Do you ever feel like your heart and mind are going 100 mph? Maybe it's stress induced or maybe that rush provokes feelings of anxiety, but either way, it's unhealthy. Then, someone tells you, "just relax," as if it were really that easy. Relaxing, though it sounds like such a simple and desirable thing to do, is quite difficult. Being free of worries doesn't come naturally. Have you ever heard of flight or fight? Our nervous system is literally inclined to react!
You may wake up feeling worried about your job or lack thereof, your cramped schedule, or maybe the fact that you don't have any time to relax. Now, you can't control many situations that are thrown at you throughout the day, but you can control your reaction to them. So, next time you feel that race in your head or in your chest, just breathe.
Question: If it doesn't come naturally, how do I learn to relax?
Answer: Relaxation is a practice; that's why there's such thing as relaxation techniques. You don't wake up one morning a changed person who is all of sudden always relaxed. Practicing these techniques constantly begins to train the mind and body how to calm itself. The positive outcomes that follow encourage the body to enter this state of relaxation more often.
Take deep breaths - inhale for 4 counts, hold your breath for 4 counts, and exhale for 8 counts
Practice progressive muscle relaxation - tense up a muscle group and then relax it (e.g. life your shoulders to your ears, then drop them down)
Meditate - sit in silence or listen to some soothing music and just focus on your breath (5 minutes is just as beneficial as 1 hour)
Stretch - stretching loosens tight muscles
Get a massage - massages provide both a physical and emotional relief
10 Advantages of Relaxation
Decrease heart rate
Increase blood flow
Lower blood pressure
Improve quality of life