Tips for Relaxation
Tips For Relaxation
“We touch them, we relax them, we strengthen them, we nourish and nurture them. We care for our whole selves, and for our entire personal biome, leaving nothing out.” - The Invitation
What is Stress in the Body?
Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. In other words, stress is our reaction when we’re presented with a situation of pressure, fear, or threat.
Stress can present itself in many different forms. Things to look out for when you may be experiencing stress are:
- Anxiety or Depression
- High Blood Pressure
- Skin issues (acne/blemishes or rashes)
- Obesity (this can be due to stress eating large amounts of food)
- Difficulty Breathing
- Head and Muscle Aches
- Sleep Problems
- Low Energy Levels
- Panic Attacks
Every person experiences stress in different ways, and if you find your stress levels are detrimental to your daily life, seek help from your healthcare professionals.
“To live our fullest lives, we can’t hide from anything - especially our own bodies.” -The Invitation
There are two primary types of stress: Chronic Stress and Acute Stress. Chronic Stress lasts for longer periods of time. Typically chronic stress presents itself in more long term situations, such as financial troubles, marriage difficulties, or lack of planning for the future. Chronic stress risks becoming part of your day to day life to the point that you don’t even realize you are experiencing it. This can be an issue if you cannot find a way to properly manage your stress.
Acute Stress is more sporadic and occurs in quick bursts. It can happen when your fight or flight response is triggered, or when you’re faced with a jarring situation you weren’t expecting. Acute stress can help you manage dangerous or difficult situations. Everyone experiences acute stress at some point in their lives.
It’s important to note that not all stress is bad. Stress is often viewed in a negative manner, whereas it can be very useful at times. Your fight or flight response is triggered by stress hormones. The right amount of stress can help you properly manage those tense situations. It allows you to process your experience rather than freezing in the moment.
However, if you have too much stress in your life, it can do more harm than good. Too much stress might lead you to overthink simple situations, panic about little details, and create issues that aren’t there. In turn, you may push people away or shut down during high stress situations.
If you have very high stress levels, or just need a way to manage coming down from a stressful situation, here are physical and mental tips to achieve relaxation and restoration.
“When this lack of wholeness is the norm, the scattered state of our nervous system seems like our normal state.” -The Invitation
Physical Stress Management
Even though stress is a mental reaction, doing things with your body can greatly aid in stress management. Here are some of the best ways to physically reduce stress.
Exercise: Exercise is a great way to keep your body moving and get your blood pumping. When your body is active, it releases endorphins and other feel-good hormones that can help reduce the stress hormones running through your body.
Try a New Hobby: Trying new things is a mental and physical stress manager. When you do something creative, it can greatly reduce your stress and get your body doing something other than tensing up and worrying.
Yoga: Yoga is an extremely effective way to relax. Look into yoga classes in your community or online if you’re looking for a more private experience. Either way, guided breathing and body fluidity movements are proven to be extremely beneficial for your health.
Get Outside: Nature and the outdoors can bring clarity of mind and body. Whether you go on a walk, a hike, or sit on a bench or your back porch, being in the fresh air can really help lower stress levels.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation: This particular stress reducing technique is an awareness technique. Sit somewhere comfortable and close your eyes and then progressively make your way through different parts of your body tensing a muscle and then relaxing it. See what that feels like. This brings acute awareness back into your body and mind.
Massage or Back Rub: Sensual or not, a massage is a great stress reducer. Tension is a large symptom of stress and being able to physically release that tension from parts of your body that are holding onto it could help immensely.
“When we reclaim control over our lives and pay attention to how we treat ourselves on a daily basis, we rely less and less on diet gurus and medical doctors to tell us what to do or how to fix ourselves.” -The Invitation
Mental Stress Management
While physical stress management is very helpful, stress is ultimately a mental issue. Allowing your brain to calm down after or during stressful situations will help you alleviate stress. Here are some mental stress techniques to try.
Breathing: Taking yourself out of the physical world to focus on deep breathing brings you back in tune with yourself and the body you inhabit. Find a calming place, close your eyes, and try to take nice deep breaths. You’ll find this will probably lower your heart rate and blood pressure and help de-escalate most situations.
Listen to Music: Music pumps happy hormones through your body. Putting on your favorite song and allowing your mind to soak up the music will bring on a more upbeat state of mind and/or calm.
Try Visualization: If you’ve ever heard the phrase “find your happy place” visualization is a nod to that. Close your eyes and think of a place where you experience joy or tranquility. What can you remember about this place? Why does it bring you so much joy? Try to go through all your senses and pinpoint one thing for each that creates a positive detail for this place. This mental activity takes you out of the space you’re in to bring you to a more calming place which will regulate your stress.
Write Down your Thoughts: Keeping stressful thoughts bottled up in your mind can sometimes be the cause of even more stress. Journaling can be really beneficial for stress management by allowing stressful thoughts to exit your mind. If you don’t want to journal, making a list of things you’re grateful for is a simplified way to regulate the thoughts in your mind.
Aromatherapy: Calming scents can stimulate receptors in your mind and body. Using a diffuser with a scent such as lavender can help calm your emotions.
Sensory Deprivation Tanks: Instead of stimulating your senses, sometimes to de-stress you need the exact opposite - nothing. Sensory deprivation tanks create a space to float and escape the reality that may be causing you stress. Allowing yourself to release everything is another great way to clear your mind of stress you may be experiencing.
“The light and life force flows through us and animates us all the time: That’s what we are at our core, and this awareness can fuel an even deeper appreciation for the miracle of sensory embodiment. We are both AND: we are the body that has sensory experience and will eventually die, and we are the inner nucleus that is unchanging and eternal.” -The Invitation
*This post does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.*