Stress Is Bad. Learn How To Relax At Will.
When I use the term stress I am referring to mental stress in this case. Stress can be good for short periods of time. It can trigger a fight or flight response and help keep you safe. Your immune system also prepares itself for a fight. However stress has a lot of negative side effects.
When you are stressed your mental abilities are diminished. It is harder to remember things, generate new ideas and solve problems. Your athletic performance can also suffer. Things become more difficult and you make more mistakes.
It can often make you feel tired and sometimes it can make you feel sick. If you are stressed often or for long periods of time it can be bad for your health. Your immune system becomes weak and tired from constantly being on high alert. Allergies are caused by an improper response from your immune system to a perceived threat. When you are stressed allergies are worse because your immune system overreacts.
It can also make it hard to get a good nights sleep. When you are stressed it can be hard to fall asleep. While asleep stress can reduce the quality of your sleep. Stress also contributes to overeating and can cause cravings for junk foods. When you are stressed it is hard to keep a healthy weight.
In the long term stress can speed up the aging process and lead to serious health problems. A lot of life threatening diseases are caused by stress. People are often stressed for long periods of time about things that should not trigger a fight or flight response. As a result they are not as healthy as they could be so their quality of life and their life span is reduced.
Relaxation is the opposite of stress. It is okay to be stressed once in a while but you should try to be relaxed most of the time. When you are relaxed things often seem easier and you feel better. There are different states of relaxation. You can be relaxed or you can be deeply relaxed. Sitting on the couch and watching TV can be considered relaxing. However it is not very relaxing when compared to other forms of relaxation like meditation. If it was a good form of relaxation people would be in better health and stress would not be a problem.
Meditating 15 minutes a day can significantly improve your mental and physical health. Sitting around for 3 hours watching TV does not help at all. Most of the things people do to relax do not help very much. However if you don't know what deep relaxation feels like then you don't know what you are missing. Sitting around and watching TV does not seem very relaxing to me now because I found things that relax me a lot more.
Ways To Reduce Stress At Will
There are many ways to reduce stress. You could go to the beach, meditate or do a relaxing exercise like tai chi, yoga, or qigong. Since I have mentioned these methods in my other hubs I am going to focus on methods you can use throughout the day.
Changing the way you breath is one of the easiest ways to reduce your stress. Most people use shallow chest breathing. A more healthier and relaxing way is to use deep slow belly breathing. I learned this method when I started meditating. Breath in and out slowly pretending to fill up you belly with air. With practice you can breath that way most of the time. Simply breathing this way will reduce your stress throughout the day.
Focusing your thoughts is another method you can use any time you want to reduce your stress. To focus your thoughts concentrate on one or two things. For example you could focus on your breathing. You could also focus on something in your environment or count.
Association can be a powerful tool for relaxation. When you learn a language you associate words with objects and actions. Basically association means a connection between two or more things. You can teach yourself new associations. To help you relax at will you can repeat a number, letter or word that you associate with a relaxed state.
If you are at a relaxing place like a beach you could mentally or verbally repeat the letter B three times. After doing this a bunch of times you could relax by repeating B three times. The problem with this is that it takes time. A quicker method would be to close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Once you are more relaxed repeat a letter or number.
Association works well with mediation. Meditation teaches you how to become deeply relaxed and usually involves different levels of relaxation because you become more and more relaxed. So I can use the associations from meditation to relax or become deeply relaxed. Sometimes I use them before I go to sleep.
Visualization is a great way to help you relax but some people have trouble with it. To visualize you do a mental picture or video. The name suggests you see it but you should include as many senses as possible. If you have trouble seeing it you can use words to describe it like a detailed description in a book.
To relax you can visualize yourself in a relaxing environment or visualize yourself doing something relaxing. When I go somewhere relaxing I close my eyes and practice visualizing my surroundings. This makes it easier to visualize later. My favorite places to visualize are beaches.
Self talk is the last method I am going to mention. It usually involves you talking to yourself in your mind but can also be out loud. You could tell yourself "I am becoming more and more relaxed". For better results include it with one or more of the above methods. For example you could visualize yourself going down in an elevator and tell yourself "I am becoming more and more relaxed."
Using these methods you can significantly improve your health and your performance. I would also recommend meditating and exercising regularly.