A relaxed state is the default state of the body. Most of us don’t know what it actually feels like to relax because we exist under a constant state of low grade stress. Our busy, on-the-go lifestyles are to blame.
Before pushing coping mechanisms to the limit, consider making time for unstructured leisure time each day or week. Making time to relax is not a luxury. If the possibility of relaxing stirs up a reaction, all the more reason to do it.
There are some proven relaxation techniques–breathing exercises, massage, meditation, yoga, listening to music, etc. It’s best to experiment and see what works best for your body. Maybe reading a book or taking a walk will provide relief.
Incorporating relaxation into your schedule and practicing over time will help improve your ability to relax. It’s important to be patient when learning a new skill. It gets easier the more you do it.
The end goal is to be able to notice how the body feels under stress (i.e. an active mind or tense body) and select the technique that enables the body to come back to it’s natural relaxed state.
When the wind begins to blow and the earth becomes cool and dry, it’s time to prepare for winter. This winter wellness guide will help you weather even the toughest of winters. Learn about the food and activities that can help ground and warm. Discover how a consistent daily routine can provide much needed sense of stability for the season.
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Have you noticed that having something on your mind can be exhausting? All that processing and analyzing drains precious resources. Speak your truth to let go of what’s on your mind and shift the energy. When you speak your truth, thoughts in the mind and emotions in the heart are released and rebalanced.
Finding and using your voice is not an invitation to recklessly share everything on your mind or in your heart. It is important to be appropriate with expression. Choosing the right time, place and person with whom to speak your truth is vital. Brevity is best. If you are not able to use a calm, confident tone, it may be a good idea to pause and wait. Notice the difference when speaking about pain (or hurt) instead of from it. Conversations that are emotionally charged will not necessarily provide a release. Speak your truth with compassion. Not everything has to be said.
In situations where it can be challenging to verbally speak your truth, there are alternatives. Writing in a journal, walking outside (near the water or under a big sky), or visualizing speaking your truth are all helpful. Electronic communication–text, email and social media–is not recommended as it disrupts human interaction and displaces the healing power of live conversations.
Studies show that relationships with animals can reduce cortisol (the stress hormone). One study found that interaction with a dog provided better support than a friend during a stressful situation.
I’ve personally benefited from my own canine companion (pictured here). It’s hard to be stressed when she’s doing silly things like carrying a (dead) horseshoe crab during a beach walk.
Although pet ownership may not be practical for everyone, there are ways to get the stress reducing benefits. Volunteer at a shelter, offer to walk or sit for a friend or neighbor’s pet or simply take a few minutes to enjoy an encounter with an animal. My dog never seems to grow tired of affection (in the form of belly rubs) from strangers. Perhaps the benefits go both ways.