Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Relax     Refresh     Recharge
We know that stress and in particular chronic stress is detrimental to our health. Stress weakens the immune system which makes you susceptible to illness and disease. Despite our best intentions, we often put off relaxation until “more important” obligations are completed. Unfortunately these so -called important obligations can take days, weeks, months. And these months can turn into years. Why do we not accept that taking care of ourselves is important? Taking care of your own needs is the best way to ensure your ability to be fully there for others.
"Take a rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop" - Ovid
Even though it seems impossible to take a break and pause from life’s many activities, that’s no excuse for giving stress the winning hand! The time to relax is when you don't think you have the time for it. The recommendations below are easy ways to handle immediate stress. Although, if done frequently, they can begin to help you handle stress better.
Ways to Relax, Refresh and Recharge
Stretch. - As a yoga teacher, I know how important stretch is to your body. Your body accumulates tension in areas like the neck and upper and lower back, which can turn into real and long-lasting pain. If you sit at a desk daily, you should stretch at least once every 45 minutes to an hour, That tension you carry will take much longer to soften and dissolve if you do not stretch.. Get up and take a short break, with a few easy stretches or take a brief walk outside. This seemingly simple act will increase circulation, decrease tension which promotes relaxation.
Just Breathe - Breathing techniques are an excellent way to increase energy and alertness which also soothes the nervous system. You can easily search breathing techniques that work for your life. I use yoga techniques for breath work. Two of the most popular breathing techniques are taught by Deepak Chopra and Dr. Andrew Weil. .
Drink a Cup of Tea - Drinking a warm cup tea just feels soothing. The Japanese have a very inspiring and entertaining tea ceremony devoted to tea! A warm and delicious cup of tea with its many health benefits is the perfect way to step back from a hectic day . Select your favorite tea (I recommend herbal, white, or green), With boiled water (filtered or better use alkaline water), brew the tea for a couple minutes. If you like, add a bit of lemon, honey, and a milk substitute like coconut, almond or rice milk. Sit back and close your eyes and enjoy this simple experience for a moment before continuing on with your busy day. A warm cup of tea is also great for winding down your evening at home.
Smile and Think Happy Thoughts-. I used to have a little sign that said, “Smile, it is a cheap face lift” . It could just as well said, : “Smile it is a life lift”. Do you notice how thinking about your last vacation or even the last time you stayed in and had a weekend just for yourself makes you feel instantly relaxed? That’s because smiling and visualizing happy thoughts cause a release of endorphins (neurotransmitters that produce a feeling of well-being). Endorphins are natural stress relievers. Whenever you feel tense, just close your eyes, think of a favorite place or a happy time and smile.
Aromatherapy with Essential Oils- have been used for a long time to improve mood and boost health. Essential oils come in small bottles which are easy to carry with you or leave in your workspace. Some of the best scents for stress-relief are basil, chamomile, tangerine, marjoram geranium lavender, and metalanguage. Take a long deep breath of the oil that most appeals to you, or dab a little on your temples for a longer-lasting sensation. When using essential oils it is recommended to dilute them. In a common carrier like grape-seed oil.
Another effective form of stress relief is through meditation. Meditation is a collection of skillful methods to work with the mind. If we understand and apply these methods, you can unfold or unlock if you will, the ability which we all have to experience inner peace, compassion and higher levels of wisdom. I will cover meditation in a later. It deserves its own post.
Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” - Chinese Proverb

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