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Relax to relieve stress

Relax, it relieves stress

We all have many tools within our bodies. One of these tools is our Calm Response. When we practice techniques to help our bodies relax, we activate this Calm Response tool and once activated, it switches itself on when we need it and helps us relax in stressful situations. This Calm Response tool helps raise levels of joy and serenity within our bodies to make handling stress a little bit easier.

There are different ways we can relax every day and we should not wait until we are in a stressful situation to begin adding relaxing techniques to our ‘things to do today’ lists. Sometimes just taking a few minutes throughout the day for relaxing is all we need to be able to combat a really tough situation that could lead to stress for us.

The Deep Breathing Technique is one that can really be used throughout the day and can give us a feeling of ‘in with the good and out with the bad’. It’s really quite helpful in relieving stress, pain, anxiety & more. When you are feeling nervous, overwhelmed or stressed, just take a few quiet moments and breathe in deeply and slowly through the nose, hold for 1/2 a second or so then let it out slowly through the mouth.

Breathe like this 5-10 times, and it is a good idea to think relaxing thoughts to make it really work well for you. I like to think and repeat things to myself like “I am relaxed”, “I am stress-free”, “I am calm”, “I am happy”, “this is a good day”, or “I know I can do this”. These thoughts to say to yourself can be revised as you need to. These are the ones that are working for me, and may work as well for you too.

Deep and controlled breathing will help keep the mind and body functioning at their best and can even lower blood pressure, promote feelings of calm and relaxation and more importantly, help us to relieve stress. Controlled breathing can also be used to increase awareness, mindfulness and a feeling of complete and absolute peace. Deep breathing should be done first thing in the morning, before starting your day and should be done throughout the day, and especially during or before a situation that is usually stressful for you.

The Meditation Technique is similar to deep breathing. Meditation is best done by sitting alone in a room with no distractions for about 10 minutes and can be done first thing in the morning and just before you go to bed. You are not really supposed to sleep during meditation, but don’t worry if you dose off a little bit. If you are new to meditation, it can be difficult to start incorporating it into your routine. Start short with 2 minutes and work your way up to 10 or more minutes per day.

If you have headphones and an MP3 player, that is great but not necessary for meditation. I like to listen to music that is called ‘spa music’. You can find these collections anywhere there are cd’s, or use Pandora or any other music venue on your phone or computer or radio. Spa music is usually songs with no words at all. You can hear piano or guitar mostly in these or waves crashing, birds or even a thunder storm. Use what works best for you to be able to relax and concentrate only on the music playing or whatever sound you have chosen to use. I even listen to my relaxing music when I am working on something that needs a lot of focus, attention and concentration.

Now be sure to sit comfortably where you will not have to move from the spot for the 10 or so minutes and just listen to the music. Really listen to the instruments, the notes or sounds that are played. Close your eyes and concentrate only on this and try to put all else out of your mind for the full time that you are meditating. Quiet is also a great tool for meditating. Instead of listening to something, make sure there are no noises where you will be meditating by turning off everything, especially your phone during this quiet time. Listen to the sound of your breathing. Sometimes, I even wear earplugs to be sure I am blocking out as much sound as possible. The Meditation Technique is really beneficial for raising your levels of joy and serenity to help combat any in-coming stress.

Yoga is considered a mind-body type of alternative medicine practice. Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve peacefulness of body, mind & spirit. Yoga helps you relax and manage stress and anxiety. Yoga combines stretching exercises, controlled breathing and relaxation. It can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and improve body health and heart function; almost anyone can do yoga.

Yoga has many styles, forms and intensities. Hatha Yoga may be a good choice for stress management and it is one of the most common styles of yoga. Beginners may like its slower pace and easier movements. The core components of Hatha Yoga are poses and breathing. Yoga poses or postures are a series of movements designed to increase strength and flexibility. Poses range from lying on the floor while completely relaxed to difficult postures. Controlling your breathing is one of the most important parts of yoga. Your breath signifies your vital energy. With yoga, you are taught how controlling your breathing can help you control your body and quiet your mind.

There are many health benefits with yoga. Studies have shown that yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety. It can also enhance your mood and overall sense of well-being. Practicing yoga can lead to improved balance, flexibility, range of motion and strength, meaning you are less likely to hurt yourself in your daily activities. Yoga can help reduce risk factors for chronic diseases, like heart disease and high blood pressure. Yoga could also help alleviate chronic conditions such as depression, pain, anxiety and insomnia.

There are some precautions to practicing yoga, meaning you should check with your doctor before beginning any yoga routines if you have any serious conditions like a herniated disk, risk of blood clots, pregnancy, severe balance problems, severe osteoporosis, uncontrolled blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, de-conditioned state, or eye conditions including glaucoma. You still may be able to practice yoga with these conditions if you take certain precautions. Please check with your doctor first. Yoga is considered safe for most healthy people when practiced under the guidance of a trained instructor.

Yoga can be learned from books and videos, but beginners usually find it helpful to learn with an instructor. When you find a class that you would like to join, be sure that it will be suitable for beginners. It would also be ideal if the class was geared toward stress management or relaxation. When you start practicing yoga, remember that you don’t have to do every pose, and if something is uncomfortable, don’t do it. Know your limits.

One of my favorite ways to incorporate relaxing into my life is by taking a 15-30 minute walk outside at the start of each day. This is a very important way to remind yourself what beauty nature brings to each of us. By looking around at each natural miracle while taking some deep breaths as you are walking, you are exercising that Calm Response tool within your body. It always needs to be exercised for it to work properly when needed the most during a really stressful situation.

As you are walking, take several deep breaths in and out slowly. This is also helping to get the “in with the good, out with the bad” mechanism flowing through your body. When you are walking each morning, you should be practicing some DE-stressing techniques that we have discussed so far like thinking positive thoughts – “I am calm”, “this is a good day”, “I love this day”, etc.; as well as the deep breathing.

Congratulations! You are well on your way to keeping stress at bay.

This article is written by Cynthia Joy Maurice. Cynthia is a Life Design & Holistic Wellness Specialist. For your convenience she provides consultations and services at 4 locations in the Myrtle Beach, SC area; as well as in the comfort of your home or online. To contact Cynthia, please call 843-465-7138 or email her at findyourjoys@thejoys.us


About Cynthia Maurice

Providing Stress, Pain & Life Management Solutions with Personalized Wellness Therapeutic & Support Programs.

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