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The importance of relaxation

How often have you said to a loved one they need to relax more? Perhaps this has been said to you on many occasions!


Picture of someone realing on a cosy blanket with a cup of coffee

The replies are often something like this…


“I’m OK”, “I’m fine”, “I need to get it finished”, “Stop fussing”, or the person might ignore the caring voice of another by not answering, avoiding being with them in anticipation of what they always say or responding by ‘hitting back’ by telling them to “Calm down”.

We can often think we can keep on going and going but do you really know what’s ‘going’ on in the inside of you and your physical health?


 


How can relaxation help my body and mind?

If you regularly endeavour to relax it will reduce your muscle tension and aid memory. It will avoid or reduce depressive symptoms as well as lowering anxiety and even obesity. Your immune system will get a boost and lead to a healthier heart. 


 


Ways to relax…

R - is for rest

We all need to have rest for our bodies to recover from the strains we put them under, whether this is physically or resting from our negative thinking patterns. It is important to note that when we relax this will aid our brain to discharge endorphins which will react as natural painkillers. Research shows that using techniques to help rest can lessen pain from certain conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, fibromyalgia and pain from mild, severe to chronic. 

E - is for empty your mind of your worries and anxieties

Mindfulness… in the first instance so concentrate on your breath. This will then take you away from your worries and concerns simply because you are giving focus to something else. So, at your own pace learn a breathing technique that suits you.

L - is for lazy days sitting in the sun

Soaking up sunlight makes vitamin D from cholesterol within the skin cells. In fact, exposure of as little as ten to thirty minutes a day can be enough to obtain vitamin production.

A - is for anchor

Learn and practice to anchor yourself firmly in a past happy memory. Lower your cortisol levels, stress and anxiety by recalling cheerful memories and experiences. Alternatively, this could be for hopes and dreams for your impending road ahead to enable you to cast your next anchor into positive futures.

X - is for exhale

Have you taken a breath in? Slump into your comfy chair. Breathe in for the count of four slowly and breathe out for the count of four. Repeat this five times.

A - is for alleviate your stress by walking off your pounding feelings of anxiety

This can help to reduce the risks of heart disease and strokes. By engaging in this exercise, it will reduce the dangers of high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It also helps with joints, muscular pain, stiffness and diabetes. 

T - is for a cup of tea

All teas can help reduce stress by taking a moment even before you take a sip. Teas to help reduce anxiety include mint, chamomile, lavender, rose teas, and matcha. Interestingly, the tea ceremony, or “chanoyu” in Japanese, is a ritual of intention and quiet reflection. 

I - is for ignoring the mind bully you are listening to by letting go of the rope

Self-talk can help reduce the strength of the mind bully and detach it from yourself by calling it a name. Remember to treat it as a temporary visitor that has its days numbered. This guest has worn out its welcome and it’s time to go. Engaging in CBT can be a helpful way of eradicating this intrusive pest.

O - is for open your mind to new beginnings

Perhaps you have goals that might be either big or small. Making small goals in order to achieve larger goals is the way forward.

N - is for noticing your muscles becoming less tense

Practice stretching, tensing your muscles and then relax. A further way to do this is by engaging in yoga, etc.



 

Relaxation versus sleep

Consciousness is the difference between sleeping and relaxing. You can relax whilst reading, watching TV, engaging in yoga, meditation or having a massage, etc. Our bodies do of course still need sleep because we can feel recharged with rest but it is not enough for the body to repair itself. On the other hand, even if we have had a good night's sleep we still need to have episodes of relaxation when our mind is conscious so that we can enjoy and reflect on these moments.



 

This article was originally published here



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