement.

I hope this helps you to 'stay on top' on any stress that you experience. Do you have stress management or relaxation techniques that help you? If so, feel free to share them in the comments section.

Until next time, I wish you health, happiness, and balance!

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This Post was written by gilly from Humble Pie


Great tips, it is so important to take time to relax. Thank you.

June 21, 2007 at 3:19:00 PM GMT+2  

Gilly, some of the symptoms you described I can relate to. Especially the part where it says "act in ways that are non-typical" (in other words I can be a real bxxch)
I love your tips. When I am feeling like this I do a few relaxing Yoga exercises and breathing techniques to help me come back down.
A fantastic post that will remind me to come back down more often.

Meeta K. Wolff said...
June 21, 2007 at 4:42:00 PM GMT+2  

Great post! People think I am a weirdo when I tell them I am ot stressed. My jobs are not very stressful, but my life around it can be so I allow myself 3-5 minutes getting in some fresh air or calling my best friend to hear a stupid joke.

Helene said...
June 21, 2007 at 7:43:00 PM GMT+2  

Thank you for posting this! I'll try to keep this in mind - like so many people, I keep getting trapped in the "Oh, I can take it" mindset when it gets stressy, but just forcing myself to take some deep breaths already makes me feel so much better I keep wondering why I avoid doing it...

June 27, 2007 at 8:50:00 PM GMT+2  

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