A hectic lifestyle is the only kind of lifestyle most women have nowadays. On any given day, you try to juggle 10 different tasks just to keep up with the items on your to-do list. You need to drive the kids to school, help your husband find his tie, talk to your boss on the phone telling you to be at the office in 10 minutes, and your sister just dropped in with some boyfriend problems.
You cannot even spare one minute to take a deep breath and regroup. It’s no wonder you cannot find the time for relaxation.
You have always been told: everything in moderation; this includes stress. A little stress is actually good to keep the senses and the mind sharp. But too much of can be very harmful to your health, both mental and physical. You need to make time to restore the balance in your life. The best way to do it is by relaxation.
Even with all the tasks on your to-do list still needing to be completed, there are simple techniques you can use anytime, anywhere to relax and reduce the stress in your life. Here are some tips to get you on your way to a little bliss.
Tip #1: Meditation
Meditation doesn’t just mean twisting your body into a pretzel or chanting gibberish. Any repetitive activity that helps keep you calm in the present moment can be a form of meditationt.
When you catch your mind drifting toward thoughts of your relationship, your career, or your lifelong goals and you start feeling stressed, take a deep breath and let the thoughts escape. You can meditate by taking a walk, a swim, by painting or knitting. Just do any one of these repetitive activities when you feel your stress levels rising for 5 to 10 minutes and you’ll be amazed at the difference it can make.
Tip #2: Visualization
When your mind becomes a messy tangle of thoughts, the best way to meditate and distract you from the current tension is by visualization. Picture anything that evokes a sense of calm or gives you comfort. Just close your eyes and visualize a deserted beach, your dream house in the suburbs, or the quaint European village you always wanted to visit. You can also remind yourself of the feel of your favorite silk robe or the smell of your grandmother’s homemade apple pie.
Your objective is to take your mind off the cause of your stress. You’ll experience more relaxation the more realistic your daydream is, in terms of sights, sounds, smell, and feel.
Tip #3: Deep Breathing
Stress always comes with tense and shallow breathing. Calm comes with relaxed and deep breathing. If you change the way you breathe, you can turn tension into relaxation.
Here’s a simple 5-minute breathing exercise. Let out a big sigh by exhaling gently through pursed lips and dropping your chest. When you inhale, feel your entire belly, sides, and lower back expand. Exhale again with a big sigh feeling your belly, back, and sides contract. Your lower belly is your center, focus on it as you feel your breath coming and going. Repeat this breathing exercise 10 times and you’ll feel relaxed after.
Tip #4: Mindfulness
Being mindful of your surroundings is a great way to relax your mind. If you can, try to remind yourself how it is to look at everything around through the eyes of a child. Mindfulness is the here-and-now approach to living, staying in the present and focusing on one activity at a time. This practice can help promote relaxation and be a buffer against anxiety and depression.
It is a simple practice that can make a big difference to your state of mind within just a few minutes. Take in your surroundings. If you are outdoors, notice how the leaves of the tree sway in the wind, watch a bird fly from its perch, or just take in the sounds of footsteps all around you. If you are in a mall, examine the intricate details of a piece of jewelry, or walk through a furniture store and admire the quality of the workmanship put into every furniture piece. Put your tension on the back burner and focus on something pleasant in the present.
Tip #5: Hot Tea
The caffeine in coffee raises the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. On the other hand, green tea promotes calmness. Other stress-fighter varieties are Chamomile and black tea. A study showed that drinking black tea on a regular basis made people who participated calmer during times of stressful situations due to their lower cortisol levels compared to those who were given a placebo.
Tip #6: Be Affectionate
Affectionate, physical contact actually has some effects on how our body functions. Social interactions help sharpen thinking skills, encouraging the brain to see new possibilities in otherwise difficult situations.
Showing affection, by cuddling with your pet dog, or hugging your partner, brushing your child’s hair, or simply laughing with a friend, is a form of relaxation that helps reduce stress. In some instances, physical contact may lower blood pressure also resulting in decreased stress hormones.
Tip #7: Self-Massage
Getting a massage is always a relaxing experience but you can’t have a therapist at your beck and call to help you get rid of your stress whenever it comes. Tense muscles sometimes need soft kneading and you can do it yourself for a few minutes to help you relax. Here’s a simple technique. Place your hands on your shoulders and neck and squeeze using your fingers and palms. Keep your shoulders relaxed as you rub vigorously. Next, with one hand wrapped around the forearm, squeeze the muscles with your fingers, moving up and down from your elbow to your fingertips. Do the same with the other arm.
Tip #8: Take a Breather
When you’re in the middle of a stressful situation and you feel your temper rising, take a time out. Find a quiet place where you can be alone to take a breather and calm down. Breathe deeply and concentrate on releasing the tension and slowing down your heartbeat. Take your time to quiet your mind and relax.
Tip #9: Music Therapy
Music, as they say, soothes the soul. And when the going gets rough, start the music playing. Listening to slow music, especially classical ones, helps calm the nerves, promoting inner peace and quiet. Music therapy can have the same calming effects as taking a relaxant.
Check out The Calm Within CD – Soothing music therapy CD with peaceful music, composed and recorded by Native Remedies clinical psychologist, for deep relaxation.
Tip #10: Think Positive
As quickly as your stress levels can rise, so can your shift to relaxation, once you’ve mastered your de-stressing routine of positive thinking. Do this by reminding yourself of the positive things in your life that never fail to put a smile on your face, your playful pet, your sweet baby’s laughter, your husband waking you up with a soft kiss, your favorite vacation. These nice, warm thoughts create a positive emotional attitude that can help calm and relax your breathing, your heart rhythm, and your tense muscles, giving you with feelings of relaxation and peace instead.