The Health Benefits of Relaxation
By Jess C Ray
It is hard not to be stressed out in today's society. Instant and continuous access to people and information are great, but sometimes can be overwhelming and cause unwanted stress. In order to balance the stress in our lives, we all need to take some time each day to relax. Relaxation is good for the mind, body, and spirit.
Just as we need to take care to eat a balanced diet, we have to balance out our day to day stress with relaxation. While our bodies are designed to respond to stress, stress can affect our health without relaxation as a counter balance. What does stress do to our bodies? It causes increased heart rate, blood pressure, and heavy breathing. It can affect digestion, cause headache, strain chest muscles, and attribute to heart disease and high blood pressure. Being stressed out is just as dangerous as being obese. If you find you have physical symptoms due to being stressed several times a day, go on a "stress diet" by incorporating relaxation techniques into your lifestyle.
The most immediate relaxation technique you can focus on in a stressful situation is your breathing. Take deep inhalations and slow down your breathing to slow heart rate and lower blood pressure. Close the eyes to eliminate visual stress inducers and to sharpen the focus on breathing. Take a few minutes to meditate, to go to a soothing place in your mind. If you are serious about developing your mediation skills, consider taking Yoga or Tai Chi as a way to increase awareness in your body and mind.
Another way to release stress is to exercise. Exercise releases feel good endorphins giving you a physical and mental boost. In addition, massage is a great way to release tension in your body, therefore helping your mind to be calm. And for those who say laughter is the best medicine, they may be right on target. Laughing can help you to relax by causing you to breathe deeply, increasing circulation throughout the body and releasing endorphins.
A little relaxation every day can positively affect your physical and mental health. Set aside a relaxing corner of your home where you can practice meditation, positive visualization, and muscle relaxation. Play some soothing music, or even con someone in your household into giving you a back massage. Even set up a hammock in your home or yard where you can peacefully sway while meditating your stress away. You deserve to live a long healthy life and relaxation is the key.
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SOURCE: Dictionary.com Unabridged (v1.1)
Based On Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright Random House, inc. 2006