4 Simple Ways To Relax The Mind & Body
Here are four tips to help you relax the body and mind:
- Take a Break
When things are starting to get out of hand and you can feel yourself reaching threshold, Stop. Finish what you’re doing.
Take a break before you start anything new.
If someone is driving you mad, make an excuse and leave the room. Go and take a walk. Get some fresh air, find some calm within and then prepare yourself to get stuck in again.
- Listen to Relaxing Music
Music can have a powerful effect on your state. I’m sure there have been times when you heard a piece of music and suddenly you felt great. When all know songs that make you tap your foot or remind you of being in love. Create a collection of music to help you relax and feel good.
Make a tape of those songs that make you smile to help you unwind. Play it as often as you can… when you’re at home, when you’re working, when you’re in you’re in your car. You’ll be surprised how good you’ll begin to feel.
- Avoid Stimulants
Tea, coffee, fizzy drinks and chocolate all contain caffeine. Over the course of the day, this can add to your stress level considerably.
Why not prepare yourself a healthy alternative? Bottled water, freshly squeezed fruit juice and herbal teas are excellent for maintaining your body’s natural water balance and helping you keep cool under pressure.
- Use a Soothing Voice
Use a relaxed and soothing tone of voice, not just out loud, but also when you talk to yourself. A soft, low, melodious tone opens up the relaxation circuits in your mind and helps you stay calm even in heated situations.
A friend of mine once told me “Life is a struggle. But once you accept that, it becomes a lot easier.”
We can learn to deal with life’s challenges by setting aside some time to go to work on ourselves, developing a state of acceptance. When we can learn to calm our minds and separate ourselves from our problems, we are on the road to significant improvement.
- Get up fifteen minutes earlier in the morning. The inevitable morning mishaps will be less stressful.
- Prepare for the morning the evening before. Set the breakfast table, make lunches, put out the clothes you plan to wear etc.
- Don’t rely on your memory. Write down appointment times, when to pick up the laundry, when library books are due etc.
- Do nothing which, after being done, leads you to tell a lie
- Make duplicates of all keys. Bury a house key in a secret spot in the garden and carry a duplicate car key in your wallet, apart from your key ring.
- Practice preventive maintenance. Your car, appliances, home and relationships will be less likely to break down/ fall apart “at the worst possible moment.”
- Be prepared to wait. A paperback can make a wait in a post office line almost pleasant.
- Procrastination is stressful. Whatever you want to do tomorrow, do today; whatever you want to do today, do it now.
- Plan ahead. Don’t let the gas tank get below one-quarter full; keep a well-stocked “emergency shelf” of home staples; don’t wait until you’re down to your last bus token or postage stamp to buy more etc.
- Don’t put up with something that doesn’t work right. If your alarm clock, wallet, shoe laces, windshields wipers- whatever-are a constant aggravation, get them fixed or get new ones.
- Allow 15 minutes of extra time to get to appointments. Plan to arrive at an airport one hour before domestic departures.
- Eliminate (or restrict) the amount of caffeine in your diet.
- Always set up contingency plans.
- Relax your standards. The world will not end if the grass doesn’t get mowed this weekend.
- For every one thing that goes wrong, there are probably 10 or 50 or 100 blessings. Count’ em!
- Ask questions. Taking a few moments to repeat back directions, what someone expects of you, etc., can save hours.
- Say “No!” Saying “no” to extra projects, social activities, and invitations you know you don’t have the time or energy for takes practice, self-respect, and a belief that everyone, everyday, needs quit time to relax and be alone.
- Unplug your phone. Want to take a long bath, meditate, sleep, or read without interruption. Have courage to temporarily disconnect. Or use an answering machine.
- Turn “needs” into preferences. Our basic physical needs translate into food, water and keeping warm. Everything else is a preference. Don’t get attached to preferences.
- Simplify, simplify, simplify…
- Make friends with non-worries. Nothing can get you into the habit of worrying faster than associating with chronic worrywarts.
- Get up and stretch periodically if your job requires that you sit for extended periods.
- Wear earplugs. If you need to find quiet at home, pop in some earplugs.
- Writing your thoughts and feelings down (in a journal, or on paper to be thrown away) can help you clarify things and can give you a renewed perspective.
- Get enough sleep. If necessary, use an alarm clock to remind you to go to bed.
- Create order out of chaos. Organize your home and workspace so that you always know exactly where thins are. Put things away where they belong and you won’t have to go through the stress of losing things.
- When feeling stressed, most people tend to breathe short, shallow breaths. When you breathe like this, state air is not expelled, oxidation of the tissues is incomplete, and muscle tension frequently results. Check your breathing throughout the day, and before, during and after high-pressure situations. If you find your stomach muscles knotted and your breathing is shallow, relax all your muscles and take several deep, slow breaths.
- Try the following yoga technique whenever you feel the need to relax. Inhale deeply through your nose to the count of eight. Then, with lips puckered, exhale very slowly through your mouth to the count of 16, or for as long as you can. Concentrate on the long sighing sound and feel the tension dissolve. Repeat 10 times.
- Inoculate yourself against a feared event. Example: Before speaking in public, take time to go over every part of the experience in your mind. Visualize the experience the way you would have it be. You’ll likely find that when the time comes to make the actual presentation, it will be “old hat” and much of your anxiety will have fled.
- When the stress of having to get a job done gets in the way of getting the job done, diversion- a voluntary change in activity and or environment- may be just what you need.
- Talk it out. Discussing your problems with a trusted friend can help clear your mind of confusion so you can concentrate on problem solving.
- One of the most obvious ways to avoid unnecessary stress is to select and environment (work, home, leisure) which is in line with your personal needs and desires. If you hate desk jobs, don’t accept a job which requires that you sit at a desk all day. If you hate to talk politics, don’t associate with people who love to talk politics etc.
- Learn to live one day at a time
- Every day, do something you really enjoy.
- Add an ounce of love to everything you do.
- Take a hot bath or shower ( or a cool one in summertime) to relieve tension.
- Do something for somebody else.
- Focus on understanding rather than on being understood; on loving rather than on being loved.
- Do something that will improve your appearance. Looking better can help you feel better.
- Schedule a realistic day. Avoid the tendency to schedule back to back appointments; allow time between appointments for a breathing spell.
- Become more flexible. Some things are worth not doing perfectly and some issues are fine to compromise upon.
- Eliminate destructive self-talk.
- Use your weekend time for a change of pace. If your work week is slow and patterned, make sure there is action and time for spontaneity built into your weekends. Tackle a job on the weekend which you can finish to your satisfaction.
- “Worry about the pennies and the rupees will take care of the today’s as best you can and the yesterdays and the tomorrows will take care of themselves.
- Do one thing at a time. When you are with someone, be with that person and with no one or nothing else. When you are busy with a project, concentrate on doing that project and forget about everything else you have to do.
- Allow yourself time- everyday- for privacy, quiet and introspection.
- If an especially unpleasant task faces you, do it early in the day and get it over with, then the rest of your day will be free of anxiety.
- Learn to delegate responsibility to capable others.
- Don’t forget to take a lunch break. Try to get away from your desk or work area in body and mind, even if it’s just for 15 or 20 minutes.
- Forget about counting to 10. Count to 1,000 before doing something or saying anything that could make matters worse.
- Have a forgiving view of events and people. Accepts the fact that we live in an imperfect world.
- Have an optimistic view of the world. Believe that most people are doing the best they can.
Can stress make you fat?
When under stress, do you feel like you’re prone to putting on more weight, even if you’re eating the same amount of food? Too much cortisol can slow the metabolism, causing more weight gain than it is normally experienced. This also makes dieting more difficult.
When you’re stressed, do you crave a nice salad, or do you reach for the Mc Donald’s? People experiencing chronic stress tend to crave more fatty, salty and sugary foods. This includes sweets processed food and other things that aren’t as good for you. These foods are typically less healthy and lead to increased weight gain.
Prolonged stress can alter your blood sugar levels, causing mood swings, fatigue and conditions like hyperglycemia. Too much stress has even been linked to metabolic syndrome, a cluster of features that can lead to greater health problems like heart attacks and diabetes.
Too much stress even affects where we tend to store fat! Greater levels of abdominal fat are linked with higher levels of stress. Unfortunately, abdominal fat is not only aesthetically undesirable; it’s linked with greater health risks than fat stored in other areas of the body.
Stress and weight gain are also connected in other ways:
Not only can increased levels of cortisol make you crave unhealthy food, excess nervous energy often causes people to eat more than they normally would. How many times have you found yourself scouring the kitchen for a snack or absently munching on junk food when you’re not really hungry but just overly stressed?
Experts believe that one of the big reasons we’re seeing more obesity in our society these days is that people are too stressed and busy to make healthy dinner at home and are more often opting to get fast food at the nearest drive thru. Do you ever find yourself paying more than you’re like to for food that’s more convenient than healthy?
Too Busy to Exercise
With all the demands on your schedule, exercise may be one of the last things on you’re to do list. If so, you’re not alone. Unfortunately from sitting in traffic to sitting at our desks to sitting in front of the T.V in exhaustion at the end of the day, exercise often goes by the wayside.
- Put on Some Music
Music therapy has been shown to reduce stress and have a positive effect on health. But you don’t need a therapist to enjoy some of the benefits music has to offer. Listening to music as you get ready and start your day will create positive energy and a soothing sense of peace (or a sense of fun, if you play party music). Music can compliment other healthy lifestyle habits, adding a sense of peace to a yoga workout, putting a spring in your step on a morning walk or stimulating your mind as you write in your journal.
- Stretch in the shower
The hot water will loosen up your muscles, so it’s easier to get a good stretch. The act of stretching will help to release stored tension and enable you to start the day feeling more relaxed, at peace and ready to handle what comes your way.
- Eat a Balanced Breakfast
For those of you who start the day on a bagel and coffee, read this! Breakfast is known as ‘the most important meal of the day’ for a very good reason: a healthy meal in the morning can balance the blood sugar levels and give you the sustenance you need to handle physical and mental stress. Without it, you will feel less resilient, both physically and mentally. Be sure to have plenty of protein and fruit, not just caffeine and empty calories.
- Drink Green Tea
Sipping a warm cup of tea is a soothing activity that will help you prepare for the day ahead and feel nurtured, so it’s a delicious and healthy lifestyle choice.
- Write in Your Journal
Journaling has many health and stress management benefits and can also lead to increased self-awareness. Writing once a day can help to feel focused, process negative emotions and solve problems.
- 6. Morning Walk
Walking has so many health benefits, the stress management benefits are practically just gravy. A morning walk can get you ready for the day, help to sleep better at night, lower the stress level and reduce the risk of numerous health conditions. And if you bring a dog with you, you’ll be lavished with attention as well.
- 7. Yoga
For a healthy body and peaceful mind, few activities give as much ‘bang for your buck’ as yoga. Combining all the goodness of several stress management techniques, such as diaphragm breathing, meditation, stretching and more, yoga provides some of the best stress management and health benefits one can find in a single technique. A good way to start the morning is by doing a series of yoga poses called Sun Salutations.
- Eating out? Halve it and bag the rest. A typical restaurant entree has 1,000 to 2,000 calories.
- When dining out, make it automatic; order one dessert to share.
- Use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate.
- See what you eat. Plate your food instead of eating out of the jar or bag.
- Start with salads, veggies and broth soups and eat meats and starches last. By the time you get to them, you’ll be full enough to be content with smaller portions of the high-calorie choices.
- Instead of whole milk, switch to 1 percent. If you drink one 8-oz glass a day, you’ll lose 5 lb in a year.
- Juice has as many calories, ounce for ounce, as soda, set a limit of one 8-oz glass of fruit juice a day.
- Get calories from foods you chew, not beverages. Have fresh fruit instead of fruit juice.
- Follow the Chinese saying: “Eat until you are eight-tenths full.”
- Take your lunch to work.
- Eat more soup. The non creamy ones are filling but low-cal.
- Cut back on or cut caloric drinks such as soda, sweet tea, lemonade etc.
- Sit when you eat.
- Dilute juice with water.
- Have mostly veggies for lunch.
- Eat at Home.
- Limit alcohol to weekends.
- Many of our social interactions include food.
- Restaurants portions have increased (particularly fast food).
- We are less active than in the past.
- We find it unacceptable to be hungry.
- We misunderstand how weight is maintained.
- We forget the extra food we eat everyday or we think we ate less than we did.
It’s also important to remember that when we consume fewer calories, we have a tendency to be less active which probably stems from our biological programming to preserve body weight for survival.
- Don’t crash diet. You’ll most likely regain the lost weight within five years.
- Aim for slow weight loss. You should lose no more than 0.5kg a weak or 10kg in six months.
- Cut down on dietary fats, especially saturated fat.
- Cut back on refined sugars.
- Increase your intake of fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grain breads and cereals.
- Consume less alcohol.
- Eat less takeaway and snacks foods.
- Exercise for approximately 30 minutes at least a few times every week.
- Introduce more movement into your day- try to accumulate 30 minutes of walking daily.
- Don’t eliminate any food group- choose from a wide range of foods every day instead and choose ‘Whole’, less processed foods. Have a regular pattern of eating and stick to it.
- Drink at least 1,500ml of water per day.
Things to remember
- ‘Crash’ dieting’ can affect your physical and mental well being.
- There are no magical foods or ways to combine food that will help you lose weight.
- The best way to lose weight is slowly by making small, achievable changes to your eating and exercise habits.