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Recommended Daily Allowance for…Relaxation

Travel & Leisure

“If a man insisted always on being serious,

and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation,

he would go mad or become unstable

without knowing it.”

~ Herodotus

Stress is one of the curses of living in modern and post-modern times. Everyone suffers from stress. And the stress that we suffer can take a very heavy toll on our bodies, emotions and minds.

When you are feeling stressed out, worn out from fatigue or just simply having a miserable day, the best thing you can do for yourself is relax.

Watching television may be a form of relaxation for some, but it is not a recommended method by experts. When we watch television we are bombarded with commercials, advertising, sounds, images and bad news. So how do we achieve relaxation? If there are thousands of ways you can get stressed, there are also many ways you can relax.

Recent studies have determined that heart disease is linked to anger and irritability, and these are linked to mental stress. Too much stress brings about ischemia which can lead to or cause a heart attack. Relaxation should have a much higher priority for you in light of this information. Managing your anger and attitude is significant in maintaining good heart health, and relaxation can help you manage your stress. Here are a few suggestions…

Transcendental Meditation

One method of relaxation is transcendental meditation. People practicing transcendental meditation usually repeat a soothing sound while meditating. The sound you are most likely familiar with is, “OM.” This sound helps achieve total relaxation. Some researchers have found that practictioners of transcendental meditation can significantly reduce the thickness of their arterial walls when compared to those who didn’t practice transcendental meditation. So there is probably a significant benefit in lowering your blood pressure by practicing this method.

Acupuncture

Another study of alternate relaxation, acupuncture, seems to indicate reduction in blood pressure by initiating several bodily functions which cause the brain to release chemical compounds known as endorphins. Endorphins help to relax muscles, ease panic, decrease pain and reduce anxiety.

Yoga

Yoga is also another method of relaxation and may also have similar effects as acupuncture. In recent studies, participants were subjected to several minutes of mental stress. Then they were subjected to various relaxation methods, such as listening to nature sounds or classical music. Only those who were practitioners of yoga significantly reduced the time it took for them to return their blood pressures to normal levels. Yoga is a form of progressive relaxation.

Breathing

Breathing is one of the simplest methods of relaxation. Breathing influences many aspects of our lives. It affects our mind, our moods and our body. Simply by focusing on your breathing, you can feel its effects almost immediately. There are several breathing techniques that can help you reduce your stress.

Exercise

Another easy way to achieve relaxation is exercise. If you feel irritated, a simple half hour of exercise will often settle things down. Although exercise may be a great way to loose weight, it does not teach you how to manage your stress appropriately. Exercise should also be used in conjunction with another relaxation method.

Massage

One great way of relaxing is getting a massage. To gain full relaxation with this technique, it is important to totally surrender to the handling and touching of a professional therapist. There are many types of massage that also provide different levels of relaxation.

Biofeedback

Another method of relaxation is biofeedback. Biofeedbak trains you to use your own brainwaves to enter states of relaxation. This method teaches you to tune into specific relaxing thought patterns. The usual biofeedback training program usually runs 10hr sessions often spaced over a period of time.

Medications

Medications (drugs) are an extreme remedy for maintaining relaxation. These are often not safe or effective for the long haul. This method should only used by trained medical professionals for their patients. These drugs also frequently carry a potential risk of addiction.

 

These are but a few of the methods for relaxation available. There are many health reasons why you should focus on your relaxation.

  • Besides lowering your blood pressure, which decreases your chance of heart attack or stroke, stress produces hormones that can additionally suppress your immune system.
  • Relaxation gives the immune system time to recover and in doing so function more effectively and efficiently.
  • Relaxation lowers the activities within the brain’s limbic system, which is the emotional center of our brains.

Relaxation can really be of exceptional benefit once you build a relaxation technique or techniques into your lifestyle. Choose a technique that you believe you can do on a regular basis.

Thoughts?

photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/exfordy/1659241225/sizes/z/in/photostream/

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  1. TLouise says:

    I love your article Martina – thank you. We all are in great need of tools to help relax and reduce and manage stress and all your points are excellent. Transcendental Meditation is an excellent stress relief technique (it has been my personal lifeboat for years), however one thing I would add is that TM is definitely something you want to learn with a qualified TM teacher and repeating OM is not a part of doing TM at all.

    TM is a mantra based meditation practice and that mantra or sound is best given by someone who has been trained to that. You can get more info at http://www.tm.org and there’s some great info on TM via Oprah as well! Here’s to relaxation!

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