Relaxation takes discipline in a busy world. Chores, obligations, and crises sap your energy reserves and present road blocks to emotional balance. Try these scheduled and unscheduled calming techniques to make relaxation a priority in your life.
Relaxation is great for renewing the body, mind, and spirit. During every waking hour we expend our physical and mental energy, so we need to replenish it. Take a cue from professional athletes who aim for peak fitness. They know that the key to achieving optimal functioning lies in alternating periods of stress with times of relief and rest.
We all need a certain amount of stress in our lives to challenge and motivate us. But we also need to shake off any fatigue on a regular basis to avoid chronic weariness.
Sleep and rest
It’s important for us all to renew our resources with nightly sleep and timely rest. Developing a healthy nightly ritual is essential in establishing an optimal renewal plan. Make your bedroom a sanctuary by creating a soothing, quite place with your favourite
Use the contract-release method to lessen the tensions in your body. One by one, tighten and release each body part. End by tensing your whole body (inset, below), then let go and breathe deeply (main picture, below).
Tips for Dealing with daily Stress
- To cope with life’s ups and downs be sure to make time daily for refreshment and restoration.
- Manage your Stress Try a progressive relaxation technique, breathe deeply, or learn to mediate to reverse the effects of stress.
- Develop good sleep hygiene Make your bedroom an inviting, quiet, peaceful sanctuary and let go of the day’s hassles and worries.
Bedding and gentle lighting. Don’t have the television or your computer in the bedroom. It should be a space strictly for unwinding.
Don’t drink alcohol last thing at night. Instead, savour a cup of a caffeine-free drink for an uninterrupted night’s sleep. Some people find a warm bath before bed helps to relax them. Light reading material can also quieten the mind and help you leave the day’s worries behind you. Make sure the room is completely dark while you’re asleep. Studies have shown that exposure to light during sleep can disturb your body’s natural cycles.
If you awaken during the night, focus on the pleasant texture of the bedding, take deep breaths, and relish the luxurious time you have for rest. Try to get seven to eight hours of the deep sleep you need for complete physical restoration.
Practise deep breathing. The diaphragmatic breath is found by placing your fingers at the bottom of your breast bone and sniffing or coughing a few times. Inhale deeply; feel the rib cage expand.
Using Stretching to help you relax
Relaxation techniques can greatly influence the restoration cycle. Simple exercises such as the progressive contract-relax technique (see opposite) can quickly lower body tension and take your mind away from over-analytical thoughts. For instance, tense the fists as you count to ten, then relax them. In order of progression, relax method to the shoulders, thighs, calves, feet, abdomen, and finally the face, puckering your lips and eyes strongly. End the technique by tensing your entire body, and then completely let go of all your body tension as you breathe five deep, long breaths. Notice how relaxed your body and your mind have become.
Another simple yet reliable relaxation technique, excellent for any setting and any location, is deep diaphragmatic breathing (see above). Place your fingers at the bottom of your breast bone to find the way your diaphragm moves. Sniff quickly several times or cough to feel the muscles move. Breathe into the diaphragm and feel these muscles expand for four seconds (think “1-alligator, 2-alligator”, etc.). Then exhale for 8 seconds. Slow breathing reverses the fight-or-flight, adrenalin-based panic that’s part of our fast-paced society.
This article is taken from 15 Minute Fitness
Written by Arshad. A