Would it surprise you to know that the World Health Organization has classified stress as a “world wide epidemic”? Although stress has been proven to have a negative impact on mental and physical health, most people feel that they are not doing enough to manage their stress.
Stress can be caused by many occurrences in life: work, family, divorce, loss of a job or death of a loved one. It can even be caused by seemingly joyous occasions such as purchasing a new home or planning a vacation.
Stress exists when we experience imbalance in our lives. While sometimes we can eliminate stressors and restore balance, there are many events we have no control over.
What we do have control over is ourselves and we can exert this control by practicing relaxation methods that will help to reduce stress.
The following is a simple, yet effective, deep relaxation technique you can employ to take control of your stressors and reduce stress in your life:
Deep relaxation is a practice that teaches you to take control of your body and thoughts while reducing the tension and stress you are experiencing. This control will allow you to make more conscious and rational choices in your day-to-day life.
By mastering the skill of emotional control, you will eventually create a healthier framework for your health.
Along with this mastery, the regular practice of deep relaxation can also boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure and reduce depression and anxiety.
Finding the Right Time and Place
Choose a quiet place and time when you will be free of distractions. Be sure the location is comfortable for you – this could be the bathtub, your bed (make sure you don’t fall asleep) or a comfy chair.
If you have children, try to practice deep relaxation in the morning before they wake up or in the evening after they go to bed.
Since the digestive process can interfere with achieving deep relaxation, wait at least two hours after eating.
Make it Part of Your Day
Relaxing should be part of each day to reduce stresses. Find a time that works for you and do your best to practice each day. If you have a hard time fitting relaxation into your daily schedule, try a shortened version of this technique. It’s better to do a little bit of relaxation each day as opposed to none.
A Simple Deep Relaxation Technique
Close your eyes.
Close your eyes and tune in to your muscles and relax your muscles one by one. Start with your feet and progress to your legs, torso, arms, shoulder, neck, mouth, cheeks, nose, temples, eyes, and forehead.
This is difficult for many of us at first but becomes easier with practice.
Tune in to your breathing.
Each time you exhale, silently say a word to yourself. Try to choose something simple and uplifting.
Focus on the word to help you push other thoughts from your mind.
Don’t try too hard, worry about how you are doing, or be upset when other thoughts enter your mind. When other thoughts enter your mind, simply focus on the word you are using when you exhale and let those interfering thoughts fade away.
Continue your breathing, focusing on your word and relaxing your muscles for twenty minutes. It is better to open your eyes to check the time than it is to use a startling alarm.
When you are finished, continue to sit quietly for a minute, first with your eyes closed, then with your eyes open.