Do you know how to relax? I know that this may seem like a trivial question, but think about it: Do you know how to fully immerse yourself in the moment without thinking about what you need to do or what you’ve already done? In times of high (or even moderate) stress, we can all benefit from an ability to let go.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I must say that anyone who knows me well can tell you that my relaxation game could use some refinement. I, like you, am a work in progress. I often have a lot on my mind along with a lengthy list of things that I want to do.
I am convinced, however, that we can all master this whole relaxation thing. Join me and open your mind to the 4 easy suggestions below as a means of relaxing more readily in support of your well-being:
1) Breathe deeply. The well paced, control of our breath can reduce stress and promote relaxation by regulating blood pressure as well as slowing the heartbeat. Physician and author, Esther Sternberg, asserts that slow, deep breathing has a calming effect that is the opposite of the shallow, rapid breathing that accompanies the ‘fight or flight’ response.
Explore the pranayama breathing technique as a way to harness your breath and enhance your mood.
2) Dance it out. Any opportunity to drop it like it’s hot is a chance to increase naturally occurring endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling in the body. Studies have found that dance can specifically reduce anxiety. Exercise is generally a good way to clear tension. Choose your workout of choice – you can’t really go wrong if you are breaking a sweat.
3) Laugh out loud. Research shows that laughter can reduce stress, increase blood flow, and enhance immunity. Get your giggle on by watching a funny movie or spending time with friends with a reputation for being ‘hi-larious’ to lighten the mood.
4) Eat a snack. Research shows that the modest (note my word choice here) consumption of dark chocolate can reduce the release of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine under intense circumstances with positive mental and physical effects.
I am not, however, suggesting that you should eat a whole box of candy bars anytime soon. Alas, everything in moderation. Right? Right.
The next time you find yourself in dire need of some relaxation, considering using one of these simple strategies to take the edge off. The end result can mean that you are ultimately healthier, happier and more productive.
Engineer Your Bliss Challenge: Choose one of these quick relaxation methods and see how it works to reduce your stress over the next week.
What other approaches help you relax? Let me know in the comments below.
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