Today’s fast-paced, intensive lifestyle presents many challenges and priorities. The October issue of Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource stresses that relaxation should not be last on the to-do list.
Experts counsel that relaxation is a vital process that decreases wear and tear on the mind and body.
Refueling through relaxing can reduce the heart rate, lower blood pressure, increase blood flow to major muscles, reduce muscle tension, reduce headache and back pain, improve concentration and reduce emotional responses such as anger and frustration.
How to relax? Everyone has different ways of winding down. Most often, relaxing involves a change of pace from the daily grind. Some people practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, visualization or progressive muscle relaxation. Others like to read, write in a journal, take a walk with a friend or get a massage.
The key is to make the activity a regular part of the schedule. The goal is to refocus the mind and disregard extraneous thoughts and distractions. Here are some tips for getting the most benefit from relaxation:
- Maintain positive emotions: Choose to focus on positive rather than negative emotions. This can help you stay on a more even keel emotionally, and when time is available to relax, recovery is swifter.
Practice self-control: Indulgence after a stressful day may bring temporary pleasure but undercut long-term well-being. For example, overeating while trying to lose weight. Relaxation time offers a good opportunity to create a list of constructive and relaxing activities to do when stress levels climb.
Avoid ruminating: Mulling over issues that occurred earlier only increases stress. Moreover, it can lead to taking out anger on others. Instead, moving thoughts in another direction can allow irritation to fade away.
In summary, scheduled relaxation is not time away from getting things done, rather an opportunity to refuel, refresh and become more prepared and efficient in tackling the daily tasks of life.
Source: Mayo Clinic